A few weeks ago someone forwarded me an article on Racked.com. At first, I went back and forth between agreeing and disagreeing. The arguments made by Cheryl Wischhover are valid and right, but something did not sit right with me. Here are some thoughts from a California native who has lived in Germany for 5 years and making her own organic body care line for athletes.
Baby Powder is considered a cosmetic, which doesn’t need to be approved by the Food and Drug Administration under the 1938 Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. Bloomberg
Many companies are guilty of greenwashing or overcompensating for the lack of truth behind their “natural” claims on labels. How can we blame big corporations for the use of words like “natural,” “green” or “clean” when the FDA does not regulate it?
We have to be responsible consumers in the fight for our health and not fall victim to guerilla marketing and false promises. A perfect example of this is the somewhat recent Johnson & Johnson case, where to women developed ovarian cancer. How is it that “baby Powder is considered a cosmetic, which doesn’t need to be approved by the Food and Drug Administration under the 1938 Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act”?
The problem with the cosmetic industry is its relevance to 2016 and modern cosmetics. The tests and safety data information (strangely funded by the Personal Care Products Council in Washington, D.C.) are mostly inconclusive, do not test for long periods of time or “safe in small doses.” What is the problem? Tests should be conducted over a period of several years since some products are household names and almost religiously used. Safe amounts are set, but the gradual accumulation of chemicals is totally ignored. No one can tell me chemicals that cause bad skin reactions can be good for us internally.
I do agree with Cheryl Wischhover when she says, “[skin care] needs to be flexible and evolve with my skin’s needs as it fluctuates with nature and life changes.” Of course, a natural solution comparable to Retinol, for example, will not give you the same effects. However, your skin is not made for harsh chemicals or peels. I truly believe our skin needs steady and consistent natural products every day. Most of the conventional skin care products for dry skin have alcohol listed as the first product because . How can that “moisturize” your face?
One comment, however, I strongly disagree with: “‘Natural beauty has become encoded with class,’ says Whitefield-Madrano. ‘Consumerism is not the answer.'” I totally get this. Before I could only afford Trader Joe’s organic products and the cheaper drugstore greenwashed organic products (before I was informed). I gradually moved toward a healthy mix of Trader Joe’s and the cheaper Whole Foods body care options. Now, there are amazing natural and organic brands that I can’t get enough of like RMS Beauty, Vapour Beauty, NUDE Skincare and Arcona.
I understand concerns with the link between consumerism and organic products, but how has Apple grown into a household name? How has Nike or Bose done the same? Everyone thought these brands were ridiculously expensive and overrated at launch. Now, these brands are ubiquitous in our lives. Yes, organic will be expensive for awhile because as a society we went along with cheap, chemical product for too long. Just like food, organic and (real) natural cosmetics will eventually be cheaper and more affordable. Although it has come down in price and more (affordable) organic brands are popping up, it does not solve the bigger issue. There is something wrong with our entire health, cosmetic and food industries to begin with. Kind of like the whole
I understand Cheryl’s hesitations and decisions to change her routine. I was all on the extra virgin, organic, unrefined coconut oil as a face wash bandwagon when I had bad reactions and clogged pores for a few weeks. Although I am happy with my routine now, changing to a green routine and lifestyle is a long-term decision. It’s a decision to improve yourself, soul, mind, health and body.
Some real organic cosmetic companies (big or small) do have your health in mind. They don’t want share of your wallet or some cool “green” Instagram account. Sure, they want to show how organic, natural and healthy their products are, but transparency is key. I remember in high school, college and graduate school that all professors talked about transparency in corporations. Corporate responsibility was the keyword in many of our reports, but what are those corporations doing now? Putting green leaves, natural descriptive words and natural colors on the packages of chemical-filled ingredients? Or, marketing products as “shea butter and coconut oil” only to list those ingredients last after a paragraph of ingredients.
Keep it real and demand that your skin and body care companies do the same.