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Filtering by Category: #beautybullshit

Game On: Top 10 Best & Worst Beauty Brands

Jessica Assaf

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It's Friday and I have no class today, so I decided to dedicate the day to a little experiment. I took the "Top 10 Beauty Brands" according to Forbes Magazine, and then I found each company's highest-scoring (most harmful) product on the Environmental Working Group's Skin Deep Database. The EWG developed Skin Deep to increase public awareness of the ingredients in cosmetics and personal care products. After extensive scientific research, they have rated thousands of products from 0-10, 0 being the safest possible and 10 being the most toxic. It remains the best and most extensive resource for learning about this issue. I want to share the highest-scoring products from the "Top 10 Beauty Brands" with you so we can start to think about WHY these companies are so powerful, and WHAT we can do to improve cosmetic safety. What I hope you realize is that the only reason why these companies are the "Top 10 Beauty Brands" is because we buy their products over and over againWE hand them the power with every dollar we spend on the products they produce with the ingredients they choose. The inherent truth in all of this is that when we buy a product, we are essentially saying that we whole-heartedly agree with the way the brand does business. It is our loyalty that is allowing them to continue to grow and dominate the industry. So, that means that WE are actually themost powerful players in this beauty game. If we stop buying from these companies until they meet our demands, they will have to respond. And they will either say, "Sorry, we like using toxic chemicals!" or, more likely, "Okay, we will find safer alternatives so you keep buying our products." I don't know about you, but I say, #GAMEON!

Forbes Top 10 Beauty Brands:

1. OLAY

Owned by Procter & Gamble, 2012 Brand value: $11.8 billion 

Highest-scoring product: Olay 4-in-1 Daily Facial Cloths

Ingredients:Petrolatum, PEG 100, Glycerin, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Decyl Glucoside, Sodium Lauroyl Sarcosinate, Cyclodextrin, Butylene Glycol, PEG 14M, Vitis Vinifera Seed Extract (Grape Seed Extract), Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E Acetate), Fragrance, Polyquaternium 10, Phenoxyethanol, Benzyl Alcohol, Panthenol, Salicylic Acid, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Chamomilla Recutita Extract, Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Disodium EDTA, Sodium Ma/Diisobutylene Copolymer, Silica, BHT, Sodium Laurate

Health concerns: cancer, developmental & reproductive toxicity, allergies & immunotoxicity, endocrine disruption, contamination, irritation (skin, eyes, or lungs,) organ system toxicity, occupational hazards, biochemical or cellular changes, enhanced skin absorption, data gaps, ecotoxicology 

2. AVON

2012 Brand value: $7.9 billion

Highest-scoring product: Avon Ideal Flawless BB Beauty Balm Cream

Ingredients: Titanium Dioxide, Water, Cyclopentasiloxane, Phenyl Trimethicone, Glycerin, Butylene Glycol, PEG-10 Dimethicone, Dimethicone, Sodium Chloride, Trifluoromethyl C1-4 Alkyl Dimethicone, Nylon-12, Octyldodecyl Neopentanoate, Polysilicone-11, Quaternium-90, Bentonite, Aluminum Hydroxide, Caprylyl Glycol, Stearic Acid, Octyldodecyl Stearoyl Stearate, Phenoxyethanol, Methyl Undecylenate, Ethyl Undecylenate, HDI/Trimethylol Hexyllactone Crosspolymer, Tetrasodium EDTA, Triethoxysiloxyethyl Polydimethylsiloxyethyl Dimethicone, Propylene Carbonate, Hexylene Glycol, Calcium PCA, Zinc PCA, Hexyl Laurate, Cetyl PEG/PPG-10/1 Dimethicone, Polyglyceryl-4 Isostearate, Methicone, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Fruit Juice, Silica, Tocopheryl Acetate, Saccharomyces Copper Ferment, Saccharomyces Magnesium Ferment, Saccharomyces Zinc Ferment, Saccharomyces Malachite Ferment, Saccharomyces Tourmaline Ferment. May Contain: Titanium Dioxide, Mica, Iron Oxides

Health concerns: cancer, allergies & immunotoxicity, contamination, irritation (eyes, skin, lungs,) occupational hazards, persistence and bioaccumulation, biochemical or cellular level changes, organ system toxicity, enhanced skin absorption, data gaps, ecotoxicology, endocrine disruption, neurotoxicity

*Note: this was literally the only product from this company on Skin Deep

3. L'OREAL

2012 Brand value: $7.7 billion

Highest-scoring product: L'Oreal Professional Texture Expert Volume Elevation Volumizing Serum-Gel

