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Holding the Bar High in Natural Body Care

In part 2 of our 3-part series on our Premium Body Care® standards at Whole Foods Market®, you’ll hear about why these strict natural guidelines are important. You’ll also learn about Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, a national coalition of health and environmental groups that are working to eliminate harmful chemicals from personal care products. Stacy Malkan, co-founder and author, sheds light on the pursuit to make personal care safer and greener.

The goals of the Premium Body Care® standards and the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics are complementary.
  • The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics is a national coalition of health and environmental groups, parents, nurses, and faith and labor groups working to eliminate hazardous chemicals from personal care products.
  • They do this by analyzing products, by educating the public about how much we're all being exposed to toxic chemicals on a daily basis, and by working with companies to raise the bar for health and safety.
  • Their goal is to shift the whole cosmetics industry to safe, non-toxic products, and to spur the growth of a vibrant, green, healthy economy.
  • That goal is shared with Whole Foods Market’s Premium Body Care® standards, which are a very practical tool for getting companies to reformulate their products to remove toxic ingredients.
What is the main motivation for encouraging teens, women, and men to use natural body care products?  What makes these standards important, and is there research that shows it really makes a difference?
  • As a teen the expert was prompted to look up the ingredients in her beauty routine. She was shocked to discover that she had been exposing herself to hundreds of chemicals a day.
  • This kind of exposure is typical for the average teenage girl.
  • There is research that shows that these chemicals may get inside the bodies of teenage girls, and that very low doses of hormone disrupting chemicals can impact the body in negative ways.
  • Luckily it is possible to make wonderful products without harmful chemicals.
  • The challenge: consumers have to do the research to find the better products.
  • Whole Foods Market’s Premium Body Care® seal is great because it makes it easy for shoppers to find products that meet a very strong ecological standard.
What does it mean to see a Premium Body Care® Standards label on a product?
  • The products can’t contain problematic chemicals that are commonly found in personal care products. (i.e. synthetic fragrances, parabens, formaldehyde-releasing preservatives, or the whole range of surfactants such as PEG and sodium laureth sulfate that are commonly contaminated.)
  • It’s a very good standard and it has prompted some companies to reformulate their products, so it’s moving the industry in the right direction.
In addition to looking for the Premium Body Care® standards label in Whole Foods Market, how else can we shop for products that are truly “natural?”
  • It can be a very confusing situation for consumers, because the beauty industry is essentially unregulated.  There are no legal standards for words like “natural” “hypo-allergenic” or even “organic” on personal care products.
  • It’s up to consumers to do their own research to find the safest products. The best advice is that simpler is better. Choose products that have fewer ingredients, avoid synthetic fragrances and use fewer products overall.
  • For example, it may be better to buy one high-quality, non-toxic lotion than to buy several conventional lotions for face, hands and body.
  • Check out the free Skin Deep database at www.safecosmetics.org to research products and find the safest alternatives.
  • Also look for the USDA organic seal on personal care products.
  • We also encourage people to look for the Premium Body Care® label at Whole Foods, and if your favorite product doesn’t carry the seal, contact the company and encourage them to reformulate to meet the standards.
  • This sort of consumer activism has a huge impact on getting companies to make healthier choices.
  • Consider joining Campaign for Safe Cosmetic’s action list at safecosmetics.org to keep in touch with the campaign's latest research and to help give the beauty industry a makeover.

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Pamela says …

I noticed this poster in your store about the campaign. Thanks for taking it up, it is nice to know I can worry less about reading labels when I am on your stores.

Frida says …

The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics is doing such good work. I am thrilled to see you two are working together.

Valerie says …

I have always wondered how/why the USDA could allow people to stamp organic or natural on labels when the products contain chemicals which are far from natural.

Lori says …

Good podcast!

Wendy says …

It is really refreshing to come across this podcast and this movement. Thank you for your efforts in raising the bar for natural body care.

Marrie says …

Just joined The Campaign for Safe Cosmetic’s list! Thanks for letting me know about this.

Christy says …

My roomate has your 365 Shower Gel. I admit it, I used it the other night and was really surprised how well I enjoy the fragrance and feel. Guess it is time to by my own :)

Tia says …

It is so important to check labels on these products. Even then there are somethings you just won't find under broad categories such as "fragrances". This is where the trouble can lie. Glad you are making this effort.

Sven says …

Thank you Whole Foods, for working on this cause. I have always enjoyed the stores and watching your 365 brand grow. It is so good to have an affordable body care options that we can afford.

Kiva says …

Thanks for clarifying your standards. I have several 365 products, and really like the lotion!

Tracy says …

It seems like a wise step to add a standard like this to your industry! I have always appreciated you all for your commitment to healthy standards.

Nan says …

Love the 365 products!

Jim says …

I only shop from companies that are part of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics. I found this super moisturizing organic soap bar from a company that is a part of the campaign! http://www.amazon.com/Organic-Hemp-Soothing-Refreshing-Peppermint/dp/B008FS9YS8/