Safer Beauty

Heavy Metals 101

If you remember my other posts about clean beauty (here and here), you’re already familiar with the idea that there are harmful ingredients in our every day personal care products.  Today I want to highlight a specific area of harmful ingredients: heavy metals.

These are primarily found in color cosmetics because the pigments used to create the color are from minerals, and the way these minerals are mined and processed cause heavy metals to be processed with them.  The FDA has some thoughts on heavy metals that you can read about here if you’re interested, but this is the same entity that thinks it’s ok to use parabens in personal care products; so take their opinion with a grain of salt.

So what’s the big deal about heavy metals? In small amounts, it’s negligible (so the FDA is sort of right on that point) but these metals are being absorbed through our skin frequently and building up over time in our body.  This could lead to issues like heavy metal toxicity (check out the symptoms here) and there have even been studies that show heavy metals (and other harmful/synthetic chemicals) in the cord blood of newborn babies.

The FDA has maximum limits for the most common metals, but these maximums are way higher than you would expect.  Here’s the maximum amounts in parts per million compared to the maximum amount allowed in drinking according to the EPA.

Heavy Metals in drinking water compared to cosmetics-2

Those are some pretty significant differences!  The one that surprises me the most is Mercury.  There is so much information these days on Mercury levels and avoiding certain fish because of it, but it’s ok if it’s in our makeup? No way.

It’s also worth noting that mineral makeup is not exempt here.  The heavy metals are coming from mineral pigments, so unless the mineral makeup is screened for heavy metals, there’s a good chance they’re present in mineral makeup as well.

Another reason I love Beautycounter is because they screen for heavy metals at 3 stages of product development – at the raw ingredient stage, during production, and as a finished product.  They require their products to be at a “no detect” or zero level for heavy metals, which I love.

Not only is their makeup safer, but it is beautiful!  They just released a whole new line of pressed powder makeup today and I’m in love.  My favorite eye palette so far is the Romantic – the shimmery mauve colors are excellent.  There’s also bronzer, blush, and highlighter so you can go full glam without worry.  I’m a consultant for Beautycounter, which means I can be your go-to person for product recommendations and support when you shop through my link.  🙂

I hope you find today’s post helpful! If you have any specific questions relating to safer beauty or skincare, drop a comment and let me know what you want to learn about next! ❤

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