Conventional Makeup is Poison: Mind, BODY, and Earth.

I don’t think I would be posting if I thought that the world knew that conventional makeup and cosmetics are BAD…but they are just so prominent still in the USA that its worth a shot at getting the word out there. WOOOOOW buddy did browsing the web for 10 minutes on different chemicals found in cosmetics REALLY open my eyes to a tiny slice of what is out there and easily accessible to people all over the world. Much of which I used for years. When I switched to ‘all-natural’ I did it slowly and it was more for the environment but now I can’t even stand the thought of them on and in my body for my own health. Conventional makeup and bathroom products (yes, even soap) are so toxic. For Mind, BODY and Earth. And I didn’t even know about it all until now! Here’s an overview of toxicities found in cosmetic products that are quite scary for your health. There will be SOO many links.

First word of caution; I always try to look at some of these popular articles with a grain of salt because YES they do provide great information BUT they conveniently also sell their own products. So I try my very best not to fall completely head over heels. Not that they are completely unfavorable but they do have an ulterior motive, and in my experience makeup and cosmetics that are ‘all natural’ and ‘healthy’ for your body are most likely NOT for the earth as well…so much plastic, a marketing-consumerist trap I don’t want to fall into. I mean yes, organic is always better than non-organic but shouldn’t it be a world that non-organic isn’t even an option? SO yes, all natural cosmetics are better than conventional by far BUT is it the best option? Not always. That is why we come up with a creative third option. What is it? That’s what I come to find out during this month of June: A Month of Zero Makeup.

Toxic Ingredients in Conventional Makeup

Many companies are coming up with sneaky ways to get people hooked to their products by branding it as ‘all-natural’ and even organic. Organic or now, some ingredients can be VERY harmful to our body and the earth. The skin is the largest organ and is porous, being able to absorb about 60% of what goes on it (The role of skin absorption as a route of exposure). American ( mostly women) use cosmetics ALL day. Where we usually put them; very close to the eyeball and glands,  bathing the hair in who-knows-what for minutes to hours, lips (entry of the digestive system), face, all over the skin maximizing surface area. It is definitely warranted a closer look at what we are using on our God given temples. 1 Corinthians 6:19 The Bible

Phthalates (‘fragrance’). Also the chemical can be shortened as DBP (dibutylphthalate), DEP (dimethylphthalate), DEHP (diethylphthalate), DMP (Di(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate) and BzBP (benzylbutyl phthalate). They have been associated with hormone-mimicking properties and therefore disrupt our bodies production and reaction of hormones linked to metabolic issues (blood pressure, blood sugar etc), male fertility and lung issues. Women, children and infants are just as susceptible if not more, with using products like baby powder and soaps. They are used as fragrance, adhering agents and solvents. They are also in many plastic products. Companies claim their fragrance formulations as trade secrets. Avoid products that just flatly have “fragrance” or one of these chemicals listed as an ingredient.(Ingredient Watch List: Phthalates) (5 New Reasons to Avoid Phthlates + How to Limit Your Exposure)

Lead. Yes, an element, therefore naturally occurring in the earth. That doesn’t mean non-toxic though. The World Health Organization declares that “There is no known level of lead exposure that is considered safe and lead exposure is preventable”. This stuck out to me big time. Lead is a neurotoxin (Safe Cosmetics). While the FDA’s fairly lax and somewhat confusing info (here), ‘99% of cosmetics have less than 10ppm of lead in their products and that is generally safe’. I’d rather not take the chance. Lipsticks are more likely to contain lead, so use clearly marked lead-free lipstick and other cosmetics, especially since they can bypass being absorbed through the skin and enter straight into the digestive system.

Formaldehyde. A carcinogen at even low levels inhaled, ingested or absorbed through the skin. The cosmetic industry uses formaldehyde-releasing agents as preservatives, surfactants, germicides and conditioning agents. Formaldehyde released by DMDM hydantoin, diazolidinyl urea, imidazolidinyl urea, methenamine, quarternium-15-18-26, and sodium hydroxymethylglycinate. Most products that have formaldehyde are eyelash glues, baby soap and shampoos, hair smoothing products and nail polish/treatments, but look out for sneaky ones that have the releasing factor in eyeliners, mascara and pressed powders from companies like BlushSense, CocoaCare Shea Butter, Lubriderm, Almay Mascara and more. “Salon-based products are exempt from labeling laws. Don’t use expired cosmetic products or store cosmetic products in the sun because this can cause more formaldehyde to be released” (Safe Cosmetics Formaldehyde)

Teflon. Yes the nonstick stuff used with production of pans, fabrics, fast food wrappers, microwave popcorn bags and believe it or not, cosmetics! “Teflon is a brand name for PTFE, one of thousands of fluorinated chemicals known as PFASs or PFCs [1] – some of which have been linked to serious health effects including cancer, thyroid disease and reduced effectiveness of childhood vaccines” (EWG Teflon). Olay, L’Oreal, Garnier were top brands that CURRENTLY sell SPF products that contain TEFLON.  Let alone all the derivatives and look-a-likes of the chemical. Other common companies containing (PERFLUOROOCTANOIC ACID) or PTFE or Teflon  (not just their SPF products) were E.L.F, MAC, Butter London, Wet ‘n Wild, Rimmel, Covergirl, IT Cosmetics, Maybelline, Gillette shaving cream, California Tan, Living Proof, No7, Deepshine and Physicians Formula. Look out for:

