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Be a Drug Store Beauty Drop Out!

Being a Food Babe doesn’t stop at food. Once you’ve understood what chemicals can do in your diet – The next logical step is to understand what other chemicals in your surroundings can effect your health. Ever thought about what toxins are lurking in the cosmetic industry? Why there are so many chemicals in your shampoo or toothpaste? Check out this video for a fabulous explanation of why:

I am a firm believer that if I eat the way I do, I can avoid the impact of most of the chemicals in my surroundings, but I also want to vote with my dollars and I refuse to buy products from companies that continue to pollute the environment and our bodies with loads of toxic substances. I also don’t like the idea that something I wash my face with can potentially cause cancer over time. Yesterday I counted the number of cosmetic products I used from morning to night – My number was 15. I’d like all my Food Babe readers to do the same little exercise! Count the number of products you use in a 24 hour period. And report back here! Please share the results in the comments section below or on my facebook page – I’d love to find out your number! Next – do this crucial step to become educated about what is lurking in those beauty products. Check the list below to find out if any of your products contain these dirty dozen chemicals.

  1. BHA and BHT. Used mainly in moisturizers and makeup as preservatives. Suspected endocrine disruptors and may cause cancer (BHA). Harmful to fish and other wildlife.
  2. Coal tar dyes: p-phenylenediamine and colours listed as “CI” followed by a five digit number. Look for p-phenylenediamine hair dyes and in other products colours listed as “CI” followed by five digits.1 The U.S. colour name may also be listed (e.g. “FD&C Blue No. 1″ or “Blue 1″). Potential to cause cancer and may be contaminated with heavy metals toxic to the brain.
  3. DEA-related ingredients. Used in creamy and foaming products, such as moisturizers and shampoos. Can react to form nitrosamines, which may cause cancer. Harmful to fish and other wildlife. Look also for related chemicals MEA and TEA.
  4. Dibutyl phthalate. Used as a plasticizer in some nail care products. Suspected endocrine disrupter and reproductive toxicant. Harmful to fish and other wildlife.
  5. Formaldehyde-releasing preservatives. Look for DMDM hydantoin, diazolidinyl urea, imidazolidinyl urea, methenamine and quarternium-15. Used in a variety of cosmetics. Slowly release small amounts of formaldehyde, which causes cancer.
  6. Parabens. Used in a variety of cosmetics as preservatives. Suspected endocrine disrupters and may interfere with male reproductive functions.
  7. Parfum (a.k.a. fragrance) Any mixture of fragrance ingredients used in a variety of cosmetics — even in some products marketed as “unscented.” Some fragrance ingredients can trigger allergies and asthma. Some linked to cancer and neurotoxicity. Some harmful to fish and other wildlife.
  8. PEG compounds. Used in many cosmetic cream bases. Can be contaminated with 1,4-dioxane, which may cause cancer. Also for related chemical propylene glycol and other ingredients with the letters “eth” (e.g., polyethylene glycol).
  9. Petrolatum. Used in some hair products for shine and as a moisture barrier in some lip balms, lip sticks and moisturizers. A petroleum product that can be contaminated with polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, which may cause cancer.
  10. Siloxanes. Look for ingredients ending in “-siloxane” or “-methicone.” Used in a variety of cosmetics to soften, smooth and moisten. Suspected endocrine disrupter and reproductive toxicant (cyclotetrasiloxane). Harmful to fish and other wildlife.
  11. Sodium laureth sulfate. Used in foaming cosmetics, such as shampoos, cleansers and bubble bath. Can be contaminated with 1,4-dioxane, which may cause cancer. Look also for related chemical sodium lauryl sulfate and other ingredients with the letters “eth” (e.g., sodium laureth sulfate).
  12. Triclosan. Used in antibacterial cosmetics, such as toothpastes, cleansers and antiperspirants. Suspected endocrine disrupter and may contribute to antibiotic resistance in bacteria. Harmful to fish and other wildlife.

