Baby shampoos linked to cancer? Hormone disruptors in our skincare? Lead in our lipstick?
These questions and many more were brought into the public spotlight over the last ten years, turning educated consumers into protectors and activists. An avalanche of progress rumbled - including a reduction of parabens and triclosan in mainstream products. While we aren't at the finish line yet, it is hard to push a cart through any big box store without seeing some of the impacts on product labels. One of the avalanche triggers? Stacy Malkan's “Not Just a Pretty Face: The Ugly Side of Beauty.”
Not Just a Pretty Face is the true story of how Stacy Malkan, who along with several other at the Breast Cancer Fund (Breast Cancer Prevention Partners), Women's Voices for the Earth, Environmental Working Group, Friends of the Earth and others formed the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics creating the foundation for a national movement. The goal? To shift the $50 billion beauty industry away from harmful chemicals and toward safer products.
In celebration of the tenth anniversary of Not Just A Pretty Face we are proud to place this classic investigative deep dive on our Savvy Bookshelf. How long has it been since you flipped through it?
Loose Yourself In This Quick Read
Go behind the scenes with Stacy Malkan and learn why nail polish was the catalyst for their efforts and how Stacy and her colleague, Susan Roll, infiltrated cosmetic conferences from 2004 through 2006 to hear firsthand what industry insiders thought of the Campaign’s efforts (not much) as well as their plans for fixing the problem (not a thing). You’ll come along on marches and protests, and discover how teenage girls became some of their most powerful allies.
Filled with startling statistics about some of the chemicals that we find in personal care products, this quick read unveils the rise of the movement’s leaders.
This book will shine light on still relevant topics such as:
- Why European products from popular brands are formulated with less toxic chemicals than in the United States.
- How the powerful lobbyists of the Cosmetics, Toiletry, and Fragrance Association (CTFA) used marketing, public relations and other tricks to convince consumers that American products are still safe rather than reformulating them.
- How the industry works around FDA regulations and why the FDA isn’t doing much about it.
Not Just A Pretty Face, along with the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, created demand for green chemistry and exposed a new frontier in clean science. On the political front, states like California have lead the way with regulations. We are in a personal- products landscape like never before -- more products, choices and momentum due to awareness. We thank Stacy Malkan for her relentless dedication and fueling the movement.
You can now follow Stacy Malkan's progress as she focuses on our food system at US Right to Know.
Savvy Chapters: Why a book club? There is a method to our madness.
As you may have witnessed, because of the immensity of the topic, everyone comes to the circle with a variety of interests and experience. Hosting a book club brings a commonality to the conversation.
Whether you are skeptical, curious, or enthusiastically on board, a gathering around a book allows us to dig deeper into a topic with an open mind. From there, we:
Use the discussion questions at the end of books to spur conversation. It doesn't have to be rigid, but they can be used to guide the evening.
A book that everyone loves makes for a boring book club. It's okay if everyone doesn't love the book or the writing! Differences in opinion generate provoking conversation.
Read the rest of the tips along with our other Savvy Bookshelf recommendations in the Savvy Cafe (members only.)
Looking for a Chapter? Start here: