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The Beauty Industry Has It’s Dirty Little Secrets—and They’re Making Your Health Pay

by | 1. June 2018

The American beauty and personal products industries have not seen a major federal changes in over 80 years.

80 years.

The same laws that governed what went into our great-grandmothers’ pressed powder still govern what we put on our skin.

Need to Know Information: It was in only in 1906 that the Federal Food and Drug Act was created to regulate American food and drugs. Congress gave the FDA power to regulate, remove, or ban foods or ingredients. A few decades later, the FDA created the Federal, Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act of 1938 (FDCA) as a means to protect the public good. It was actually proposed years earlier, in 1933. But because it was such a source of controversy, it needed countless revisions. Senator Copeland, who originally sponsored the bill, said “I thought I had all the troubles one could have in this life: but in all my experience I have never had so many worries and so much trouble as I have had in connection with this bill.”

1938. It took years for politicians, medical practitioners, and big business to come to an agreement.

1938. Arsenic was still being used to treat syphilis and dermatological problems.

1938. When women were permitted to take diet pills filled with dehydrated tapeworms; in the 1950’s and 1960’s, they were filled with amphetamines, causing serious addiction.

In 80 years, the 1938 Act has changed very little.

Given it’s lack of change, one might be a little worried about what’s going into facial or personal care products.

After all, companies have sold mercury and heroin in the past. Companies will only stop when they’re told to stop, either by an educated public…or an educated public. The FDA is the only governmental agency in charge of the cosmetics industry. In its 80 year history, guess how many toxins and chemicals it has banned from products? Only a dozen or so. The European Union has forbid the use over 1,300 dangerous chemicals.

What is the beauty industry getting away with?


Propylene glycol

propylene glycol

This is one ingredient found on a variety of labels: shampoo, hair spray, moisturizers, hair spray, and sunscreen. It’s used for skin conditioning, but it has been linked to causing hives or dermatitis.


“Hypoallergenic” and “Noncomedogenic” are meaningless

hypoallergenic and noncomedogenic

There are no guidelines or regulations for the use of these terms on products.

“Federal court has struck down an FDA regulation requiring cosmetic manufacturers to conduct tests to back up any claim that a product is “hypoallergenic.” The decision means the term has no real meaning in the marketplace”.


“Unscented” and “Fragrance-Free” are not the same thing

unscented and fragrance free

If the scent of fruit or floral does not appeal to you in your makeup or laundry detergent, you may choose the “unscented” product. After all, if it has no scent then it has no fragrance. Not so fast. Unscented products simply use a fragrance to mask the other fragrances. Strange, but true.


No one has an idea what “Fragrance” is

what fragrance is

What does “fragrance” on a label actually mean? We’ll never know. Each U.S. company has their own secret concoction of what “fragrance” means. The ingredients and their amounts are privately formulated and qualify as a trade secret.


Bank-account-draining makeup and drugstore brands have the same formulas

expensive make up versus drugstore brands

The manufacturers that do both use similar formulas to produce cosmetics. Why the heavy price tag on some? Marketing. While there are some brands that have special ingredients (24K gold or Dragon Blood), the biggest different between makeup is the packaging.


FDA can’t compel companies to file safety reports

safety report

The FDA can’t make companies report adverse-reactions or safety issues. They don’t even have to register these occurrences with the agency. For example, carcinogen formaldehyde is often found in hair straightening products. Hair salon workers and customer may have reactions such as burning lungs or blistered nose. There is no rule that says companies have to report that a problem happened.

Hope for change is on the horizon. Businesses like Proctor and Gamble are working with government officials and Senators to make practices more stringent. Last May, Personal Care Products Safety Act was proposed, building momentum for the much-needed transformation of the industry.

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We handle the daily, allowing our customers to focus on the grind.

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