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No More Dirty Looks: The Truth About Your Beauty Products and the Ultimate Guide to Safe and Clean Cosmetics

4.18 of 5 stars 4.18  ·  rating details  ·  524 ratings  ·  104 reviews
Your lipstick. Your nail polish. Your conditioner. Most of us don't realize that the products we use every day can expose us to thousands of chemicals that are readily absorbed through our skin. The impact on your health? It's not pretty. In this must-read, Siobhan O'Connor and Alexandra Spunt leave no bottle unturned. They found out all kinds of things the cosmetics indus ...more
Paperback, 304 pages
Published July 13th 2010 by Da Capo Lifelong Books (first published 2010)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,249)
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Meg
If you don't have the time or energy to research clean beauty products, have a feeling that most products marketed as natural and organic are lies, and resent/avoid wearing concealer (despite your obvious need to) because you know it's loaded with garbage, this is the book for you. Highly recommended.

Most of the products mentioned here are pricey, but the authors make some more affordable recommendations and provide info on where to find them. It's nice that the bulk of this book isn't product r
...more
Andrea
As a reformed conventional beauty product user, I'm happier than ever that a book this NASTY is out there for easy, general reference. And by NASTY, I mean, it is SO GROSS to know about some ingredients that are allowed to be used in makeup, shampoo, body wash, deodorant, lotion, sunscreen, toothpaste, hair dye, etc.

This book spares no feelings for the corporations. The cosmetics and body care industry is self-regulated, which basically translates to unregulated; the FDA is a crock and packagin
...more
Amanda
This is a great book although I wish it had been written by a toxicologist as opposed to being written by journalists who interviewed toxicologists. Nevertheless, this book held many light bulb moments for me. Prior to this book I did not know about the vast resources available online for investigating the toxicology of personal cosmetics. And since I put the book down in August, I have made great (lasting!) changes to my makeup, skincare, and shampoo lineup. And the nice thing is that I haven't ...more
Angela
OMG. Read it. You'll take a garbage bag to your bathroom & never look back.
Anna
Jun 10, 2011 Anna rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: everyone with skin
Update:
After originally reading this book I was overwhelmed. The authors do a great job of terrifying the reader with their chosen narrative. I threw out almost everything in my bathroom and had a panic attack about the products that I had been using on my children. But then after doing more reading and the investigating the science behind the claims in this book it became clear that the authors have a clear bias in their reporting. They ignore contemporary research that refuted claims that fit
...more
Kelly
I've dealt with skin issues for years - chronic irritation, bumps, redness, reactions that only seem to increase as I get older. Dermatologists just prescribe one steroid-based cream after another, so my problems would disappear only to resurface once I stopped using whatever I was prescribed. So I picked up this book to start to understand more about what goes into these products, as one look at my vanity and bathroom cabinet will show you I'm quite the product junkie.

Written in a similar tone
...more
Izarra Varela
I started getting interested in the safety of cosmetics after I got pregnant, knowing that whatever I put on my skin, hair or teeth could very easily get absorbed and passed along to our child. This book came highly recommended by a friend of mine, so I decided to check it out. It’s an easy read that unmasks the personal care product community (PCPC) and its disquieting self-regulation. The book makes an argument for why the FDA is a sham with respect to monitoring personal-care products, and ho ...more
Sarah
Have you ever read the back of your shampoo bottle and wondered what all those ingredients actually are? Then this book is for you. The beauty product industry is both huge and powerful and generally don't want consumers to know that most of their products contain thousands of chemicals that can readily be absorbed through our skin. Many of these chemicals are known irritants, and some are possible carcinogens.
Other than some very eye opening information, the best part about this book is the aut
...more
Emily
I could not put this book down which is not what I expected from a book about chemicals. Not only is it easy to read and extremely informative, but it's also terrifying! Terrifying as in, "look at the chemicals we are putting on our bodies every day, and how they are being absorbed right through our skin, scalp, etc. and what they are doing to our health."

Only 11 percent of the 10,500 ingredients in our products have been tested for safety. There's seemingly no regulation, or anyone else (like t
...more
AdultNonFiction Teton County Library
TCL Call#: 363.196 O'Connor S

Christy - 4 stars
Beauty can be healthy! O'Connor and Spunt have done all of the research for us on shampoo, soap, makeup, deodorant, and more, to summarize a) What exactly companies are putting into our products (yes, even 'natural' and 'organic' products) and b) What some safe alternatives are for you.

