Since I have been working at Care2, I have read many articles about these things called parabens. In my local health food store, and in magazine ads as well, I have seen claims of things having no parabens. Suddenly, parabens—or the lack thereof—were everywhere.
So what’s the deal? Here’s the full scoop. In short, they are a preservative, and while the FDA has deemed them safe, they have been proven to interfere with hormones and have been linked to breast cancer. Heard enough? Yeah, me too.
Now six months ago I might not have even taken notice, to be honest. I admittedly have been cavalier in the past about things like that. But ever since my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer, well, I take these things a little more seriously.
The insidious thing about parabens is that they are in just about everything: Lotions, soap, conditioner, shaving gel—even toothpaste.
So what’s a girl to do? I consider myself fairly low-maintenance (I don’t use any hairspray or mousse or anything, and my makeup is limited to mascara, powder and lip balm) and I’ve always tended toward the more natural beauty products anyway, mostly because I’m not fond of the perfume-y smell of a lot of the more mainstream stuff. Still, after I learned more about parabens and started going through my stuff I was shocked to find that at least half of it had parabens in it. And it wasn’t necessarily in the things I thought it would be.
My toothpaste was spared, as it was Tom’s of Maine brand and paraben-free. I was shocked to discover that my beloved Rosemary Mint shampoo and lotion from Aveda (a company known for its Earth-friendly mission) has parabens, but the conditioner does not. And my Dove deodorant, which has been my favorite for years but I figured would not pass the test, was fine. The pricey Bliss High Intensity Hand Cream that I adore, sadly, had to go because it is chock full of parabens.
So, let this be a lesson to me: Don’t judge a beauty product by its recyclable packaging or its high price. When it comes to Aveda, I definitely will choose its products on a case-by-case basis from now on. Which reminds me, I need to take a cue from fellow Care2 blogger Green Girl and get Aveda’s mascara, sans petroleum distillates, polyethylene, propylparaben and phenoxyethanol.
It was slightly painful to throw away all that expensive stuff, but the joy of replacing it with something that won’t give me cancer was well worth it. (By the way, Whole Foods has a whole line of store-brand shampoos and conditioners and lotions that are 100 percent paraben-free, and one of them is Herbal Mint, which makes me and my hair very happy.)
And as soon as my mom’s hair grows back (she’s just finished chemo), I am totally going to replace all of her shampoo with paraben-free stuff too.
Saving the Earth one beauty product at a time.