Ingredients: Water (Aqua), VP/VA Copolymer, AMP Acrylates Allyl Methacrylate Copolymer, Propylene Glycol, Ceteareth 25, Hydroxypropyl Guar, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Fragrance, Methyl Gluceth 20, Methylparaben, Acrylates/Beheneth 25 Methacrylate Copolymer, DMDM Hydantoin, Limonene, Ethylparaben, Potassium Sorbate, Triethanolamine, Panthenol, Disodium EDTA, Linalool, Wheat Amino Acids, Hydrolyzed Soy Protein, Oleth 10, Benzophenone 4, Disodium Cocoamphodipropianate, Benzyl Alcohol, Citral, Octylacrylamide/Acrylates/Butylaminoethyl Methacrylate Copolymer, Phenoxyethanol, Prunus Persica (Peach) Leaf Extract, Lecithin, Phosphoric Acid, Polyquaternium 10

Health concerns: cancer, developmental & reproductive toxicity, allergies & immunotoxicity, endocrine disruption, multiple additive exposure sources, contamination, irritation (skin, eyes, or lungs,) organ system toxicity, occupational hazards, biochemical or cellular changes, enhanced skin absorption, data gaps, ecotoxicology 

4. NEUTROGENA

2012 Brand value: $6.2 billion

Highest-scoring product: Neutrogena Healthy Skin Blends Natural Radiance Bronzer

Ingredients: Talc, Cornstarch (Zea Mays), Pentaerythrityl Tetraisostearate, Zinc Stearate, Octyldodecanol Stearoyl Stearate, Dimethicone, Aloe Vera (Aloe Barbadensis) Extract, Retinyl Acetate (Vitamin A), Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E), Panthenol, BHT, Tetrasodium EDTA, Sorbic Acid (A Preservative), Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Butylparaben, May Contain (+/-):, Titanium Dioxide, Red 6, Ultramarines, Iron Oxide, Red 30 (CI 73360)

Health concerns: cancer, developmental & reproductive toxicity, allergies & immunotoxicity, endocrine disruption, multiple additive exposure sources, contamination, irritation (skin, eyes, or lungs,) organ system toxicity, occupational hazards, biochemical or cellular changes, enhanced skin absorption, data gaps, ecotoxicology 

5. NIVEA

2012 Brand value: $5.6 billion

Highest-scoring product: Nivea for Men Protective Moisturizer

Ingredients: Octinoxate, Avobenzone, Oxybenzone, Titanium DioxideInactive, Water, Glycerin, Alcohol Denatured, Distarch Phosphate, Isodecyl Neopentanoate, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter) (Shea Butter), Cetearyl Alcohol, Glyceryl Stearate Citrate, Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E), Creatine, 1 Methylhydantoin 2 Imide, Ubiquinone (Coenzyme Q10), Fragrance, Butylene Glycol, Carbomer, Sodium Hydroxide, EDTA (Ethylenediamine-Tetra-Acetic Acid), Alumina, Silica, Sodium Polyacrylate, Phenoxyethanol, Methylparaben, Methylisothiazolinone, Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate

Health Concerns: cancer, developmental & reproductive toxicity, allergies & immunotoxicity, endocrine disruption, multiple additive exposure sources, contamination, irritation (skin, eyes, or lungs,) organ system toxicity, occupational hazards, biochemical or cellular changes, enhanced skin absorption, data gaps, ecotoxicology, neurotoxicity  

Note: It was hard to choose because Nivea has so many bad products to choose from

6. LANCOME

Owned by L'Oreal2012 Brand value: $5.1 billion

Highest-scoring product: Lancome BB Cream 

Ingredients: Octinoxate 7.5%, Titanium Dioxide 5.8%, Water, Cyclopentasiloxane, Cyclohexasiloxane, Glycerin, Phenyl Trimethicone, Polyglyceryl-4 Isostearate, Hexyl Laurate, Cetyl PEG/PPG-10/1 Dimethicone, Disteardimonium Hectorite, Pentylene Glycol, Moringa Pterygosperma Seed Extract, Triethanolamine, Silica, Alumina, Aluminum Hydroxide, Magnesium Sulfate, Alcohol Denat., Ascorbyl Glucoside, Disodium Stearoyl Glutamate, Tristearin, Acetylated Glycol Stearate, Panthenol, Castanea Sativa (Chestnut) Seed Extract, Tocopheryl Acetate, Methylparaben, Phenoxyethanol, Butylparaben, Diazolidinyl Urea, Fragrance, Linalool, Geraniol, Alpha-Isomethyl Ionone, Citronellol, Benzyl Alcohol, Benzyl Salicylate

Health Concerns: cancer, developmental & reproductive toxicity, allergies & immunotoxicity, endocrine disruption, multiple additive exposure sources, contamination, irritation (skin, eyes, or lungs,) organ system toxicity, occupational hazards, biochemical or cellular changes, enhanced skin absorption, data gaps, ecotoxicology, neurotoxicity  

*Note: this was literally the only product from this company

7. DOVE

2012 Brand value: $5 billion

Highest-scoring product: Dove Hair Therapy, Nourishing Oil Care Detangler 

Ingredients: Water (Aqua), Trisiloxane, SD Alcohol 40 B, Cyclopentasiloxane, Fragrance, Propylene Glycol, Sodium Chloride, Diazolidinyl Urea, Benzophenone 4, Methylparaben, Magnesium Sulfate, Propylparaben, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil, Argania Spinosa Kernel Oil, Citric Acid, Yellow 5 (CI 19140), Red 33 (CI 17200)

