All this talk about the #CleanBeautyRevolution and toxic chemicals in your products. But how do you know what ingredients are toxic and how do you make better choices and find alternatives? I’m here to help!
Here’s a list of the most common toxic ingredients in your health and beauty products: (click on each one for more information)
- Aluminum, lead, and other heavy metals
- DEA (diethanolamine), MEA (Monoethanolamine), and TEA (triethanolamine)
- Formaldehyde and preservatives
- Fragrance, perfume, parfum, aroma, and synthetic musks
- Isopropyl Alcohol
- Mineral oil
- Polyethylene Glycol (PEG)
- Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE aka Teflon)
- Propylene Glycol (PG) and Butylene Glycol
- Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) and Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES)
- Synthetic color pigments
- Triclosan (banned in soaps by the FDA as of 9/16, read more)
The majority of these are endocrine disruptors and can throw off your hormones, or lead to developmental and reproductive toxicity. Or worse, infertility. Many have been associated with cancer. A lot of these are also carcinogens that can lead to tumors, cause allergic reactions, or are just bad for the environment. 😩
Sadly this is just a few of the thousands of chemicals that are put into our products, and many of these can go by different names as well. Almost all are banned in the European Union.
A good rule of thumb is that if you can’t pronounce it or it doesn’t come from a plant-derived source, it probably isn’t good for you! Your skin is your largest organ and will absorb everything that you put on it. Do you really want all those nasty ingredients in your body? 🙅
So now what? I encourage you to take inventory of your products and look at the ingredients. You will probably be shocked at how many of them include a lot of these toxic ingredients. I know it won’t happen overnight, but try to replace those products with safer alternatives (it took me like two years to fully replace most of my products). I have a list of recommendations for products as well, that should help you get started!
There are also some handy apps out there that can help you determine how safe your products are. One of them is the Think Dirty App. You can scan the barcodes on your products and it will give you a rating on how toxic or safe it is. So helpful! It also gives an explanation of the ingredients. The Environmental Working Group also has an app, the Healthy Living App, that has similar functionality (as well as food products).
Hopefully this information helps you know what to avoid when looking for cosmetics and personal hygiene products. I would love to know if you decide to ditch any of your current products and replace them with something better. Comment below if you do! 👇
Some other resources for you to learn more:
- Environmental Working Group Cosmetics Database
- Top Tips for Safer Products
- Campaign for Safe Cosmetics Red Lists
- DIY Guide to Natural Bathroom Products