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Drop-Dead Gorgeous: Protecting Yourself from the Hidden Dangers of Cosmetics Paperback – March 4, 2002
"Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress"
Is the world really falling apart? Is the ideal of progress obsolete? Cognitive scientist and public intellectual Steven Pinker urges us to step back from the gory headlines and prophecies of doom, and instead, follow the data: In seventy-five jaw-dropping graphs, Pinker shows that life, health, prosperity, safety, peace, knowledge, and happiness are on the rise. Learn more
Your first reaction to Drop-Dead Gorgeous may be never to wash your hair again. After a closer inspection, the reaction might change to vowing never to use a standard beauty product ever again, coupled with a serious distaste for manufacturers who claim to be "natural" but use the same harsh ingredients as any generic brand. Author Kim Erickson has done her homework, and the results are disturbing.
Erickson has determined that chemicals such as sodium lauryl sulfate and propylene glycol are found in all sorts of cleansers for hair and skin, and little regulation exists within the industry. Some of these issues point to potential toxicity for all users, while others mention a single, if severe, possible allergic reaction. Clearly, this difference is important, but the book doesn't differentiate between potential or accidental harm to one and known test results pointing to health concerns for millions. Still, it's probably better to be aware of all the possibilities lurking in that bottle of bath gel.
As part of your cosmetic education, you'll learn how to whip up your own simple recipes for shampoos, bath salts, lotions, and hair dyes. If that sounds like too much effort, each section includes specific manufacturers and products that contain no damaging substances. Either way, you'll open the door to all sorts of fun beauty products that won't harm you or the world you live in. --Jill Lightner
From the Back Cover
How safe are your cosmetics and personal-care products?
Do you really know what's in them? Each day, we are exposed to some two hundred synthetic chemicals--without our knowledge. Skin, hair, body, and beauty products are loaded with potential irritants, carcinogens, neurotoxins, and hormone disrupters. Enlightening and empowering, Drop Dead Gorgeous is a timely, much-needed resource that reveals the dangers of these common household products and exposes the lies of the cosmetics industry. It also shows you how to read and interpret misleading product labels and identifies the nine most hazardous ingredients on the market.
Drop Dead Gorgeous is packed with natural alternatives and easy-to-follow recipes for safely creating your own cosmetics at home. You'll learn how to make your own moisturizers, bath oils, shampoos and conditioners, lotions, and much more--all safe enough to use even on babies' sensitive skin. You'll also find treatments for everything from acne to eczema to brittle nails to dandruff. If you prefer the convenience of shopping off-the-shelf, you will find numerous nontoxic products by a variety of manufacturers in the Smart Shopping sections. Plus, a glossary provides definitions of uncommon and common ingredients to help you create products specifically designed for you.
Looking good shouldn't jeopardize your health. Drop Dead Gorgeous shows you how to create your own healthful, safe, and natural beauty--and what could be more radiant than that?
Top customer reviews
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This book teaches you what chemicals to avoid and why. Commit them to memory and slowly replace all your toxic beauty products as you use them up (or immediately toss everything). Over time Ive found suitable replacements for most of my old beauty products (former Sephora junkie here) and used a few of the simple beauty receipes in this book. Highly recommend. Follow up with Not Just a Pretty Face by Stacy Malkan
Overall I think this just touches on the subject and aims to scare people into being more conscientious, but doesn't provide much help in where to go from there unless you decide to purchase only products from a suggested list or make your own.
I think that in order to read this book and get the most out of it, one has to digest Erikson's bold statements with a pinch of salt. I don't believe quite everything she says, but she says so much that I still squeezed some valuable information out of it. For instance, when she describes and defines chemicals like the infamous propylene gycol and sodium lauryl sulfate, she is not wrong (I have a naturopathic doctor of a sister-in-law and medical books to support me). Whether those unpronouncable chemicals will give me cancer or not, I can't be sure. The sun can give me cancer too, but I won't shut it out from my life forever. My computer that I'm typing on right now could possibly give me cancer from the electronic radiation it gives (but I love my computer too much to ever part with it).
I still recommend this book based on the otherwise hard facts it presents, along with the recipes. I find it absolutely delightful and exciting to make my own facial cleansers =) Think of it as taking back one or two years of your life that stress stole. It doesn't hurt to try and be a bit healthier, I say.