Health Concerns: cancer, developmental & reproductive toxicity, allergies & immunotoxicity, endocrine disruption, multiple additive exposure sources, contamination, irritation (skin, eyes, or lungs,) organ system toxicity, occupational hazards, biochemical or cellular changes, enhanced skin absorption, data gaps, ecotoxicology, neurotoxicity  

8. ESTEE LAUDER 

2012 Brand value: $3.7 billion

Highest-scoring product: Estee Lauder Beautiful Eau de Parfum Spray

Ingredients: Alcohol Denat, Beautiful Perfume, Water, Triethyl Citrate, Butyl Methoxydibenzoylmethane, Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate, Ethylhexyl Salicylate, Alpha-Isomethyl Ionone, Hydroxyisohexyl 3-Cyclohexene Carboxyaldehyde, Butylphenyl Methylpropional, Hydroxycitronellal, Evernia Prunastri Extract (Oakmoss), Hexyl Cinnamal, Eugenol, Linalool, Benzyl Benzoate, Citronellol, Geraniol, Benzyl Salicylate, Limonene, Farnesol, Coumarin, Isoeugenol, Cinnamyl Alcohol, Benzyl Alcohol, Amyl Cinnamal, Citral, Yellow 5 (CI 19140), Blue 1 (CI 42090), Red 17 (CI 26100)

Health Concerns: cancer, developmental & reproductive toxicity, allergies & immunotoxicity, endocrine disruption, multiple additive exposure sources, contamination, irritation (skin, eyes, or lungs,) organ system toxicity, occupational hazards, biochemical or cellular changes, enhanced skin absorption, data gaps, ecotoxicology, neurotoxicity  

Note: ESTEE LAUDER has multiple products with a score of 10 

9. BIORE

2012 Brand value: $3.3 billion

Highest-scoring product: Biore Acne Clearing Scrub

Ingredients: Salicylic Acid 1% (Acne Treatment), Water, Laureth 4 Carboxylic Acid, Glycerin, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Alumina, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Sorbitol, Synthetic Wax, Microcrystalline Wax, Ethylhexyl Glycerin, Acrylates/C10 30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Sodium Hydroxide, Xantham Gum, Fragrance, Methylparaben, Menthol, Polyquaternium 39, Propylparaben, Disodium EDTA, Yellow 5 Lake, Red 30, Talc, Methylisothiazolinone

Health Concerns: cancer, developmental & reproductive toxicity, allergies & immunotoxicity, endocrine disruption, multiple additive exposure sources, contamination, irritation (skin, eyes, or lungs,) organ system toxicity, occupational hazards, biochemical or cellular changes, enhanced skin absorption, data gaps, ecotoxicology, neurotoxicity  

Note: Check out Biore's other shitty products

10. SHISEIDO 

2012 Brand value: $2.9 billion

Highest-scoring product: Shiseido Perfect Hydrating BB Cream

Ingredients: Ensulizole 2%, Octinoxate 7.4%, Titanium Dioxide 7.2% Water, Dimethicone, Sd Alcohol 40-B, Pentaerythrityl Tetraethylhexanoate, Peg-9 Polydimethylsiloxyethyl Dimethicone, Polymethyl Methacrylate, Glycerin, Dipropylene Glycol, Disteardimonium Hectorite, Hydrogenated Polydecene, Trimethylsiloxysilicate, Silica, Xylitol, Peg-6, Peg-32, Peg/Ppg-14/7 Dimethyl Ether, Thiotaurine, Saxifraga Sarmentosa Extract, Arginine Hcl, Ononis Spinosa Root Extract, Sodium Pca, Sophora Angustifolia Root Extract, Ppg-17, Aluminum Hydroxide, Aminomethyl Propanol, Aluminum Distearate, Isostearic Acid, Stearic Acid, Trisodium Edta, Polymethylsilsesquioxane, Talc, Butylene Glycol, Alcohol, Alumina, Polysilicone-2, Triethoxycaprylylsilane, Polybutylene Glycol/Ppg-9/1 Copolymer, Bht, Syzygium Jambos Leaf Extract, Tocopherol, Phenoxyethanol, Fragrance, Iron Oxides, Titanium Dioxide

Health Concerns: cancer, developmental & reproductive toxicity, allergies & immunotoxicity, endocrine disruption, multiple additive exposure sources, contamination, irritation (skin, eyes, or lungs,) organ system toxicity, occupational hazards, biochemical or cellular changes, enhanced skin absorption, data gaps, ecotoxicology, neurotoxicity  

*Note: this was literally the only product from this company on Skin Deep. 

Well, that's how it is. But it doesn't have to be this way. How many of you use a product on this list? Take a photo and tag #BEAUTYBULLSHIT or #GAMEOVER and I will personally find you a better, safer alternative!

