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Not Just a Pretty Face: The Ugly Side of the Beauty Industry Paperback – November 1, 2007

57 customer reviews

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Not Just a Pretty Face: The Ugly Side of the Beauty Industry + No More Dirty Looks: The Truth about Your Beauty Products--and the Ultimate Guide to Safe and Clean Cosmetics
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Editorial Reviews

Review

Lead in lipstick? 1,4 dioxane in baby soap? Coal tar in shampoo? How is this possible?

Simple. The $35 billion cosmetics industry is so powerful that they've kept themselves unregulated for decades.

Not one cosmetic product has to be approved by the US Food and Drug Administration before hitting the market. Incredible? Consider this:

  • The European Union has banned more than 1,100 chemicals from cosmetics. The United States has banned just 10.
  • Only 11% of chemicals used in cosmetics in the US have been assessed for health and safety – leaving a staggering 89% with unknown or undisclosed effects.
  • More than 70% of all personal care products may contain phthalates, which are linked to birth defects and infertility.
  • Many baby soaps are contaminated with the cancer-causing chemical 1,4 dioxane.

It's not just women who are affected by this chemists' brew. Shampoo, deodorant, face lotion and other products used daily by men, women and children contain hazardous chemicals that the industry claims are .within acceptable limits.. But there's nothing acceptable about daily multiple exposures to carcinogenic chemicals-from products that are supposed to make us feel healthy and beautiful.

.IPPYNot Just a Pretty Face delves deeply into the dark side of the beauty industry, and looks to hopeful solutions for a healthier future. This scathing investigation peels away less-than-lovely layers to expose an industry in dire need of an extreme makeover.

15 percent of the purchase price of each book sold benefits the national Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, administered by the Breast Cancer Fund, through December 31, 2012.

(2007-04-20)

About the Author

Stacy Malkan is communications director of Health Care Without Harm, and a media strategist and cofounding member of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, a national coalition working to eliminate hazardous chemicals from personal care products. Stacy is a former journalist and newspaper publisher, and a longtime environmental health advocate who lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: New Society Publishers; 1 edition (November 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0865715742
  • ISBN-13: 978-0865715745
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (57 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #69,303 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

68 of 70 people found the following review helpful By Linda of Zosimos Botanicals on October 20, 2007
Format: Paperback
Stacy Malkan bravely exposes the link between toxic ingredients in mass produced cosmetics to infertility and breast cancer. It is a call to action for people to join the grassroots movement that has been fighting for change. Malkan questions why the fight against breast cancer is focused on Curing those that have the disease rather than Preventing people from getting cancer in the first place. Numerous medical studies are cited throughout the book. Anyone who wears makeup should educate themselves about what chemicals are in the products they wear, this book gives the resources to do that. It also touts natural alternatives.
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29 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on June 23, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
First let me put my biases up front. I do not like the cosmetics industry. I do not like the petroleum industry and I certainly do not like the advertising industry.

Having said that, let me try and and provide a constructive review.

This is a book that proposes to expose the seedy underside of the cosmetics industry. It is very readable and "user friendly". I read it from cover to cover in just a few days and in every chapter learned/was repulsed by something new. Given my biases I do encourage readers to check out the provided sources to determine for themselves the veracity of the information (I did so and was convinced). However, be aware that this is not an unbiased perspective. The author has a definite point of view (which I happen to agree with) but still raise some interesting and important issues that are worthy of further consideration beyond the "preaching to the choir" crowd. It is a well written, entertaining read and encourages you to pause and think a moment without being overly preachy. My wife is now regularly visiting the database the author and the affiliated organization has set up and made self informed choices about makeup, sunscreens and other cosmetics. Not as a reactionary "go all natural" consumer but being able to make reasonable choices about products that work for her and possible alternatives that are less risky/carcinogenic.

I highly recommend this book.
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34 of 36 people found the following review helpful By Philip Nash on October 27, 2007
Format: Paperback
Selling skin whiteners, shampoos, lipstick and other products with potentially dangerous ingredients to youth all over the world continues an unfortunate corporate pattern of placing greed over safety and responsibility. Meanwhile, the problem is not just corporate decision-making. Too many consumers continue to accept cosmetic industry propaganda, ignoring the science that says that many of the products we are using to beautify ourselves are poisonous to us and to our offspring as well.

Stacy Malkan's book, "Not Just a Pretty Face," offers an insider's view of the five-year campaign by environmental and health groups to pressure the U.S. cosmetics industry to use safer ingredients. It is a fast read, but very well documented. And the best part is that it does not end by leaving us in a pool of anxiety, scared to touch even a bar of soap.

Readers are uplifted by stories of mothers who organized and fought back on behalf of their children, activists from Women's Voices for the Earth who dressed up as "Miss Treatment" to publicize their concerns, and San Francisco teenagers who wore prom dresses and combat boots at their "Project Prom" rally in Union Square to declare their war on toxic chemicals.

I'm going to order a copy for all of my cosmetics-obsessed younger relatives this holiday season, and you should, too. Even if the only products you use on a regular basis are deodorant and shampoo, you cannot afford to miss this expose on how toxins are hurting our health and the health of our offspring.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Joan P. on November 10, 2007
Format: Paperback
Every woman should read, learn and act so they can protect themselves, their families and their friends. Stacy offers compelling incites into a business that could change if the market DEMANDED it to. We must learn from Stacy's experiences so we can change the way our products are manufactured and marketed.
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Luna on July 19, 2009
Format: Paperback
I thought this book was simply shocking. I could not believe all of the controversy regarding carcinogenic chemicals in women's personal products! This book was very informative and gave a very good history and account of several women who have tried their hardest to wake up the cosmetic industry and try to force the industry to make healthier products not only for themselves but for their friends and family as well. However, this book doesn't give too much information regarding things you can do on your own and ingredients to avoid. The book suggests going to a website, cosmeticdatabase.com, to look at what your beauty products contain and try to pick healthier alternatives. However, I found the website slightly confusing and they ranked the products really weird. Even the products that they rank are the best, have huge data gaps and still contain bad ingredients. I personally have found better, healthier alternatives than some of the ones they say are the best. If you are looking for a book that tells you what to avoid and better alternatives, I suggest another book such as Julie Gabriel's. But if you are looking for a very passionate and inspirational book to get you in the "green" movement, then this is the book for you! I have to say that after reading this book, I felt very inspired to take control of my body and cosmetic products.
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