The world of beauty products is vast and perilous. As jars and bottles roll out onto the store shelves, we are constantly inundated with claims that these new products will make us smoother, dewier, and shinier using the latest in technology.
Advertising can make all sorts of claims for products. And consumers can take a skeptical stance, take a chance with their wallets and their faces, or wade through dermatology journals trying to remember what they learned in a bygone chemistry course. Luckily, there's a better option for the conscientious consumer who wants to make wise purchases. Below are three online resources to help a buyer be aware.
Founded by “cosmetics cop” Paula Begoun, the author of “Don't Go to the Cosmetics Counter Without Me,” Beautypedia offers a variety of information on specific products as well as skincare.
Search by brand, cosmetic ingredient, product type, and skincare concern.
When using Beautypedia, be mindful that you are reading Paula's opinion. Have a look at the article “How Paula Does her Reviews” and judge for yourself.
For some product reviews, you would have to purchase a $24.95 one-year subscription, but for serious beauty addicts, it might be worth it. Paula continually adds new brands and product lines to her reviews.
For the politics of cosmetics safety, SafeCosmetics.org is a great resource. Learn about U.S. regulations for product safety, how the FDA does and doesn't do its job, and how U.S. regulations compare to Canadian and European standards.
Here you can also get involved in lobbying Congress for tougher laws, learn how to make your own safe cosmetics, and read the latest research by advocacy groups.
Skin Deep Database
Environmental Working Group's Skin Deep Database gives you all the science. It includes information not only about beauty products but also personal care products including contact lens solutions, shampoos, and toothpaste.
For all questions regarding chemical compounds present (or not present) on a product label, just give it a quick search on this site. The database will give you a summary of the ingredient, its uses, possible hazards, and a rating on its hazard scale.
Environmental Working Group is a nonprofit organization. Its goal is to educate the public about toxins in daily life.