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My Own Personal Matrix

by TheEcoDiva on May 30, 2009

Why Do You Do This?
The question that I’ve been asked the most lately is “why do you do this?”. {This meaning spending so much time researching, interviewing people and talking about organic products.} That’s a fair question and one that got me thinking about the deeper answer.

The obvious answers are health, the environment, our future. But the truth is, the answer is a bit more complicated. There is no fat paycheck arriving in my mailbox each week that keeps my fingers tapping these keys. In fact, I don’t know if I’ll ever make any significant income from this (but if I do, that would be icing on the organic cake and help me get the message out loud and proud!).

According to Active ingredients used in cosmetics: safety survey (2008) “Ingredients are used in cosmetics to give them specific properties. Certain ingredients, so called active ingredients, may produce pharmacological or toxic effects under certain conditions. Cosmetic products containing such ingredients may pose a health risk both because of their potential toxicity and because they may mask underlying serious diseases and consequently cause a dangerous delay in diagnosis and treatment.”

My Own Personal Matrix
By now, I think we’ve all at least heard of the movie Matrix with Keanu Reeves and Laurence Fishburn. I’ve only ever seen the first movie where the Matrix is introduced. You know that famous scene where Fishburn’s character is offering Keanu the choice of taking a little pill that would change everything forever, or taking another pill that would return him to pleasant life as he knew it. Fishburn’s character makes sure Keanu understands that once he takes the “truth revealing” pill, there is no going back to daily life and that he will “never see anything the same way again.”

When Neo, Reeve’s characeter asks, “What is the Matrix?”, Fishburne answers…”The matrix is the world that has been pulled over your eyes that protects you from the truth!” This is the line..this is the one line runs through my mind each time I see an add for Loreal, Revlon and any other mainstream cosmetics line. Each time one of these ads promises to plump, make something glow, or beautify women all over the world, I feel as if they are hoping that their target audience has not taken the other pill…the one where they don’t to see the actual truth….they don’t READ THE LABEL and learn about it.

What is the Truth?
The truth is something that can be very personal and relative to each individual. I think we all, as humans love to believe that the government, FDA and the companies actually creating beauty products share a common truth have the greater good for humanity and health in mind. “They wouldn’t create something that would hurt us!”, and “Isn’t it FDA approved?” are the most common lines of thinking when it comes to extent of the reflecting on possible toxins in our beauty regimen.

Since I chose to take the ‘Matrix exposing pill’ I haven’t been able to see the world in quite the same way. After spending over a decade working in and managing beauty salons I knew intuitively and physically that the smells were not good for us. I just didn’t know how bad they were.

How Bad Are They?
We all like to think that the FDA is there to protect us and put strict guidelines in place to force companies to only use ingredients that have been thoroughly tested. The truth is, those guidelines are not as strong as they should be. One glaring example of the lack of control is a simple comparison of known toxic ingredients including lead and talc (a relative of asbestos) banned from use in the United States versus Europe.

According to the Environmental Working Group “…unlike for drugs and food additives, FDA has no authority to require that cosmetics be tested for safety before they are sold. An industry-funded panel (the CIR), not a government health agency, reviews the safety of cosmetic ingredients in the U.S. Our research shows that this largely self-regulated industry routinely fails to adhere to their own safety panel’s advice or to heed the health warnings inherent in cosmetic safety standards set in other countries.

More than 750 personal care products sold in the U.S. violate industry safety standards or cosmetic safety standards in other industrialized countries.”

I Thought We Were Worth It?
Did you know that Europe has tested and banned over 1200 ingredients for use in cosmetics. Let’s compare that to the FDA who has banned around 10!!! The truth is that FDA will only get involved in a situation if the product has been known to cause obvious harm to a person. The problem with this outlook is that most toxins have a slow trickle affect on a person. You may notice a rash or dry skin or hair and not even relate it to the product you are using.

What Can I DO?
You do have options. The organic cosmetics market has more than tripled over the last 5 years. The products are actually good, very good. You don’t have to go naked and barefoot to go green anymore. You can be your gorgeous self and still use beauty products that are not causing harm.

Here is a resource that can help in wading through the beauty aisle – Here you can look up the safety rating of products as well as individual ingredients. This isn’t just about looking good, it’s about living a long healthy life not filled with illness and disease.

Your Turn!!!
What are your thoughts? Do you agree, disagree, think I’m full of it? I’d love to hear from you.

Signing off…

{Makeup – lo83}

{Makeup Collage – Jacklyn DL}

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{Ask The EcoDiva} 10 Cosmetic Ingredients to Avoid
December 3, 2009 at 3:21 pm


Annaliese xx May 31, 2009 at 3:54 am

Hello EcoDiva! Guess who the lucky girl is for the Nilla Nilla Pout Balm Giveaway on the Curious Little Oyster Blog!?!?

That’s right – You!

Check out

Congratulations and let me know what flavour you would like sent out to you : )

GeminiWisdom May 31, 2009 at 11:11 am

The first book in my YA series deals with a 16 yr old girl trying to stop a chemist who’s peddling his contaminated products to a high class spa.

Reading your post reminded me of the research I did regarding the FDA. It’s a little disheartning that they don’t take a more active role in the skin care industry. And the fact that the Europeans are doing it better than us.

I’m glad you have this blog and I’m glad I FOUND your blog. Thank you for doing what you do.

The EcoDiva May 31, 2009 at 8:51 pm

Annaliese, Thank you so much. I love lip balm and making it organic and beautiful is a cherry on the organic cake ;) . I just e-mailed you my shipping address and I chose the Minty flavor ;)


The EcoDiva May 31, 2009 at 8:53 pm

GeminiWisdom, I agree, it’s completely disheartening to see the lack of controls in such a HUGE industry. I’d love to read the book you mentioned.

I am thrilled to see so many “green teen” programs coming to the forefront. I can really see and feel how close we are to the next generation taking this movement to heart. The FDA and the product makers are going to HAVE TO LISTEN!

Thank you so much for the kind words…this feedback really keeps me going.


HorseJumper12341 June 3, 2009 at 2:03 pm

The idea that the FDA is knowingly allowing cosmetic products, that could be potentially harmful to our health, to continue to be circulated and sold is unnerving. I did not realize that they did not regulate cosmetic products the way they should be. I certainly agree that something should be done about this, whether it means complaining to the FDA directly, or though the US government.

Thanks for sharing! I am definitely much more aware about this topic now,and your article has sparked some interest, I may just have to go do some research on my own!

sj June 4, 2009 at 7:52 pm

Eye opening! What a great post. I too have some more research to do.


S June 4, 2009 at 10:31 pm

WOW EcoDiva! This is one of the best explanations I have ever read about why we do what we do and I have never heard it compared to the Matrix movie, but what a great way to explain it! Awesome post…so well written….keep up the great work girl!! xoxo

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