Beauty Bullshit Alert: Petrochemicals Are Petrohorribles

Jessica Assaf

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Yesterday Alexis dropped some serious #truthbeautyknowledge on the ubiquity of petroleum in our beauty products. Petrochemicals like mineral oil and every other petroleum-derived chemical are not just problematic for the environment, they are extremely harmful to human health and just like those pesky parabens, they are literally in everything! #shocker Here are the facts:

Mineral oil is a known human carcinogen, according to the National Institute of Health:

Screen Shot 2014-09-13 at 6.36.53 PM
Screen Shot 2014-09-13 at 6.36.53 PM

Remember that universally-trusted product Vaseline, a staple in every home that is used for pretty much anything? Do you know what Vaseline really is? All you have to do is read the front label...

Uses: Temporarily protects minor cuts, scrapes, burns; temporarily protects & helps relieve chapped or cracked skin

Active Ingredient: Petroleum 30% Inactive Ingredients: Water, Mineral Oil, Glycerin, Cetearyl Alcohol, Cetyl Alcohol, Stearyl Alcohol, Glyceryl Monostearate, Petrolatum, Fragrance, Polysorbate 80, Peregal O, Butylated Hydroxytoluene, Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Dimethyl Silicone Oil, Tocoopheryl Acetate

Noteworthy observations:

  1. The company has built an entire brand by convincing us that PETROLEUM (a by-product of the oil industry) is good for our skin.
  2.  Petroleum is water-repellent and not water-soluble, meaning all it does is seal a barrier so moisture does not leave the skin. It creates the illusion of moisturized, hydrated skin, even though it's actually just suffocating our pores.
  3. The word "temporarily" in the "product uses" is particularly ironic, because Vaseline might temporarily give you the sense that it is moisturizing, when it is actually just drying out our skin!
  4. In addition to the carcinogenic mineral oil and petrolatum, Vaseline also provides a generous dose of parabens and combines some of the worst chemicals possible to make this popular product.

In other news, you can also find petrohorribles in a wide range of baby products according to The Good Guide:

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pTRU1-8510542enh-z6

Johnson's Baby Cream Ingredients: Water, Glycerin, Petrolatum, Mineral Oil, Dimethicone, Cetyl Alcohol, Stearyl Alcohol, Carbomer, Ceteareth-6, Tetrasodium EDTA, Fragrance, Benzalkonium Chloride, Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Ethylparaben, Red 33, Red 40, Yellow 10. May also contain Sodium Citrate, Sodium Hydroxide, Citric Acid

450
450

ChapStick Ingredients: Petrolatum (44%), Arachadyl Propionate, Camphor, Carnauba (Copernicia Cerifera) Wax, Cetyl Alcohol, D&C Red 6 Barium Lake (CI 15850), FD&C Yellow 5 Aluminum Lake, Fragrance, Isopropyl Lanolate, Isopropyl Myristate, Lanolin, Light Mineral Oil, Methylparaben, Octyldodecanol, Oleyl Alcohol, Paraffin, Phenyl Trimethicone, Propylparaben, Titanium Dioxide, White Wax

Oh, I almost forgot to mention that petroleum-derived chemicals have addictive properties, so that explains all you #chapstickaddicts out there...

Petrochemicals? More like Petrohorribles.

Daily Dose: What Mineral Oil Really Means

Alexis Krauss

Before I knew better, I used to heal my new tattoos with Eucerin Aquaqhor and Lubriderm Advanced Therapy Lotion. I was always told that both products in addition to being "Dermatologist Recommended" were "deeply hydrating" and nourishing for extra-dry, and in my case healing skin. I wasn't told that both of these products are made dominantly from petroleum. Petroleum literally means "rock oil" and is defined by Merriam-Webster as: a kind of oil that comes from below the ground and that is the source of gasoline and other products. Well you guessed it, those "other products" include lotions, shampoos, foundations and lipsticks (just to name a few). The dominant ingredient in Lubriderm's Advanced Therapy lotion is mineral oil and in the Aquaphor, it's petrolatum. Both mineral oil and petrolatum are included in Beautycounter's Never List and in The David Suzuki Foundation's Dirty Dozen. Petrolatum is already classified in the European Union as a carcinogen and has been banned from most cosmetics along with thousands of other hazardous ingredients, many of which are petroleum-based.

It's really no surprise that the United States still allows personal care companies to load up their products with petrochemicals like mineral oil and petrolatum. After all, we are the largest consumers of oil and the petroleum industry is worth billions.

Not only is this lotion full of parabens but its second ingredient is Mineral Oil. Nowhere on the label does Lubriderm advertise that you're rubbing petroleum all over you. Total #beautybullshit!
Not only is this lotion full of parabens but its second ingredient is Mineral Oil. Nowhere on the label does Lubriderm advertise that you're rubbing petroleum all over you. Total #beautybullshit!

