Whole Story

The Official Whole Foods Market® Blog

Holding the Bar High in Natural Body Care

By Chris Jensen, April 13, 2010  |  Meet the Blogger  |  More Posts by Chris Jensen
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.




Cindy says ...
That's right Hold that Bar High- Someone has to do it and you can leverage your buying power to influence your suppliers!
05/03/2010 4:04:53 PM CDT
Pam says ...
Skin care is very important especially as we approach the summer and sun season. What you put on your skin can go right into your blood stream, so I agree with the steps you are taking.
04/19/2010 8:49:51 PM CDT
Angie says ...
I think it is a wonder effort you all are putting forth to create some sort of industry standard.
04/19/2010 8:55:50 AM CDT
Kia says ...
Cool campaign thanks for making it happen!
04/19/2010 8:27:22 PM CDT
Deann says ...
This is great! I wish and hope that some of the big companies like Proctor Gamble will be influenced by this movement. I would also like to see more baby products which are affordable and meet the standard. It is one of the biggest expenses for a new parent.
04/19/2010 8:25:06 PM CDT
Carina says ...
The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics is a great movement. I appreciate you all sharing them with your audience.
04/19/2010 8:43:24 PM CDT
Linda says ...
I wonder if there is any chance that USDA will adopt this standard. If would be great for it to be used across the body care world.
04/19/2010 8:35:00 PM CDT
Jill says ...
The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics is truly incredible! I am impressed with how many people have signed their pledge. Thanks for sharing them with us.
04/23/2010 5:43:14 AM CDT
Molly says ...
Very cool podcast! Thanks to Green Girl for letting me know about this!
04/23/2010 5:38:20 AM CDT
Katie says ...
I feel like you are going to have much more of an impact on influencing companies to change their products then the public can. So I am excited you are making this happen.
04/23/2010 5:26:09 AM CDT
Hillary says ...
Scary to read about hormones affecting teenage girls. It makes sense that what you put on your skin will get inside your blood stream.
04/25/2010 4:21:26 PM CDT
Bobbi says ...
Thanks for Holding the Bar High!
04/25/2010 4:32:40 PM CDT
Beth says ...
Good info. I would like to see a list of products/brands that don't make the cut.
04/25/2010 5:44:15 PM CDT
Mary says ...
She seems nice, but I didn't really gain anything from that podcast.
04/18/2010 6:53:19 PM CDT
Bo says ...
It seems that chemicals used in the growing of herbs used in skin care would directly transfer.
04/19/2010 11:18:35 AM CDT
Paula says ...
Good podcast. I have been enjoying the 365 line.
04/22/2010 8:11:25 PM CDT
Cyndi says ...
It makes sense to me that the smells that come from many body cares are from bad sources.
04/22/2010 8:30:13 PM CDT
Mandy says ...
I have been seeing this topic up on the web a lot lately. Seems like you all are doing great work here.
04/23/2010 5:15:43 AM CDT
Arin says ...
Thanks for providing the info in this. I wold like to see the list of ingredient so I know what to look out for.
04/23/2010 5:13:04 AM CDT
John says ...
I just came across this series, good work. I know my wife talks a lot about this subject and I agree, the value of natural bodycare products is vital for health.
04/23/2010 9:03:53 AM CDT
Cindy says ...
Thanks for making a stand here! It blows my mind that seemingly any brand can claim to be "Natural" and the amount of useless crap they put in products is silly.
04/24/2010 11:15:44 AM CDT
Uma says ...
I came across this series through Green Girl, and I have also seen a buzz about the topic over the last 2 weeks. I am proud to know that a store I support supports good work like this. Keep it up and thank you.
04/25/2010 8:36:42 AM CDT
Pierre says ...
Thanks to Whole Foods for making this effort! You have so many good products in your stores, I am surprised to find out perhaps some of them don't actually meet this standard. Either way I believe they are well ahead of the curve of most conventional stores.
04/29/2010 1:59:36 PM CDT
Bailey says ...
Love this piece on natural body care and the amazing selection of natural body care products at the UWS whole foods. check out some of my natural body care product reviews on my blog. bailey nyc
04/14/2010 7:23:27 PM CDT
Lora says ...
I checked out the Campaign for Safe C. website. Super cool. Glad to see so many companies committed towards this movement!
04/19/2010 8:59:06 AM CDT