8+1 steps to help you chose quality cosmetics
With the help of this article we will successfully complete the mission of finding safe and high-quality cosmetics among the thousands brands on the market and to preserve our beautiful appearance and health.
Author: Rositsa Tashkova, Master of Molecular Biology and Microbiology
If you think you are not one of the women who uses too much cosmetics, put in one place all your shampoos, perfumes, creams, conditioners, nail polish, makeup and other cosmetic products, and pile up those of your husband at a different spot.
There is nothing wrong with this, as long as we do not forget that the skin is our largest organ and we need to approach it with due care and attention in order to keep our health and appearance in good condition.
In this article you will find 8+1 tips for making the right choices when it comes to cosmetics.
1. Do not replace the dermatologist with your favorite influencer
There are several main skin types that we have all heard of: normal, dry, oily, mixed and sensitive.
But this is of great importance in our choice of suitable cosmetics. Something that greatly affects the skin of our friend or famous logger advertises it as miraculous, can make the condition of our own skin worse.
Let's not forget that most of the so-called " influencers earn their livelihood precisely this way – advertising different products.
To find out what type of skin our skin is, it is advisable to consult a dermatologist doctor, who will also give us the right recommendations on how to keep it healthy and beautiful.
We are sometimes so attracted to the type of cosmetic product that we forget its purpose for a moment and confuse it with bathroom decoration.
Of course, there are several basic rulesapplicable to each skin:
- Avoid direct sunlight and wear sunglasses and a hat with a brim;
- Use sunscreen for the face with a high factor;
- Do not smoke;
- The skin to hydrate;
- Drink enough water;
- Wash the skin well, but carefully every day;
- Let's never go to bed with makeup!
2. Allergic reaction - ugly and deadly
It is extremely importantthat whenever we buycosmetics, which we have not used before, we check that the product will not cause an allergic reaction. This is especially important for peoplewho already have some allergy to something (not only cosmetics) or have sensitive skin,but it should not beforgotten that each of us, at any moment, can unlock an allergic reaction - even to cosmetics we have been using for years.
The reaction can vary greatly - from a slight rash- through edema to a very severe reaction and anaphylactic shock, which leads tosuffocation and death.
Check as follows. Place a small amount on the inside of the elbow and wait between 48 and 72 hours. If you have redness, swelling,itching or burning , do not use thisproduct.
In order to avoidirritations, it is appropriate to choosecosmetic products with fewer ingredients , and not to spray perfumes directly on our skin. It is enough to blow through the air in front of us and pass through the cloud of fragrance or from a distance to splash a little on our clothes.
3. Does 'bio', 'organic' and 'vegan' really mean healthy
On the packaging of almost all cosmetic products can be seen inscriptions such as "hypoallergenic", "dermatologically tested" or even "bio" and "organic", and some nail polishes already say that they are "vegan".
There is not enough strict regulation on cosmetic products and their labels, so anything can be written on them without it being true. Including whether it has been tested on animals. However, regulation in Europe is better than in the US, for example, where cosmetic products are marketed almostwithout regulation and control.
Often cosmetics, which are labeled as organic ornatural, contain many synthetic ingredients and are no different from others. If you look at the label, you will see that the presented as the main ingredient actually represents only 0.1% of the composition and everything is just a commercial trick.
It is also good to keep in mind that even if it contains substances of natural origin, this does not necessarily make them safe. An interesting example is the belladonna plant or crazy herb (Atropa belladonna) - it was used as a drug, as a cosmetic agent (the atropine contained in it expands the pupils, which was considered attractive), but also as a poison.
4. DO NOT buy cheap lipstick from the store across the street
Quality cosmetics are not in everyone's pocket,but it is better for our health and beauty not to use cheap cosmetic products from unknown manufacturers, since their low quality exposes us to great risks.
Such products are found in every "$1 store".
In Bulgaria there is a well-developed market "in black" - each of us at least once dubious people on the street have offered us "neuroythy" perfumes at half price. We can not see, except ourselves, if we succumb to temptation and get a severe allergic reaction, rashes or even scars from such cosmetics.
It is better not to use any cosmeticsthan to experience this.
Here are some of thebrands that offer healthy and quality beautyproducts, according to the Canadian Society of Dermatology [ref. 2]:
- CW Beggs & Sons
- Dermablend Professional
- La Roche-Posay
- L'Oréal Paris
As expected, these brands are also the most counterfeited, so we recommend that you buy them only from their official stores or verified suppliers and never from the market or from random people and sites!
