Your beauty products may be harming you, and Michelle Pfeiffer, the actress and one of Fast Company’s Most Creative People in 2019, is fighting to make sure the government does a better job of regulating the products you slather on your body.
What many Americans don’t realize is that the beauty industry is not regulated. While products you ingest are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration, the chemicals and ingredients that you put on your skin–your body’s largest organ–are not vetted by the government in any way. Compare this to the European Union, where more than 1,400 ingredients have been banned in personal care products because they are either known to cause harm or questionable.
Senators Dianne Feinstein and Susan Collins have put together a bipartisan bill called the Personal Care Product Safety Act, which would empower the FDA to regulate beauty products. A consortium of clean beauty brands have shown support for this bill, including Beautycounter and California Baby. But Pfeiffer is also lending her support to the movement. The actress met with federal lawmakers today and urged them to support the bill, according to a release from the Environmental Working Group (EWG), a nonprofit organization that campaigns for safer products and has a database that allows you to look up the ingredients in cosmetics.
This burst of activism doesn’t come out of nowhere. Pfeiffer has been concerned about the ingredients in beauty products for years, and was particularly worried about perfumes that are known to contain high levels of chemicals known to cause harm. She’s now a board member of EWG.
She also just launched her own direct-to-consumer perfume company called Henry Rose that is highly selective when it comes to what chemicals it includes in its formula. While perfumers generally choose from a menu of 3,000 ingredients, she says Henry Rose limits these options to 250.