PTFE (Teflon)
Perfluorononyl Dimethicone
Perfluorodecalin
C9-15 Fluoroalcohol Phosphate
Octafluoropentyl Methacrylate
Perfluorohexane
Pentafluoropropane
Polyperfluoroethoxymethoxy Difluoroethyl Peg Phosphate
Polyperfluoroethoxymethoxy Peg-2 Phosphate
Methyl Perfluorobutyl Ether
Perfluorononylethyl Carboxydecyl Peg-10 Dimethicone
Perfluorodimethylcyclohexane
Perfluoroperhydrophenanthrene

Petroleum- based compounds. Petroleum AKA Crude Oil AKA Fossil Fuels are used in cosmetics most recognized as hydrocarbons and later after mineral oil but also can be used in ‘fragrances’. Petroleum is used today to make gasoline, styrofoam, plastics, paint, antifreeze and lubricating oils. Petroleum- based compounds can enhance your skin absorption of other materials, which could be a good or bad thing depending on what the substance is. My guess is that if it contains a petroleum-based compound it has other harmful chemicals. Propylene glycol (a Petroleum-based compound) is linked to serious health problems such as liver and kidney damage as well as respiratory irritation (Organic Makeup Petroleum) Petroleum- based compounds are also likely contaminated with Ethylene oxide, which is a known carcinogen which affects the nervous system and normal development. Look out for 1,4-dioxane and/or PEG- followed by a number (the # of ethylene glycol they comprise, the lower the number, the more easily absorbed into the skin).  How to Identify Petrochemicals in Your Cosmetics.

butylated preservatives (BHA, BHT). Used in jet fuel and paint thinners..oh and also food and cosmetics- GASP.  It has been banned in Japan for over 50 years as a food additive due to its toxicity to humans..hm… BHA, BHT both have bioaccumulative properties, meaning our bodies can absorb them faster than we can metabolize and excrete them. It is known to mimic certain hormones in both men and women and can promote the growth of tumors. Other health concerns include: cancer, endocrine disruption, organ system toxicity, developmental and reproductive toxicity and irritation.  Butylated compounds are used in lip products, hair products, makeup/sunscreen, antiperspirant/deodorants and perfumes. Also as general ‘fragrance’ in these products as well. (Toxic Tuesday butylated)

parabens. Parabens have gotten a bad rep, as they should, being found in breast cancer tissue, partly due to them being able to mimic estrogen. Hormones and neurotransmitters help our organs talk to eachother. An outside substance in disguise as one can lead to reproductive , immune, nervous system issues. The ones commonly used in cosmetics are methylparaben, propylparaben, butylparaben, and ethylparaben, hence the ‘paraben’. Once again they are used as a preservative, inhibiting microorganism growth. The FDA’s answer is a question, “Is having parabens as a preservative in makeup outweigh the risks of having bacteria overgrowth?” How about, yet again, a third creative option? Okay, so now companies use phenoxyethanol. Well, bad news, this has been linked to the exact same issues as parabens.

Other toxins and chemical to avoid. Siloxanes or chemical ending in -siloxane or -methicone. Carbon black. p-Phenylenediamine. Octinoxate.


Chemical names are complicated, long, and can be written and represented in many different ways. Perfect for a consumer to know NOTHING about right? Ignorance is bliss? NAH, not when your precious body is of concern. So The Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) Skin Deep Database (here) is a great resource to do some research on your product’s ingredients. I also use the Think Dirty App (here) for a second resource. They use a point system with research to back up potential toxicity of ingredients. I really like how you can search a chemical name and receive the products that contain it. Listed below are from the EWG Skin Deep database’s (user guide)

Low hazard – Moderate – High hazard

Conventional drug store companies like Suave (3-9), Aussie (5-8), Herbal Essence (4-6), Dove (2-6), Johnson and Johnson Products like Neutrogena, Aveeno and ACT Mouthwash (3-6), and MANY more have high average scores. Even department store and designer cosmetics (I don’t even know what they’re called, fancy, ha!) Philosophy (3-6), Estee Lauder (1-8), Origins (2-6), Clinique (2-6), Benefit (2-5), Bare Minerals (5-6), Bobbi Brown (5-6)  ETC. For the frugal gals, I include all the generic brands like Walmart’s Sam’s Choice, Fred Meyer’s Kroger, Target’s Up and Up, Safeway, CVS, the list goes on because the ingredients like their mimicked trade name counterpart I’ve listed above are very comparable. For me, I don’t want to look up everything I buy because the company has some good and some bad products. I want a wholesome company whose products are always low scoring. I won’t even entertain the idea of getting anything from conventional drug, pharmacy, department and grocery stores, even if they claim to be ‘all natural’, sorry but I flat out don’t trust it.

Okay so this is overwhelming, where do I start? DON’T BUY OR USE ANY PRODUCT THAT HAS ‘FRAGRANCE’ LISTED AS AN INGREDIENT.

Moral of the story is, and this one is a biggie…

DO. YOUR. RESEARCH.

(hard, long, annoying research sometimes) on everything you purchase to put in and on your body, find your comfort level, start slow and increase/specify your guidelines for you and your family. Your dollar and your voice is casting a vote on which company’s morals and practices you support. Use products that you can read and understand the compound like herbal essential oils and fruit extracts.

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Resources used by me; available and encouraged to be used by you

EWG’s ‘Is Teflon in Your Cosmetics?’ (EWG Teflon)

Problem with EWG and Think Dirty App

Ten Toxic Ingredients That Might Be in Your Makeup

Mind Body Green

WHO Lead Poisoning and health

and way more ( see links)

Thanks for sticking with me for this whole month of zero makeup!!! Join me? Comments? I’d love to hear from you.

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