5 scary facts about the cosmetics industry, and how I want to change it

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scary facts about the cosmetics industry

Happy Monday!! 

Can you believe we are in the final stretch of February!? We just had the most beautiful 50+degree weekend in Chicago, and I feel like spring is so close I can taste it!! 

So–I have some exciting news. Speaking of things so close I can taste them–– I’m in the running to participate in Beautycounter’s Spring 2020 trip to Washington to lobby for cosmetic safety reform! They’re taking the two top sales representatives from each state (measured by sales)––and right now, I’m in the top two for Illinois, but it’s a very close contest! Their advocacy and social justice team (yes, they have one of those) will be setting up meetings with each state to advocate for legislative change. (More on that below!) 

How you can help me get there:

Absolutely ZERO pressure, as always, to ever purchase anything I link to or review on this blog, but IF you had been considering making a Beautycounter purchase soon anyway, it would help immensely if you did so by voting with your dollars this week (now through February 29th) to help secure my spot on the D.C. lobbying trip! It’s of no cost to you, (but I do receive a commission for any purchases made through my links or at beautycounter.com/jesskeys) Any purchase you make through the end of the month will count toward my total to qualify for the trip! 

More background and why this is important to me: 

About a year and a half ago, I published my first blog post on clean beauty —  sharing my personal philosophy and my experience navigating the whole industry. Since then, I’ve continued to learn more about the personal care industry in the U.S. and its (lack of) regulations. While I am always on the hunt for more information on the wild west of personal care product safety, Beautycounter continues to lead the way in research, education, and advocacy more so than any other brand. 

Not only do they offer such a wide range of clean and effective products, but they are taking major steps to reform our country’s cosmetics and personal care industry — truly walking the walk! 

Whether you’re new to clean beauty, are in the process of converting your favorite beauty and personal care products to safer alternatives or consider yourself an educated consumer on the subject, I invite you to check out Beautycounter’s resources. They do an incredible job of breaking down topics  — from their ingredients glossary to their documentary about transparency in the mica industry (a common ingredient in cosmetics) to their partnership with Tufts University School of Medicine to test the safety and efficacy of controversial cosmetic ingredients. They also have a blog where they’re constantly delving into specific facets of the industry. 

Long story short, Beautycounter is a huge part of the personal care product reform mission, and you can’t talk about one without discussing the other. Thus, why we’re here today––I want to share a quick overview of where the industry stands today, how I want to get more involved in affecting change and how you can too! Because we all deserve transparency, safety knowledge and effectiveness with every product we’re putting on our body! 


5 Scary Facts About the U.S. Cosmetics Industry today:

I think the biggest misconception about beauty products in our country today is that we don’t need to worry about it, because the government would regulate anything that was TRULY terrible for us, right? I mean, that’s what I thought too! But that’s actually not the case. 

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has very limited oversight of the cosmetics industry 

As our laws currently stand, the FDA cannot require companies to submit safety data before a product is marketed or to adhere to basic manufacturing standards once they do. Of the tens of thousands of ingredients used in cosmetics in the US today, only a tiny fraction have ever been tested for safety, because they don’t have to be. 

We are SO choosy about what we put IN our body, but we have no regulations about what we are putting ON our body–can you imagine going to a restaurant, blindly ordering something off the menu, and knowing there was a good chance it contained toxic ingredients? 

The FDA also cannot ensure the safety of imported cosmetics

In fact, they inspect less than 1 percent of the 3 million or so cosmetics shipments each year.  According to an article in the New York Times, among those that it does test, roughly 15 percent are found to be contaminated or to contain dangerous ingredients. 

The U.S. has not passed a major federal law governing the cosmetics industry since 1938. 

That’s more than 80 years! How is this possible? Think about all of the breakthroughs in science that have occurred in the last eight decades… and there hasn’t been a single need/push to update the cosmetics industry? 🤔

The U.S. has banned or restricted 30 ingredients from personal care products, while the European Union has banned or restricted 1,400 ingredients. 

That’s well over 1,000 ingredients that have been found to be harmful in other countries that are allowed in personal care products in the U.S. 

The fragrance loophole: The industry standard to not disclose fragrance ingredients allows companies to hide harmful ingredients under the guise of “trade secrets.” 

Fragrance is a controversial one. (And personally, I LOVE fragrance, so a fragrance disclosure is one I am REALLY pushing for!) Why does this matter? Because even if consumers were doing their due diligence to decipher if a product was safe or not by reading the ingredient label, it might not even matter, because ingredients added to a product to create a scent or mask a bad one, only need to be listed under the generic umbrella term “fragrance.”

