Tag Archives: Campaign for Safe Cosmetics

Toxic Nail Polish: More Beauty Industry Lies

Slate xxFactor Toxic Nail Polish by Virginia Sole-Smith

You guys may have seen this news last week: California toxicologists tested a bunch of those supposedly “toxin-free” nail polishes… and found out that they’re actually toxin-full, as I’m reporting on Slate’s xxFactor blog today.

Hmm, what does this remind us of? If you said Brazilian Blowout (or lead in lipstick or carcinogens in baby shampoo or…) give yourself a high five.


Filed under Beauty Labor, Career Opportunities, Customer Cult, Government Watch, Health, Ingredients, Products

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Brazilian Blowout Settles — So Why Are Stylists Still Getting Sick?


Today I’m over on The Nation Institute‘s Investigative Fund Blog, with a piece about the latest Brazilian Blowout court settlement.

You guys, I am seriously SO OVER this story. By which I mean: I am so over the fact that there is still a story to tell here.

First of all, we’ve known — anecdotally, at least — that keratin hair straightening treatments contain toxic chemicals ever since Siobhan and Alexandra were inspired to write No More Dirty Looks because of their $400 hair disaster.


Filed under Beauty Labor, Career Opportunities, Government Watch, Hair, Health, Ingredients, Press, Products

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Breaking Brazilian Blowout News

1966 Spiegel catalog salon hair dryer

Hey, remember waaay back in 2010 when the supposedly “formaldehyde-free” Brazilian Blowout hair straightening treatment tested positive for — irony alert! — formaldehyde?

Lots of salon workers and customers reported all kinds of unhappy symptoms as a result of working with the product, but of course, the beauty industry had some hairs to split about it, even though their own textbooks and industry spokespeople had said years earlier  that formaldehyde doesn’t belong in beauty products. Ahem.


Filed under Beauty Labor, Government Watch, Hair, Happenings, Ingredients, Products

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Pretty Price Check (07.22.11)

The Pretty Price Check: Your Friday round-up of how much we paid for beauty this week.

Story of Cosmetics

Just a quick price check today, to say a big happy birthday to the Story of Cosmetics video and No More Dirty Looks (the book!), both of which turned one year old this week!

I know we’ve spent a lot more time talking body image lately, but the eco-health risk of beauty products is an issue still close to my hear. Because the industry is not always so straight-up with us about what’s really going on. And that means we just don’t know enough about the toll these products are taking on our friends in the beauty industry, especially nail salon workers — as well as beauty consumers like you (hi, Brazilian Blowout).

The good news is that the Safe Cosmetics Act of 2011 has just been reintroduced to Congress — and it has a few key improvements over last year’s edition (which, if you ask me, was already a heck of a good start!). Here’s the scoop on the new bill, from my peeps at the Story of Stuff:


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[Muddling Through Milady's] Chapter 3: Sanitation & Disinfection — and Formaldehyde, Too.

Don’t worry, I’m not going to subject you to Milady’s somewhat mind-numbing explanations of the three tiers of decontamination that should be used in a salon or spa. (But in case you’re wondering, they are sterilization, disinfection, and sanitation, and I have them down cold.)

Instead, I’m going to be all timely and share this little tidbit, from Milady’s Standard Fundamentals for Estheticians, page 44 (in a red box marked with a big exclamation point, so you know it’s important). Read more…

Filed under Beauty Labor, Beauty Schooled, Hair, Ingredients, Products

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Another Video for You. It’s Like Substitute Teacher Week Around Here.

You know, like when you had a sub at school, so all they did was show movies? Maybe that post title didn’t need this follow up explanation?

Well then, moving right along, because THIS video is maybe even better than the one I posted yesterday. Great, clear, concise explanation of the whole “why should I care what chemicals they put in my beauty products?” issue from Story of Stuff creator Annie Leonard.


I’m about to go hop on their press call about it, and THEN I’m gonna go hop on the industry’s response press call after that. How’s that for some afternoon excitement? Stay tuned, I’ll tell you more things soon.

Filed under Government Watch, Ingredients

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Pretty Price Check (05.14.10)

Pretty Price Check: Your Friday round-up of how much we paid for beauty this week.

Photo of celebrity fragrance bottles tested by Campaign for Safe Cosmetics

  • 14: The average number of secret toxic chemicals found in each bottle of perfume tested in a new study by the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics (via Stacy Malkan’s HuffPo take on things). What do I mean by “secret toxic chemicals?” Those are the kind that aren’t listed on the label (because manufacturers can hide these “proprietary formulas” behind the word “fragrance”) and they either haven’t been evaluated for safety, or have been — and so we know they’ve got carcinogenic or endocrine disrupting properties. It’s cool though, because the risks are most serious for kids. And little girls hate Hannah Montana (Her “Secret Celebrity” scent has 13 sensitizing chemicals), Britney Spears (Her “Curious” fragrance has 4 endocrine-disrupting chemicals), and American Eagle (Their “Seventy Seven” perfume has a whopping 24 secret ingredients). Download the full report and tell these celebrities to take a stand against toxic chemicals here.


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[Beauty Overheard] It’s 10 PM. Do You Know What Makeup Your Daughter is Wearing?

So here is what I’m stuck on, from this morning’s New York Times piece on tweens wearing makeup:

“I’m using the choose-your-battles kind of parenting,” Mrs. Pometta, an independent publicist from Plainfield, Ill., reasoned in a telephone interview. “I figured, better that she’s informed and has the right tools than she goes into it blindly with her friends in the bathroom and comes out looking like a clown.”

Mrs. Pometta’s daughter, Alyssa, is 11, and among the 18 percent of 8-12 set who wear mascara regularly (15 percent wear eyeliner and lipstick).

Now I get the “better she’s informed” argument when it comes to your kid and safe sex. I get it when it comes to letting your child have a sip of wine at dinner. Because  these are life experiences that have pretty dire consequences if they go badly. The worst-case scenario that Mrs. Pometta is warding off? “Looking like a clown.”


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    The Eating Insinct: Food Culture, Body Image, and Guilt in America by Virginia Sole Smith

    Pre-order now!