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A guide to make a good choice on cosmetics

Updated: May 4, 2020

Öko Test is a German magazine that runs tests products, with emphasis on their effects on consumer's health. They analyse everything, not only cosmetics. Their test methods range from ingredient analysis, to laboratory tests (to detect undeclared harmful chemicals), experts consulting, or action testing etc. The products which get good grades proudly carry the Öko Test label on the packaging.

When I share my Öko Test list to friends and they go to check their cosmetics at home, is always like "Whaaaat ? I thought Vichy was all right, they sell it in pharmacies!"

I've learnt a lot from this list. For example I always knew that mineral oil and other petroleum derivatives weren't good for the skin, but now I know that the brands we thought were high quality got classified quite harmful for some ingredients in their products.

Multinational brands usually get the worst scores. L'Oreal, Vichy, Garnier, Maybelline, Pantene, use to reach the bottom of most of the tests, with very bad grades. Those sold in the pharmacies, like Vichy, don't fare any better. Just sporadically, a product from them, makes it into the "adequate" section.

The top of the list isn't reserved for higher end certified natural cosmetics like Dr Hauschka and Weleda. Discounter natural brands like Alverde and Alterra regularly receive ratings "good" and "very good", proving that a safe cosmetic doesn't have to cost a lot.

High-end products like Chanel, Dior and Lancome have also received poor scores, and were often reluctant to disclose their ingredients stating that these are "trade secrets" (although they are obliged by law to do so).

In case you would to go further , the test results appear in their monthly magazine, and can be bought online on their site, but are only in German. Overviews are free though, and Google Translate does a good job with it, it'll give you an overview on which brands to trust and which not.

I don't think the Öko Test tests are perfect, but I still read the product labels, and check with my list, I'm glad that there is someone out there doing some lab tests for pesticide traces and keep us a little bit more save. An easy way to find out if something is actually natural is to know that all the natural ingredients have a botanical name in Latin.

I'm sharing with you the longest cosmetic ingredients list I ever found. It is in Spanish, and you'll be able to download the document by clicking here. I have translated for you the legend so you can manage in English by clicking here to download the translation. You just need choose an ingredient from the list and decode the numbers&letters with the translated legend. Now you've the option of having a greener and safer life ;) you've got the information!

Wishing you a magical day!

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