Years ago I took a hard look at all the beauty products I was using daily… everything from my shampoo, to my lotion, to my lipstick. I found that not only were most of them filled with controversial chemicals, but I was using way too many products that were not even necessary. That was a big wake up call.
That’s when I decided to majorly clean up my beauty product routine. I started getting rid of risky products and slowly replaced them with the safest (and simplest) products I could find. I’m happy to say that now my daily routine is super simple and I feel so much better knowing I’m not slathering potentially cancerous chemicals on my skin day after day.
Next time you’re walking down the makeup aisle at the drug store, pick up any cosmetic off the shelf – and you’ll likely find at least one ingredient that is linked to cancer.
Some cosmetics contain ingredients that damage the skin and end up making you look older. Pretty ironic for “beauty” products, right?
That’s because cosmetics are not regulated as strictly as food products. Companies can get away with using these risky ingredients because they have been used for years and there is not enough pressure for them to change their ways. There are safer alternatives, but it all comes down to using the cheapest ingredients to pad their bottom line – even though it comes at the expense of our health.
Just take a look at what’s in some popular products, like Maybelline Great Lash Mascara, which is made with some very risky ingredients linked to cancer…
Quaternium-15 slowly releases small amounts of formaldehyde, a substance which can cause cancer. The triethanolamine (TEA) is known to react with other chemicals found in beauty products, creating the nitrosamine NDELA – a carcinogen. Parabens (methylparaben and butylparaben) are endocrine-disrupting chemicals linked to breast cancer and reproductive problems.
You’ll also find parabens in CoverGirl’s Clean Professional Loose Powder, but I’d say the worst ingredient in this product is the first ingredient: Talc.
Talc in cosmetics can be contaminated with asbestos, a carcinogen that is especially dangerous when airborne. Talc containing asbestos is linked to lung cancer (when inhaled) and to other cancers near where it has been placed on the body. That’s why you want to avoid using talc-based makeup powders, as it can easily get into the air where you inhale it right into your lungs.
Not all talc is contaminated with asbestos, and I don’t know if CoverGirl’s powders are contaminated, but I would avoid makeup made with talc as a precaution. There are safer alternatives (which I will tell you about below). Talc is a very common ingredient in powders, eye shadows, bronzers, and highlighters… so keep an eye out for it!
Here you’ll find talc as a main ingredient in Neutrogena “healthy skin” concealer – but it also contains a couple other ingredients linked to cancer…
“PEG” compounds in makeup can be contaminated with Ethylene Oxide and 1,4 Dioxane, which are both linked to cancer. Also, the preservative BHT is a suspected endocrine disruptor that can mess with hormones in the body – another risk for cancer.
The preservative methylisothiazolinone is believed to trigger eczema and allergic reactions. According to the EWG, some research suggests that it may be neurotoxic.
One of the most sneaky ingredients you’ll find in cosmetics is “fragrance”. Just like “natural flavors” in our food, cosmetic companies don’t tell you everything that is in these fragrances and they can include highly toxic ingredients, hormone disruptors, and carcinogens. They often contain alcohols, which can irritate sensitive skin and make you appear older.
L’oreal’s True Match Lumi Foundation is filled with FOUR different parabens: methylparaben, propylparaben, butylparaben, and ethylparaben…
Not only are parabens linked to cancer, but they have been shown to accelerate the appearance of wrinkles!
One study published in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology found that methylparaben dried the skin and made it appear more wrinkled, because it decreases collagen levels in the body (which is what makes the skin look young and supple).
This foundation also includes Octinoxate sunscreen, which is an endocrine disruptor that can interfere with thyroid function and may increase risk of breast cancer.
Simple lip balm can be laden with risky chemicals too…
Baby Lips by Maybelline is made with ingredient Petrolatum (petroleum jelly) – a byproduct of petroleum refining. If petrolatum is not properly refined, it may be contaminated with polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) – a group of chemicals that are widely linked to cancer. This ingredient is commonly found in lipsticks, so make sure to check the ingredients in yours.
Be careful about what you wash that makeup off with too…
Most face washes use various sulfate ingredients which create that lathered up foam that makes you feel like you are getting clean… but are not exactly safe. Ingredients like sodium laureth sulfate (SLES) and ammonium laureth sulfate (ALS) may be contaminated with 1,4-dioxane, which is linked to cancer. You won’t see 1,4-dioxane on an ingredient list because it forms during manufacturing and the FDA doesn’t require a warning label.
