Coloring for the kids.

Posted on June 30th, 2009 by Gina

Coolkid Gwen Stefani caught our attention recently and not just because her band’s tune “Magic’s In The Makeup” could be a LookinGood theme song.

Gwen, who’s been setting trends since the ’90s with, among other things, her platinum hair and ruby, ruby lips, recently caught flak when her 3-year-old brunette son, Kingston, was seen with hair nearly as blonde as his mom’s.  It’s kind of ironic that in “Magic’s In The Makeup” Stefani croons “A counterfeit disposition … Can’t be good for my health,” because that’s exactly what the argument is here: it’s not good for a kid to be exposed to the chemicals involved with coloration.  If you’ve ever had one, you know the smell alone can burn your eyes and nostrils, not to mention what’s being done to your scalp and your hair.  Why do that to a toddler, or any little kid for that matter?

There’s no solid evidence that hair dye is especially dangerous for adults or children, although many people are allergic to the ingredients.  Nonetheless,  on the highly respected Environmental Working Group site Skin Deep, which compiles data on ingredients and products and assesses a hazard rating, nearly all the hair color and bleaching products fall into the high hazard zone because of the chemicals that make up the dyes. More than a third of those have earned a 10 (on a scale of 1-10, 10 being the worst).  Pick just about any of the hair color products and the data says “Ingredients in this product are linked to: cancer; developmental/reproductive toxicity; violations, restrictions and warnings; allergies/immunotoxicity.” Also checked off is the box that reads “Other concerns for ingredients used in this product:
“Neurotoxicity, Endocrine disruption, Persistence and bioaccumulation, Organ system toxicity (non-reproductive), Multiple, additive exposure sources, Irritation (skin, eyes, or lungs), Enhanced skin absorption, Contamination concerns, Occupational hazards, Biochemical or cellular level changes.”

Think maybe that’s enough to keep the stuff away from your child?

We don’t really wonder why Stefani did it – she’s a funky uber-blonde trendsetting celebrity with children. Duh.  Honestly, we would like to know how she possibly got a toddler to sit for a color job.  And we question the judgment.   There are hennas, and lots of temporary, wash-out colors that kid’s might use without exposing them to potentially harmful chemicals.

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A short history of cosmetics

150BC Romans use yellow eye shadow.

The Romans preferred to use gold-colored eye shadow which was made from saffron and painted onto the area around the sides and under their eyes. Then they used powdered wood ash to color their eyelids black. This gold color was quite significant at the time because they saw themselves as the rulers of the Mediterranean.