Truth About Low-Quality Cosmetic Products

You enter a high-end makeup boutique looking to get new makeup, as the clerk begins to show you what she recommends, you zone her out and immediately focus on the price point.

“Does it really have to cost that much?”  Is probably your only response after her sales pitch but if you’d taken the time to listen to why it is an excellent product you’d understand. Take mascara for example. You may not want to spend 25.00 on a mascara but if it is made with fibers for extra length, is water-proof, and infused with essential oils for growth, you may change your mind.

Despite its reputation, the beauty industry isn’t full of get rich quick scams, some brands care about their client and the environment.  You may be used to mass produced (drug store) cosmetics because of the price, but I bet the right features and benefits will change your mind.

Truth #1: Low-quality products contain low-quality ingredients.

A cheap product means cheap ingredients, no company is going to spend tons of money on ingredients and release their product at a low price point, they’d never profit. Almost 100% of the time, no matter how great the bottle says the product, the ingredients aren’t the highest quality.

Take a second to think about how diamonds are sold. The diamond is a single stone, but there are many different grades and the more your diamond costs, the more it will shine. Cosmetic ingredients work the same way; there may be tons of lotions formulated with Sheabutter, but which of these is made with pure African Shea Butter? Probably the one that is most expensive.

Truth #2: Your skin will hate you for using low-quality cosmetics.

Your skin will hate you

Your skin will hate you

As you might imagine, low-quality ingredients aren’t the best for your skin. If your face isn’t covered with acne you may not feel you are being affected by low-quality cosmetics, but I’m here to tell you different. Studies show that women who use makeup everyday absorb about 5 pounds of chemicals in a year’s time. Chemicals? Yes, many companies use chemicals to mimic natural ingredients because they are much cheaper, but how do they get into your body?

Your skin contains small openings called pores, though some may have pores that are more visible than others everyone has them; it’s what allows the skin to breathe. The pores also help absorb products, whichare how they affect the skin and if you are putting chemicals onto your skin your pores will slowly absorb them.

I know what you’re thinking, “My products aren’t from the dollar store, they are from well-known brands, how can they be bad for me?” Unfortunately, even well-known brands don’t use the best ingredients, in fact here are a few chemicals included in almost all mass produced cosmetics:

  1. Parabens- Parabens are often added to a product to help prolong shelf life. Parabens have been linked to cancer because it mirrors estrogen, and too much estrogen can promote breast tumors. Parabens are not only found in cosmetics; they are also in the things we eat. Foods that are bought in packages usually have parabens to thank for their long shelf life.
  2. Phthalates- Frequently used to soften plastics, this ingredient is another chemical that could ruin your health. Phthalates are found in nail polish and fragrance. Once it enters the body, it can disrupt your hormones causing early puberty, low sperm count in men or breast cancer.
  3. Triclosan- Often used in hygiene products such as deodorant and soap, triclosan helps you resist bacteria. Although it sounds like it serves a great purpose this ingredient is a known pesticide, and you’d never put bug spray on your skin, right? Triclosan can have a significant effect on the thyroids and your metabolism and can even cause you to be more susceptible to bacteria, how ironic!
  4. Ethylene Oxide- Normally added into shampoo and body wash, ethylene oxide serves as a buffer between the product and your skin. Ingredients that make suds can dehydrate the skin and ethylene oxide is supposed to help protect it. The bad thing about this ingredient is that it can cause cancer, and 9 times out of 10 your product will leave a little on your skin even after rinsing.

Truth #3: There are ways to create healthier products.

Though many companies have followed suit in placing low-quality ingredients into their formulas for profit, there are a few brands who remain authentic. Believe it or not there are natural alternatives to common chemicals used in cosmetics.

To preserve a product you may use natural ingredients like caprylic acid, citrus, honeysuckle, tea tree oil.

To avoid using phthalates companies should work with plastics that do not require them. Petroleum and bio-based plastics are also available. Plastic packaging is also horrible for the environment. There has been a recent influx of cosmetic brands that use biodegradable packages that do not have to be softened with phthalates. Phthalates are also found in other plastic products including shoes and dishes.

You don’t need triclosan to kill bacteria; there are many other ways. Essential oils such as thyme, lavender, rosemary, peppermint, orange, lemon, lemongrass, lime, and grapefruit are effective at killing bacteria. Vinegar, lime juice, and hot water can also aid in killing bacteria.

Ethylene Oxide doesn’t have to be used in cosmetics; peroxide works just fine.

Truth #4: Not all mass produced products are lacking.

Just because something doesn’t cost much doesn’t mean it isn’t a good product. When shopping for cosmetics, mass produced lipsticks, nail polishes, glosses, and mascara generally perform quite well. Remember not to judge a product by its performance, just because it goes on well and stays all day long doesn’t mean it isn’t slowly giving you cancer.

If you’re wondering how you’ll know which cosmetics are safe, follow these quick tips:

  • If you can’t say it, don’t put it on your skin. Longer words found on cosmetics ingredient lists are often harmful chemicals.
  • Look for authentication. If a product has the USDA Organicseal, it is certified organic.
  • Ingredients are listed in descending order according to how much is present in the formula. This means the first ingredient is the most abundant. Pay close attention to this, do your products have more chemicals than effective ingredients? If so, it is time to buy new cosmetics!
  • Purchase products in glass bottles, using plastics can expose you to chemicals.
  • Use products that are fragrance-free. Have you ever noticed that no matter what product you are looking at, the ingredient fragrance is always listed as just that? It is not required for companies to reveal what they use to make fragrances, probably because whale vomit is a common ingredient.

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