Cover of Que Choisir consumer magazine March 2016
Life in Paris & France,  Shopping/FleaMarkets/Organic

Que Choisir Tests Beauty Ingredients

Cover of Que Choisir consumer magazine March 2016News in France spreads like wild fire! Whether it is word of mouth or the morning news on Télématin, I have found either all of the white vinegar is gone because of its cleaning properties, my hair color disappears because of a sale or the beauty products we use may have nasty ingredients. My father-in-law bought the latest Que Choisir. Its article on hygiène et beauté (hygiene and beauty) was soon all over the news.

Que Choisir is a consumer magazine in France, similar to Consumer Reports in the United States (no advertising, expert opinions and independent). They recently tested products and substances in beauty, baby and hygiene products. The links to the article and associated products and their effects are shown later in this story.

Their March 2016 issue uncovered all of the undesirable ingredients in “Pistez les ingrédients indésirables”. Inside was a pull-out card that listed the substances that effect the endocrine glands (endocrine glands include the pineal gland, pituitary gland, pancreas, ovaries, testes, thyroid gland, parathyroid gland, hypothalamus, gastrointestinal tract and adrenal glands); on the other side were the allergens present in perfumes and preservatives. As with all warnings, Que Choisir writes that it is not necessary to throw everything on the allergy list away. If your products haven’t bothered you already, think of the planet and your budget. They do suggest eliminating the endocrine disruptors completely.

In their article, Que Choisir writers took the mystery out of the scientific names such as Methylisothiazolione (the new paraben) and Sodium lauryl sulfate (foaming agent) (not laureth) by explaining the ingredient, visually showing the product and rating the risk with rinsing and not rinsing. The good news/bad news for me is my l’Oréal hair color, which contains p-Phenylenediamine, which may cause may cause severe dermatitis, eye irritation and tearing, asthma, gastritis, renal failure, vertigo, tremors, convulsions, and coma in humans! So far so good; I haven’t experienced any of these.

All the information is available on line and can be read using Google Translate.

185 products with toxic substances in cosmetics

Download the pocket-size card with allergens and endocrine disruptors

What to do with products already purchased (almost – I have written to Que Choisir’s forum to ask how to get rid of the toxic products)

Description of allergens with a rating their effect babies, children and adults.