You might see this on the labels of your lotions, serums, hair products, cosmetics, dryer sheets, candles, deodorants, soaps, sunscreens, and more, as well as perfumes and sprays. The EU, on the other hand, mandates that brands disclose a list of allergens in fragrance ingredients. Again, knowledge is power––I want to be the one to decide if my favorite perfume is worth the toxicity, or if it isn’t! 

How personal care products are impacting our health 

I’m sure there has been a news story or (10!) recently that has stuck with you about the correlation between beauty ingredients and health, and I will be the first to admit, it is really hard to decipher what is true and what is fear-mongering. (Yes, there is a fair amount of that as well.)

But, what you can’t dispute: independent researchers have found asbestos in glittery products marketing to young girls, they’ve traced reproductive health issues and mercury poisoning to hair and skin products used by many women of color, and nearly 12,000 people have sued Johnson & Johnson claiming that asbestos in the company’s baby powder gave them ovarian cancer. Just last month, a scientist discovered significant levels of toxic chemicals in Thinx menstrual underwear. 

Obviously, there’s some real validity in this growing consumer concern. This is where cosmetic reform comes in again. Which leads me to…

How Beautycounter is making a difference + Why I want to go to D.C. 

In 2017, Beautycounter founded the Counteract Coalition — like-minded businesses in the skincare and beauty industries that want more health-protective laws in D.C. and use their collective voices to affect meaningful change. And thanks in large part to their advocacy work, there are also two bipartisan pieces of legislation on comprehensive cosmetic reform that have been introduced in the House — The Safe Cosmetics and Personal Care Products Act and the Cosmetic Safety Enhancement Act. We need Congress to act on these, which is why more than ever it’s important to make our voices heard. 

Why does this matter to me?

Because the fact that I have this platform and have the eyes of millions of women is an opportunity not lost on me. Of course, the bread and butter of this blog will ALWAYS be helpful tips and tricks to bring joy to your every day––style, beauty, advice––you name it. That’s all well and good, but if I did NOT take advantage of the voice that I have in order to put some good into the world, to me, that would be a tragedy––and safer beauty laws are something we ALL benefit from–on both sides of the aisle.

When I first became a Beautycounter consultant, THIS is the opportunity I was most excited for––the chance to go to Washington. I wouldn’t just get the chance to make my voice heard in person, but I think having the unique ability to bring you guys along on my journey will go so far in spreading awareness of how much this reform is needed in our country. This trip is an opportunity to build momentum and continue to educate members of Congress AND women all over the country––like you and me––on this important issue! 

How you can help me get there:

If you’ve been wanting to make a Beautycounter purchase in the near future anyway AND you would like to help contribute to getting me to D.C.–you can make a purchase now through February 29th via any of the links on my blog or directly from Beautycounter.com/JessKeys and it will count toward my total! (The company takes the top two consultants per state with the highest sales to DC!)

Again, this works just like any other affiliate link, so there is no charge to you, it just helps me! Of course, even just taking a second or two to read up on the topics I touched on above is a huge win in my book and WHY I do what I do––that is what is most important, so please do not feel pressured to spend money in any way––only if you WANT to. 

(Here’s a video from the 2018 trip so you get an idea of what I’d be doing!!) 

How YOU can take action:

Vote with your dollars:

The biggest pushback to cosmetic reform is that these legislative changes “would hinder business.” As you can probably imagine, this argument is becoming invalid very quickly. Clean beauty is the most rapidly growing sector of the beauty industry today. Brands are improving their ingredients on their own (thanks to our voices and consumer demand!) and the immense growth of cleaner brands year over year is proof that tougher regulations that protect consumers do NOT negatively affect business! When you purchase from ANY clean brand, you vote with your dollars and prove that transparency and safety is better for everyone, all around. 

Take two seconds to contact your representatives!

Whether or not you ever plan to purchase Beautycounter (and that is TOTALLY fine if you don’t!) they’ve created an easy way to make your voice heard. Send a message to Congress that you are concerned about the lack of FDA oversight of the products they use every day by texting BETTERBEAUTY to 52886 and tell your representatives that 81 years is too long to wait for better beauty laws.

Thank you so much for your support! I’m looking forward to delving into more clean beauty discussion in the near future! If you have specific questions, please always feel free to reach out via dm @jesskeys_and if you’d like to learn more about clean beauty, join my clean beauty email list! 

Looking for more beauty posts? Right this way! 


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