So I love makeup. I'm a girlie girl and a painter so I have always loved playing around with beautiful palettes filled with amazing hues. Recently however I've stopped wearing makeup on a daily basis for several reasons (see my post Makeup, A Love (Hate) Story). One of those reasons is that I'm trying to eliminate as many harmful chemicals from my life as possible. I figured I should start with the products closest to me, i.e. what I put in and on my body.
So there are some chemicals that are pretty harmful and unfortunately pretty common in makeup. Try to avoid products that contain the following
dibutyl phthalate, toluene and formaldehyde: Probable carcinogen and irritant found in nail products, hair dye, fake eyelash adhesives
Fragrance/Parfum: A catchall for hidden chemicals, such as phthalates.
Hydroquinone: Used for lightening skin and linked to cancer and reproductive toxicity.
Lead: Known carcinogen found in lipstick and hair dye, but never listed because it’s a contaminant, not an ingredient.
Mercury: Known allergen that impairs brain development. Found in mascara
Mineral oil: By-product of petroleum that’s used in baby oil, moisturizers, styling gels. It creates a film that impairs the skin’s ability to release toxins.
Oxybenzone: Active ingredient in chemical sunscreens that accumulates in fatty tissues and is linked to allergies, hormone disruption, cellular damage, low birth weight.
Parabens: Used as preservatives, found in many products. Linked to cancer, endocrine disruption, reproductive toxicity.
Polyethylene glycol (PEG): Penetration enhancer used in many products, it’s often contaminated with 1,4-dioxane and ethylene oxide, both known carcinogens.
Silicone-derived emollients: Used to make a product feel soft, these don’t biodegrade, and also prevent skin from breathing. Linked to tumour growth and skin irritation.
Talc: Similar to asbestos in composition, it’s found in baby powder, eye shadow, blush, deodorant. Linked to ovarian cancer and respiratory problems.
Toluene: Known to disrupt the immune and endocrine systems, and fetal development, it’s used in nail and hair products. Often hidden under fragrance.
Retinyl palmitate, retinyl acetate, retinoic acid and retinol: Found in: moisturizer, lip products, sunscreen, anti-aging products. Retinol products (often found in anti-aging products) have the opposite intended effect and become carcinogenic in sunlight, making it extra important to only use them at night and to avoid any sunscreens containing retinol-derived ingredients.
Petroleum distillates: Found in: mascara. Petroleum-extracted cosmetics ingredients may cause contact dermatitis and are often contaminated with cancer-causing impurities. They are produced in oil refineries at the same time as automobile fuel, heating oil and chemical feedstocks.
Some great products that really are natural, i.e. they don't just say natural on the packaging, but mean it are Luv + Co Matte Loose Mineral Powder and lip gloss (Black Owned Co.), 100% pure, and my fav Alima Pure. I've been using Alima Pure for years. They are all natural, explain why they use the ingredients they use, and have they have an incredible range of colors to match your skin. There are a lot of great companies out there making cosmetics using only natural ingredients. Just remember to do your research by reading the ingredients labels. Also just because a product is all natural does not mean it will work with your skin. We can still have an allergic or adverse reaction to natural ingredients. So always do a patch test.
If you are brave enough you can also delve into the world of DIY makeup. I'm just getting into this. I'll be testing out recipes and letting you know how they stack up. The ingredients in DIY makeup are fairly common and typically consist of arrowroot powder, nutmeg, cinnamon, cocoa, hibiscus, coconut oil, aloe, beeswax, jojoba oil, vitamin E, mica, zinc oxide, etc.