It takes me forever to choose new shampoo, makeup, or, really, any product that I don’t make.  I research and research and research…ingredients, product reviews, toxicity ratings. etc.  Cosmetics are certainly not an impulse buy for me anymore!

Does it really matter, though?  At the end of the day does all the time I put into researching a new product really matter?

For me, the answer is YES!

You see, I heard the word “cancer” way too many times during my college and graduate school years.  Seven times that word left me feeling scared and speechless.  That painful word has the power to knock the breath right out of you.  In those six years my dad, 4 grandparents, and two aunts were diagnosed with a variety of cancers.  Seven family members in 6 years!

I sat with my family in quite a few waiting rooms during those years, praying and waiting for the doctors to come out with answers.  Did the tumor spread?  Were they able to remove all the cancerous cells?  What happens next?

Chemotherapy, radiation treatments, and surgeries became regular topics of conversation.

And more praying.  There was lots of praying.

Praise God that most of my family is doing well now, but in heartbreak we wait to see my aunt and grandpa once again.

I remember the day my mom told me my Aunt Jen’s prognosis was 7-10 years.  I walked around in a complete fog that day, baffled by those words.  WHAT???  Jen was in her mid-30s and had 2 children.  How could she be gone in 7-10 years?

Two years later we lost Aunt Jen to breast cancer.  Two years.  We were all heartbroken.

Then two years later my Grandpa Butler joined Jen in Heaven.  It was unreal.  It still doesn’t feel real.  It was all too much to handle.

It was a heartbreaking and frustrating time.  I felt helpless, and a bit vulnerable.  Let’s face it, a family history like mine is really scary when looking at your own future!

I found comfort in switching to (and eventually creating) nontoxic cosmetics.  When I learned about the harmful chemicals in mainstream personal care products all I could think of was cleaning out my body.  I felt empowered by doing something, anything, that could possibly decrease my chances of cancer.

It’s alarming what manufacturers can legally put in your makeup or lotion.  There are over 1,000 substances banned from personal care products in Europe due to health and safety concerns.  However, the United States only prohibits the use of 8 ingredients.  WHAT???  It’s even scarier the effects those harmful ingredients can have on our bodies.

I highlighted these harmful ingredients in a previous article, so you can read about them in more detail here.  Some of those ingredients can mimic estrogens in the body, which can cause fertility problems.  Other ingredients (or their byproducts) have been linked to cancer, asthma, immune system disruptions, and other health concerns.

So, what do you think?   Do ingredients really matter?

Amanda Joy