Toxic Makeup: It’s Likely In Our Cabinets

By Cheryl Ryan

I’m using some new under-eye concealer that works great but there’s something about it that seems toxic. This brand allows me to mix two colors together to get closest to my own coloring but it’s really hard to wash off. Is that a sign of toxicity? I’ve long heard that cosmetics have carcinogens in them but I’ve never taken the time to understand that. Well, let’s do it. I began by searching for toxic ingredients found in makeup

And quite a list it is. I can’t pronounce most of them much less memorize them. Then there are the ones that sound perfectly legit like, mineral oil, yet are toxic. I learned that the U.S. has banned only 30 ingredients from being used in makeup while the E.U. has banned more than 1300. It seems that simply changing from products made in the U.S. to those made in the E.U. would instantly minimize your exposure. But what if there are products that you love that are made in the U.S. and already in your makeup bag? 

Armed with my new list and a magnifying glass (but wishing I owned a mega powered microscope) I set about comparing ingredients. Most are not on the actual containers but rather on the boxes, long taken to a landfill somewhere. There are some that I could kind of make out but still so many unexplained ingredients. I visited makeup websites and some listed ingredients while many did not. It was discouraging. 

And then I found these apps! Think Dirty and Healthy Living allow you to scan the barcode of a product. They instantly bring up a toxicity rating and a list of all ingredients. If you don’t have the barcode you can simply search the product by name. It’s amazing. Between the two of them, I was able to find almost everything in my makeup cabinet. They also rate shampoos, household cleaners and a range of other products.

Remember my original concealer? I was surprised to find out that it was a 3 which isn’t bad on a scale of 1 to 10. But another product that I thought was perfectly fine was actually an 8.  There is no way of knowing by appearances alone. But by taking a minute and using these apps you can get a much better idea of what you are putting on your body.  

I no longer have to head to the back of the Sephora store to find the ‘natural’ face creams and exfoliants and trust that they really are natural. I can use my apps and know what is in them.  It’s very cool.

So if you find more bad makeup than good in your cabinets/drawers and want to try something new there is a whole industry of makeup companies focused on truly clean makeup

I will definitely be trying some of these natural brands to replace the products that are more toxic than I want. Have you used any that you love?  Please share it with us if you have!

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