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clean beauty
Photo: Manu Camargo/Unsplash

Big news this week in clean beauty: The US Senate will hold a hearing Thursday, September 22, on the Personal Care Products Safety Act, the first attempt at regulating beauty products since 1938. (We’ll raise a matcha mug to that!)

The hearing on the bill—introduced by Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California and GOP Sen. Susan Collins of Maine (let’s hear it for bipartisan sisterhood)—will explore the the safety (or lack thereof) of current practices in cosmetics industry.

1,300 toxic ingredients are banned from beauty products in Europe, but only 11 are banned in the US. The Personal Care Products Safety Act aims to change that.

If you are a regular W+G reader, you probably know that regulation in the realm of personal care products is virtually nonexistent. For example, 1,300 toxic ingredients are banned from beauty products in Europe, but only 11 are banned in the US.

The Personal Care Products Safety Act aims to change that by giving the Food and Drug Administration broader oversight, including the authority to recall products with dangerous ingredients—and a requirement that companies disclose “serious” adverse health effects from their products.

“The purpose of the hearing is for the HELP (Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions) Committee to understand more about the bill before they consider pushing it forward,” says Ashley Prange, founder of Au Naturale Cosmetics and one of the leaders of the clean beauty movement, who will be in attendance on Thursday.

Why are we paying special attention to this meeting? “The bill has to get past committee in order for the entire Senate to vote on its passage,” says Prange.  “If it sits in committee, it will fail to move forward into a law.”

“The bill has to get past committee in order for the entire Senate to vote on its passage. If it sits in committee, it will fail to move forward into a law.”

Feinstein and Collins will be speaking on the panel, as well as Beth Jonas, Ph.D (chief scientist of the Personal Care Products Council); Wilma Bergfeld, MD (a senior dermatologist at the Cleveland Clinic); Scott Faber, senior vice president of government affairs for EWG (Environmental Working Group); and Curran Dandurand, CEO and co-founder of Jack Black, a men’s skin care line.

You can livestream the hearing here (it begins at 10 a.m. on Thursday). Or, if you’re interested in helping push this through Congress and making sure the Food and Drug Administration watches out for what chemicals are in our beauty products (I know we are!), here’s what to do:

Voice your concerns. Call or email the HELP Committee handling this hearing: [email protected], (202) 224-5375. Urge them to please do something to help make cosmetics safe in the US, or tell them that you support the efforts of S. 1014 (the PCPSA).

Reach out to lawmakers. At the bottom of this page is a list of committee members. When you click on your local representative’s name, you’ll be taken to their page with contact information—fill out the form with your support and help them further move the needle in terms of the hearing’s outcome.

Our fingers (which are moisturized with non-toxic body butter and painted in 5-free nail polish) are crossed that this major regulation gains some traction, so the world of beauty products is safer for all.

Speaking of clean beauty, here are six things you might not know about your beauty products (but should). Looking to increase your arsenal of natural skin care and cosmetics? Check out these 11 essential online beauty shops for natural products