Spas Step Forward in the Campaign for Safer Cosmetics

Photography: Getty Images

While many brands have taken their customers’ interest in a holistic approach to heart, others have been more resistant to change. “The $81 billion cosmetic industry’s stance on the use of harmful ingredients in cosmetics like parabens and phthalates has shifted drastically over the past decade, given the consumer outcry over the use of these hormonally active ingredients, but willingness on the part of the industry to shift its practices regarding the use of formaldehyde-releasing preservatives and potentially unsafe ingredients has been more of a mixed bag,” says Campaign for Safe Cosmetic’s Janet Nudelman.

In this regard, the spa industry is leading the way. “Consumer demand for naturally derived ingredients and ingredients derived from biotechnological sources continues to dominate both social media and mainstream marketing, but the shift away from synthetic fragrances and traditional petroleum-sourced preservatives is much more noticeable in the spa market,” says YG Laboratories’ Irena James. “Many popular brands sold in drugstores or high-end department stores still utilize parabens in their formulations, and that doesn’t seem to hurt their sales, but the opposite is trending in the spa and professional skincare market.” Spa-goers may be more aware of what goes on their bodies than the typical customer, but as the green-beauty gospel continues to spread, the divide is quickly closing. 

"At the end of the day, the skin is our largest and most highly absorbent organ—the average woman absorbs more than four pounds per year of chemicals from skincare and cosmetics, and many of these ingredients contain hormone disruptors that have a questionable impact on the body," says Terri Vinson, cosmetic chemist and founder of Synergie Skin. “Clients are becoming increasingly aware, doing their own research, and opting for the safer alternatives available.”


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