With its mountain of evidence, Toxic Beauty will send you digging through your medicine cabinets, makeup bags, and shower caddies to pore over labels.
The documentary reveals the dangerous chemicals that fill personal products, but as one of a small army of medical experts says here, “This is not just, like, a light topic and ‘Oh, makeup: let’s look beautiful.’ ”
By the end of the hard-hitting, wide-ranging exposé, you’ll understand the fuller implications of words you already know—phthalates, parabens, endocrine disruptors.
Director Phyllis Ellis makes sure to start with the human suffering tied to the chemicals, speaking to cancer survivors who detail the horrors they’ve endured (say, Stage 3 ovarian cancer at 49). What follows is a fast-edited stream of interviews with epidemiologists, scientists, surgeons, environmental activists, lawyers, and politicians. A lot of them centre around the historic class-action lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson by women with ovarian cancer who used talc (or as you might refer to it hereafter, “hydrated magnesium silicate”).
Archival footage, animated graphics, and clips from commercials relentlessly pushing beauty and “freshness” offset information overload. What becomes clear is not only the fact that most of our makeup, shampoo, and other gunk contains toxic chemicals, but that nobody’s regulating this stuff.