Ask any toddler and they’ll tell you that their mother’s make-up drawer, filled with crimson lipsticks and bright shadows, is the most magical place they’ve ever seen. What, both, the toddler and the mother don’t realise is that whatever magical stuff is making one drop dead gorgeous could also make one drop dead altogether. Harmful toxins in make-up is not an entirely new revelation — for years, it has usually been played down by big corporations with all kinds of creative marketing gimmicks using buzzwords like ‘pure’ and ‘natural’. However, every now and then, some reports do surface about the high levels of lead in lipsticks. But is it just limited
What’s inside eyeliners and concealers?
According to eMaxHealth.com, eyeliner and concealers contain cadmium, powders and blushers are not nickel-free, beryllium is found in bronzers and eye-shadow and mascara and foundations even include arsenic. Surprisingly enough, none of these ingredients get a mention on the packaging.
Not Clinique, L’Oreal, Maybelline and Cover Girl!
An environmental defense report called, “Heavy Metal Hazard: The Health Risks of Hidden Heavy Metals in Face Make-up”, which assessed 49 popular make-up products including Clinique, L’Oreal and Maybelline, revealed appalling results.
For instance, Maybelline Color Sensation turned out to have lead and Clinique Stay True make-up contained arsenic, beryllium, cadmium, nickel, lead and thallium. The only thing missing was mercury. Cover Girl Perfect Point Plus eye liner contained beryllium, cadmium, nickel and lead, reports the site.
Why toxins aren’t mentioned?
Since these harmful toxins are only considered impurities and not added intentionally and exist as byproducts, they apparently don’t deserve a mention. While most of us stay quiet and do nothing but plaster on the paint, a campaign for Safe Cosmetics has started urging make-up bigwigs to not just reformulate their products but put forward labels mentioning every ingredients and byproduct in beauty items.
Why toxins are harmful?
From hormone disruption, cancer, neurological problems, memory loss, mood swings, reproductive and developmental disorders, kidney problems, headaches, vomiting, diarrhoea, lung damage, dermatitis and hair loss, there’s practically very little they don’t have an effect on!
Take lead for instance, this neurotoxin can accumulate over time and result in behavioural and learning problems. Pregnant women and children should never be exposed to lead.
How to stay safe
1. Read the label
2. Get rid of old make-up
3. Pay attention to irritation and allergies
4. Buy organic and natural products
5. Avoid the bacteria buffet at the make-up counter
6. Don’t leave make-up unattended in open air and close all lids
Published in The Express Tribune, February 24th, 2012.