Natural. Organic. Green. All of these monikers are commonly found on cosmetic products, but who do you trust?

Currently the government does very little as far as protecting consumers and workers from harmful chemical ingredients used to make cosmetics. This means that awareness and education are the best ways to look out for the health of yourself and your family. The current dilemma over the use of the Brazilian Blowout hair treatment, and the FDA's delayed warning, is a prime example.

The Brazilian Blowout (hair smoothing treatment) was called out last year when the Oregon Health and Science University's Center for Research on Occupational and Environmental Toxicology and Oregon OSHA received a complaint from a stylist suffering from nosebleeds, breathing problems and eye irritation after using the treatment. Subsequent testing showed the product contained up to 10.4 % formaldehyde (linked to many health issues, including cancer). OSHA requires formaldehyde to be listed on product safety materials at levels exceeding 0.1 percent, Brazilian Blowout is well over the mark.

While Canada and other countries pulled Brazilian Blowout and similar products from shelves last year, it took the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) an entire year to come to action. And they still cannot require salons to quit using the product, even when the ingredient in question is one of the most toxic.

Letter to Brazilian Blowout officials concerning formaldehydeA letter was sent last month to Brazilian Blowout officials from the FDA saying that testing showed up to 10% of the formula to be a liquid form of formaldehyde (methylene glycol). The FDA has asked for a response from the officials.

Why not pull from the shelves products with known harmful ingredients that have already been deemed unsafe by other countries such as Canada or the EU?

Due to outdated cosmetics laws the FDA does not have the power to issue a mandatory recall of the products. They can, however, issue a voluntary recall.

While this may be a step in the right direction, it does very little to help right now. Salons across the country continue to use the treatment, A-list celebs among the followers.

Of course, if a highly toxic ingredient like formaldehyde (The Environmental Working Group (EWG) gives it a hazard score of 10, very high) can be used so freely, you can be sure that an array of nasty chemicals are being used to make cosmetics lining our store shelves.

Your best defense against harmful cosmetic ingredients is reading product labels and following brands you can trust. Educate yourself on the companies who produce the cosmetics that you use and watch for red flags. Hard to find or incomplete ingredient listings are always suspect.

Use your purchasing power wisely — buy and use products you know are good for you and your family. Lavera products are 100% free from harmful ingredients, and contain healthy natural and organic ingredients. You can find complete and easy to read ingredient listing for each Lavera product.

There are other, healthier, ways to manage curl or frizz. Enhance your natural texture with products that keep hair healthy and gorgeous with pure ingredients. As with skin care, knowing your unique hair care needs goes a long way toward keeping your mane beautiful.