Makeup Ingredients to Avoid (And the Non-Toxic Makeup to Use Instead)

Be aware of harmful chemicals that may be in your makeupDo you read makeup labels like you read food labels? Do you know which makeup ingredients to avoid because they’re chemicals that can cause harm to your skin?

After reading this post by my guest author, Deja Cronley, you’ll be better equipped to read the labels and determine if you may want to change the makeup you’re using.

Without further ado, here’s Deja…

Today was the day. I was fifteen years old and my mom finally agreed to take me shopping. It felt like I had waited forever for this day but it had really only been about two years which, in teen time, felt like forever.

Avoid harmful ingredients in makeupWe walked into the store and my stomach flipped. I was in awe of all the choices in front of me. Browns, tans, reds, purples, greens. When I thought of make up the only colors that came to mind were brown, beige, and black but there was so much more here.

My mom guided me to the counter and told the lady she wanted to show me some basic tips on how to make makeup look natural.

She matched my skin tone for base makeup, showed me how to apply a touch of eyeliner and mascara, and then slapped on a fluorescent purple lipstick. Just kidding- she stuck to a natural pink.

My days of being enthralled with makeup are now behind me but occasionally I still like to throw on a bit of makeup to feel extra pretty so I was sad when I discovered just how bad some cosmetics can possibly be.

Possibly. I’m sure you noticed that word because, here’s the thing, safety testing is not required for the industrial chemicals which are added to  personal care products.

According to the Office of Cosmetics and Colors at the federal Food and Drug Administration, “…a cosmetic manufacturer may use almost any raw material as a cosmetic ingredient and market the product without an approval from FDA.”

Basically, they can use anything because it has never been proven to be harmful. Talk about backwards.

And, since our skin is our biggest organ and absorbs everything around us, that means anything we use gets direct access to our circulatory and lymphatic system day after day, use after use.

Dangerous Ingredients to Avoid in Cosmetics

There are literally tens of thousands of ingredients used in cosmetics, none of which have been proven to be safe. A lot have side effects including skin and lung irritation (which can both develop into serious problems) however, some of the worst ingredients I have found are listed below.

Butylated compounds (bht, bha) Endocrine disruptors linked to organ, developmental, and reproductive toxicity.
Imidazolidinyl Urea (and other formaldehyde releasing preservatives) Known allergen and toxicant; possible carcinogen.
Lead Technically lead is not supposed to be used in cosmetics but it is still found possibly in some color additives through contamination.
Octinoxate An unstable chemical linked with endocrine disruption and thyroid disorders which have been linked to.
Parabens Endocrine disruptor which mimics estrogen in the body and has been found in breast cancer tumors in 19/20 women.
Polyethylene Glycols Targets the liver and kidneys and can cause kidney failure. It also allows other chemicals to be more readily absorbed through the skin.
Phthalates Another endocrine disruptor; known to cause early onset of puberty which has been linked to increased risk of high blood pressure, diabetes, and cancer.
Synthetic Colors Environmental toxin and allergen.
Synthetic Fragrances Toxic Endocrine disruptors and possible carcinogens.

Kind of scary, right?

Non-Toxic Makeup to Use Instead

Harmful chemicals to avoid in makeup
At this point you are probably wondering “So what the heck can I use without poisoning myself?”

Thankfully, there is now an amazing database developed by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) called Skin Deep. EWG is a non-profit organization who is dedicated to educating the public and the environment about different chemicals in  cosmetics, cleaning, food, and our water.

They have put together a database with thousands of cosmetics and have broken them down by their ingredients and then graded them for safety and environmental effect.

If you want to know how safe (or toxic) your current makeup is, you can look it up and see the score it has been assigned with 1 being the least toxic and 10 being the most. You can also simply hover over ‘Makeup’ and then select what you are looking for to get an itemized list of the cleanest makeup available.

A Few Final Thoughts

Sometimes the thought of changing something we are comfortable and familiar with can be scary. I get it, I do. My husband literally had to convince me to get a new bag instead of patching up the one I have had for ten years now. It’s comfortable and familiar and I know all the pockets.

However, changes can also be fun and, here’s a small secret, you don’t have to change everything at once. 1) That would be heck of expensive and 2) it can be a little too scary or even frustrating. Especially with something like makeup which can sometimes require a little trial and error.

Instead of replacing everything at once, just try to look for natural alternatives as you start to run out of things and eventually your makeup will be toxin free.

Guest author Deja Cronley from DejaVuOrganics.comHave you ever tried any natural brands of makeup that worked well? If so, share them below!

About the author: Deja Cronley is a Registered Nurse turned Blogger. She fell in love with natural living four years ago and has dedicated herself to educating others about organics. She loves Crossfit, the beach, and playing with her kids.

Learn about ingredients that may harm your body, and the non-toxic makeup options that you may want to consider.

9 Replies to “Makeup Ingredients to Avoid (And the Non-Toxic Makeup to Use Instead)”

  1. Excellent topic choice, Ellen! Thank you, Deja, for the amazing insight. In my late 40s I became more concerned with what I was putting in and on my body! Such great information! Bless you both!

    1. Thanks, Chris! Lots to learn. The bonus is that it’s fun to try new products, especially when they’re not harmful.

  2. I switched my makeup earlier this year and became an advocate for a high performing, safe cosmetics line that I can even use on my daughter! Our health is so important and I hope more people start realizing how many toxic ingredients are in the products we put on our body! Thank you for drawing attention to this vital topic!

    1. That’s fantastic that you have a brand the you like and is safe. Feel free to mention the brand in a comment. I always like to hear what others have tried and liked. Thanks for the comment!

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