I was in a search engine kind of mood tonight (in other words, procrastinating like you would not believe) and I came across a brand of cosmetics who had come out with a healthy line of products.
I must say the front page for this line of products (let me call them Exhibit A so I won’t overuse adjectives) was very nice. I was sold simply by reading the description, “100% natural and packed with organic ingredients”. There was mention of Eco-Cert Certification, the packaging was award winning because it was made of an everyday vegetable, the packaging was very attractive and boy, I really liked the color of the lipstick! I dove into the two pages of products, all excited as to the bounty I was going to be faced with.
I am going to number my disappointments:
1. No lipstick. There was lip-gloss, but no lipstick. There was a picture of several shades of lipstick, in the same amazing packaging, but either the company is out, or not advertising it or whatever. Regardless of the reason, it wasn’t available to purchase. I can adapt, so I aimed for the lip-gloss.
2. The Lip-gloss has nice colors, the price is a bit steep at $20 but the price doesn’t matter anymore because right smack dab in the middle of the ingredients is Fragrance (parfum). Those two words are a deal breaker for me, because Fragrance (parfum) can be absolutely anything. Now, Fragrance is known as a trade secret, so companies do NOT have to divulge what the Fragrance is made of. The website tells us Exhibit A’s Lip Gloss is formulated with “natural and organic ingredients”. That is well and good, but what are those ingredients? Traditionally, Fragrance (parfum) is generally known as an umbrella term for synthetic or chemical compounds, so in this Lip Gloss am I to assume the same thing? The website says this line of cosmetics is made without synthetic fragrances, so do I believe it? As I said, seeing that one ingredient is an absolute deal breaker, so I moved on to another product in the line.
3. Pressed Powder! Yipee! Wait…no ingredients listed. NEXT.
4. Loose powder! Well, not too bad, pressed is more purse friendly but…oh wait, first ingredient is talc, which my skin hates. Never mind.
5. Eye Shadows! Soft, muted colors and again first ingredient is talc. Scratch that idea. Even worse, at the end of the ingredient list there’s that phrase that make my eyes roll to the back of my head: “May Contain”. Then there’s a line of letters with numbers. Whatever these letters and numbers mean, are they in the product or not? May Contain? So, if we get a batch that contains whatever it may or may not contain are we better off for it, or is it an accidental batch?
6. Last but not least, in an attempt to find something that I absolutely had to have, I checked out the eyeliner. This time instead of looking at the colors, I went straight to the ingredients, which were rather good save for this horrible mouthful of letters: Ferro Ammonium Ferrocyanide.
All together now, say it five times fast. Typing the word about made me dizzy. To save myself from falling out of my desk chair I copied and pasted the words into my search engine and up popped several cosmetics websites that inform us of chemicals in our cosmetics and their possible toxicity levels, but I bypassed those websites in favor of the one that would prove my point without any sort of bias.
Heck yeah, I went to the FDA. The Federal Drug Administration. The Feds. Their own website. Because hey, if the government says it’s OK to use, why let’s just hop right on that train and ride it to the end of time (insert whatever level of sarcasm you see fit). Seriously, I went to the FDA’s Color Additive Status List. Looks like it was last updated in December 2009? Huh. You have to scroll down, or use the links across the top, to find the section where Ferro Ammonium Ferrocyanide lives. Oh, and List 5? List 5 are the colorants “exempt from certification and permanently listed for DRUG use. (None of these color additives may be used in products that are for use in the area of the eye, unless otherwise indicated.).” Copied and pasted from the List 5 Category.
Now, the list is in alphabetical order, so it’s not difficult to find what the Fed’s have to say about Ferro Ammonium Cyanide. For those who aren’t intrigued by all this, let me quote what it written: “Externally applied drugs, including those for eye area – GMP – 73.1298”. So. This colorant is exempt from certification, and we can use it on the eyes. *raises eyebrows*
So then, I went to an independent website to see what they had to say about Ferro Ammonium Cyanide:
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) lists Ferric Ferrocyanide and Ferric Ammonium Ferrocyanide as color additives exempt from certification. Ferric Ferrocyanide and Ferric Ammonium Ferrocyanide are safe for use in coloring externally applied cosmetics and personal care products, including products applied to the area of the eye, when these ingredients conform to FDA specifications. Ferric Ferrocyanide and Ferric Ammonium Ferrocyanide are also allowed to be used in externally applied drugs. These ingredients are not allowed to be used in products intended for use on the lips.
Wait up a second. I can use this product on my eyes, but not on my lips? Is this the reason why cosmetic companies, who have loose, colored powders you can use as either nail polish, eyeliner, eye shadow or lipstick have a disclaimer when certain colors are not to be used on the mouth?
In addition, this product is in a brand of cosmetics that is said as being “100% natural and packed with organic ingredients”.
This is why we need to educate ourselves. The pretty packaging and claims sometimes do not tell us what we need to know before we use a beauty product…
What we should know.