Open Letter
Blog, Cosmetics

Open Letter to the Cosmetics Industry: Go Natural!

Dear Big Beauty,

I can remember the day I purchased my very first makeup products.  I went to my local drugstore and purchased a Covergirl blush, foundation, and pressed powder, Maybelline Mascara, and L’Oreal Lipstick.  I was so excited to put them on.  I felt so pretty and glamorous.  I also remember the day I broke up with these brands and a few others.

The more I used your drug store and name brand makeup, skin care, and body care the worse my skin got and the worse I felt physically.  For at least 10 years I suffered from acne, skin and scalp irritation, chronic sinus infections and more.

Once I discovered that my beloved products contained harmful chemical ingredients that I was slathering on my body each day and I stopped using them…  Voila!  No more acne, irritation or sinus infections.

I know that not everyone that uses products containing these chemicals has had such severe reactions. My body happens to respond quickly to toxic ingredients. It may take longer for other people to notice any negative effects or they may not realize that the problems they are having may be attributed to the ingredients in their personal care products.

However, studies have shown ingredients such as parabens, phthalates, formaldehyde releasers, and other chemical ingredients to be bio-accumulative.  Meaning these substances accumulate in our body’s tissues over time.

As I covered in my article on all-natural cosmetics, two combined studies conducted in 2004 by the Environmental Working Group in collaboration with Commonweal found an alarming number of chemicals present in fetal cord blood.  Parabens have also been found in breast cancer tissue.  In an article dated October 21, 2016, published on Dr. Frank Lipman’s website, author Britta Aragon states –

Researchers from Texas Tech University found that two chemicals, even at levels low enough to be considered “safe” for humans when used alone, can cause cancer when used together.”

You can read this article in its entirety by clicking here.  This is why avoiding or greatly reducing our daily chemical load is key. Even if someone feels okay now, with continued use they could be facing some very serious health issues down the road.

As a concerned consumer and beauty blogger having safe products to recommend to others and that I use myself is my top priority.  Giving product recommendations is my job and I need to feel confident in what I am using and promoting.

Unfortunately, I have completely lost faith in most of you, popular brands.  Yes, your products perform well and do make us look good, but at what cost?  While I would like to acknowledge the huge impact you have had on women’s lives and how you have helped shape the way we look and the products we use, I have been forced to give you up.  Why?  Because of your failure to provide us with safe natural products and for continuing to test on animals.

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Yes, I am talking to you Lancome, Estee Lauder, Max Factor, Shiseido, Bobbi Brown Cosmetics, Clinique, Revlon, Covergirl, Maybelline, Avon, L’Oreal, Almay, Mary Kay, The Body Shop, etc.

One example is on the official website for The Body Shop, their slogan reads “We Bring You The Best, Naturally.  We Always, Always Trade Fairly. We Never Test On Animals. Since 1976.”  Sounds like a pretty awesome company, right?  This is what I thought when I started using their products back in 1996.  Unfortunately, when I learned to read product labels I found out that most of their products contain ingredients that are not so natural…

Here is what you will find in most of their products –

  • Parabens (Propylparaben, Methylparaben, Isobutylparaben)
  • Artificial fragrances
  • Sodium Laureth Sulfate
  • Propylene Glycol
  • Polysorbate-80
  • Artificial colors

While the company is cruelty-free and they are working on going paraben-free and the artificial fragrances they use do not contain phthalates, I still think they can do better.  But, at least they are taking steps in the right direction. Bravo!

That being said, the real reason companies like The Body Shop and a few others have finally started switching their ingredients over to natural alternatives is due to consumer demand and not because they themselves realized that maybe they should not have been using these ingredients in the first place.  I don’t think we the consumer should have to twist arms in order to get safe high-quality products, do you?

As a consumer, I am disappointed in all of you big name brand beauty companies.  I feel it is your duty to provide us with quality products and to keep us informed and educated on what we are putting on our skin.  It seems like your companies are the ones that should be spearheading the movement towards safe natural ingredients.