As buyers of beauty products we're never encouraged to make the connection between the petroleum we pay for at the pump and the petroleum that's in our lip balm. However, if we really want to consider ourselves conscious consumers, eliminating the petroleum from our makeup bag should be just as big of a priority as switching our homes to renewable energy. No one better articulates the ubiquity of our dependence on fossil fuels and the importance of ending our addiction to them than our friend, environmental activist, director and filmmaker Josh Fox.

"From so many standpoints it is utterly clear that we need to switch off of fossils fuels and convert to a 100 percent renewable energy economy as soon as possible. Whether your chief concern is climate change, toxic pollution to the water and air, the massive destructive influence to our political system from the fossil fuel lobbies, the acidification and plasticization of our oceans, the safety of food, the degradation of our moral fiber as a civilization; or the toxic, carcinogenic and endocrine disrupting petrochemicals in our cosmetics and personal care products, it is clear: the end of fossil fuels is not only a necessary step in the evolution of humankind, the end of fossil fuels is crucial to the survival of all the human systems that allow human life to flourish on earth."

If you're infuriated by environmental catastrophes like the BP disaster in the Gulf of Mexico and horrified by the global conflicts fueled by our dependence on fossil fuels, then I suggest you think twice before ever again choosing to rub petrochemicals all over your skin. Lucky for us, there are tons of petroleum-free cosmetics and skin-care products eager to make their way into your daily beauty routine. I've made the switch and I now use a Shea Butter balm to heal my tattoos and opt for creams with a coconut oil base when my skin is extra thirsty. Here are three of my favorite petroleum-free, deeply hydrating products:

Want to step beyond your beauty routine and learn more about making the switch to renewable energy? Check out Solutions Grassroots.

The Paraben Problem

Alexis Krauss

SISLEY PARABENS
SISLEY PARABENS
SISLEY PARABENS

I have a case of paraben paranoia. My mom and I just spent this past weekend in Lake Tahoe up in the invigorating and very dry Sierra Mountain air. Our skin was hungry for moisture and we were both slathering lotion on our faces and bodies. I noticed my Mom was using Sisley's Sisleya Global Anti-Age Day and Night cream. Because I'm now obsessed with checking ingredient labels I decided to investigate the truth behind Sisley's formulation. To my shock and dismay my Mom's tiny bottle of high-end anti-aging face cream contains not one but five different parabens.

Parabens like to sneak up on you in products where you least expect them. Sisley is an extremely reputable French skin care company, yet their creams are chock-full of these pesky preservatives. I'll never forget when I realized that my favorite face wash by Bliss was also littered with parabens. Parabens are not just found in less expensive drug store products. Unfortunately, they are a staple of the chemical formulations developed for the world's most expensive and luxurious beauty brands.

So what's the deal with parabens? Is my paraben paranoia justified or just a case of chemophobia? Whenever I want some no bullshit beauty info I head over to Beautycounter.  This is what the experts at Beautycounter have to say about the P-word:

The_Truth_Serum-Just_the_Facts-Parabens
The_Truth_Serum-Just_the_Facts-Parabens

The site continues to explain that

"Parabens are problematic because they mimic estrogen and can disrupt the hormone (or endocrine) systems.  While studies have found parabens in almost all urine samples taken from a demographically diverse sample of U.S. adults, adolescents and women had higher levels of methylparaben and propylparaben than males of similar ages. Teens and women use more cosmetics than men, so this is likely the reason. Parabens have also been found in breast cancer tissue."

More research needs to be done to better understand exactly how parabens impact our bodies. Currenty, chemical companies and cosmetic brands justify their copious use of parabens but saying that they are not dangerous in personal care products because they are used in such low levels. I understand this justification and I'm certainly not saying that your body lotion is going to give you breast cancer tomorrow. However, why does the industry continue to formulate products with parabens when there is still SO MUCH to learn about how exactly they impact our bodies over a lifetime of exposure? The point I want to make is that the beauty industry doesn't need to use parabens at all. They rely on them because they are cheap preservatives, not because they are essential to the efficacy of a product.

In fact, hundreds of beauty brands are reformulating their products to be paraben-free and the European Union has just taken steps to eliminate several parabens from cosmetics and personal care products.

Yay Herbal Essences for making paraben-free shampoos and conditioners!
Yay Herbal Essences for making paraben-free shampoos and conditioners!

This is why Beauty Lies Truth is calling for a paraben boycott. Let's use our consumer powers to pressure brands into becoming paraben-free. What have we got to lose? Why use products that can mess with our health when we can use products that are safer and equally as effective.

Join us by using the hashtag #boycottparabens every time you decide to abandon a product containing parabens. Let's rock the conventional beauty boat and see what kind of change we can make.

Onward!

