How many chemicals are you wearing today?


As Australian women become increasing spoilt for choice over which brand of beauty products they wish to try out, ‘natural’ and ‘organic’ can seem a blurred definition on the labels of the cosmetics we use. With more department stores filling up their shelves with naturally labelled products, a term that has no specifically defined standards, it can be hard to know which ingredients we should be avoiding and which ones are good for our skin.

Makeup experts now recognise the importance of knowing what is in beauty products.

Makeup artist and designer, Molly Dunkle, is joining Australia’s rapidly growing beauty market and launching her own range of lipstick and foundation in Brisbane.

Miss Dunkle’s passion for natural beauty products started at the age of 12 when she started making lip balms from pure and organic ingredients and now she is transforming her interest into a make-up career.

For over a decade Miss Dunkle has been designing natural make-up and performing her artistry make-up skills on various clients through her company Dunkle Authentic. Following the philosophy of keeping it simple, Miss Dunkle wants to diminish the “eerie” feeling of not knowing what is in the make-up we use.

Miss Dunkle believes it is best to use products with the least amount of ingredients to avoid unwanted chemicals.

“There are some products that are filled with chemicals but they may say they have extracts which sounds natural.

“There is a big misconception that some brands are safe and some are not but I say go for the simpler option,” she said.

Miss Dunkle designs her cosmetics with fewer than 10 ingredients compared to the astounding 40 ingredients many products contain on the market.

But what is so bad about unwanted chemicals?

The Director of Aesthetic Education, Heddy Macaulay, said organic no longer applies only to our shopping trolleys. Research in the US found 10,500 industrial chemicals were used in cosmetic ingredients, including pesticides and endocrine disruptors.

Ms Macaulay explains that instead of using these chemicals, organic and natural cosmetics nourish, hydrate and protect our skin against this free radical damage.

“There is a minimum of 250 chemicals put on the skin every day, and 60-70% of everything put on the skin is absorbed into the bloodstream and into our organs,” she said.

“Unfortunately there is little to no regulation regarding the testing of ingredients used.

“More and more people are now concerned with sensitivity and this could be due to external environment, internal issues or using the wrong, and in most cases, harsh products on the skin.”

With minimal guidelines to follow as to what goes into our cosmetics it can be heard to determine what is causing our skin to react to a product, experts say.

Despite the vitality of following a good skin regime in order to accomplish a healthy complexion, a damaging chemical could do more harm than good.

As cosmetics brands recognise a higher demand for natural and organic products, it seems these undefined terms are thrown onto the promotion of many products that we, in fact, should be avoiding.

With the amount of chemicals being put in them it is important to know how to make an educated decision when it comes to choosing the right cosmetics for our bodies.

However, when it is recommend to use a product that has no synthetics, is not tested on animals, includes no petrochemicals, parabens, talc and no genetically modified ingredients, it can be an overwhelming amount to remember.

Luckily for us our experts have made it simple to ensure we make a safe decision when purchasing a skin-caring product.

Ms Macaulay said to look for a certified logo on beauty products to ensure you are buying the best for your skin.

“Our own Australian Organic (green bud) certifies products that do not use synthetic colouring agents and fragrances, ethoxylated ingredients, silicones, paraffin and petroleum products.

“Not all consumers link pollution with personal care products and sadly some known pollutants can be found in skin products,” she said.

Lauren Jade Veiling, the creator of Velbella Airbrush Makeup, has already taken the reins of success with natural make-up. She recommends that consumers read the label before buying a beauty product.

“Chemicals are used in most products. It needs to be labelled Australia Certified Organic (ACO), Organic Food Chain (OFC) or The National Association for Sustainable Agriculture, Australia (NASSA), she said. “It’s important to look great but also make sure you’re not using something that is harmful to your skin or your body.”

In spite of the daunting concept of not knowing what is being put in to our cosmetics, savvy Australian’s have been challenging the beauty industry and demanding more organic products.

With hundreds of women abandoning their old chemically filled beauty products and shifting towards new natural brands, a greater number of companies are jumping on board the organic approach.

Ms Veiling says she sees women asking for more organic products every day.

“I think it’s important that people are educated about the products they put on their skin as they should about the food they eat.

“There are so many chemicals in everyday products and we know from research that these can cause many different harmful side effects,” she said.

And just when we thought we were experts in make-up, we are reminded to ensure our brushes are safe too.

With chemically based brush cleaners penetrating our skin, the outbreak of bad skin can start all over again.

“I always like to encourage people to remember that beauty brands will only supply what demand dictates,” Ms Macaulay said.

“If you look after your skin, it will look after you.”

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