Although many women spend a lifetime wearing makeup, the products they use are monitored minimally at best. "Neither cosmetic products nor cosmetic ingredients are reviewed or approved by the FDA before they are sold to the public," the agency states. This may be changing. Federal regulation requires products containing untested ingredients to include the warning "the safety of this product has not yet been determined." Unfortunately, the FDA has left it up to manufacturers to comply. In February, though, FDA officials notified the Cosmetic, Toiletry and Fragrance Association that they will begin enforcing the regulatio.
However, many of the ingredients already approved by the FDA are the ones causing the greatest concern. Conventional personal-care products, based on petrochemicals and other problematic synthetics, contain ingredients, such as phthalates, that are readily absorbed by the skin. A growing number of studies indicate that some of these ingredients pose health risks to users and unborn children. This has led to a recent ban by the EU of two phthalates: diethylhexylphthalate (DEHP) and dibutyl phthalate (DBP).
In the U.S., mounting evidence, new EU regulations and sustained pressure from groups like the Breast Cancer Fund have prompted three large cosmetics manufacturers to cease using the two chemicals in their products. Revlon, Unilever and L'Oreal have made public statements that all of their products conform to EU standards, without regard to what country the products are sold. According to The Wall Street Journal, Proctor & Gamble and Estee Lauder have stated they will reformulate some of their nail polish to conform with EU standards in the U.S., but stop short of claiming they will ban the ingredients entirely.
Mad Gabs Body and Massage Oils use only essential oils, such as those of tangerine, pink grapefruit and basil (USD$20, madgabs.com). Kathy's Family's Shea Butter Balm is 97 percent organic and perfect for dry, chapped skin on heels, hands, cuticles (USD$9.95,kathys-family.com, 866-634-0008). Aveda Personal Blends Hydrating Formula is a lightweight moisturizer that is also fragrance-free (USD$18.00, aveda.com, 866-823-1425). Aubrey Organics Evening Primrose Soothing Hand & Body Lotion uses the safe preservatives citrus seed extract and vitamins A, C and E (USD$13.95, aubrey-organics.com, 800-282-7394). L'Occitane 100 percent pure shea butter (USD$35, usa.loccitane.com).
Lips and Eyes
Burt's Bees cosmetics are free of synthetic preservatives and petrochemicals. Eye shadows, eyeliner/eyebrow pencils and lipsticks (USD$9-$9.50, burtsbees.com). Aveda Uruku Cheek-Lip Creme can be a blusher or a lipstick and contains no synthetic pigments or preservatives (USD$14.00, aveda.com, 866-823-1425). Jess' Bee Natural Lip Balm, in peppermint and tangerine flavors, contains only beeswax, soybean, almond and other plant oils (USD$3, beenaturallipbalm.com, 614-784-8565). Mad Gabs lip lube is a blend of beeswax, vitamin E and essential oils (USD$3, madgabs.com). Also try L'Occitane's Lavender Mini Pure Shea Butter for chapped lips (USD$6) and sumptuous balm in tints like Wild Blackberry (USD$13). Burt's Bees new Lip Shimmer balms (USD$3.50). Kathy's Family's Simple Sunny Citrus Lip Treatment in a tube refreshes as it soothes with coconut, sunflower, jojoba and almond oils (USD$3.50).