She's the department stores' most feared customer. She IS Adelaide's "Cosmetic Cop"
Catherine Griss has been in the skin care business for over 30 years but it took a life changing experience a decade ago to realise she had a very specific cause to fight.
"It started when I had a miscarriage and when I talked it over with the Doctor about all the reasons that women don't carry babies full term one of the things that actually came out of that was that he said some commonly used ingredients can cause spontaneous abortion and I was horrified at that" she says
Preservatives, chemicals, petrochemicals, emulsifiers and the list goes on. All unregulated and all rubbed onto our skin everyday.
"Before you leave home in the day you've probably exposed yourself to 200 plus different chemicals, you know you're showering, you've got you body shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, toothpaste, after shave�"
..And once it gets in, she says that's when we're susceptible to an even greater risk.
"The trouble with some ingredients is they can absorb into the skin and be taken up by the blood stream they can lodge in your main organs of your body and build up and just stay there" according to Catherine
Catherine's worst suspicions were reinforced in 2004, when a British research unit claimed it found a link between 20 breast tumours and one of the real nasties in skin care preservatives, Parabens.
"Upon examining those tumours they found paraben preservatives in every one of then. Yet there are parabens still used today in skin care but they sometimes are under a trade name like unogen or germa-plus.
So we took a range of beauty products, from make up to moisturisers, budget brands to boutique and put them under the spotlight. Starting with parabens of which nearly every product had it listed in its ingredients.
Then there were mineral oils and emulsifiers.
"What's wrong with mineral oils? It's a petrochemical and it acts like gladwrap on the skin, so it doesn't allow your skin to eliminate toxins"
Even water she claims is just a bottle filler, accounting for up to 95% of any given product's ingredients.
"The skin can't absorb water as such the only places that can absorb water are pads of the fingers and toes. Really you have to ask yourself why is water used?"
How about lead in lipstick? In the US a class action law suit is underway against American cosmetic giant LMVH for unacceptably high levels of lead
Three years ago Catherine decided to go completely organic, launching her own brand of skin care products from her adopted home town Mt Compass
Now Catherine's "KUUSH" range is taking the beauty world by storm with customers in Asia, Europe and the Middle East appealing to its status as certified organic, Halal free or no animal testing - even carbon free.
While she refuses to give away her trade secrets, she's happy to give advice to customers, clients and fashion magazines about the cosmetic 'Do's' and 'Don'ts'. She's even writing a book
Toxicologist Peter Dingle warns many of the cosmetic products aimed at making us look good and younger in the short term are actually causing more harm in the long term.
"These are not improving the quality of your skin they're damaging the quality of your skin so you're going to end up looking older and more wrinkle the longer you put it on your skin that's the incredibly ridiculous thing about it!" he says
For Catherine Griss, she says she won't be content until a national regulatory body is in place to police and protect customers from potential dangers.
For further information contact Catherine Griss at KuuSh
Phone: 08 8556 8688