A little over a week ago, the chain boutique Lush Cosmetics opened its doors in the Village of Meridian. The store offers a variety of organic, cruelty-free cosmetics using little to no packaging. Despite the far away location of the store, students at Boise State have been flocking to check out the fresh cosmetics that the store offers.

“I would rather spend my money at Lush because they provide you with a unique experience and products that you feel safe using,” said Andrea Batten, junior English major. “I like to use organic cosmetics because I feel like I am exposing my body to fewer chemicals and other potentially unhealthy ingredients.”

Batten’s concerns about chemicals in cosmetics are rooted in truth. According to Colleen Fletcher, owner of Wholistic Beauty Boutique, many of the cosmetics on the market today are filled with harmful chemicals.

“What was originally meant to be an economical alternative to natural botanical ingredients is now being found to have negative implications for our future health and well being,” Fletcher said. 

“As more consumers are turning to organic foods to avoid known toxins, gradually awareness about dangerous skin care chemicals is coming to light.”

According to Fletcher, one of the biggest harms to healthy skin is chemical- and petroleum-based products. Many of the 25,000 untested chemicals found in inorganic cosmetics are being to cancer, migraines, allergies, asthma, dermatitis and skin rashes.

“Ever since 1938, when the FDA granted self-regulation to the cosmetics industry, such products have been marketed without government approval of ingredients, regardless of what tests have shown,” Fletcher said, “unlike organic ingredients that have been used for hundreds of years as traditional remedies, synthetic and petrochemical ingredients have only been used since the 1930s,” Fletcher said.

Fletcher explained that the best way for students to avoid cosmetics that could be detrimental to their health is to read labels. For instance, a product labeled as “natural” doesn’t necessarily mean it is good for your skin. “Natural” is a marketing term that can be used as long as one ingredient of a product has not been altered in a lab.

Students should also look out for mineral oils in their cosmetics. Mineral oils are petroleum-based and known to leave a wax-like cover over the skin. This cover promotes acne, clogs pores, and makes it harder for skin to get rid of toxins.

Students who are interested in checking out organic cosmetics can find them at the Wholistic Beauty Boutique, the Boise Co-op, Lush and several other locations around the Boise area. Students can also find several easy DIYs of organic cosmetics online on Pinterest, Tumblr, and other blogs if they give it a Google.