Growing up, I lived in a green haven. My mother was chemically poisoned before I was born, so we had to pretty much live in a toxin-free bubble for most of my life. That being said, I became quite well acquainted with organic … everything. No normal shampoo (quite a conundrum for a 13-year-old girl who just wanted super-volume hair), no CVS-bought makeup, no perfume strips from magazines (in fact, any magazine that had them were immediately put outside to air out before being allowed in the house), no anything that your normal teenage girl gets to have. Any of that would make my mom sick, and so I was subject to the seeming horrors of health food store bought products.
Now, of course, I am ridiculously grateful that I was “forced” to be green … knowing what chemicals can do on a literal level rather than an abstract “chemicals are bad” level, I have continued my green lifestyle on my own in college. And, after years of perusing organic products, I have finally found incredible green shampoos, makeup and everything else a girl could want.
After a couple of years in college -- with my green influence -- my friends have become more concerned with their own products and what’s in them. My constant “chemicals are bad” outlook has finally gotten to them! What I have discovered, however, is that they really have no idea what to look for when buying products. They don’t know the specific names of the chemicals that are most common in beauty products or the chemicals that are worst for you … at most, they head to the health food store or to Whole Foods and grab anything from the aisle, assuming that it will be chemical-free.
Wrong! You really have to be careful, here. Many health food store products still carry parabens and fragrances, among other things (a.k.a., bad). I mean, they tend to be a lot better than drug store brands, but still … why go part way when you can go all the way green? So, whatever is a girl to do in this situation?
Well, luckily, there is a simply lovely website called Skin Deep
where you can just type in the name of any product you’re curious about and the site, which has pretty much every product I’ve ever checked on, will produce a hazard ranking for it. 0-2 is low hazard, 3-6 is moderate hazard, and 7-10 is high hazard. I try to stick in the 0-2 range, though 3 or 4 is okay, depending on what the higher ranking is for (it tells you that, too). Although, the other day I typed in my moisturizer and was shocked to find out that it was a 6! Time to find a new moisturizer, I do believe.
Anyway, a lot of my friends have found this site helpful, and I use it all the time before I buy products. It’s good to know what you’re putting on your skin and in your hair … I mean, if you don’t smoke because you don’t want cancer, why cake your skin with chemicals that can do the same thing (well, maybe not to your lungs, but you get the picture)?
Note to self: Green, please?