Health Report: Could Your Cosmetics be Killing You?


I love Sephora as much as the next girl, but how far would you be willing to go to get your beauty fix? According to a recent TIME magazine special feature, the cosmetic industry is as dangerous and deregulated as ever, allowing harsh and dangerous chemicals to easily find their way into makeup, shampoos and body lotions.  From carcinogens to hormone disrupters (Lead in your lipstick! Formaldehyde in your hair care products!),  the beauty products we all adore could very easily be taking years off our life or, if nothing else, upsetting the natural balance of the chemicals that exist in our bodies.

Beauty Alternatives – Although not every brand of makeup or shampoo has these issues, a simple way to make sure you’re in the clear is to switch to natural, organic beauty products. Some great brands include Bare Escentuals and John Masters OrganicsTarte Cosmetics is actually one of my personal favorites because the line is just as broad and extensive as any other makeup collection, but doesn’t come with any of those nasty health risks. If you’re looking for a great skincare and soap line, check out Lush. These stores are fairly popular worlwide, so you won’t have to search hard to find them, plus the shower products they have are truly amazing (my favorite is the Happy Hippie Shower Wash and Shampoo).

Pros and Cons: One drawback that does comes with purchasing organic is the fact that they’re typically a bit more expensive than your average beauty finds at Target. And as college gals, we can’t always afford to spend $30 on shampoo because when it comes right down to it, well, groceries are more important. So if you’re still hoping to go the organic route, try some DIY recipes (like those found on for makeup and beauty products that you typically buy at the store. While there are thousands of these on the Internet, the Time article suggests things as simple as mixing baking soda and mayo for shampoo and substituting activated charcoal for eyeliner. Most of the DIY recipes are fairly simple and straightforward, so you won’t have to spend a lot of time or money while still taking your health into consideration.


— By Kristy Shaulis, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

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