So, what’s the deal? Why haven’t you jumped on the bandwagon yet? No seriously, where are you?

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Please don’t tell me it is because it would cost too much money or raise the cost of your products.  Because other companies are proving that you can have safe natural cosmetics at a fair price.  Not to mention the millions you have already made over the years.

The global beauty industry’s net worth is projected to hit $265 billion in 2017.   So, with all of that money, I don’t see any reason why you can’t clean up your ingredients and stop testing your products on poor helpless animals.  You have the best chemists, manufacturers, and marketers at your fingertips. Why are you not using them to create better products?

For example, Honeybee Gardens Truly Natural Lipstick retails at $13.99 while Clinique’s Different Lipstick retails at $17.00.  Burt’s Bees 100% Natural Lipstick retails at $9.00 and Maybelline Color Sensational Lip Color retails at $7.49.  Yes, the Maybelline products are a little less expensive, but they contain cheap toxic ingredients.

In an article published by Global Cosmetics Industry in 2013, the natural cosmetics industry is projected to reach over $13 billion by 2018.  While other news outlets are reporting that it will earn up to $15.98 billion by 2020.  This ought to tell you right there that consumer demand is growing. Especially, the more educated we get on what is going into the cosmetics we use.

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I would also like to include the companies that sell theatrical makeup such as Mehron, Graftobian, Ben Nye, and many others.  Your products are actually some of the worst, so you are not off the hook.  When I look at your product labels I am appalled.  Again I am seeing –

  • Aluminum 
  • Ammonia
  • Formaldehyde
  • Parabens (Propylparaben, Methylparaben, Isobutylparaben, etc)
  • Mineral Oil
  • Artificial colors/dyes (Blue 1, Red 5, etc)
  • Artificial fragrances/perfumes (usually containing phthalates)

I really enjoy doing theatrical makeup, but I really don’t love these toxic ingredients.  Please stop using them.

My intention in writing this letter is actually not to dis you or berate you.  Like I said at the beginning, I used to really love your products.  The industry and world would not be the same without you. I want you to stay in the game and continue helping women to look beautiful and actors transform themselves for many more years to come.

So, please clean up your act.  Again, you should be at the forefront of this natural cosmetics revolution.  DO BETTER!  Set a new standard. 

I am actually really looking forward to the day when I can start purchasing your products again.  Hopefully, that day will come soon.

Update: 11/07/2018

I was pleased to discover that Clinique has recently removed all parabens and phthalates from their products. Yay!

CoverGirl has gone cruelty-free and even went as far as to get Leaping Bunny certified. Almay has also been cruelty-free for 20 years and counting. Now if you would please just clean up your ingredients a bit more.

These are all big steps in the right direction! Thank you! As I stated earlier I do not wish any ill will against you or any of the companies listed above. So, let’s just all work together to continue improving things. 🙂

Sincerely,

Valora Abbett

Founder/Chief Editor

The Natural Makeup Review

 

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Chief Editor

Lora is a native Californian currently living in the Southeast. She is an artist, designer, blogger and nature lover. Her hobbies include herbalism, cooking, baking, creating DIY aromatherapy recipes, sipping wine and listening to music. She also loves to go hiking and camping.

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2 Comments

  1. Fantastic, Valora! The women in my family have that awareness about skincare cosmetics and food since many years. But even so, I got fooled again, so thanks for the very timely reminder for me too: I’m very carefully with other cosmetics and food, and barely use make-up products, much less than I would like. Recently I decided I want to start using make-up again, but this time the real stuff: some nice products from a fancy brand! Thanks for the reminder to be careful with eye shadows too! I also like beautiful make-up products and would love to feel comfortable of using them more often. But for now, for health reason, it’s only for special occasions.

    Dear beauty companies: times are changing. I bet there are millions of women that would use much more of your cosmetics if they weren’t afraid about their health and wellbeing. Sounds like a great opportunity to improve your products and gain customers!

    1. Thank you, Kristy! I’m so glad you found this helpful. I definitely take a less is more approach to makeup myself and when applying makeup to others. 🙂

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