The history of cosmetics isn't something to read your kids to sleep with. You don't want to talk about the days of ancient Egypt when makeup was lead-lined, mercury-filled, and semen was applied as a skin treatment! The sight of ruined and cancerous faces with drops of seminal fluid dripping down them isn't something to inspire faith with skin care manufacturers and the cosmetic industry. Then came bird-droppings on Japanese Geishas, burned-matches for mascara among England's upper-class, shaved eyebrows tattooed back on among female Chinese nobles, and hot combs to straighten Black women's hair here in America. These are but a few of the harsh methods undertaken for the unreachable, nigh impossible to achieve standards of beauty that have plagued women since before the ancient Greek sculptures of Aphrodite. These days our concerns about cosmetic ingredients have moved from synthetics to organics, from petroleum to castor oil, and from whale blubber to crushed insects. The debates rages around what our cosmetics and skin care products are made of, as different sides emerge like waves to pummel the shoreline of beauty standards in this country. Do they test on animals? Do they use organic ingredients? Are they sustainable? Is it safe? The public chamber echoes this same sentiment: people are scared of what they're putting on their skin and on their face. But let the profits speak for themselves. We're still using cosmetics. A recent study shows the cosmetic industry is fairly recession proof. We hope or maybe we just ignore the reality of our small space in the consumer world 鈥?that we are powerless. Except we're not. To combat cosmetics companies who sell unsafe products our only recourse is to educate ourselves about what we buy, what we use, and how. Knowing is the only way to deal with not-knowing (which is what we're really afraid of 鈥?the unknown). Pressure cosmetic companies to seek out natural skin care manufacturers organic ingredients. Check http://www.cosmeticsdatabase.com/ for reports on safe cosmetics. Become that person at in the market who obsessively checked the labels. Become the annoying customer who asks many questions about a store's products. Demand more for what you pay. As consumers we're only treated as well as we ask for, and it's na 茂 ve to expect any different.