Alexis

The Daily Dose

Jessica Assaf

500

One of my very first Makeup Memories WAS Watching my glamorous Grandmother Apply red lipstick before and after every meal. As a little girl, I Would Watch her n awe as she painted her lips with the same Wet N 'Wild red lipstick you CAN Still Buy at Walgreens for $ 1.99 . - When I asked her why she WAS so loyal to Wet N 'Wild, she SAID, "Oh Honey, They put the same stuff in the Cheap lipstick as They do in the most expensive kind you CAN Find. The only difference is the packaging. "

Naturally, I did not believe her.

I regularly fantasized about walking through Sephora's sleek, glistening rows of makeup I thought might change my life. I mean, the products at the pharmacy just looked ugly. I figured the expensive, pretty ones had to be higher in quality, too.

Now, twelve years later, I know better. My Grandmother was right, as always.

The Ingredients in the cheapest Walgreens Products Are Essentially the same Ingredients USED by the most expensive Brands at Sephora. In most Cases, the only difference IS the Amount of Money spent on packaging and Marketing ... Essentially, Brand reputation . And in this case , Brand reputation IS literally the cost of Making us Believe the Company the uses better Ingredients than They Actually do. Would any of us really Spend $ 30 over $ 1.99 for a product with the same Ingredients? I Would not. I Guess the Deceit IS a free gift-with-purchase, along with a chemical cocktail I can not pronounce.

Here are the ingredient lists of the cheapest and most expensive lipsticks at Walgreens and Sephora. See if you can tell the difference, and I dare you to attempt to read the ingredients out loud.

 

Givenchy Rouge Interdit Satin Lipstick

Cost: $ 32 at Sephora

Ingredients:  Ricinus Communis (Castor) Seed Oil, Pentaerythrityl Tetraisostearate, Isostearyl Isostearate, Hydrogenated Polyisobutene, Polybutene, Lanolin Oil, Polyethylene, Euphorbia cerifera (Candelilla) Wax, ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate, Cera Alba (Beeswax), Ozokerite, polyglyceryl-3 Polyricinoleate, Parfum (Fragrance), Propyl Gallate, BHT, Alpha-Isomethyl Ionone, Camelina Sativa Seed Oil, Polyacrylate-4, Citronellol, Linalool, Geraniol, Limonene, Eugenol +/-:. Silica, Aluminum Hydroxide, Calcium Sodium Borosilicate, Tin Oxide +. / -: CI 12085 (Red 36), CIK 15850 (Red 6 - Red 7 - Red 7 Lake), CI 15985 (Yellow 6 Lake), CI 17200 (Red 33 Lake), CI 19140 (Yellow 5 Lake), CI 42090 (Blue 1 Lake), CI 45380 (Red 21 - Red 22 Lake), CI 45410 (Red 28 Lake), CI 73360 (Red 30 - Red 30 Lake), CI 75470 (Carmine), CI 77163 (Bismuth Oxychloride), CI 77491 - CI 77492 - CI 77499 (Iron Oxides), CI 77742 (Manganese Violet), CI 77891 (Titanium Dioxide), Mica.

 

Wet N Wild MegaLast Lip Color Cherry Picking 965

Cost: $ 1.99 at Walgreens

Ingredients:  Ozokerite, Pentaerythrityl Tetraisosterate, caprylic / capric Triglyceride, Propylheptyl Caprylate, Mineral Oil, Aluminum Starch Octenylsuccinate, Bis Diglyceryl Polyacyladipate 2, VP / Eicosene Copolymer, Myristyl Lactate, Dimethicone / Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Myristyl Myristate, Polysilicone 6, Sorbitan Sesquioleate, Myristyl Laurate, Butylene / Ethylene / Styrene Copolymer, Ethylene / Propylene / Styrene Copolymer, Propylparaben, Cholesteryl Hydroxystearate, BHT, Silica, Tocopheryl Acetate, Retinyl Palmitate, Squalane, Allantoin, Sodium Hyaluronate, Ubiquinone, May Contain (+/-):, Blue 1 Lake (CI 42090), Iron Oxides (CI 77491, CI 77492, CI 77499), Red 6 (CI 15850), Red 28 Lake (CI 45410), Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891), Yellow 5 Lake (CI 19140) , Yellow 6 Lake (CI 15985)

 

Marc Jacobs Beauty Lovemarc Lip Gel

Cost: $ 30 at Sephora

Ingredients:  Octyldodecanol, Polybutene, Pietchiienuwaierupiaruopyldimethylsiloxysilicate, Polyglycerl-2 Tetroisostearate, Ethylene / Propylene Copolymer, VP / Eicosene Copolymer, Synthetic Fluorphlogopite, dicalcium Phosphate, cetyl Peg / Ppg-I0 / I Dimethicone, polyglyceryl-4 Isostearate, Ozokerite, caprylic / capric Triglyceride , Silica, Hexyl Laurate, Stearalkonium Bentonite, Propylene Carbonate, Bht, Methicone, Ethyl Vanillin, Hydrogenated Coconut Oil, Carthamus Tinctorius (Sfflower) Seed Oil, Commiphora Myrrha Resin Extract, Tocopherol, Gardenia Tahitensis Flower, Tocopheryl Acetate, Carmine (Ci 75470) . (+/-) Titanium Dioxide (Ci 7789i), Iron Oxides (Ci 7749i, Ci 77492, Ci 77499), Red 6 (Ci I5850), Red 7 (Ci I5850), Red 7 Lake (Ci I5850), Blue I Lake (Ci 42090), Yellow 5 Lake (Ci I9i40) Yellow 6 Lake (Ci I5985).

