Malavara in the US - thoughts on the Congressional Crackdown on Cosmetics

Malavara in the US - thoughts on the Congressional Crackdown on Cosmetics

Imagine being ten years old and your hair suddenly starts falling out – because you washed it. Doesn’t make sense? It might – if you understand what you’re washing your hair with. That’s what happened to Eliana Lawrence, a ten-year-old with bright red hair that fell out after using a particular shampoo.

This incident was the catalyst that eventually sparked US Senators Diane Feinstein and Susan Collins into action to draft the path-breaking Personal Care Products Safety Act and work toward getting it passed by Congress – a bill that will revolutionize the US cosmetics and personal care & hygiene industry.

Cosmetic Clean Up… Or A Thorough Overhaul?

It’s ironic. When one uses a personal care product like a shampoo or soap in the name of better hygiene – who would imagine that you’re potentially slathering yourself in chemicals that might do a lot more harm to you than a little sweat and dirt? That’s why the Feinstein-Collins Bill that is about to be passed by Congress, is epic. For the first time in over 75 years, there’s been a major crack-down on the cosmetics industries’ unregulated use of chemicals in their products. The Feinstein-Collins bill will now empower the FDA to test the safety of various ingredients and require cosmetics manufacturers to disclose the substances that they’re putting in them. It also gives the FDA the leeway to recall a harmful product after it’s hit the shelf.

The Ugly Truth:

The fact is that several mainstream products from large cosmetic companies continue to make liberal use of chemical such as parabens and phthalates. Many off the shelf products, including hair products, contain ingredients like Propylparaben and Isobutane.

What’s more sinister is that according to Good News Network, these cosmetic manufacturers currently have no legal obligation in the US to report health problems from their products and they don’t need to prove the products’ safety before they are sold in stores.

As Kourtney Kadarshian rightly says, when you walk into your local pharmacy looking for a shampoo or soap or conditioner,  “you shouldn’t have to walk around aimlessly asking ‘Is this okay?’ ‘Is this not okay?”. After all, if it’s NOT OK to use, why is it even on the shelf?

Why are these chemicals bad for you?

Your skin is your largest organ. Everything that gets absorbed by it has an impact on your body. Parabens and phthalates can have a marked and lifelong impact on your body as they disrupt the normal functioning of your hormones and the endocrine system. These can lead to lifestyle diseases, including cancer. In Europe and Canada, the rules are far stricter, and almost 1400 ingredients are completely banned from being used in cosmetics.

Don’t detox with toxins:

Aromatherapy is an age-old science to enhance your state of wellbeing, but it’s effects are counterproductive when the therapeutic effect is imparted by a chemical phthalate a.k.a. Fragrance, rather than a natural, essential oil. It doesn’t make sense to “detox” with a toxin, does it?

According to watchdog organization Campaign for Safe Cosmetics:

“Women use an average of 12 personal care products per day, exposing themselves to 168 unique chemical ingredients — not counting the dozens of often toxic yet undisclosed chemicals in fragrance.  Unsafe exposures from personal care products add to our daily dose of hazardous chemicals from air, water, food and other consumer products.”

Not only are such ingredients unsuitable for long-term use on your hair and scalp, they also impact the rest of your body as they build up over time. In fact, the head and neck region contain several critical glands and endocrine pathways, such as the pituitary gland, the hypothalamus, the thyroid and the HPA axis, that are critical to regulate the flow of estrogen and progesterone in the body.

Is it better to use a naturally-derived product?

Absolutely. Products that use natural ingredients are far safer for your health. They do not have any long-lasting adverse effects and can be safely applied onto your skin and your scalp. The trouble is, that due to a lack of regulation, claims such as “naturally-derived” or “organic” can be made without any verification or compliance requirements.

For products registered and sold in the European Union, however, such as our Ayurveda-based brand Malavara's Hair and Body range, regulation and compliance is extremely stringent and no harmful or toxic ingredients are allowed in formulations.

An article on Goodnewsnetwork.org’s website reveals, “In a recent study, the levels of potentially hormone-disrupting chemicals in the bodies of teenage girls plunged in just three days after they stopped using certain cosmetic products, shampoos and soaps that contained phthalates and parabens, according to Kim Harley, Ph.D., a researcher with the Center for Environmental Research and Children’s Health at the University of California – Berkeley.”

Is Hair Dye a Grey Area?

Not really. Hair colour and hair dye has a whole different host of chemicals that make your hair look like a laboratory under a microscope! (Not to mention brittle and dry over time). If you’re allergic to hair dye (and many people are) it can have a terrible reaction, causing blisters, redness, rashes and lead to a whole lot of complications

If your goal is to cover up those grey hairs, isn’t it better to go natural? Use a high-grade oil that helps to retain the colour and texture of your hair naturally. Malavara’s Ultra Luxuriant Hair Elixir is a blend of Coconut, Sweet Almond, Moringa and Sesame oils is ideal for this. It’s a well documented fact that coconut oil in particular, helps to retain the pigment of your hair well into old age.

The Personal Care Products Safety Act (read about it here) that is being pushed in Congress by Senators Feinstein and Collins is a giant leap in the right direction – one which we hope sees no turning back. After all, personal care shouldn’t mean bodily harm, should it?

Ready to Switch to Green and Clean?

If you're looking for vegan, naturally-derived and sustainably-sourced hair and body care that's EU registered, marine-friendly, bio-degradable and free of parabens, sulfates, silicones, mineral oils, phthalates and artificial dyes, check out the Malavara range below. 

The Ultra Luxuriant Hair Elixir - A Pre-Shampoo Hair Oil Treatment:

Undo the stripping effects of washing, coloring and styling, by oiling, massaging and wrapping. It’s hair care - Ayurveda style.

The Ultra Luxuriant Hair Elixir         Lime Vetiver Dry Silk Body Oil:

A spray-on, silky-light blend of nutrient-rich Moringa and Apricot kernel oils for replenished, nourished skin that turns heads and smells amazing.

Lime Vetiver Dry Silk Body Oil

Lime Vetiver Body and Hand Wash:

A non-stripping, gentle cleanser that hydrates and conditions with plant-oil humectants and an elixir of fragrant essential oils

Lime Vetiver Body and Hand Wash

Lime Vetiver Body and Hand Lotion:

Heal, hydrate and soften your skin naturally with creamy Kokum butter and juicy Aloe Vera, blended with an elixir of fragrant essential oils to make you smell as good as you feel as good as you look.

Lime Vetiver Body and Hand Lotion

Happy July 4th - it's truly time to celebrate! 



Tejal Ramnathkar Engman is the co-founder of Malavara. Having left India at 17, she has come full circle to her herb-mixing granny's Ayurvedic beauty traditions. Tejal lives in Washington, DC, and her new year's resolution is to squeeze more hot yoga into a schedule that is currently consumed by a rambunctious 4-year-old, a day job in real estate, and her passion, Malavara.

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