Dirty Looks

Makeup is supposed to make you look good and enhance your features. What you may find in some of your favorite cosmetics isn’t pretty at all.  Always look for makeup that doesn’t have any harsh chemicals.


Cat eyes, pumped-up lashes, a kissable pout, a pinch of peach on bare cheeks is absolutely gorgeous, but many brands of cosmetics contain harmful ingredients that have no business being on your face. The Environmental Working Group warns that many common chemicals in cosmetics are potential allergens, organ system toxins, carcinogens, or endocrine disruptors that alter hormones, metabolism, fertility, and the immune system. Gross!  Ready for a makeup-bag makeover? Watch for these ingredients:

  • Phthalates-found in nail polish and cosmetics with synthetic fragrances–known endocrine disruptors–look for Dibutyl phthalate (DBP), diethyl phthalate (DEP)
  • 1,3-Butadiene–found in foundation–known carcinogen–affects human development and reproductive health
  • BHA & BHT–used as preservatives in various types of makeup–known endocrine disruptors and can be harmful to fish and wildlife and BHA is a probable human carcinogen–found in acne fighting formulas with salicylic acid, salicylate, sodium salicylate, willow extract, tropic acid, trethocanic acid, and butylated hydroxytoluene.
  • Formaldehyde releasers–also used as preservatives in various types of makeup–they activate formaldehyde, which can cause cancer–look out for DMDM hydantoin, diazolidinyl urea, imidazolidinyl urea, methenamine 3-chloroallylo chloride, quarternium-15, bronopol (2-bromo-2-nitropropane-1,3-diol), hydroxymethylglycinate
  • Titanium Dioxide–found in pressed and loose powder–when inhaled, this chemical is a possible carcinogen–look for Titanium dioxide (TiO2) and avoid loose powders.
  • Octinoxate–found in lipstick, nail polish, and sunscreen–mimics estrogen and can disrupt thyroid function and reproductive development–look out for Octinoxate, o-methoxycinnamate (OMC), Parsol, Parsol MCX, Parsol MOX, Escalol, 2-ethyylhexyl p-methoxycinnamate (EHMC)–double check ingredients on SPF products
  • Carbon Black–found in eyeliner, mascara, nail polish, eye shadow, lipstick, blush, and foundation–may increase the risk for lung disease and cardiovascular disease–look out for products with Carbon black, D&C Black No. 2, acetylene black, channel black, furnace black, lamp black, thermal black
  • Benzophenone–found in nail polish, SPF lip balm, and foundation–can cause cancer and endocrine disruption and harmful to reproductive and developmental health–also toxic to aquatic ecosystems when people swim slathered in SPF products–watch for sunscreens with Phenyl ketone, diphenyl ketone, benzyl benzene, benzyl phenyl

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