So the editors of Solutions Magazine www.naturalsolutionsmag.com rounded up the best beauty products-from moisturizers and shampoos to makeup and perfume-that contain only the purest, healthiest ingredients available. They worked with Whole Foods Market and adopted the Whole Foods Market Premium Body Care Standard™ for quality sourcing, environmental impact, effectiveness, and safety. The 103 winners were presented with the 2008 Beauty With a Conscience Award in the October issue, which is now on newsstands, to coincide with Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
"We were excited to reveal these winners during Breast Cancer Awareness Month, because we wanted women and their daughters to understand the connection between what they put on their bodies and serious health concerns," said Sparrowe. "And it's never too early to educate them. Teens who become savvy about that connection may form healthy habits—such as using toxin-free skincare—that could prevent some types of breast cancer in their later years. But regardless of age, all women should take this positive step of choosing body care products that don't contain cancer-causing ingredients."
Today, conventional cosmetic companies market their products to teens, tweens, and girls as young as 3 years old. But their products often contain the hormone disruptors that some scientists blame for early puberty. In fact, half of all American girls now show signs of breast development by the age of 10. Early breast development and early puberty may lead to a higher risk for breast cancer, as well as depression and even drinking and unprotected sex. In the article "Pretty in Pink?" Natural Solutions recommends teens and parents learn more information about the ingredients in skincare and cosmetic products at http://www.teensforsafecosmetics.com to avoid potentially dangerous chemicals. See below for Natural Solutions' list of the Formidable 15—ingredients to avoid in your skin care products.
"In our hunt to find the healthiest skincare products available, we slathered on hundreds of serums, scrubs, and shampoos, says editor Sparrowe. "Here are the ones we can't live without—the winners of Natural Solutions' first-ever Beauty With a Conscience Awards."
Go to naturalsolutionsmag.com and enter to win a basketful of the healthy beauty products featured in Natural Solutions magazine's Beauty With a Conscience Awards.
Weleda Sage Deodorant
This non-irritating spray holds odor-causing bacteria at bay and has a pleasant gender-neutral scent. Has no aluminum, propylene glycols, or 1-4 dioxanes ($11, 3.4 oz; shop.weleda.com)
Pangea Organics Hand & Body Lotion
We were amazed at how moisturizing this lotion feels considering how light it goes on. And the subtle scent of chamomile, orange, and lavender was a crowd-pleaser—even our male testers enjoyed putting it on. Contains no harsh chemicals, parabens, or phthalates. Plus, you can plant the packaging and it becomes a basil plant! ($17, 8 oz; http://www.pangeaorganics.com)
Bio'Etic Organic Aloe Hand Cream
Forget creams that leave your hands too greasy. This lotion goes on thick but soaks in quickly for around-the-clock moisture. The ingredients, like aloe and shea, come from fair-trade sources, meaning the people that harvest them get paid a fair wage. ($23, 2.5 oz; naturenvy.com)
Pacifica Solid Perfume
These phthalate-free scents come in cute portable cases—great for a quick spruce up after a lunch-hour workout. ($9, 0.3 oz; pacificaperfume.com)
Peter Rabbit Baby Line
It's not just the whimsical packaging that sold us on the line—we also loved the organic ingredients, featuring carrot and pumpkin, as well as the conditioner (babies get dry hair too). Since babies, pregnant women, and nursing moms are most susceptible to effects of chemicals in skincare products, this brand is a clear winner. ($10 to 17; wholefoods.com)
Earth's Beauty Lipstick
Moisturizing shea and aloe make this one smooth move for your smacker. We liked Mandarin Coral. Absolutely no lead in this lipstick, which is great since the average woman eats 6 pounds of lipstick each year! ($13; earthsbeauty.com)
Simply Organic Moisture Rich Wash
All too often natural shampoos feel more like honey or oil, but Simply Organic lathers like a champ (without harsh chemicals like sodium laurel sulfates) and left no residue. ($26, 8.5 oz; simplyorganicbeauty.com)
Talulah Vanilla Bean Cleanser
We're hooked on this exotic cleanser with vanilla bean, jasmine rice, rose hips, hempseed, and nettles. Made by hand, this cleanser contains no sodium laurel sulfates or mineral oil—only fabulous good-for-you ingredients. ($22, 4 oz; talulahskincare.com)
Burt's Bees Shaving Cream
While it took some time to adjust from the foamy stuff to this emollient oil-based blend, our testers raved about this cream's ability to leave their faces nick-free every morning. ($8, 6 oz; burtsbees.com)
Simply Divine Botanicals Skin Polish
Honey, raspberries, and apple pectin make for a jammy texture that eats away dead skin cells without the use of ground plastic beads like conventional scrubs and exfoliants. ($30, 4 oz; simplydivinebotanicals.com)
Nude Miracle Mask
Enriched with probiotics, this clear mask left our skin completely refreshed—perfect to use before a Saturday night out. One more example of how pure and natural products can also be luxurious. ($70, 1.4 oz; nudeskincare.com)
Ikove by Florestas Organic Açaì Age-Resisting Serum
This antioxidant-packed oil comes packed with Amazonian herbs like brazil nut seed, babaçu seed, and açai. No mineral oils added. ($28, 1 oz; ikove.com)
Better Botanicals Ayurvedic Lip Balm
We're addicted to these ayurvedic balms that come in invigorating cardamom and ginger and also sweet-smelling nectarine, mango, rose-mint, and passionfruit. They even helped us stave off cold sores with the amino acid L-lysine. ($5, 0.15 oz; betterbotanicals.com)
About the Whole Foods Premium Body Care Standard™
Whole Foods Market, the world's leading natural and organic foods supermarket chain, introduced its Premium Body Care Standard™ earlier this year after two years of researching hundreds of chemical and botanical ingredients found in conventional and natural products. Products bearing the Premium Body Care™ symbol have passed Whole Foods' scientists' scrutiny for safety, environmental impact, efficacy, minimal processing, and quality sourcing. Natural Solutions' editors adopted the Premium Body Care Standards™ to help select its award winners because the standards matched the magazine's mission to share the healthiest natural solutions with its readers.
