I've been concerned about heavy metal toxicity for a long time, but I never thought about heavy metals in cosmetics.
For years I have seen different natural practitioners for things like candida, thyroid disease, adrenal fatigue. And several times a practitioner would mention mercury or other heavy metals as being an issue. I didn't really know what to think.
I got my mercury fillings removed (even though I didn't have many and they were really small), and took zeolite which for sure showed that I had some kind of heavy metal problem (when I took it, my urine smelled like metals for two weeks), and later did a program that was supposed to help my body release the metals on its own. I'd also heard about chelating metals via an IV, but was pretty concerned about the safety of that method.
One thing kept bothering me…..
Where was all of this metal coming from?
Lead, Arsenic, Cadmium, and Mercury are the metals that are of the greatest concern and they are linked to all kinds of health problems.
When you think about heavy metals, typically you think about their presence in water, soil (we got our soil tested when we planted our gardens), cigarette smoke, paint (lead), vaccines, and fluorescent bulbs.
One thing I never thought of was my foundation or my mascara.
Would you believe that heavy metals might be lurking in your beauty products?
I wouldn't have thought so either, but it's true.
Heavy Metals in Makeup
Mercury has been found in skin whitening creams (1 woman in the article had 100 times the average amount of mercury in her urine!) (Source  . Lead, cadmium, chromium, manganese, and aluminum have been found in lipstick and lip glosses (some in very unsafe levels). Basically, in all kinds of color cosmetics, heavy metal contamination has been discovered. (Sources:    )
Regulation of the beauty industry is basically non existent. In fact, here in the U.S., the federal government hasn't passed a law to regulate ingredients in beauty products since 1937 (yes, you read that right). (Source)
Even if there were “safe” levels determined for these products, when you add up the exposures that most women get between multiple beauty products and other exposures (think the air, water, food, bulbs, etc. listed above), then toxic levels can be more easily reached.
Changing My Cosmetics
Now, I'm not a big makeup kind of gal, but I've worn a little throughout the years, and as I've gotten older I've worn a bit more –some foundation, an eye pencil and some mascara.
About 3 years ago I started switching over to more natural, organic products, and even tinkered with a few DIY versions.
It's been a long road, trying many brands. And revisiting some again and again to really figure out what I like.
I'm glad that I have found some products that work for me, without sacrificing my health.
What You Can Do
Basically, you need to get informed.
Know what's in your products and know your manufacturer.
And what about DIY / Natural / Organic Cosmetic companies?
If you've been around Whole New Mom for awhile, you know that I LOVE making almost anything from scratch, from coconut milk to weed killer. Well, I love the idea of DIY personal care products too. I make my own Eye Makeup Remover, Body Wash, and Hair Rinse, and even bought the ingredients to make my own face powder and foundation this past year.
But now I am not so sure I'll be using it. In fact, I just sent the manufacturer an email asking about heavy metals in the iron oxides, etc. that I purchased to see what they have to say.
Because mercury, lead, arsenic, cadmium, and more–they're all natural products. So even if your products are “natural” or “organic” or DIY, if they have metals in them, they can still harbor dangerous heavy metals inside at unsafe levels.
1. Skip the Color Cosmetics – well, maybe.
If you want to completely avoid heavy metals, you just might have to avoid color cosmetics completely and skip the whitening creams too. Whitening toothpastes have also been known to have heavy metal contamination / ingredients too.
To be as safe as possible, skip the foundation, the blush, the eye pencil, the lipstick, the lip gloss, the mascara, and the eye shadow. Unless you can find a line of products that uses only plant-based colors. Keep reading…..
But if you, like me, want a little color on your face, then you need to do your homework.
2. Check Your Products for Safety
Go to Environmental Working Group's Skin Deep directory to see what is in your products. Keep in mind, however, that only ingredients are listed — not contaminants. So what is listed on the label is only part of the picture.
3. Buy from a Safe Company
Contact different companies and see what they have to say about heavy metals and their products. Ask if they batch test and what the presence is of heavy metals in their products.
I buy my cosmetics from several companies, since I don't think that one size really fits all, unless you're talking an umbrella :).
But most of my makeup comes from Beautycounter.
Beautycounter tests every single batch of their products for the presence of heavy metals — they're that serious.
Plus their makeup performs fabulously.
Christy Coleman is a world famous makeup artist, and she is behind all of the cosmetics at Beautycounter. She's done covers for Teen Vogue, Elle, Glamour, and more. She knows what looks good.
Her goal is to have Beautycounter's makeup to be good enough for the runway, and perfect for every day as well.
And it is.
Beautycounter's mascara is practically waterproof without being toxic!
I once got caught in a downpour while wearing Beautycounter's mascara, and it didn't run one bit! (That's really something for the Queen of Smudge — that's me :).)
Beautycounter's lipstick is the only one I have ever been able to wear. My personal faves are Petal and Twig, with Terra being a close third.
Beautycounter also has a fabulous 60 day return policy, so you can buy without risk. And I bet you'll love your purchase.
Here is a very informational graphic showing the concerns of heavy metals in cosmetics, as well as how you can avoid the dangerous risks.
Read more here about what I love about Beautycounter.
No matter where you shop, make sure you do your homework and keep the heavy metals off of your face — 'cause no one needs that stuff in their makeup.
What brand of cosmetics / beauty products do you use?
What do you think about this?