Source – David Suzuki More details on these chemicals can be found here  

Ok so a lot your products have this sh&* in them – what do you do? Be a Drug Store Beauty Drop Out! *Apologies for the cursing – when I get mad I like to curse. It’s something I need to work on 🙂


Food Babe’s Tips: How to be a Drug Store Beauty Drop Out

  1. Stop going to the drug store to buy your cosmetics – This may seem a little extreme – but this is probably your best way to avoid the dirty dozen.
  2. Shop in organic and natural grocery stores to look for new products – or even your pantry! Use oatmeal & salt for a body scrub, coconut oil to remove eye makeup and olive oil as moisturizer.
  3. Adopt a minimalist approach to your beauty regime – do you really need to coat your hair in a chemical bath of 5 different products every day? Think about the money you would save if you just used one or two safe products?
  4. Find brands that are committed to safe cosmetics at this site and stick with them.
  5. Use this tool at EWG to rate your current products and find new ones that are safe.
  6. Order products on the internet – I do this so I don’t have to search around town or go to multiple places to find my staples. This saves me money and time. I like Lucky Vitamin and Vitamin Shoppe for this and they have free shipping.
  7. Read magazine’s like Whole Living, Natural Health, and Alive for new product reviews that would be safer than the ones advertised in magazine’s like Glamour, Self, Men’s Health and Allure.
  8. Jillian Michaels is a huge support of natural beauty and cosmetics products – check out the ones she likes here
  9. I’ve been through a load of natural products – some are great – some not so great. Shop at stores like Sephora that allow you to bring back a product if it doesn’t suit you.
  10. A few times a week, give your face a rest. Spend a couple of days without makeup and allow your skin to naturally be rejuvenated – I do this almost every Sunday!


Don’t fall into the trap of seeing celebrities wear certain brands of makeup – Revlon is one of the worst! Many of their products and other brands you see at your local drug store contain the dirty dozen beauty chemicals.
Ordering my goods at Lucky Vitamin and Vitamin Shoppe for the next couple of months!
No makeup Sunday!

  Later this week I’ll share some of my favorite beauty products in a video post! Stay tuned!

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115 responses to “Be a Drug Store Beauty Drop Out!

  1. Vani,

    Thanks for this wonderful information again. After reading your suncreen article I went to to look for my suncreen ingredient and later was hooked to and thier skindeep reasearch . The first thing I looked for was Cetaphil and its ingredients as that is what I use for kids(they have Eczema) and was also recommended by doctors. I was surpirsed to see the hazardous ingredients it has. It was an eye opening for me and I immediately took my kids off of Cetaphil. I used coconut oil as moisturizer. It was surprising to see my 15 month old’s eczema and skin rash were reduced by couples after using coconut oil. I am happy with coconut oil as natural moisturizer but I still need to explore for nice organic products that will suit the kids.

  2. I am a 50 y/o woman who do not use any make up on my face anymore. I have been going with the all natural and organic route since 2006 and this is what I am currently using:

    *Dr. Bronner’s soaps and Tropical Traditions soaps on my all over body and face.
    *Tropical Traditions Coconut oil for consuming as well on putting on body.
    *Dr. Mercola Organic Body balm and other products here and there.
    *Deodorants – organic homemade as well as brands by: Tropical Traditions, Miessence, Zion Health, Silver Shield, Home Health, Alvera (getting away from this brand), Primal Pit Paste, and Bubble and Bee.
    *Teeth – organic homemade, Weleda, Nara, OraMD, Zion Health (getting away from this one), Essential Oxygen, and Miessence.
    *Hair – Mostly the brand Eco Products which is GMO free (so I’ve been told). However I am finishing up with Beauty w/o Cruelty, Kiss My Face, etc. because not just on the account of the SLS or SLES, etc. I have to avoid due to Corn allergen (organic Corn products are tolerated just fine) and Soy. For hair conditioner I use Tropical Traditions Coconut oil, KMF, Heritage, and now Olive oil.

    I love Skin Deep/EWG guide in helping me decide what I should put on my body!

    I am always replacing and trying ‘new’ products when I find out if these are GMO-free, etc. that I can tolerate. I’ve come a long way since 2006 with having replaced many of the ‘natural’ products I thought were good and finding out about the harmful ingredients, I quit using. I have always found that if I could get away with an organic product that had no more than five ingredients (yes, all organic), I was in heaven! 🙂

    1. P.S. Forgot to add that I also use Kiss My Face olive oil soap bar on body and Tropical Traditions Coconut oil foaming soap on hands. 🙂

  3. is a good website to buy healthy body products with low EWG toxicity ratings, as well as lots of non-GMO snacks. They even carry dog food and dog supplies as well as cleaning supplies now! Their website has been a big help to me since none of the stores I have around me offer good brands. They offer free shipping over $49 and they always have sales and coupons! Sign up for their e-mail list to get coupons.

