The whack psuedo-science of cosmetics has always really irked me. You know, the shampoo commercials that promise to infuse your hair with "strengthening protein" while animated DNA strands swirl into sexy, swishy locks? This is what my shampoo tells me, irritatingly, while I read the back of the bottle in the shower: "I'll fight for your right to smooth hair with my nourishing formula with anti-frizz potion fused with mandarin balm & pearls." And my conditioner says its "fused with pearls and coco mango." Coco mango? Pearls? Potions? WTF? They are not even being discreet about making up ingredients.

And then all of a sudden locally-made feminist mag Bitch this month has an article about how shampoo psuedo-science isn't just bunk, it's downright dangerous. It frames the lack of regulations on cosmetic ingredients as a women's health issue, one that's being ignored by the FDA. Check it out:

Makeup menaces are nothing new: Some Elizabethan enchantresses died for their love of white lead-laced face powder, and Victorian vamps used deadly nightshade to lend their eyes an alluring glow. But today, when a $50-billion cosmetics industry has replaced apothecaries and home brewers, we expect the FDA to protect the public from dangerous beauty aids. Yet while its name might lead us to think otherwise, the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act gives the FDA far more regulatory power over food additives and drugs than over cosmetics; the agency isn't authorized to approve cosmetic products or ingredients before they hit the shelves.

Which means that shampoo, mascara, deodorant can all contain shit like mercury and carcinogens. In a study done on lipstick last year, the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics found that one-third of lipsticks they analyzed had more lead in them than is allowed in candy.


Of course, Bitch points out that the cosmetic companies have found a great way to make money off the potentially lethal qualities of some of their products: by making ritzy OrganicNaturalEcoGreenSustainable shampoo, etc, that promises to totally not kill you. But seriously, it's ridiculous that I have to choose between buying either a deodorant that probably gives me cancer or one that's made of basically moss.