Checking Your Cosmetics' Safety

{ewg skin deep}

I was introduced to the EWG's (Environmental Working Group) Skin Deep cosmetics database through my favorite green mom board, and have used it regularly to guide my buying decisions on cosmetics including lotion, baby wash, suncreen, make-up and so much more. Keep reading for what it is, why it matters, and a few of my own cosmetic ratings.

What is Skin Deep Database?

Start with their user's guide to learn how to find what you're looking for and see what the scores mean. Basically, you can browse their product categories (i.e., sun, make-up, skincare) to find, say, a facial cleanser with a low toxicity rating (zero). Or, you can search for a specific product from a certain brand if you're checking items you already own or are looking at purchasing to avoid products with a high toxicity rating (7-10).

Why does a safety rating matter?

It's important to learn about the things we consume, even on our skin. Wouldn't it be easier to have someone else (the government or some organization) give a stamp of approval for foods we should eat and cosmetics that are safe to be absorbed in our bodies? Of course. However, it's becoming more and more obvious that any guidelines being set are often directed by dollars, and not by actual safety of consumption.

So much money is spent on cancer research and other disease research and prevention, but what if the solution was as simple as being careful about what we put on our bodies or in our mouths? I'm gonna bet doing so would lower our health risks drastically, and that's a small effort I'm willing to make.

It's worth at least knowing where your products stand. Knowledge is half the work.

Checking Your Cosmetics' Safety

Familiarize yourself with the products in your home that you use on a regular basis. Then, familiarize yourself with the low hazard products that you could be using. If you can, avoid the hazardous (7-10) scores, and choose products with a low toxicity rating of 0-2. There are lots of options in this range, and maybe even some "all-natural" products that will surprise you that don't fit in this category. Even if a specific brand has a few low-hazard products, that doesn't necessarily mean all of its products are low hazard. Aveeno is a perfect example of this.

My Cosmetics on Skin Deep

Here are a few of my current regular-use items that I checked on the Skin Deep cosmetics database...

Burt's Bees Lip Balm (2-low hazard)
Chapstick is the extent of my daily "beautifying" routine. I save make-up for date night and church--partly because even my "natural" makeup has at least a moderate hazard rating, but mostly because my skin is really sensitive and breaks out far too easily especially when I wear make-up.

Coconut Oil (0-low hazard)
It seems coconut oil and it's derivatives all have low hazard. I use this occasionally as deep conditioning in my no 'poo routine, and most recently am using it daily as deodorant and loving it. (!) More about that another time.

Shampoo-free: Baking Soda (0-low hazard), Apple Cider Vinegar (1-low hazard)
I use baking soda and apple cider vinegar 1-2 times a week in my no 'poo routine. This is probably as good as it gets in safe haircare.

Physician's Formula Mineral Wear Loose Powder (6-moderate hazard)
I checked the score before buying this. I actually wanted the Organic Wear version, but all the stores I checked only had the pressed powder. The Organic Wear version is a 3 which of course is better than 6, but they're both still "moderate hazard," so I decided I didn't care for the couple days a week I use it. I probably should care more about it because it's loose powder meaning it's more easily inhaled during application.

Revlon Illuminance Cream Shadow (7-high hazard)
I did not check this score before buying this one. I should probably switch to another eyeshadow with a lower hazard.


also read:
minimalist makeup bag
10 minute beauty
homemade deodorant