I have since discovered the EWG Skindeep Cosmetics Database which, I must say, is an incredible resource. Although based in the US and won't have information on all our local brands, it does have a lot of information on beauty brands, contains a database on many ingredients (69,000??) and then rates them according to how hazardous they are. Its really easy to use and a little disturbing.
Especially when I've bought Aveda hairspray, being told it was natural and made from plants, and then type in one of the ingredients, PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, only to find it is rated 4-6 on the hazard scale, and described as being "a polyethylene glycol derivative of castor oil; may be contaminated with potentially toxic impurities such as 1,4-dioxane".
However, worse is the ingredient Ethyl Ester of PVM/MA Copolymer, which is used as a hair fixative and described as "a polymer consisting of the partial ethyl ester of thepolycarboxylic resin formed from vinyl methyl ether and maleic anhydride." Huh? That doesn't sound like it came from a plant!
This is not at all what I was after when I bought my lovely sounding, plant based, botannical hairspray.
Blergh. Not happy, Jan. Not happy, Aveda.
So back to the drawing board. More research required.
I for one will be taking my Aveda lipgloss back to the store as it contains an ingredient list as long as my arm (as I am an orangutan) and will be asking for a refund.
And a tip to everyone out there. Don't believe what you're told in a shop. Read all the ingredients on the packaging. And if in doubt (Aveda don't list the ingredients on their website, only selective botanical ingredients), jot a couple down and then plug them into the Skindeep Database. You might be surprised and you could save yourself some money.
Hoorah to Skindeep. Boo to Aveda.