Why do we know so little about the ingredients we put on our skin every single day? That’s the question I’ve been asking myself for the last ten years, ever since I was 15 and discovered my favorite mascara contained an ingredient (propylene glycol) that was also used to wax airplane wheels. Gross, right?
Today, I’m still shocked to realize that hardly anyone really thinks about the ingredients in their beauty products. Sure, researching every little thing on your shampoo’s ingredient list might not sound like your idea of a good time, but did you know that only 11% of the 10,500 ingredients used in common beauty products have actually been tested for safety?
Don’t get me wrong, I love wearing makeup and discovering new brands, but I never want to expose myself to unnecessary fillers and harsh preservatives. I want beauty and health, which is why I co-founded Beauty Lies Truth: to discover and share the truth about the beauty industry.
There’s a lot we don’t know, but the least we can do is eliminate the chemicals we know are harmful. Here are a list of the top 10 ingredients you should eliminate from your beauty routine ASAP. Need more proof that these are harmful? All 10 have been banned or restricted by the European Union …
What to look for: anything that ends with “paraben” like butylparaben, ethylparaben, methylparaben, propylparaben, etc.
Where they’re found: Found in shampoos and other bath products, lotions and makeup
Why you should care: These popular preservatives mimic the hormone estrogen and are linked to cancer, reproductive toxicity, immunotoxicity, neurotoxicity and skin irritation. They may also increase the risk of breast cancer.
What to look for: Formaldehyde-releasing preservatives DMDM hydantoin, diazolidinyl urea, imidazolidinyl urea, methenamine, 1,4 Dioxane and quarternium-15
Where it’s found: Formaldehyde or formaldehyde-releasing preservatives are found in the Brazilian Blowout, other hair treatments and some nail polishes
Why you should care: Considered a known human carcinogen, this preservative was made famous by the “Brazilian Blowout.” It can also cause asthma if inhaled, neurotoxicity and developmental toxicity.
What to look for: This word on a label could mean between 10 and 300 different chemicals, but companies aren’t required to list anything specific in their “fragrance” mixture. Be wary of any label that lists fragrance or “parfum.”
Where it’s found: Fragrance is found in everything from face cream to perfume to soap … basically any product with a scent.
Why you should care: Common synthetic fragrances contain hormone disrupters such as phthalates, which have been linked to an increased risk of breast cancer and reproductive problems like early puberty and the feminization of baby boys.
4. Propylene Glycol
Where it’s found: Propylene Glycol is found in many cosmetics and food products.
Why you should care: A science-y word for antifreeze, this chemical alters our skin structure so other chemicals can penetrate deeper, and it causes reproductive, brain and nervous system harm in animal studies.
5. Coal Tar Dyes
What to look for: “CI” followed by a 5 digit number
Where they’re found: Found in many hair dyes, lipsticks and other cosmetic products.
Why you should care: Used extensively in cosmetics, coal tar dyes are a mixture of many chemicals that are derived from petroleum and cause cancer and neurotoxicity. These chemicals have been banned in food products.
Where it’s found: Talc is found in powder products, such as eye shadow, baby powder, face powder, and other loose-mineral cosmetics.
Why you should care: This absorbent and anti-caking agent is known to be toxic and is linked to cancer. Asbestos-containing talc particles have been known to cause tumors in human ovaries and lungs.
7. Mineral Oil
What to look for: Mineral oil, or anything that sounds like the word “petroleum”
Where it’s found: Mineral Oil is found in baby lotions, creams and skin ointments, as well as cosmetics.
Why you should care: This is a crude oil derived from the distillation of petroleum to produce gasoline. It is a known human carcinogen, and it also causes skin problems.
8. Aluminum Zirconium
What to look for: Any aluminum compound
Where it’s found: Aluminum is found in antiperspirant products.
Why you should care: Used as the antiperspirant in deodorants, this heavy metal has been linked to the development of Alzheimer’s disease and has been found in breast cancer tumors. It is also a respiratory, neurological, and developmental toxin.
9. Sodium Laureth
What to look for: Sodium Lauryl Sulfate
Where it’s found: Sodium Laureth is found in most skin care and cosmetics, as well as household and car cleaners, and engine degreasers.
Why you should care: One of the most dangerous ingredients used in products, this chemical is linked to skin damage, eye damage and liver toxicity. It is also toxic to the environment.
10. BHA & BHT
What to look for: Butylated Hydroxyanisole, Butylated Hydroxytoluen
Where they’re found: BHA/BHT is found in moisturizers and makeup.
Why you should care: Considered “a reasonable anticipated human carcinogen,” this chemical preservative interferes with normal reproductive system development and thyroid hormone levels. It can also cause skin depigmentation, liver damage, and stomach cancer in animal studies.
We dare you to ditch the products with ingredients in this list and discover the better alternatives. If we change our standards and refuse to buy products with harmful ingredients, we swear that companies will listen.