  4. Great article! And I love the title 😉 For the past 4 years I’ve been using Young Living products as they only use genuine essential oils and never “fragrance”. Also, they are a full disclosure company unlike most of the other natural brands. This way I know EXACTLY what is in my shampoo, toothpaste, hand soap, face cream and all-purpose cleaner! An added bonus is that members can purchase products at wholesale 🙂 Have you tried them yet?

  5. I don’t use cosmetics at all anymore, except for Zum body spray (lavender-mint), henna on my hair, and contact lenses. We use Zum soap, and I just made some homemade shampoo with castile soap and coconut milk. Good health to you and yours!

  6. Hi, I was wondering if you had done any research or have an opinion on Arbonne products. They claim to meet higher European ingredient standards for their products, and that they are free of anything truly harmful. I use a lot of their products and would be curious to know if you found anything that was contrary to their marketing statements. A friend of mine is a representative for the company, and uses Arbonne top to toe, including their health supplements. She claims that she recently went for one of those toxin releasing foot soaks, and the woman was amazed at how she did not release any of the typical toxins that people do, toxins from foods and beauty products, and my friend attributes it all to Arbonne. I wonder if the products can really be so amazing. If something seems too good to be true, it usually is!


  7. Thanks for a great post!! What about the popular companies like lush and bath junkie? Aveda? Tarte? How do they measure up? Would be interesting post!!! And hickory ridge organics is an amazing organic and natural handmade soap and beauty store!!! Amazing products!!!!

  8. I am a breast cancer survivor… 7 years now. When I rec’d my diagnosis, I was in shock as I thought I was healthy. What this did is make me even more aware of my environment and what I am putting on my body… I started researching … A LOT! I watched and read labels on all my food. Then I started thinking and asked myself “what am I putting ON my body?… and not just IN my body?” I started reading labels on health and beauty products too. I was shocked… I already knew that Sodium Laurel Sulfate was bad and Propylene Glycol (anti-freeze – a known poison and carcinogen) – if you spill some on your garage floor and your dog licks it up… it will die – probably in less than 24 hours. So why do they have to put that in our skin care at all? They do this because they are ‘cheaper by the barrel’ and that makes for inexpensive ‘fillers’ in the products. They start with 50-70+ % water and then fillers and toxins. Now I want to tell you about the answer to all this… L’BRI Pure n’ Natural Skin care is free of all toxins. The main ingredient is Organic Aloe Vera Barbadensis Miller – the most potent aloe. Then fruit and plant essesces, ginseng, conflower, vitamins, herbs and even some essential oils. L’BRI has no parabens, mineral oil, waxes, SLS, Propylene Glycol, no drying alcohols or acetone. See

  9. I am a Grandmother who has been buying All Natural Strawberry Banana and All Natural Island Splash Fruchi Real Fruit Smoothies for my Grandchildren. On the ingredients package. corn syrup, whey cream, guar Gum, Carrageenan ,Locust Gum ,Locust Bean Gum, Carrageenan, Citric Acid, Ascorbic Acid and more.” Please help ” Are all these ingredients Safe or unsafe? What could I replace the the Fruchi Smoothie from SCHWAN’S home service I am so great full for your web the food babe. Evie

    1. These are not good ingredients. Corn syrup is just plain sugar and it is GMO (Genetically modified). Therefore, this is not healthy at all. Carrageenan can cause stomach upset and digestive tract issues according to some research. Citric acid is a food additive than can damage teeth. I suggest giving them real organic fruits.

  10. I’ve recently discovered a company called Lemongrass Spa Products, made in the USA in Colorado. They sell via consultants (my website: on line. If you want to save 25% you can sign up to buy/sell, which will essentially save you the shipping/handling and sales tax charges. All of their products are handmade, 97 to 100 percent natural, safe and affordable, free of parabens, phthalates, sulfates, mineral oil and petro-chemicales. They have everything from hand soaps, to makeup and baby products as well. Some items are also gluten free. I enjoy your blog and have recently bought your eating guide. I support your efforts to change the ingredients in our food supply and continue to be amazed at what one (very intelligent) woman can do. Keep up the good work and thank you so much for all of your helpful eating and buying information. Candy

  11. I’m so happy that this is being brought to light, I believe more people should know what they are putting on their skin and what is in their products. It’s amazing to see people get surprised when you explain these chemicals that are toxic.
    I’m an Arbonne consultant and the products are really amazing. I’ve been using them almost year and I have noticed a dfference in my skin, hair and all around hygiene care. You have the option to get 20% or 35% discount. The products do follow the European standard which bans ove 1200 ingredients. As apposed to the FDA banning a few hundred. I would be more than happy to answer any questions I regards to the Arbonne products.

