Welcome to toofufu's mission statement page. We'd like to use this space to give you our stance on the ingredients and methods used by the products and services on this blog.
This list isn't complete - we'll be adding to it as certain information becomes necessary. Please consider it a work-in-progress, with more work and progress coming soon.
In the interim, if you have any questions about an ingredient or method I haven't posted about yet, please send us an email at email@example.com. We love hearing from you!
Before we begin, we'd like to point out that we take honesty, transparency, and research very seriously. There are unfortunately too many platforms that take their readers and power for granted, and end up contributing to harmful misconceptions about our world. We hope to never be one of these platforms. If you think something we've written contradicts this ideal, we would appreciate you letting us know on the address above.
We know there are many blogs and other platforms that offer reviews on products sent to them by a brand. We know this follows an old, well-established model made popular through print media.
We also know it makes us uncomfortable. We feel that kind of exchange works only in bigger industries. Industries where tacit power plays don't leave the blogger, the audience, or the brand in a favorable position. Instead of reviews on products we have not bought, we offer content creation - making things, taking pictures, and writing around a product that shares toofufu's ethos of respect towards people, animals, and the planet.
THE BENEFITS OF ORGANIC/NATURAL SKINCARE
We've started a tough one, here. This is probably the murkiest water for those who are torn between believing accounts debunking myths around things like parabens and phthalates, and learning how to read complex scientific reports.
As much as we want to believe that we are agents in our protection against foes, it currently seems like these are somewhat blown out of proportion, and that some of our best weapons in this fight are pretty foe-like themselves.
In plainer words, we might be worrying over nothing, and whether this is true or not, there is evidence to suggest that brands touting the 'organic' or 'natural' emblems aren't all that much better than they products they set out to replace.
For virtually every assertion made in favour of natural products, there is a counter claim made elsewhere. Which is not to say that all information weighs equally, as we might be more inclined to believe scientific reports over .org blogs.
But even science seems unsure. Many of the claims against synthetic materials have come from studies that have since been shown to have done incomplete research. Claims that synthetic materials are safe are proven to have done the same. 'More studies are needed' is a popular phrase where studies on cosmetics are concerned, it seems.
One website put it well; in the resultant confusion from voices on either side of the poised David-against-Goliath-esque drama, witnesses might fall into one of two camps. Either you're a champion of 'innocent until proven guilty', or you favour a 'better safe than sorry' approach. To be clear, this debate seems to happen largely over concerns of long-term effects like organ failure, and cancer.
There is little doubt that many synthetic products do cause irritation, headaches, and other less serious afflictions. But these issues differ in severity from person to person, and then with considerations like how long a product stays on your skin, or how high its concentrations are. It's important to understand that 'synthetic' does not mean 'unsafe', just as 'natural' or even 'organic' doesn't mean 'safe'.
Bit of a head-spin isn't it? On toofufu, we'll be showcasing all kinds of products that have either natural or synthetic ingredients, or a combination of these. Thanks to a kind reader suggestion (You rock, Robyn!), as of April 2017, we've committed to informing you of all potentially-harmful ingredients in anything that appears on the site. We'd like our readers to make an informed decision about where they spend their money, and we want to do as much as we can to make that possible. That said, we don't believe the evidence against some synthetic ingredients are enough to bar them from the blog completely. Should you feel strongly that this isn't the right thing to do by our readers, please email your concerns to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here is our piece on veganism. We make arguments specifically for veganism, but it's a quick-glance guide to why we need to consider all kinds of animal harm in all the industries where they are employed for our use.
(If you've got thirty minutes to change your life, you can also have a look at Peter Singer's lauded paper; contrary to popular belief, vegans are not always made by rubbing two energy crystals together, but sometimes also in the classroom.)
Animals are harmed in the cosmetics industry in various ways. We'll look at three involving animal-derived ingredients, animal testing, and the effects of cosmetic byproducts on animals.
