A dewy complexion, sun-kissed cheeks, lush lashes, glossy lips, flawless nails, and an enticing aroma: what woman (or man) isn't tempted by cosmetics ads promising flawless beauty in a bottle, tube, or compact?
While beauty may only be skin deep, the cosmetics you apply to your face aren't. They're absorbed into your body, and they don't stop there: when you wash your face, chemicals in your makeup—including plasticizers, coal tar, and formaldehyde—go down the drain, affecting soil, water, and wildlife. Likewise for nail care products, which often contain substances such as toluene, ethyl acetate, dibutyl phthalate (DBP), and formaldehyde. Even a spritz of your favorite perfume or cologne carries a health and environmental cost. You may adore the fragrance of honeysuckle or clove, but even the most discerning noses aren't likely to detect the petro-based nasties behind the scent, including benzyl acetate, ethyl acetate, and benzaldehyde, to name a few.
With eco-conscious consumers everywhere waking up to the fact that what you put on your body is as important as what you put in it, sales of natural and organic cosmetics are skyrocketing. Revenues in the US are projected to be $7 billion in 2008—up from $1 billion the year before—making it the fastest-growing segment of the cosmetics industry.