11.19.2013 9:25 AM

Two New Apps Help You Buy Safer Cosmetics

Two big names in the drive to clean up the cosmetics industry have launched apps designed to help shoppers.

think dirty app
Photo: Screenshot from iTunes App store

By Dan Shapley

Two big names in the drive to clean up the cosmetics industry and reduce women's exposure to suspect chemicals in the products they apply to their faces and bodies have launched new smartphone apps designed to help shoppers choose safer makeup and personal care products.

Both aim to give consumers information that isn't readily available on labels--namely, whether products contain chemicals that may pose health or environmental risks. Both are helpful, since the regulation of the cosmetics industry, and the use of chemicals in U.S. commerce in general, means many chemicals are in use, despite known concerns, or despite a lack of health and environmental impact testing.

Both provide a bar-code scanner and a search function, so you can look up products before you buy.

Environmental Working Group's Skin Deep app (iTunes and Android) makes the popular web database of 72,000 personal care products mobile-friendly. Each product is given a score, with the recommended choices scoring a low hazard rating. 

The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics app, Think Dirty (iTunes), has a databaes of 10,000-plus cosmetics. You will find the product's "Dirty Meter" rating, along with "detailed (but easy-to-understand) information on ingredients, certifications, and health impacts," as well as recommendations for safer options. There's also a function that lets you track what's already in your cabinets at home, create shopping lists and a submission process to request ratings for products that aren't yet rated.

Both are free.


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