Great Read: Not Just a Pretty Face

At times, I stumble on my natural path…and then I read books like Not Just a Pretty Face, The Ugly Side of the Beauty Industry by Stacy Malkan. I need books like this to get me back on track.

Published in 2007, Not Just a Pretty Face is a beauty book classic that aims to educate the reader on the (then lesser-known…now, wider-known) toxin-laden underbelly of the mainstream beauty industry. The book also touches on toxins that are present in common household products.

According to the book, we are all full of toxic chemicals because they are in everything…the air, water, furniture, clothes, beauty products, cleaning products, etc. The risk for exposure to toxins, even if you consciously purchase and use less-toxic/non-toxic products, is still pretty high.

Topics discussed include: Chemicals linked to birth defects; the breast cancer prevention movement; the “whitening” trend in Asia; American standards and laws versus European Union standards and laws regarding known dangerous chemicals; the growth of natural beauty brands; and the future of green chemistry–a science that designs chemical products and processes in ways that reduce or eliminate hazardous substances.

Unfortunately, many of the negative topics discussed in the book still apply almost ten years later.

Fortunately, today’s beauty industry contains a lot more natural, non-toxic beauty brands. In addition, the do-it-yourself movement has empowered a new generation of consumers to craft their own natural beauty products at home. We, the consumers, also have more knowledge on the effects of what we’re putting into our bodies more now than ever before.

The book also highlights organizations that are doing amazing things and fighting for change. Some of them include: The Environmental Working Group; Health Care Without Harm; The Breast Cancer Fund; Women’s Voices for the Earth; Friends of the Earth.


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