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How clean beauty could be getting a major (political) push


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Photo: Stocksy/BonninStudio

These days, the headlines about political happenings lead to more forehead-smacking than happy-go-lucky, everything’s-okay smiles. (Have you noticed that your news feed can be an emotional eating trigger?) But in shockingly good news, the Personal Care Products Safety Act (PCPSA)—AKA the bill that calls for the regulation of ingredients in beauty products—has just been reintroduced.

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), and the PCPSA aims to change. If enacted, it would give 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.

Though the bill was also (re)introduced last fall by Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California and GOP Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, updates have been made to it that are making supporters much more enthusiastic about it moving through Congress this year.

“The fact that they’re reintroducing it right now means they have a lot of support and it can make waves.”

Why? Basically, the updated bill makes it easier for small businesses—by exempting them from some of the regulations. However, the rules apply no matter what when it comes to lip color, skin care and cosmetics that go on the eye area, anything that’s injected or used internally, and products that “alter the appearance for more than 24 hours.”

And with the revamped bill, bipartisan support is growing—which is key for getting it enacted.

“This is newsworthy because there are supportive measures on both the Republican and Democratic sides,” says Ashley Prange, founder of Au Naturale Cosmetics and one of the leaders of the clean beauty movement. “It’s like physics—both have to introduce the same parallel measure in order for it to be voted on. The fact that they’re reintroducing it right now means they have a lot of support and it can make waves.”

Another bonus is the recent movement to ban 1,4-dioxane (a probable carcinogen), which Sen. Chuck Schumer and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand are both behind—making beauty product ingredients a bigger part of the national conversation right now.

“The more heavy hitters paying attention to consumer health due to personal care products, like Gillibrand, the more support the PCPSA will get,” says Prange. “That’s exactly what needs to happen.”

What can you do? Contact your local representatives and have your say—telling them that you support the Personal Care Products Safety Act. And remind them that clean ingredients (in shampoo, soap, deodorant, makeup, the list goes on…) make for healthy constituents—AKA voters who will definitely have the energy to show up at the polls every. single. election.

To work on your own clean beauty revolution, here’s how to become a better reader of beauty product labels. And these are 6 things you didn’t know about your personal care products but should.