We are also warned about the same danger by Netflix's documentary series Broken. In one episode, a young woman recounts how she bought Kylie Lip Kit lipstick, influenced by the enthusiasm of friends and youtube subscribers. But to make it cheaper ,she made the purchase on eBay. Of course, a fake lipstick arrived- but she didn't find out about it until her lips stuck heavily. It turned out that in order to achieve the necessary consistency and shine,the manufacturers put glue in the lipstick!
The BBC reports on a similar case. Larissa Reynolds bought a fake lipstick on the same brand from Facebook and her lips echoed ominously. [ref. 5]
5. The hidden shelf life and when to part with the eye mascara
It is extremely important to monitor when the expiry date of the cosmetic products we use. Especially those that come into contact with the eyes or are used on the face.
This is because since even once we have used some cream or eye mascara, bacteria fall into themthat detect a suitable breedingmedium, and over time the old mascara can cause us eye infection,and the cream - rashes. [ref. 1]
It is no coincidence that on the package there is often a small symbol of an open jar and next to it it says 3 m or 10 m. This means that even if our favorite eye mascara is still full, if it's been 3 months since it first opened, we should say goodbye to it. From personal experience, I know that this is not easy, especially for ladies who do not use it every day anyway - so for every occasion we have to buy a new spiral...
With colleagues at the university, we conducted an experiment in microbiology, in which we touched a nutrient medium with hands washed with soap, disinfected with alcohol or smeared with hand cream.
Therefore, even if you do not worry about potential chemical changes in cosmetics after its expiration date, think about what is living in it.
If you notice that cosmetics have changed their fragrance or color, then it is high time to part with it.
6. Are the testers safe and what is the resemblance between makeup and underwear
We all know how difficult it is to judge whether a lipstick will look good on us and what its exact color is, so most cosmetics stores offer testers for general use by customers. But is it safe to usethem?
The obvious answer is - no. As we havealready said, cosmetics are easily contaminated with bacteria, and this can make it dangerous, especially if used by many peopleat the same time. Just as we don't share our personal underwear withother people - weshouldn't share our personal cosmetics either.
We usually need a tester when choosing make-up - products we put on our eyes and lips and should not even share with family and friends because of the risk of infection.
7. Which ingredients in cosmetics can harm you
Here we will look at only a few substances for which there are indications that they may harm ourhealth. Unfortunately, some of them may be hidden in the content behind the words "perfume", "fragrance" and the like. In fact, only behind the word "perfume/fragrance" can hide 3,000 different ingredients!
- Phthalates (phthalate, diethylphthalate, DEP) - used in hair spray, nail polish, perfume, Lotion, shampoo, aftershave, food and toy packaging, as well as in many other products. The health effects and danger of exposure to phthalates are not yet fully known, but they are actively studied. For one phthalate, bis (2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP), disrupts endocrine function and can cause cancer. Some phthalates may adversely affect reproductive abilities, as well as development in children. [ref. 3]
- Parabens (paraben) andmethylchloroisothiazolinone , also called MCI (methylchloroisothiazolinone) - are preservatives with antibacterial and antifungal properties. Due to widely discussed in the media suspicions of carcinogenicity of parabens, many manufacturers replaced them with MCI, which is a known sensitising allergen.
- Formaldehyde ( formaldehyde), formalin - it is a carcinogen and can be found in nail hardeners and nail polishes, and some hair smoothing products secrete formaldehyde in the air when heated.
- Bottled hydroxyanisole (butylated hydroxyanisole, BHA) and bottled hydroxytoluene (butylated hydroxytoluene, BHT) - these are preservativescommonly used in lipsticks and moisturizingcosmetics. It is believed that BHA may be acarcinogen , since it has shown such properties in laboratory animals. [ref. 4]
Historically, the use of makeup has also not been at all safe, let's not say that wearing makeup has sometimes been downright deadly!
With this information in mind, we will do a better job of discovering safe and quality beauty products among the thousands on the market and preserving both ourbeautiful appearance and our health.
8. Natural products with proven qualities
The application of herbs and plants in medicine and cosmetics has a long history. They are considered safer and well tolerated, but it is of great importance what othersubstances are present in the product , although it is kept on an herbal orplant basis.
Here we will consider several natural sources of beauty and their application. [ref. 6]
For dry skin
- Coconut oil - an excellent moisturizing and softening agent for the skin. Does not cause side effects and helps prevent protein loss when combing wet hair.
- Sunflower oil - has smoothing properties and is considered non-comedogenic (does not clog pores).
- Aloe - originating in South Africa, the aloe vera plant has fleshy prickly leaves and red or yellow colors. It is an ingredient in many cosmetic products because it strengthens, moisturizes and softens the skin. It is enough to cut off a particle of aloe vera leaves to easily extract the soothing gel found in them.
