Making Your Own Beauty and Body Products

If you are on the fence about making your own body and beauty products, here are a few great reasons that might push you over the edge and make you want to experiment.
By making your own body and beauty products you will;
1) Know exactly what is in your end product and get to avoid harsh chemicals, synthetic ingredients and petroleum products, 2) Get to test on yourself and not on animals, 3) Get to re-use your glass or metal containers over and over again without needing to “recycle” or throw them out. 4) Make however much you need; nothing expires or gets thrown out…
You can also of course purchase products from companies like Dr Hauschka who make organic and natural make-up and body products, and do not test on animals. There are lists of companies that do and don’t test on animals so you can Google an up to date list whenever you want to make a switch to a different product or company. Here is a current list from crueltyfreekitty.

What is in the most common beauty and body products?
According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG) “12.2 million adults – one of every 13 women and one of every 23 men – are exposed to ingredients that are known or probable human carcinogens every day through their use of personal care products. One of every 24 women, 4.3 million women altogether, are exposed daily to personal care product ingredients that are known or probable reproductive and developmental toxins, linked to impaired fertility or developmental harm for a baby in the womb or a child. These statistics do not account for exposures to phthalates that testing shows appear in an estimated three quarters of all personal care products but that, as components of fragrance, are not listed on product ingredient labels (EWG et al. 2002).”
Dr. Mercola writes; “Almost 13,000 chemicals are used in cosmetics, and only about 10 percent have been evaluated for safety. The average US woman uses 12 personal care products and/or cosmetics a day, containing 168 different chemicals, according to the Environmental Working Group (EWG). While most men use fewer products, they’re still exposed to about 85 such chemicals daily, while teens, who use an average of 17 personal care products a day, are exposed to even more. Environmental Defense tested 49 different makeup items, including foundations, concealers, powders, blushes, mascaras, eye liners, eye shadows, lipsticks, and lip glosses. Their testing revealed serious heavy metal contamination in virtually all of the products: 96 percent contained lead, 90 percent contained beryllium, 61 percent contained thallium, 51 percent contained cadmium, 20 percent contained arsenic”
When you make your own body products, you get to choose what goes into what you put on your body and as a result what goes into your body. One important job of the skin is to keep harmful substances out, to act as a barrier, which it does in most cases, however certain chemicals do not have much trouble passing through the skin and into the blood stream.
In 1984, scientists H S Brown, D R Bishop, and C A Rowan did experiments to find out ‘the role of skin absorption as a route of exposure for volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in drinking water’. They found that “skin absorption contributed from 29-91% of the total dose, averaging 64 per cent.” It’s easy to forget how permeable our skin really is.
An important thing to remember for pregnant mothers is that certain toxins and chemicals actually pass through the mother baby barrier (placental membrane) and into the amniotic fluid. If you are pregnant and are using body/beauty products, I urge you to find out more about their ingredients and effects in/on the body, and your baby.
Whether you make your own products or purchase them, you should always know what the ingredients are, how they are extracted and whether their source is natural or synthetic.
If you’d like to learn more about certain chemicals used in body and beauty products click here for a Dr. Mercola article

Testing on yourself instead of animals

There are a couple of different tests that are done on animals. The skin and eye irritation test is where they test the product or chemicals in the product by rubbing it on the animal’s (usually rabbits) shaved skin or they drip them into their eyes. If you are interested in seeing what that looks like, click this link

The “lethal dose” tests, which aren’t common with finished products but are used to determine the dose of a certain chemical or plant that causes death, are done by forcing animals to consume large amounts of these chemicals or plants.
Another test is done to see if there are any specific health hazards like cancer or birth defects associated with the product. The way they test for this is by force-feeding the animal and looking for signs of illness.

Re-using your own containers and the truth about recycling

Mike Biddle, who has been in the recycling industry for over 20 years says about 90% of the metals that make it to a recycling center get recycled but only about 5-10% of plastics get recycled. Another important thing to remember is that a glass bottle can be recycled and be a glass bottle again, a plastic bottle, however, can never become a plastic bottle again. Plastics do not get recycled in the true sense; they get down-cycled.
Also plastic can leach into the body/beauty product itself. How many of you leave hand cream in the car? Or your lip-gloss or mascara in your bag in the sun? To read more about the health impacts of plastics click here to see some of the research done.

Where do we begin?

There is a lot of information out there, especially online. When I have time, I look around to see if anything pops out but my favorite resource to go to is Rosemary Gladstar’s Medicinal Herbs: A Beginner’s Guide. What I like about her book is that it’s not just a guide for making body products but also a guide for home remedies. I like the idea of not having to use antibiotics or even purchasing homeopathic medicine if I don’t have to. I love the idea of making potions at home, so this book might not be for you, but it has great basic recipes for making oil infusions, salves, tinctures, herbal pills and more… I like the idea of food being medicine and everything I put in or on my body to have healing properties. If this isn’t the book for you, or you don’t yet know if you want to purchase a book, start by doing Google searches and see what you come up with. Remember to check the ingredients – find out what they are, how they were extracted and whether they are synthetic or natural.
We will be sharing recipes on the No Plastic April Facebook group page (it’s an open group). If you’d like to find out more or see what people have been experimenting with you can go to this link.

Here is to making small changes that make a whole lot of difference down the road.

“If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything”
– Martin Luther King Jr.