Gillian Deacon, award-winning broadcaster and author of There's Lead in Your Lipstick: Toxins in Our Everyday Body Care and How to Avoid Them, is so passionate about helping Canadians avoid the harmful chemicals hidden in shampoos and lipsticks, she agreed to answer questions from our David Suzuki Foundation Book Club fans! (The David Suzuki Foundation and the Queen of Green do not endorse companies, products, or brands. Below are solely recommendations by Gillian.)
What's the safest deodorant?
Gillian: My favourite is Crawford Street Skin Care, an independent outfit in Toronto that also retails online. It's effective and so natural you could eat it. I've also had success with Weleda's spray deodorant.
What's the safest foundation?
Gillian: There's a section on foundation in the "Face" chapter of my book. Mineral makeup is safer than products made with petrochemicals. But be careful, not all mineral makeup is all that natural. Lavera, made in Germany, has liquid foundation with aloe vera and many certified organic ingredients. I use dual pressed foundation and powder from Zuzu for TV. Sappho is a new line out of Vancouver from Emmy-award winning makeup artist Joanne Fowler.
Is expensive "all natural" makeup any better than cheap Covergirl makeup?
Gillian: It's worth paying more for truly natural ingredients. Synthetic chemicals are cheaper, which is why most manufacturers use them. But that's all we know about them. No testing is required on those ingredients, so it's anyone's guess how they affect our long-term health. Increasing evidence links those chemicals with many health concerns. Don't put yourself or your family at risk of serious health problems just to save a few bucks. Having gone through breast cancer treatment, I don't say that lightly!
I have "gluten sensitivity". Even contact with my skin causes a reaction. Are there safe cosmetics out there for me?
Gillian: Green Beaver, a Canadian company, has just come out with a natural product line specifically designed for the gluten-intolerant.
Which mascara is eco-friendly?
Gillian: I love Lavera mascara for everyday. For a more va-va-voom evening look, I use Gabriel. They are both made with plant-based ingredients. I have more suggestions and details in the "Eyes" chapter of my book.
Is there safe nail polish out there?
What about hair dyes?
Gillian: It takes harsh and unfortunately toxic chemicals to change the colour of human hair. The exception to that rule is henna. Use regular henna or, depending on your hair colour, try a product like Logona which mixes henna with other plant ingredients. Tints of Nature is another colouring option. Coverage won't last as long as permanent dye, but it's safer and better for our water quality.
Do you have a safe personal care product that you can't live without and think others should know about?
Lindsay Coulter, Queen of Green