 

Revlon Super Lustrous Shine Lipstick Kissable Pink

Cost: $ 7.99 at Walgreens

Ingredients:  Polybutene, Octyldodecyl Neopentanoate, Crambe abyssinica Seed Oil, Diisopropyl Dimer Dilinoleate, Bis Diglyceryl Polyacyladipate 2, Polyethylene, Diisostearyl Malate, Ozokerite, Pentaerythrityl Tetraethylhexanoate, caprylic / capric Triglyceride, ethylhexyl Palmitate, Synthetic Fluorphlogopite, Synthetic Wax, Paraffin, Rhus Verniciflua Peel Wax, Phospholipids, Sodium Chondroitin Sulfate, Atelocollagen, Hyaluronic Acid, Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Oil, Tocopherol, Soluble Collagen, Calcium Sodium Borosilicate, Calcium Aluminum Borosilicate, Benzoic Acid, BHT, May Contain (+/-):, Mica, Titanium DioxideCI 77891, Iron OxidesCI 77491, CI 77492, CI 77499, Yellow 5 LakeCI 19140, Red 7 LakeCI 15850: 1, Red 33 LakeCI 17200, Red 6 LakeCI 15850, CarmineCI 75470, Yellow 6 LakeCI 15985, Blue 1 LakeCI 42090, Red 28 LakeCI 45410

 

Yves Saint Laurent Silky Sensual Radiant Lipstick

Cost: $ 35 at Sephora

Ingredients: Pentaerythrityl Tetraisostearate, Hydrogenated Polyisobutene, Butyl Stearate, Butyloctyl Salicylate, Bis-Diglyceryl Polyacyladipate-2, Polyethylene, Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil, Dimethicone, Titanium Dioxide, Cera Microcristallina (microcrystalline Wax), Cera Alba (Beeswax), Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Oryza Sativa (Rice) Bran Oil Extract, Silica Dimethyl Silylate, Stearyl Stearate, Ethylhexyl Palmitate, Caprylyl Glycol, Tocopheryl Acetate, Oryzanol, Ammonium Glycyrrhizate, Fragrance, Behenic Acid, Paraffin, Glyceryl Stearate, Lecithin, Tocopherol, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Butylene Glycol, Rosemary ( Rosmarinus Officinalis) Extract, Phenoxyethanol, Hexylene Glycol, Sodium Hyaluronate, Citric Acid, Limonene [+/- May Contain:. Ci 77491 (Iron Oxide), Ci 15850 (Red 7), Ci 15850 (Red 6), Ci 45410 (Red 28 Lake), Ci 77499 (Iron Oxide), Ci 77492 (Iron Oxide), Ci 42090 (Blue 1 Lake), Ci 17200 (Red 33 Lake), Ci 73360 (Red 30), Ci 75470 (Carmine), Ci 12085 ( Red 36), Ci 15985 (Yellow 6 Lake), Ci 19140 (Yellow 5 Lake), Ci 77019 (Mica), Ci 77742 (Manganese Violet), Ci 77891 (Titanium Dioxide), Calcium Sodium Borosilicate, Ci 77002 (Aluminum Hydroxide) , Silica, Synthetic Fluorphlogopite, Talc].

 

Maybelline ColorSensational Lip Color Red Revival 645

Cost: $ 7.29 at Walgreens

Ingredients: Lanolin Oil, Sesamum indicum (Sesame) Seed Oil, Oleyl Erucate, Cera Microcristallina (microcrystalline Wax), PPG-5, Lanolin Wax, acetylated Lanolin, Cera Alba (Beeswax), Alumina, Disteardimonium hectorite, Calcium Aluminum borosilicate, Tocopheryl Acetate , Acrylic Acid, Isobutyl Acrylate, Isobornyl Acrylate Copolymer, Fragrance, Pentaerythrityl Tetra Di T Butyl Hydroxyhydrocinnamate, Synthetic Fluorphlogopite, Silica, Calcium Sodium Borosilicate, Benzyl Alcohol, Tin Oxide, Mel (Honey), Polyethylene Terephthalate, Aluminum Hydroxide, Acrylates Copolymer, Pearl Powder, Dimethicone, May Contain (+/-) :, Mica, Titanium DioxideCI 77891, Iron OxidesCI 77491, CI 77492, CI 77499, Red 7CI 15850, Red 28 LakeCI 45410, Yellow 6 LakeCI 15985, Red 22 LakeCI 45380, Yellow 5 LakeCI 19140, Blue 1 LakeCI 42090, CarmineCI 75470

