Label Decoder: What to Look for in Natural Beauty Products
Eager to green your look-good routine? Start by perusing boxes and labels for a certification seal from the Natural Products Association or USDA Organic. Either indicates that an independent organization has vetted the company's claims, says Ann Francke, founder of Beautorium.com, an online natural-product shop. Next, give the ingredients list a once-over. These commonly used synthetics have healthful, straight-from-the-earth alternatives.Iffy Ingredient: Paraben
A chemical preservative that may be linked to endocrine disruption (when your hormone levels go haywire).
Purer pick: Sugar or milk enzymes (aka glucose oxidase or lactoperoxidase); both absorb bacteria-causing oxygen.Iffy Ingredient: Sulfates
The sudsy component in cleansers and shampoos that can lead to skin and scalp irritation.
Purer pick: Coconut or sunflower extracts (scan labels for decyl or lauryl glucosides), which gently froth.Iffy Ingredient: Mineral Oil
A heavy moisturizer that can plug up your pores and cause a breakout.
Purer pick: Beeswax has the same hydrating properties as mineral oil sans potential buildup.
Originally published in FITNESS magazine, April 2009.
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