About Natural Solutions
Natural Solutions: Vibrant Health, Balanced Living, formerly Alternative Medicine magazine, has been the trusted voice in the natural health arena for more than 14 years. Natural Solutions guides and inspires its readers to make informed decisions about their health and well-being in all aspects of their lives. Visit naturalsolutionsmag.com to view a free digital edition of the magazine.
Formidable 15—Ingredients to Avoid in Skincare
Natural Solutions, in collaboration with Whole Foods, developed this list of what you don't want in your products:
1. Synthetic fragrances often contain phthalates (pronounced THAY-lates), synthetic chemicals commonly used to stabilize fragrances and make plastic more pliable. These endocrine disrupters mimic hormones and may alter genital development. Avoid products that list fragrance as an ingredient unless the label states that it's derived from essentials oils, or look for a phthalate-free label on the packaging.
2. Parabens, ubiquitous in skincare, preserve other ingredients and extend a product's shelf life—but these antimicrobial chemicals also have hormone-disrupting effects.
3. Ureas, formally known as diazolidinyl urea, imidazolidinyl urea, or DMDM hydantoin and sodium hydroxymethylglycinate, are preservatives that have the potential to release formaldehyde in very small amounts and are a primary cause of contact dermatitis.
4. 1,4-dioxane, a chemical carcinogen, is created when ingredients are processed with petroleum-derived ethylene oxide. Common ethoxylated compounds include sodium laureth sulfate and polyethylene glycol (often listed as PEG). To avoid it, skip any product with the following ingredients: myreth, oleth, laureth, ceteareth (or any other -eth), PEG, polyethylene, polyethylene glycol, polyoxyethylene, or oxynol.
5. Petrochemicals are derived from crude oil. Petroleum-based ingredients such as petrolatum, mineral oil, and paraffin (derived from nonrenewable sources) form a barrier when applied to the skin that does not allow it to breathe and can clog pores.
6. MEA/DEA/TEA are "amines" (ammonia compounds) and can form harmful nitrosamines when they come in contact with nitrates. Used as foaming agents, synthetic stabilizers, and to adjust the pH of cosmetics, they can cause allergic reactions, eye irritation, and dryness of the hair and skin.
7. Sulfates, such as sodium lauryl and sodium laureth, are harsh detergents that give cleansers, soaps, and shampoos their latherability. Often derived from petroleum, sulfates can also come from coconut and other vegetable oils that can be contaminated with pesticides. Sulfates can cause eye irritation and skin rashes.
8. Chemical sunscreens, such as oxybenzone and octyl methoxycinnamate, have been shown to disrupt endocrine activity. Titanium dioxide and zinc oxide are safer alternatives.
9. Quats, such as benzalkonium chloride, steardimonium chloride, cetrimonium bromide, and cetrimonium chloride, give a positive charge to conditioners in order to prevent static. They are necessary for conditioners, but we have allowed only the mildest quats in our Beauty With a Conscience standard: guar hydroxypropyltrimonium chloride, hydroxypropyltrimonium oligosaccharide, and SugaQuats.
10. Antibacterial compounds, such as triclosan and chlorphenesin, do not break down in the environment and may contribute to bacterial resistance.
11. Synthetic polymers, such as sodium polyacrylate and carbomer, come from petroleum and give viscosity to skincare products. They are highly processed and their manufacture creates toxic by-products.
12. Synthetic colors are made from coal tar. They contain heavy metal salts that may deposit toxins onto the skin, causing skin sensitivity and irritation. Animal studies have shown almost all of them to be carcinogenic. They will be labeled as FD&C or D&C, followed by a color and a number.
13. Chelators, such as disodium EDTA and tetrasodium EDTA, are used in personal care products to remove impurities from low-quality raw materials. They do not readily biodegrade in the environment.
14. Nanos are a new technology with inconclusive but potentially hazardous study results. Research suggests that when tiny nano particles penetrate the skin, they may cause cell damage.
15. Animal testing: A grim history of cruelty to animals lies behind many cosmetic ingredients. But scientists are developing new technologies to test cosmetics before a European Union ban on animal testing begins in March, 2009.