The preservative DMDM hydantoin slowly releases small amounts of the carcinogen formaldehyde every time you use it. Another substance you won’t find on the label.
I don’t like the idea of using something that can potentially cause cancer over time.
I believe exposure to carcinogens even at low levels is unnecessary – especially in products I use daily or often. Here’s how to clean up your beauty routine:
10 Tips For Cleaning Up Your Beauty Routine:
- Get familiar with the top ingredients to avoid. Check the products you are currently using for the ingredients discussed in this post and start looking for replacements for the offending products.
- Choose fragrance-free products. Buy everything unscented and then scent yourself with natural fragrances created from mostly plants and essential oils.
- Adopt a minimalist approach – do you really need to coat your eyes with eyeshadow, eyeliner, mascara, and eyebrow pomade every day? How many products do you use on a daily basis? Think about the money you’d save if you just used a couple safe products.
- Check all your products individually for safety. Don’t assume if you use a certain brand, your product is safe. Many companies have products across the spectrum from really safe and natural to horribly toxic.
- Look for products made with simple organic ingredients. The simpler the better!
- When in doubt, use natural oils on your skin. Sesame is considered one of the best because it contains several vitamins and minerals, has been known to fight skin cancer, and is naturally antibacterial. Try using coconut or sesame oil as a moisturizer and makeup remover.
- Choose products that focus on improving the health of your skin… versus how they will make you look. For instance, look for products full of antioxidants which help to rejuvenate the skin and defy aging.
- Don’t try to do it all at once. If you find out that some of the products you use are harmful, go ahead and use them until they are gone and then replace them with new safer products. I started with my mascara. I replaced it and systematically started replacing each item in my makeup bag. It can feel overwhelming at first, so start with one or two products that you use often and then take it from there.
- Give your face a rest a few times a week. Spend a couple of days without makeup each week and allow your skin to naturally be rejuvenated.
- Find a safe makeup brand you can trust and vote with your dollars. Stop supporting companies that are harming the environment, your family and most importantly your own body with crazy chemicals! Choose to buy your products from a company that does all the RIGHT things.
I’m so happy to have found a cosmetics brand that I trust: 100% PURE.
All 100% PURE products are made with organic ingredients and no synthetic chemicals. Here’s why I love this brand:
- They test each ingredient for pesticide residues
- Cruelty-free with no animal testing.
- Free of all of those controversial ingredients found in most cosmetics… no parabens, talc, chemical sunscreens, formaldehyde-releasing preservatives, PEG compounds, or synthetic fragrances.
- Instead of using artificial dyes like other brands, all 100% PURE products are pigmented using fruits and vegetables, which are full of beneficial vitamins and antioxidants. How cool is that?
Even if you don’t wear makeup, they’ve got amazing shampoo, bath products, body scrubs, soaps, face creams, and moisturizers too.
100% Pure is now a partner of Food Babe and I am so happy to give you a chance to try their products (or continue using them) at a great deal.
- 100% PURE Pigmented Better Naked Palette ($53)
- 100% PURE Cocoa Butter Matte Lipstick in Protea ($29)
- 100% PURE Cruelty-Free Crease Brush E40 ($15)
- 100% PURE Cruelty-Free Angled Contour Brush F30 ($19)
- 100% PURE Limited Edition bag ($5)
This gift from 100% PURE is crazy good (worth over $120). There are a LIMITED NUMBER of these gifts available, and when they run out, they run out. This is a rare deal that doesn’t come around often.
This is my go-to look using 100% PURE products before a night out…
- Fruit Pigmented Ultra Lengthening Mascara – Black Tea
- Fruit Pigmented Satin Eye Shadow: Caribbean
- Fruit Pigmented Cherry Lip & Cheek Stain
- Fruit Pigmented Pretty Naked Palette
- Volumizing Shampoo
- Volumizing Conditioner
If you know anyone who loves to wear makeup, but who may need a beauty bag makeover… please send them this post. Everyone should know about the potential carcinogens lurking in beauty products (and I’m sure they’ll be thrilled to save money on these safe products too.)
P.S. This exclusive FOODBABE discount from 100% PURE ends this Friday (9/7/18) at midnight. So make sure to get your order in quick to get your discount and super gift (which will run out)!