The skincare & makeup industry is largely unregulated, meaning producers of makeup and skincare can, to some extent, put whatever they want in their products and can market those products in an way they please. For example, a product can be marketed as 'natural' when it is has only a few natural ingredients in very small quantities and the rest of the product is made up of synthetic ingredients and chemicals. So basically, if you're interested at all in what you're putting on your face and body everyday which could be potentially harmful, then you have to be informed. Just like with food label ingredients, just a little bit of knowledge can not only help you avoid harmful ingredients but also ensure that the products you're shelling out your hard-earned cash for actually contain the ingredients needed to do what the product claims. In the end whether you choose completely organic/natural products or not is a personal choice, but at least it will be an informed choice.
So, I thought a good starting point for my blog would be to share with you the resources I've found to be helpful when investigating skin care & makeup products. I want to say straight away - there is no one person or site listed below whose word I take as gospel, I just read them & make my own mind up. In future product reviews, I'll do the leg work so you don't have to. There is so much research on both sides of the argument for organic vs synthetic, so I've tried to include a good balance of resources so you can make your own mind up and if you have any recommendations, don't be shy!
Hope you find it useful x
So here goes;
Now in its 8th year, you can use their Skin Deep database to search for individual ingredients or complete products. Their staff scientists compare the ingredients on personal care product labels and websites to information in nearly 60 toxicity and regulatory databases. They use a rating system & categories of 1-3 (Low Hazard) , 3-6 (Moderate Hazard) and 7-10 (High Hazard). They also rate how much data their rating is based on for example None/Limited/Fair/Good. I use their rating system a lot when reviewing a product.
A site with some great articles & information about ingredients & legislation. Their aims are 'to dispel myths about cosmetic ingredients, help consumers understand the complexities of cosmetic safety and challenge views or safety guidelines that does not accord with current scientific evidence.'
Another database where you can search for products. This time it gives you results based on the number of known allergens in a product so this is particularly good for people with sensitive skin who react badly to certain products. Often you buy a product that's labelled ''hypoallergenic' and think that you don't need to worry about reactions etc however the problem is that the term can mean whatever a particular manufacturer or brand wants it to mean. There is no federal standard that governs the use of the term. The word is used mostly used to make a product more marketable. They have a list of the most common allergens used in cosmetics on their website.
The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics coalition, a project of Breast Cancer Prevention Partners (formerly the Breast Cancer Fund), works to protect the health of consumers, workers and the environment through public education and engagement, corporate accountability and sustainability campaigns and legislative advocacy designed to eliminate dangerous chemicals linked to adverse health impacts from cosmetics and personal care products. The site has information and articles about ingredients to avoid and safer cosmetic suggestions.
Another great site, with a blog, resources & an ingredients glossary
Another database. This site was set up by the author and 'beauty expert' Paula Begoun, who is the author of the very popular "Don’t Go to The Cosmetics Counter Without Me" books and founder of Paula’s Choice Skincare. The site reviews hundreds or products but also has an ingredients dictionary. Although the site rates Paula's own products highly (as you'd expect), they reviewed other products long before she had her own line and base their reviews on skincare research. This is not database if you want to find out how natural or non-toxic a product is but more a site about the research behind common ingredients that go into skincare, why they are there and what research says is their benefit to skin.
Founded by Kristen Arnett, a makeup artist and clean beauty/living guru, here you'll find a wealth of information, guides, blog posts and product reviews about clean makeup, skincare and eco-living.
Is a blog / information resource written by Cheryl Woodman. She started her career as a Masters qualified scientist who started off in the drug industry working on medicines and she wound up in an industry called ‘fast moving consumer goods’ or FMCG for short which means anything you buy in your day to day life. Here she worked on formulations for everything from air fresheners to foot treatments. "I started to see and understand how to choose spot treatments that worked (I suffered from horrific cystic chin acne at the time!) or how to choose between 2 moisturisers that claimed the same thing, but had different ingredients." she says. Cheryl has her own skincare line you can buy through her site but also discusses other brands fairly and has some great resources on the research that goes into ingredients.
Hands-down my favourite UK-based website for organic & natural makeup & skincare brands. Their shop is based in London and opened in 2008 and the were really pioneers of organic and ethical beauty products in the UK. They sell some amazing products and their blog is fantastic too.
This site is like an American version of Content Beauty in that it stocks a range of brands and also has a brilliant blog.
I mainly use this just to have a quick look at product reviews, especially new & so called 'cult' products.
Nourished Life Australia
Having lived in Melbourne I think Australia are often at the forefront of advances in eco-friendly and organic products. This is a great site, with a brilliant blog and a shop where you can purchase the products. They do ship to the UK but most of the products are also available here anyway.
Is a brilliant British brand of organic skincare and again their also have blog which is really great.
Big online stores that are in or ship to the UK
Lovelula Big Green Smile Ethical Superstore & Naturisimo are all great sites for purchasing Natural & Organic Products
Organic Beauty Blogs
There are also a whole host of other beauty bloggers and all-round fabulous ladies who are focused on organic & natural makeup such as Kirsten Arnett, Sarita Coren, Louise Dartford, Ana Goes Green, Sara Steel, Well Meaning Being and so many more. I'd also give a shout out to my cousin Down Under...Laura who has a great all-round green-living blog.