The writing is readable, not overly scientific. I enjoyed the organization-- I felt like I didn't have to read the entire thing, I could just flip to what's important
...more
Meredith
Not to be an earth-friendly zealot, but this book has only continued to confirm what I've read in the blogosphere and elsewhere. I'm phasing out all of my personal care products and introducing clean, non-toxic stuff into my life. The thing I really like about this book is that they make realistic suggestions for alternatives to every day products - things you can buy in grocery stores, online, or make yourself at home. But they back up every suggestion and warning with documented (and footnoted ...more
Susan Olesen
An odd book for me, since I think of cosmetics as embalming tools and costuming paraphernalia and rarely wear them, but it's worth a read. Basic point is that the FDA barely regulates ANYTHING in health and beauty aids, that almost ALL lipsticks contain lead, because of proprietary laws you have no legal right to know what ingredients are in your perfumes, and that the chemicals in your shampoos and conditioners contain deadly chemicals that are banned in Europe. And we glop this crap on our fac ...more
Jess Scott
I started moving away from big-name commercial beauty products in 2012, but it was still a surprise to me to read that not ALL “organic products” were truly “organic.”

In No More Dirty Looks, there’s a section which mentions that companies are not required to conduct safety tests of ingredients in their products. Neither are they regulated about what they put on product labels.

This means that a company could (misleadingly) call their product line “XXX Organic” by placing a very small amount of or
...more
Sophie
The initial 20 pages veers dangerously close to scare mongering and then evens out into more palatable reading material. What defines this book is its concern with clean products as opposed to green products, taking care to highlight the difference clearly by defining (with academic research) why certain ingredients would be best avoided and why. While there are a few pieces of questionable advice (they argue certain synthetic ingredients are irritants.. and then suggest rubbing tea tree oil on ...more
Shannon
Decent book - I definitely learned some things and it was full of good intentions. Overall though I felt the writing tone was too casual and some suggestions were unrealistic (carry fresh beet juice in your purse as an alternative to blush and lipstick?). But it did open my eyes to some important facts and I've since swapped out some things for cleaner products.
Katie Wooten
These authors delve deep into the beauty/cosmetics industry. It turns out that this industry is very similar to the food industry: ruled by irresponsible rich businesspeople who really just want your money at the cost of your health. In both regards, the consumer may get instant results but will be ultimately worse off. The industry will trick you with fancy words and legitimate-sounding products but really you're covering yourself with chemicals and toxins that will inevitably hurt you. The bes ...more
Liz
3.5 stars. May Book Club. All about how the gunk we put on our skin is terrible and we need to embrace clean products. Totally up my tree-hugging, hippie alley. In fact, the majority of the clean products listed are already on my radar because they don't test on animals. This is great stuff for everyone to know and will definitely change how I but beauty products. My only complaints are that I was bogged down by all the minutiae of stuff I don't care about (nail polish, for example). And that so ...more
Jessica
5 stars for the life-changing aspects of the topic. I would have preferred a more straight-forward, serious writing style, though.
Holly
Shocking but not demoralizing

Eye opening but somewhat forgiving of the reader who is currently wearing "dirty" eye shadow or mascara. Written in a colloquial but factual manner in the style similar to Skinny Bitch, this book--or its concepts-- should be taught in high school or college health classes. I would want those young people I care about to know there are alternatives to using the new, sexy fragrances, hair spray, and deodorants that place them in danger. I would want them to develop a h
...more
Sara
If you think the FDA or some other agency is making sure there isn't anything harmful in our cosmetics, think again. Only 11% of the 10,500 ingredients determined by the FDA to be used in cosmetics have been tested for safety. Europe has banned more than 1,000 ingredients for personal-care products while the U.S. has banned 9. Many of the chemicals in personal-care products have been shown to be carcinogenic or toxic in other ways. This is allowed because of the small doses used, but the effects ...more
Jen Ryan
A must read for anyone with skin. (That means you!) A well-written, accessible account of the lack of regulations in the beauty industry, the dangerous ingredients in everyday brands (many of which are banned in European countries), and where you can go to find brands that aren't toxic or carcinogenic.

