Tips & Advice

Three Ingredients to Avoid in Beauty Products

Gwyneth Hutchinson

March 31, 2020

It’s easy to think that beauty companies would prioritize your health, safety, and enjoyment of their products, but it is nearly always a scale tipped in favor of the latter. As a consumer, it is becoming increasingly tricky to watch out for your well-being with your products. Companies are making it more difficult to decipher their component ingredients and sneaking around with green-seeming packaging that belies the toxins they include in their products. Here are three of the main culprits to look out for in your beauty products.

  1. Formaldehyde — Yes, you read that right. Formaldehyde lurks in numerous widely consumed beauty products. The best example is nail polish, which is now being shown to cause increases in the formaldehyde levels of the body for frequent users. But formaldehyde can also be found in your deodorant, hair gel, makeup, lash glue, and other beauty staples. This may not seem like a huge deal, but the fact of the matter is that formaldehyde is a known irritant and a carcinogen. It causes cancer, especially in salon workers and other high-exposure individuals. 
  2. Phthalates  — Phthalates are known endocrine disruptors and can cause developmental issues, reproductive toxicity, and cancer. And they are all over the place in American beauty products. Phthalates are called plasticizers, meaning they help with the flexibility of plastics, and they are in everything from sanitary pads to shampoos to perfumes. Phthalates are endocrine disruptors that can cause reproductive defects, developmental issues, increased risk of miscarriage, allergies in young children, and is also considered a probable carcinogen. 
  3. Parabens — Parabens function as preservatives in many cosmetics to prevent the growth of mold and bacteria. They can be found in your makeup, moisturizers, hair products, and everything in between. Unfortunately, despite their utility and prevalence, these preservatives are endocrine disruptors, harmful to reproductive functioning, and carcinogenic. Furthermore, they are ecologically very harmful, capable of killing off corals at even low levels. 

There are countless other ingredients that beauty-goers need to actively avoid and boycott in their beauty products. We cannot expect that companies will prioritize our safety, so we must be doubly responsible for our consumption for the good of ourselves and those around us. However, there is a rainbow at the end of this gloomy journey, my dears, and that is the clean beauty movement! 

So many incredible companies have launched in the last few years to answer the demand for makeup, skincare, and hair products that aren’t bad for our health! Clean at Sephora has made it their mission to delineate which products exclude over 50 harmful ingredients from their product formulations, and many of them are absolutely amazing companies putting out top-notch products that are quickly replacing my old holy grails. 

Prioritize your health during these difficult times, in all ways possible!



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