This time philosophy and lofty thoughts are left aside as the post is devoted to the constant attributes of our life – cosmetic products. Many of us are familiar with the fact that personal care products contain harmful, often, toxic ingredients, however, some ignore the warning, saying “I use only best luxurious brands which do care about all the standards”. Not so long ago I was one of these sceptics until I developed a new habit: reading all labels and checking the ingredients.
Let us check the labels together and decide whether renown brands truly keep their promises, as their adverts state.
Product 1: Forever Youth Liberator Night Cream by Yves Saint Laurent. Price $ 165 (€ 128) for 50ml. The cream is expected to “revitalize the skin, leaving it looking more rested and replenished in the morning”.
The ingredients of the very expensive remedy do not reveal any miraculous chemical combination, its main ingredients are water and glycerine, which are cheap and, certainly, cannot provide the promised effect. Moreover, among the ingredients you can find: petrolatum (mineral oil jelly), pentylene and propylene glycol, phenoxyethanol and fragrance. What is wrong with these components? I will not specify the possible and actual negative effects of these components (the information is available on many websites), just mention that petrolatum, for example, is derivative of mineral oil, pentylene/propylene glycol is a product of artificial synthesis and is there to blend water and fat molecules, phenoxyethanol is a preservative and ‘fragrance’ contains unnecessary chemicals, often of mineral oil origin. We do not use petroleum as a skin toner, do we? Why would we use it as a skin care component and believe in its rejuvenating powers? Besides, all the listed ingredients are cheap and not different from basic skin care products by Nivea.
Product 2: CC Cream Complete Correction SPF 30 by Chanel. Price: $ 86 (€ 67) for 50ml. The cream is presented as “the double know-how of Chanel Research and Makeup Studio”. It guarantees the positive effects caused by “an active ingredient of natural origin Rejuvenicia”.
Which girl does not dream about a little black dress or a perfume, or a cream by Chanel? The brand name sounds delicious and is associated with glamorous life style of the rich and famous. Are you ready to investigate this piece of luxury?
Ingredients leave rather negative impression: whitening nano-particles of titanium dioxide happen to be the 2nd main ingredient (learn more: http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/ingredient/706561/TITANIUM_DIOXIDE/); cheap preservatives methyl-, ethyl- and propylparaben are also present. But where is Rejuvenicia? The only two ingredients of herbal origin are Centaurea flower water and Hamamelis Virginiana. Parabens were linked with breast cancer: estrogen mimickers, they are found to accumulate in breast tissues (learn more: http://www.breastcancerfund.org/clear-science/chemicals-glossary/parabens.html).
Ingredients of Chanel lipsticks share same concerns: http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/product/137807/Chanel_Lip_Colour_Wardrobe%2C_Hydrabase_Creme_Lipstick_%282008_formulation%29/
Product 3. Hydra Life Skin Perfect by Dior. Price: $ 67 (€ 52) for 50ml. Presented as “more than just a moisturizer, the 1st skincare by Dior that acts from the heart of your cells … to reveal the fascinating beauty of flawless skin – yours”.
As you can see, there are same old ingredients. C13-14 isoparaffin is another chemical from a family of hydrocarbons (mineral oils) derived from petroleum. Cream does contain ingredients of natural origin, which are not high-concentrated though.
Product 4. Crème de rose. Soothing plumping lip balm by Dior. Price € 22. “All its nourishing power comes from the rare and precious Damask Rose essential oils extract”.
As the ingredients can tell us, “all its nourishing power” comes from octinoxate and paraffinum liquidum (mineral oil) – both very cheap components of non-herbal origin. Rosa Damascena extract is present, however, in low concentrations.
Product 5. Night Moisture Recharge by Shiseido. Price is $42.59 (€ 33) for 75ml. “A multi-action nighttime revitalizer … that delivers intensive hydrating benefits to skin while you sleep“.
Now look at the ingredients. Looks familiar, doesn’t it? Some components of herbal origin are present, the basic, however is composed from water, glycerine and butylene glycol.
Other Shiseido products received critics from EWG’s Skin Deep Cosmetic Database.
Product 6: Harmonie Calm by Decléor. Price ₤ 40 (€ 47). “Melting and luxurious texture is specifically formulated to care for sensitive and normal to dry skins”.
This brand is sold at the world’s best SPAs. To be fair, in comparison with the previous products, this cream contains less potentially harmful ingredients. However, despite a large number of herbal components, the product contains butylene and pentylene glycol, dimethicone – rather undesirable ingredients for a cream claimed as “specially formulated to care for sensitive skin”.
Same range of ingredients are used by other skin care producers, Vichy, Clinique, La Roche-Posay etc. Cleansing gels, shampoo and even toothpaste contain sodium laureath sulphate – a cheap foaming agent, used in detergents. Do you fancy washing your face and hair with floor liquid? If not, watch for this ingredient in your personal care products.
It is absolutely correct to wonder what all those ingredients are there for, what is their purpose if they are not expected to cause any positive effect. These chemicals blend well with each other, create a uniform texture, look and smell pretty on a palm of your hand. It would be too optimistic, however, to expect miracles from these products. Obviously, luxurious brands have to maintain their exclusive expensive image: the higher is the price the more desirable the product looks. Defiantly, the upper class would be disappointed if their favourite brands became affordable. Moreover, good quality skin care products are available at a humble price of € 12.
Therefore, if you care about your health and expect from skin care something more than keeping your status, read labels carefully. Rejecting products which do not correspond to your expectations will benefit not only your health but the whole society. Companies should not see their customers as brainless livestock, easily trapped by marketing techniques. By paying attention to labels, you can help to improve responsibility of manufacturers and strengthen the free market.