• Nicole Salter

Product Recalls, Toxic Beauty and a Ray of Hope on The Horizon

There is a reason I severely limit my consumption of news. Yes, i could be better-informed, but the price of information seems to be pessimism. I rarely get up from the computer without the dismal feeling, expressed by aging people everywhere since time immemorial, that the world is going to hell in a handbasket. After all, when the Premier's daughter is opening a cookie shop with the initials KKK amid soaring unemployment, Britney Spears is legit enslaved, and I still can't get a haircut, there isn't much to be hopeful about some days!


However, we do have to stay informed because knowledge (from reputable sources) is power, which brings me to a couple of items that may be of interest to consumers of natural personal care products.


Toxic Chemicals Found in Cosmetics

This is not really a surprise to all you paraben-and-surfactant savvy folks, but there's a new chemical on the block: PFAS. Found in beauty products like mascara, foundation and lipstick, the PFAS group of chemicals is related to Teflon, the substance that keeps your scrambled eggs from sticking to the pan. PFAS have been linked to some really nasty diseases like cancer, liver disease and, you guessed it, endocrine disruption. Because such products are overwhelmingly used by women, this is of special concern because of the negative effect on fertility.



While no one really thought it was all natural ingredients that made your lashes 4x, the serious nature of the health concerns surrounding these dangerous chemicals is not disclosed on packaging. In fact, the overwhelming majority of labels tested did not even mention their use in the product, so consumers cannot make informed choices.


You can read more about this discovery and response here on CNN Health. So what's a person to do to look beautiful without the risks? More and more stores are carrying natural beauty brands, but the easiest route may be an online search to get beauty delivered. Look for brands that are certified organic - because such brands meet rigorous testing standards and are far more likely to be ethical in other, non-mandated ways, such as not taking advantage of lax laws and using toxic compounds to save money.


When buying name brands, especially celebrity brands, buy directly from the manufacturer or a known beauty retailer website like Sephora; never buy from sites that offer huge discounts on sold-out and coveted makeup. We've all seen the TikToks with people's lips glued together because of unscrupulous manufacturers using Gorilla Glue for that lip smacking shine.


Hand Sanitizer Recalls

We've all been loading up on the hand san lately. Pre-pandemic, we sold a product called Purify Me, Kerr - a hand cleanser, not sanitizer, that refreshed hands with antibacterial, antimicrobial essential oils and witch hazel for when you wanted a fresh feeling without a sink. The idea is that alcohol-based hand sanitizers take a scorched earth approach to the bacteria that naturally populates our skin, killing both good and bad and potentially making us even more vulnerable in the long term.


Of course, the pandemic caused a crackdown on anything that wasn't proven to kill viruses on contact - makes sense - resulting in Etsy de-listing our product so that consumers wouldn't be confused about its claims. But now we've heard that 18 more commercial hand sanitizer brands have been recalled by Health Canada for "impurities" and chemicals which have the potential to cause everything from dizziness to respiratory irritation to dermatitis. The list of recalled sanitizers is nearing triple digits now and it's not because they're too gentle! You can read about the recalled hand sanitizer brands here on the CTV News website.


When you're out and about, it's safety first, which may include using that pump at the front of every store and public building. But when you're at home, try using good old fashioned soap and water. Sure, it's slower, but a natural soap bar or liquid castile based hand soap will leave your skin in better condition.



Is There Any Good News?

Always. The great thing about all this news is that issues are coming to the forefront that should have a very, very long time ago - and often did, but were ignored by mainstream media and social media alike. Our only challenge is to choose what we dedicate our precious time and attention to, in a saturated world.


If you need me, I'll be lining up outside the nail salon. Happy Pride, Happy Canada Day, and Happy Last Day of School...here's to an awesome summer.


xo Nicole

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