First of a three-part series
True Beauty Nirvana is finding products and services that seamlessly integrate three critical components: the Performance, how the product improves appearance; the Science, how the product actually works; and the Safety, how the product impacts the health of the human body and planet.
In these next three issues of The Edge, we will further explore the critical nature of each of these three areas of critical importance when selecting your next personal care product. Through my twenty-plus-year journey into my own personal use of zillions of products (and sadly zillions of dollars), as well as my formal and professional education, I have come to one, and only one conclusion. The products I choose to use better have all three of the above categories covered, because if not, there is a price to pay – and it isn’t always in dollars and cents.
The price we are paying for substandard products can be in the form of the product leaving you looking less than your best, or performance failure. The product can be missing the science behind it, which can leave you with a benign product that isn’t efficacious. And last but not least, if the safety is compromised, it causes harm to both my body and the planet while in the process of simply trying to look and feel beautiful. No thanks.
I have found that most personal care product manufacturers are leaving the consumer with a choice to pick one, or maybe two, out of the three categories above, for the sake of them making a tidy profit. They typically focus on giving the consumer performance most often, because they know that is critical to their success. So the product will indeed deliver on making you look better on the surface, but it won’t improve your hair or skin in the long term because they are missing the science.
If they actually make a product that performs and has the science behind it, still 99 percent will leave out the safety and health aspect in their production. They know synthetic chemical ingredients are inexpensive, and if they can convince you that the product works and give you scientific reasons why, they hope you will overlook the health danger – and unfortunately most people do. However, as consumers continue to become more educated, and as they are looking more deeply at the long-term effects of their buying decisions, manufacturers will strive to meet consumer demands.
The marketplace dictates the manufacturing practices, and we should all insist on efficacious and safe products in every area of our lives. Hey, if we can put a man on the moon, surely we can have beauty products that work well in the short and long term, while also protecting our body and our planet. We are not asking these companies to create a Unicorn here. We are simply asking for personal care product manufacturers to quit cutting corners at the expense of products’ Performance, Science and Safety.
It is my business to know and understand the details of the products on the market, down to the molecular structure of ingredients, but for Jane Doe who goes in to buy a shampoo from her local retailer, I truly feel for her. She is bombarded with false labeling and Madison Avenue slick advertising, with over-used and abused words like “natural” and “organic.” These marketers are getting so clever, they are even creating logos that resemble some sort of certification mark that the product is Green and Clean, when in fact, the product has only one “natural” ingredient in it, and the rest is otherwise a chemical…(expletive deleted) storm.
Please excuse the implied language, but that is exactly what most beauty products are, a frightening cocktail of chemicals that are not regulated like the foods we eat – but should be. After all, if you can’t put it “in” you, you shouldn’t put it “on” you. If a small 2-inch Nicotine patch on the shoulder of smoker desiring to quit can deliver enough medication to the bloodstream to affect the body, just imagine how many chemicals are delivered to the bloodstream when a lotion is applied to the entire body. Granted, the Nicotine patch is watertight, and therefore designed to occlude the area of skin in which the patch is being applied, but if your beauty product has silicone or a petroleum derived ingredient (most do), then that also acts as a shield or occlusive mechanism. To “occlude” something means to cover it up, or to seal it from exposure to air, therefore creating body heat that enhances the medicine and/or product’s ability to be more readily absorbed into the skin and bloodstream. This method creates an intensified or stronger effect of the ingredients used.
Have you ever had someone instruct you to wrap your head in plastic wrap while you deep condition your hair? The reason for that recommendation is so the heat from your head inside the plastic wrap will allow the deep conditioning treatment to penetrate the scalp and hair shaft more effectively. This holds true for all products applied to the skin or scalp. As we learn more about how the skin functions and the profound systemic effect that products have on our bodies, we must begin to care more deeply about what we are drinking in. Make no mistake; we are doing a lot of drinking every day besides through our mouths!
I have covered three areas to watch for when selecting your personal care products in this article, and the next order of business will be to elaborate on what to look for specifically in these categories when looking at labels of your future purchases. Don’t worry readers: I will be certain to cover this in greater detail in the next two articles (September and October).
In addition, I will also be giving you a good start list of companies that I have found who have all three categories covered beautifully. Their products perform, they have the science behind them, and they have addressed the health of the human body and our planet in their formulations. Ah, now that’s Beauty Nirvana!
Part 2 of this series continues next month on specific chemicals commonly found in beauty products and what effect they have on the body.