The first place I looked while reading this book was the labels of all the products I am using on my toddler. I was SHOCKED when I realized I was bathing my child in contaminants that even the EPA
...more
Claire
PEG can be contaminated with 1,4-dioxane? Shampoo isn't supposed to attempt to make my hair squeaky clean, necessitating loads of conditioner which is likely causing breakouts? Hum.
In this book O'Connor and Spunt discuss just how little safety regulation is applicable to the cosmetics products we use day in and day out and offer suggestions for purchasing/using/making beauty products that are 'without a doubt' healthy. It's a message that needs to be spread. Why do we trust companies to do what
...more
Hazel
This book talks all about all the dangerous ingredients in every day cosmetic brands like Oil of Olay, Garnier, L'Oreal,etc & why they are bad for you. Once you start reading this you'll realize part of the reason why there is a rise in cancer is due to all the crap we put in & on our bodies. Did you know that a lot of the stuff we use has carcinogenic ingredients? That those ingredients are basically shortening our lives little by little? The companies that make the products deny this & ...more
Mandy
Jan 09, 2014 Mandy rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: everyone
This book was really eye-opening, and I'm glad I read it. While at first it absolutely traumatized me and sent me into a tailspin of panic, I gave it some time to digest before reading the last two chapters, and I realized that it really makes a whole lot of sense. Loading our bodies up with products full of chemicals we can't pronounce can't be a good thing, and I intend to phase out my products that contain blacklist ingredients little by little. I enjoyed the last two chapters on diet and lif ...more
Bridget Gambaiani
I wasn’t expecting to like this book. Unlike most people I’m aware of how little the FDA regulates non-food items and so it came as no surprise to me that the manufactures were responsible for safety. (The same goes for dietary supplements people). However I hadn’t given as much thought to my cosmetics as I probably should have. The book was informative, easy to read and not too preachy. I’m cheap, hate shopping, and trying new beauty products, but this book gave me the extra nudge to start slow ...more
Caiti S.
I'll write a full review on my blog soon, but I thought this book was informative without being too technical, and is a great primer for anyone concerned with what's actually in your makeup and beauty products (which, in my opinion, should be everyone who wears makeup). The authors' tone is helpful and they do a good job of explaining toxic ingredients, sharing information from scientists and industry experts, and guiding you through the process of going greener and cleaner with your body produc ...more
Colleen
Just started this but I have a sneaking suspicion that it's going to cause a major upheaval of my bathroom cabinet and shower caddy. The amount of insane unknown chemicals in all these bottles of goop is staggering. It can't possibly be good for us. Looking forward to getting the scoop and hearing what the authors recommend as alternatives. If I can go "green" with my cleaning supplies, why shouldn't I care a bit more about the potions I slather on my skin?

**Updated: I finished this week and LO
...more
Anne
How all that stuff we put on our skin, in our hair etc. may not be good for us. The unregulated beauty products may in fact be harmful. Goes through each part of the body and how it absorbs and uses what we put on it. Plus some marketing information of how we are sold these products (we think shampoo doesn't work if it doesn't foam for example - which is not true). We use products that smell nice and strip out skin of it's natural oils then we have to add oils back to our skin (similar to how we ...more
Michelle
This is a pretty comprehensive look at the damaging chemicals that are found in most bath and cosmetic products in the US. There is an explanation of why the products are harmful and a list of what to stay away from, but more importantly there are reviews and recommendations of various green products. I especially appreciated the balanced manner that products are discussed. The cleanest products are highlighted but then middle of the road products are mentioned as well. That way even if you cann ...more
Amy
This book is a must-read for anyone focussing on clean living. O'Conmor and Spunt take a hard look at the cosmetics industry's hold on American women and the lack of regulation, or rather, the blatant self-regulation of these companies in the name of profit margins. The aauthors focus on the dangers in our makeup bottles (both KNOWN dangers and suspected dangers) and suggest alternatives for cleaning and beautifying every part of our daily routines, acknowledging all the while that routines vary ...more
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GOOD 1 7 Jun 04, 2010 08:21AM  
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No More Dirty Looks: The Truth about Your Beauty Products--And the Ultimate Guide to Safe and Clean Cosmetics

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