|We get a lot of questions regarding cosmetics. Some of the questions pertain to our products, some don't.
Following are a list of questions and answers that we think you'll find informative.
Question: I've read on the Internet that some cosmetics use preservatives called parabens and
that parabens cause cancer. Is this true?
Answer: Many cosmetics and foods use parabens for preservation. Parabens have been in use since the 1920's
and have a long proven track record for effectiveness and safety. However, between 2002 and 2004
there were a number of papers published in Europe that questioned the safety of parabens and raised the
concern that parabens and underarm cosmetics could be a cause of breast cancer.
News of these papers quickly spread around the Internet and public concern rose. However, a number of
agencies around the world looked into the claims that were made and found many discrepancies in the
original research. Details of the original research and follow up studies can be found in the following
European Commission- Health & Consumer Protection Directorate-General- Extended Opinion on Parabens, Underarm
Cosmetics & Breast Cancer
And from the Food & Drug Administration:
U.S Food and Drug Administration- Parabens
And additional information from the National Cancer Institute:
Antiperspirants/Deodorants and Breast Cancer: Questions and Answers
Sites that continue to write about parabens and breast cancer continue to cite the original papers by
Darbre and Harvey and so this misinformation continues to perpetuate. There are other preservatives that can
be used in cosmetics, however, these other preservatives have not proven to be as effective or versatile as
Until there can be any definitive proof to the contrary, parabens are still the best, most effective way to protect
the consumer from the dangers of unwanted bacteria and micro contamination.
Question: How do I know when my make-up goes bad?
Answer: Cosmetics that are sold both in the United States and Europe are beginning to carry an expiration date
on the packaging. This expiration date is in the form of a symbol that looks like an open jar with a number on it, the
number usually represents months. If this symbol isn't on the packaging the following is the general rule of thumb that
I've used for years:
Mascara- 6 months
Water based foundation- 1 year
Water based skincare- 1 year
Water based haircare- 1 year
Anhydrous foundations (without water)- 2 years
Lipsticks- 2 years
Lipglosses- 2 years
Anhydrous eyeshadow cream- 2 years
Anhydrous blush cream- 2 years
Fragrance 1 to 1-1/2 years
Powder eyeshadow- 2 years
Powder blush- 2 years
Loose powder-2 years
Liquid eyeliner-1 year
Cake eyeliner- 1-1/2 years
These times are figured as the best case. If the product is contaminated by cross use then its functional life
decreases. If the product is 'preservative free' then the functional life is considerably less. The general rule of thumb
is, if it has water in it its good one year past the date that you purchased it; if it doesn't have water in it its generally
good for two years.
Question: My kid wants to wear eyeshadow that has glitter in it, can that be dangerous?
Answer: If the glitter in the eyeshadow is an illegal colorant, it could be dangerous. ILLEGAL COLORANT you
ask? The FDA regulates the colors that we can use in cosmetics. Manufacturers and distributors are supposed to
follow these regulations however this isn't always the case. Before I get too far ahead of myself though, I want to put
up this first link to the FDA website
Color Additives and Cosmetics
Attention should be paid to the last section " What about special effects and novelty use?" specifically point 2
"Composite Colors". In this example they make it clear that an approved colorant bonded to an unapproved color
additive does not a legal pigment make.
The next link lists approved color additives
Color Additives Approved for Use in Cosmetics Parts 73 & 74
The first class of glitters that the consumer should be aware of can be identified by their very large, rough
appearance in the product, coupled with the following ingredient listed on the ingredient declaration- "Polyethylene
Terephthalate". If you look at the approved colorant list you'll note that, that chemical is not listed. Why some
manufacturers choose to use this material is beyond me. However, the consumer should be aware that this material
will most likely be found in products made by small companies and most typically in make-up marketed for children.
In conversations with the FDA, this issue is not in the forefront of issues they are dealing with. So until consumers
begin reporting injuries as a result of these colorants the FDA will rely on the cosmetics industry to police
themselves and do the ethical thing.
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