  12. Vani I just posted on my FB page a few days ago about this very thing and about using products that harm rather than heal the skin!! I represent a company that sells naturally based products!! Even the mascara fibers are made of gree tea leaves! I would love for you to sample them if you would like to or go to my website and take a look all ingredients are listed in product details!!

  13. Just saw your website, I’m a fan, but very disappointed that as much a you are finding healthy alternatives to use, you don’t address the horrific problem of animal testing. We have gone cruelty free for make up, cleaning supplies, shampoos, laundry etc. People don’t know what’s going on. I will never use a product that has hurt and tortured an animal. Do the research, you’ll be sickened.

  14. Thanks for the information! One awesome healthy and all natural product line I’ve found is called Sincerely Different and it’s amazing! Of course made in the US and locally in my area (Michiana) – I adore their face and body creams and their lip balms are divine! I also love that they are really really reasonably priced. So much junk in everything we buy – glad to know there’s a few companies out there with a soul!

  15. I LOVE this video! I went cruelty free three years ago and only buy cosmetics and foods with ingredients that I know to be safe for use. However, at the end of this video, they say to go to The campaign for safe cosmetics is BAD. It will lead to MORE testing on animals. If they have to test a product or ingredient on animals then it should not be in there in the first place. All the Safe Cosmetics Act will do is keep these toxic chemicals IN the product!! So, do NOT support the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics Act! For your sake and for the animals… They torture and kill animals after they test on them. Google “animal testing” and the horror will be revealed! Go to to find cruelty free alternatives. Always do your research. Don’t be fooled by greedy corporations who are just trying to make a quick buck and really don’t care about your health.

  16. I have been using various safe products for years and have my favs. I love my coconut. There is a new safe product line out called Modere. I have found this line has something for everyone. They also have home products such as safe laundry and dishwasher pods that are really awesome. We have to be careful of all chemicals we put on our body and our clothes. Check it out. Would like feedback. If you want to purchase anything there is a corp promo code. 783823 for free shipping and $ off your first purchase. Love all the info from you website. Keep it coming.

  17. I’m confused, and maybe you can help me. In your “dirty dozen” list, you indicate we should avoid using products with ingredients that end with “-siloxane” and “-methicone”; however, the first four ingredients in the Josie Maran Argan Oil Hair Serum sold on your beauty product page end with “-siloxane” and “-methicone”. Is this product safe to use or not?

    Here’s the product’s ingredient list:

    Cyclomethicone (and) Dimethicone, Phenyl Trimethicone, Cyclopentasiloxane, Organic Argania Spinosa (Argan) Kernel Oil, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Oil, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Oil, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Oil, Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil, Citrus Aurantium Bergamia (Bergamot) Fruit Oil, Geranium Maculatum (Geranium) Oil, Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E Acetate), Ethylhexylglycerin, Caprylyl Glycol (and) Phenoxyethanol (and) Hexylene Glycol.

      1. Wow, quick response! Thanks for the info. I’ve been using argan oil on my hair for several years, but, if I’m not very careful about how much I use, it sometimes leaves my hair looking too oily. I’m trying to find a product that contains argan oil because overall I like what it does, but I think a product with additional ingredients might help the occasional oiliness, I don’t like the look of the products I’m finding in stores.

  18. I have been using coconut oil for eating, cooking, makeup remover and all over moisturizer. I even went on a cruise to Mexico and used coconut oil for my suntan lotion. I never got burnt, and my husband used his sunscreen of 45 spf and got burnt! How’s that for nature taking care of us?!
    The other day, I happened by a blog site that talked about making a natural deoderant with a small amount of coconut oil and baking soda. Well, I’ve been using it for the past week and I am amazed how well it works! No odor, mess or sweat!
    Thank you all your information!

  19. I read this week the label on a toothpaste and it read gluten free, i wondered if this was for real or them just taking advantage of a health trend to sell their products

  20. Can anyone offer any revews on “The Beauty of Food” by Hanna? It i an instant download for homemade skincare products. I cant find independant reviews anywhere.

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