- Rhodiola rosea- a plant of the Crassulaceae family that grows in cold regions of the world. Its root has long been used in folk medicine in Europe and Asia, to increase the body's resistance to physical stress. It is believedto have antioxidative properties.
- Carrot (Daucus carota) - it is a rich natural source of vitamin A and other essential vitamins. Carrot seed oil has anti-aging properties, as it promotes the formation of new cells and helps reducewrinkles.
- Ginkgo biloba - to strengthen the small capillaries feeding all organs, but especially the brain. Capillaries become more flexible and as a result more oxygen is delivered to the brain and eyes (to protect against degenerative eye diseases such as macular degeneration), which is so important as we get older. Ginkgo biloba also protects the nervous system and fights oxidation.
Treatment of annoying dandruff
- Henna ( henna) - produced by the plant Lawsonia inermis, which contains a dye molecule - gives the color ofhenna.
Skin protection and health
- Green tea - made from camellia sinensisleaves belonging to theTheaceae family. Applied topically or consumed as a drink or dietary supplement, green tea is a good remedy for the skin.
- Calendula officinalis- calendula - calendula is an herb that has been used in folk medicine since ancient times. It is applied toskin problems, acne, eczema, sunburns, cracked lips, cut wounds, varicose veins. It has proven antiseptic, anti-inflammatory and antifungal properties and helps heal wounds.
- St. John's wort (Hypericum perforatum) - the extract of St. John's wort in olive oil is a great remedy for sunburn and thermalburning, as well as for relieving itching when biting a mosquito.
- Amla (Emblica officinalis) - rich in vitamin C, thani and minerals such as phosphorus, iron and calcium, which provide nourishment of hair, but also lead to its darkening.
- Hibiscus - is rich in calcium, phosphorus, iron, vitamin B1, riboflavin, niacin and vitamin C, is used to stimulate denser hair growth and prevents its premature yellowing.
- Almond oil -Prunus dulcis- contains very small amounts of super unsaturatedOmega-3 essential fatty acids. It is very nourishing, softening and strengthening hair. Almond oil also turns out to be a very good cleansing agent. It has been used for many centuries, even before it was distributed as a commercial product.
Bonus: Diet for radiant skin
There are others - environmentally friendly, ways to stay young and beautiful for longer than buying another cream or makeup. This is our way of life and nutrition. This is what to include in our diet for healthy and radiant skin. [ref. 7]
- Dark grapes - as we told you in the article on combating aging [ref. 8], resveratrol may be one of the molecules of long youth.
- Avocados - it is high in beneficial fats and contains vitamins E and C , which are important for healthy skin. It also contains compounds thatcan protect our skin from sun damage.
- Broccoli - a good source of vitamins, minerals and carotenoidsimportant for skinhealth . Contains sulforaphane, which can help prevent skin cancer and protect the skin from sunburn.
- Fish high in fat - oily fish, such as salmon, contain omega-3 fatty acids that can suppress inflammation and keep the skin moistened. They are also a good source of high-quality protein, vitamin E and zinc.
Read more in the article Why omega-3 fatty acids are healthy and what they are used for.
- Sunflower and walnuts - a good source of beneficial fats, zinc, vitamin E, selenium and protein - are all nutrients our skin needs to stay healthy.
- Soya - it contains isoflavons, which have been shown to reduce wrinkles, increase collagen, skin elasticity and respond well to dryness of the skin, as well as protect the skin from damage from the sun's rays.
- Dark chocolate - cocoa contains antioxidants that can protect the skin from sunburns.
- Other skin-beneficial foods and drinks are: tomatoes, green tea, red and yellow peppers, sweet potato, Brazilian walnut (1 per day), hazelnuts, almonds, kiwi, oranges and other fruits rich in vitamin C.
With this information in mind, we will do a better job of discovering safe and quality beauty products among the thousands on the marketand preserving both our beautiful appearance and :)
- Baylor Health Care System. "Food Isn't The Only Thing That Can Expire - Old Makeup Can Harbor Dangerous Bacteria."
- Woman needed medical care after buying fake make-up online. Bbc. 2018
- Herbal Cosmetics: Used for Skin and Hair. Ashish Baldi et al. 2012
- The 12 Best Foods for Healthy Skin. www.healthline.com
- In English: 10 curious facts about aging and how to slow it down
👩 🔬 Rositsa Tashkova-Kacharova has a Bachelor degree in Molecular Biology and a Master's degree in Microbiology and Microbiological Control. She completed her Master's thesis at the University of Nantes, France. At that time she painted a Christmas tree of bacteria and inspired the announcement of the first competition for drawing with microorganisms Agar Art. For 3 years she was the editor of the journal Bulgarian Science and continues to write about science and medicine.