Unlike the names that toofufu will feature, brands that don't comply with Leaping Bunny or Beauty Without Cruelty's standards put animals through a lot of unnecessary suffering through testing. Unnecessary. We have other ways to test things, we double pinky promise.
Ingredients derived from animals are wrong for similar reasons; they cause the unnecessary death and suffering of living things that have something to lose through death and suffering. That means that we have treated something that can feel pain as an object that can't feel pain.
This argument is not backed solely for an affinity or deep love for animals. You don't have grow up with pictures of horses on your pencil bag to think this way. You don't even have to like animals at all. You just have to be reasonable.
Last but not least, animals can be harmed by ingesting cosmetic byproducts, just as with the recent case of micro beads and their effects on marine life. If you're not too bothered about the fish themselves, spare a thought for yourself or others eating these fish as the micro beads can carry toxic chemicals into the water where these fish swim and presumably are caught.
You might have noticed that toofufu features a permanent series named 'Ally'. This series is meant to show off products and brands that are allies to toofufu's readers - people we see as those with an interesting in eco-friendly, cruelty-free goods and services. The products in the 'Ally' series are almost always given to toofufu for free in exchange for coverage on this platform. This is our answer to reviews - content creation (for more, please see the 'reviews' section of this statement).
Simply put, while we will not rate or test a product sent to us, we will use this space as a shout out for brands we see working within toofufu's parameters around conscientious beauty and lifestyle. All products that are given to toofufu are clearly written as such. If you think we're not being clear enough, have in any other way have broken toofufu's code, or think we could be a bit more transparent, please let us know at email@example.com.We're always looking for ways to improve.
Let's talk about pain in felt by invertebrates. We know this is a hard sell for many outside the vegan community. If you'd like to start by talking about animal harm in a wider sense, you can scroll up or take a look at this piece over here.
Still with us? Okay, cool. So, pain. Who knew? Evidence in favour of the belief that invertebrates - like silk worms and snails - feel pain is well-documented (look here, here, here, here, and here). But the findings remains inconclusive - partially because of what we can know about any other being (human or other)'s experience of pain, and partially because long-since-entrenched ideas about what other beings can and can't do in relation to ourselves has left us without a need to give attention to important questions of moral consequence.
In this way we think veganism is analogous to beliefs in feminism and discourse on racism. We understand that this is a sensitive and controversial claim, so let us explain. What feminism, veganism, and the anti-racism movements like Black Lives Matter have in common, is that they have all shown us that a moral wrong can be a very widely-accepted ideology, and even a government-enforced principle.
Back to invertebrates, we think there's a good case against the use of silk - even to those only convinced enough to err on the side of caution. Where there is life that seems earnest to continue (as the case with a silkworm trying its damn best to become a moth), we feel it's objectionable to put an end to it simply on the basis of preferring one material from another (silk versus cotton, for example). The argument is more complex when you factor in things like the positive impact of the silk trade on a given human community, but for our purposes we think it's alright to say that regular silk production causes unnecessary harm to a being that has the potential to feel it. Consider the production of silk (trigger warning - animal harm):
Silk is produced when larvae make cocoons to begin their transformation into a moth. The larvae are around this time boiled, and the long-stranded silk is extracted from this debris.
Peace silk (also known as 'ahimsa silk'), a form invented by Kusuma Rajaiah, doesn't make silk the same way. Here the larvae are allowed to grow into moths. This produces far less silk, raising its price, but presumably this comes without the cost of cruelty. We say 'presumably' because we can't seem to find much literature for what happens after these moths are released from the cocoon.
While at toofufu we applaud this kinder method of silk extraction, we're not able to fully endorse it until we see more information.
Bamboo has been offered as an alternative to cotton textiles, which are not very groovy as far as the environment is concerned. Unfortunately, this claim is disputed, and it's not clear that bamboo really is all that much better for us and our earth. Those who are concerened need to make extra sure that their bamboo sources are traceable and reputable.