 

Sephora Collection Color Lip Last

Cost: $ 13 at Sephora

Ingredients: Phenyl Trimethicone, Dimethicone, Polyethylene, CI 45410 (Red 28 Lake), Phenylpropyldimethylsiloxysilicate, Polybutene, CI 77891 (Titanium Dioxide), Trimethylsiloxysilicate, VP / Eicosene Copolymer, Ozokerite, VP / Hexadecene Copolymer, CI 15850 (Red 7 Lake), Trihydroxymethoxystearin, Tocopheryl Acetate, Cetyl PEG / PPG-10/1 Dimethicone, Panthenyl Ethyl Ether, Dimethicone / Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Parfum (Fragrance), Polymethylsilsesquioxane, Bis-Hydroxyethoxypropyl Dimethicone, CI 15850 (Red 6), Rosa Canina Fruit Oil, Trimethoxycaprylylsilane , D-Limonene, Tocopherol.

 

But Guess what? We CAN all fight back and Change this without even trying. We Are the Industry's Greatest Asset, but we Are Also Their Greatest threat, Because Our uying choices Dictate Their Future. So if we DECIDE to stop buying from the Brands That use harmful chemicals, we can persuade them to reformulate their products immediately. The potential of consumer power is infinite, and we can start tomorrow, or the next time we have to buy a new product and choose to support the companies that are looking out for us.

To learn more About the safety of your Products, Check out the Environmental Working Group's Skin Deep Database. 

Human Guinea Pigs

Jessica Assaf

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When people ask me why I care so much about the ingredients in our makeup and skincare, I tell them that they would care, too, if they knew the levels of harmful chemicals in their bodies. This issue is universal and personal, yet no one knows to question the ingredients in our products, because everyone assumes they are safe. I was flattered when the Environmental Working Group asked me for samples of my blood and urine six years ago as a part of their Teen Body Burden Study. This study tested teenage girls nationwide for levels of toxic chemicals found specifically in cosmetics and personal care products. The study’s results detected sixteen chemicals from four chemical families (phthalates, triclosan, parabens, and musks #EW) in blood and urine samples from twenty teen girls. Studies link these chemicals to potential health effects like cancer and hormone disruption. Methylparaben and propylparaben, synthetic preservatives that have been linked to cancer, were found in every single girl tested. Thirteen hormone-altering chemicals were found in my own body. And not only that, but my samples showed above-average levels of parabens compared to the other girls tested.

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But guess what? As freaky as it was to hear that toxic chemicals are accumulating in my body from all those years I spent thinking MAC eyeshadow and L'Oréal mascara were the best things that ever happened to me, I decided to use the fear as momentum. These scientific results are empowering; they are all the evidence I need to really take a stand against the unregulated beauty ugly industry. Why should we wait around for cancer or reproductive harm to realize these chemicals don’t belong anywhere near us, let alone in the products we rub on our skin every single day?

We are the human guinea pigs. But not for long...

Shit in a Pretty Pink Box

Jessica Assaf

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When I was fifteen years old, I found out that my favorite mascara, Maybelline Great Lash, contained an industrial chemical used to wax airplane wheels. I was crushed. I considered putting on makeup a "rite of passage," and I was so loyal to my beauty products you could almost say I was dating my cosmetics bag. But when I found out that none of my products were regulated or tested for safety, some ingredients were even hidden from the labels, and many of the chemicals used freely in the United States have already been banned in Europe, I was heartbroken. I remember when I first started working on this issue, an industry expert told me that he overheard the founders of Benefit Cosmetics describe their products as, “Shit in a pretty pink box.” That one line describes the commercial beauty industry in total.

The beauty industry betrayed me. So I decided to fight back.

The first thing I did was bring together the loudest teenagers I knew to build a campaign around this issue that affects us all. I was one of the founding members of Teens for Safe Cosmetics, a teen-led coalition committed to educating the public about the hidden dangers of our everyday products. We created collateral materials like the Dirty Thirty, organized teen summits and street actions, and impacted the passage of SB484, the first piece of legislation regulating the beauty industry in California. Almost nine years later, SB484 is finally in effect, but all that it requires is that cosmetic companies disclose carcinogenic ingredients to the public.

When I moved to New York City six years ago, I was shocked to learn that most people still do not know to question the ingredients in our products. I was frustrated by the limitations of the grassroots movement, so I took extreme measures and put warning labels on products in stores, first targeting Secret Deodorant, and then Johnson & Johnson, as a part of a larger campaign to persuade them to remove carcinogens from their baby shampoo.

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Johnson & Johnson has agreed to eventually phase out the carcinogens, and when they were asked in a press conference what compelled them to make the change, they stated, "It was the consumer outrage, including one crazy girl that went so far as to label products in stores." I am proud to say that crazy girl is me, but there is still so much work to be done.

We deserve more than "shit in a pretty pink box." We shouldn't have to choose beauty over health.