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New Calls for the FDA to Better Regulate the Cosmetics Industry

Library of Congress, Our new radium $5.00 permanent wave beauty

I can’t help it. Every time I come across a story in the mainstream media about the need to better regulate the cosmetics industry in the United States, I get a little bit excited. At some point, this has got to mean change is on the way, right? The more people who care about what’s in the products they put on their skin, the more people start to actively avoid ingredients that are already banned in places like Japan, Canada, and Europe … the more likely we’ll all have even more great, safe, effective products to choose from. Right?

Well, I’ve basically been giddy for the past week or so.

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Oh Happy Day: J&J works to revise its formulas

Last November I wrote this post about Johnson & Johnson’s No More Tears and how sad some of its ingredients make me.

The update: the company recently told the Associated Press that it’s still on track to reformulate its baby products with safer ingredients by the end of next year. Adult products are on track to be reformulated by the end of 2015. (Here’s a link to the full story via the New York Times.)

This is a really big deal, you guys. It’s not perfect: the company also revealed that although it will phase out 1,4 dioxane, quaternium-15, triclosan, pthalates, and parabens as well as fragrance ingredients, it will keep using chemicals that release formaldehyde “when no safe alternative will work.”

There’s definitely still some work to be done. But the bottom line is that even though the FDA doesn’t heavily regulate cosmetics, we as citizens helped create an important change. And I’m so, so, SO thrilled by the hard work of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics and the Environmental Working Group. Well done.

I’m doing my happy dance today. How are you celebrating this news? —Aleigh

(Image via Kables

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Do you cheat on natural beauty?

Last night, I cheated. I’d gotten a not-natural-at-all mascara sample in my latest Birchbox, and I couldn’t resist its siren song.

Normally I’m not tempted by the conventional stuff at all, but this A) was in my house, B) was a sample, so no ingredients list for me to study (and freak out about), and C) promised to curl, lengthen, and darken my lashes.

So…I tried it. And honestly? It was pretty good. I liked it, but not really more than my clean mascaras. It was just different. Then I tried to wash it off, which was a serious challenge. (I did not love that.)

This morning I looked up the ingredients, and although the list was a mile long and they were mostly unpronounceable, they weren’t that bad. Except that there was one ingredient listed for which I never make exceptions: parabens.

Yikes! Moment of weakness = OVER.

Are you ever tempted to cheat on natural beauty?  —Aleigh

(Image via gnosis / john r)

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Link Love: The Monday Edition

Last week while I was at Target to get a birthday card for a friend, I discovered that the aisle that used to contain natural cosmetics (and the sort-of natural cosmetics) is completely gone. My local Target doesn’t have so much as a single Burt’s Bees lip balm right now. I shop in many places for natural products, and Target was never my go-to because most of the “natural” products on the shelf weren’t natural enough to pass muster with me, but I appreciated that someone who was new to using natural products might stumble upon that aisle, realize there is such a thing as a natural shampoo or body oil, and do some investigating…a sort of mainstream gateway to researching the ingredients in his or her cosmetics. And now that it’s gone, I’m surprisingly sad! No more Shea Moisture body oil from Target for me.

Here are my favorite links of the week:

What are you reading+enjoying this week? —Aleigh

(Image via aussiegall)

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Link Love Friday: Confessions

Yesterday I did something I’ve never done before: I went to a dermatologist to get a cortisone shot for a painful cystic acne bump that I’ve been trying to get rid of for more than a month. (Seriously, a month! Cystic acne, I hate you.) I’m disappointed that I had to resort to a treatment that I’m sure wasn’t remotely natural, but after exhausting all the tools in my natural beauty arsenal, I felt like it was my only option. (Aside from continuing to live with it for potentially several more months.)

There’s more to this story, though—as I was walking out of the dermatologist’s office, I was handed a bag of topical samples and a prescription for a topical acne medication. As soon as I could get in front of a computer, I looked up the ingredients in both products: one had methylparaben, the other had methyl methacrylate. I might bend the rules once for a cortisone injection (I’m undecided if I’d ever do it again, although I’m pleased with the results), but there’s no way I’ll be using either of those topical products. And it’s frustrating to me that powerful prescription-strength skincare contains such bad-for-you ingredients.

So, there’s my confession for this holiday week! Here are the things I’m reading+enjoying:

  • According to The Green Beauty Guide, if your skin becomes aggravated after using mineral makeup, it could be from bismuth oxychloride. Luckily, if you have this problem and you love mineral makeup, there are several product lines that leave this ingredient out. Have you had this problem?
  • Siobhan at No More Dirty Looks just started using a vaporizer—and she loves it. If your skin tends to be dry, it sounds like a great idea.
  • Jen at Honey Kennedy did a roundup of cobalt blue items and it’s just gorgeous! (I mentioned in this post about where the name Indigo+Canary came from that indigo is my favorite color, but really just about any shade of blue makes me happy.)
  • Detoxing seems to be on many people’s minds this time of year. I think I’m going to take on the Whole Living detox challenge that starts next month, and earlier this week, Cynthia James wrote about detoxing for the Gaiam Life blog.

What are you reading+enjoying this week? Happy holidays, everyone! —Aleigh

PS: There’s still time to sign up for the 30 Day Reinvention Project, featuring natural beauty advice from Indigo+Canary, along with really great tips and techniques from 10 really inspiring women.

(Image via Markus Schöpke)

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