International Studies Final Source Analysis

While many believe that people have to sacrifice the effectiveness of their beauty products, that is simply not the case. Although, due to the amount of companies seemingly “going green” there are many companies that are “greenwashing” the industry with fake labels and claims. In order to know what your money is going to and what you’re “pore”-ing into your skin, it only takes a bit of knowledge.

The term “natural” or “all-natural” is not regulated by the FDA. This means that companies are allowed to put this term on products, even when it’s technically not true. But what if you do your research, and sources say that the product is in fact, natural? Well, ingredients like petroleum are considered all natural, even though it is harsh and full of synthetic chemicals. When looking at an ingredients list, the ingredients with highest content are listed first, and they work down to the lowest. Try to work for producst with synthetics at the bottom of the list, if you want any at all. It is important to understand ingredients that may sounds fake but are not, such as sea salt, which is sodium chloride.

Unlike being “natural”, the term “organic” is regulated by the FDA. But, a product only has to have a certain amount of “organic matter” to be considered organic. The best way to get around this rule is to buy products with a USDA Organic label, which ensures that the product consists at least 95% organic ingredients.

Vegan is a term that stumps many when searching for products that are effective without the harsh reality of the product. A product with this label could be completely full of synthetics, as long as no animals were harmed in the making of the product.

If your morals are more ethnically based versus healthcare, cruelty free products are typically marked by the Leaping Bunny certification, which is a small rabbit symbol by the label. This means that none of the ingredients were tested on animals. In the US, some smaller and newer companies have cruelty free practices, although they do not have the certification on their packaging yet. Companies that sell in China are still required to test on animals by law, which is why many large brands continue these practices. A quick search or a check on the Leaping Bunny website can help with any confusion!

Hoff, V. (2017, April 26). The Difference Between Natural, Organic, and Synthetic-Free Beauty Products. 1 May 2017. Web.

An Herb Research Foundation study found that the skin absorbs up to 60% of chemicals that we put onto it, and that percentage continues to travel to the bloodstream. This study shows that it is highly imperative to know what we are putting on our skin.

There are many ingredients in beauty products that one should shy away from:


- allergic reactions/ hormone disruption


- linked to causing cancer

- nail polish, false eyelash adhesive, hair dye


- basic ingredients of many products/ same origin as fossil fuels

- foundations, cleaners, moisturizers

Ethanolamine (like diethanolamine, monoethanolamine, and triethanolamine)

- known to cause multiple cancers/ respiratory and organ toxicants

- soaps, shampoos, mascara, eye shadow, blush, sunscreens

Mailonline, C. T. (2017, April 05). Are your beauty products TOXIC? Revealed: The 20 most harmful chemicals to look out for and what they could be doing to your body. 1 May 2017. Web.

Although on the shorter side of the videos I watched, it was extremely informative within the few short minutes. The sources at the end led me to read some eye opening background research of basic animal testing. While many think that animal testing is cruel and punishing, they still support it die to its “contribution to human health”. The British Medical Journal had an article where 5 authors were conspiring together to find out how the cruelty of animals benefits medical progress in human health. There is no direct correlation between the results from animal testing and human reaction to the same product. 92% of new drugs that pass animal testing will then go on to fail the human trials. A few common medicinal examples include aspirin being safe for humans but lethal to cats, male rates being immune to chloroform but humans and female rats know it as lethal, mice and humans take morphine as a sedative but horses and cats know it as a stimulant. Our current technology has lead to creative tests that are more accurate than animal testing, but they are far less exclusive than the immoral ways of practice.

The Magic Collective. (30 March 2013). Animal Testing: Some Facts. May 2017. Web.

The cosmetics industry has grown around 4.5% each year for the past two decades. Shockingly enough, during our large economic crash in the early 2000s, the beauty industry kept its demand and even increased right at the end, and at the time; the global beauty industry was supposed to reach around $265 billion dollars by this year. Since its expansion, manufacturers maintain the challenge of keeping us with consumer needs, while making a good product at their lowest cost. Because of tis, they have begun to cut corners and resort to very unsafe practices and ingredients.

Allergic Contact Dermatitis refers to having an allergic reaction that are due to makeup, specifically something being absorbed into the skin. Fragrance and preservatives are the two highest allergens in cosmetics. Fragrance alone counts for 30–45% of allergic reactions in beauty products. While fragrance allergies seem to stick to the face or large patches of the body, a preservative allergy will most likely only affect the face, neck, hands, and armpits.

The World Heath Organization uses formulas calculating certain amounts of substances to deem the product safe when it comes to exposure from ingredients, but unfortunately the numbers in these equations fluctuate and are extremely high, which always seems to make the exposure limits rise and rise. Therefore, if we do not take the stand to pick safer beauty products, we will willingly give ourselves higher and higher doses of exposure.

Siti Zulaikha R., Sharifah Norkhadijah S. I., Praveena S. M., Hazardous Ingredients in Cosmetics and Personal Care Products and Health Concern: A Review, Public Health Research, Vol. 5 №1, 2015, pp. 7–15.

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