Non-toxic make-up. Out of all the detox projects I did in my house, this one was the most difficult to find information on.
I started this adventure armed with two things: The Skin Deep Cosmetic Safety database, The Guide to Less Toxic Products and a whole bunch of internet reviews.
It’s kind of hard to believe that the cosmetic industry is getting away with all the bad things they are putting in make-up. Cosmetics are the LEAST regulated industry under the FDA. That means you can’t trust it’s safety of your favorite mascara simply because it’s on a retailer’s shelf.
So, how do you know where to start? What non-toxic make-up is the best? Here are five things to know:
1.) Set a Priority List: Everyone’s priority list is going to be different, so you’ll have to think about what is important to you and purchase accordingly. I set some pretty aggressive goals: I wanted each item to have a toxicity rate at a “2” or lower at a price point of $20 or less. Of course, it also had to be something I’d actually like and wear every day.
2.) Stay Away From Mainstream Cosmetic Brands: Almost all of them contain harmful substances. Commonly used chemicals (preservatives in particular) in our beloved cosmetics are being linked to scary things like hormone disruptions, birth defects, respiratory disorders, and even cancer. Makes sense when you think about the fact that our skin is our most porous organ…and that you actually ingest a good deal of the lip color you wear.
3.) Never Trust A Brand: One of the biggest things I learned is not to trust a brand name or a label. In many cases, labels like “organic,” “natural,” “pure” and “non-toxic” are clever marketing. A few organic ingredients in a lip gloss doesn’t mean that it is void of bunches of other toxic chemicals. (An example of this would be Physician’s Formula’s “organic” line.)
It’s also really helpful to know that many companies, even the true non-toxic ones, have notable discrepancies in their toxicity ratings between products. Just because a brand claims to make non-toxic products, or include “organic” ingredients doesn’t mean it’s 100% true for all of it’s products. One company may carry a great lip gloss, while their foundation is another story. That is why I looked into the ingredients toxicity of each and every cosmetic product I viewed, and you should too!
Warning: Do not buy any make-up from brands that make big claims to be non-toxic but do not disclose full ingredient lists. There are some brands that will go to great lengths tell you everything they “don’t” put in their make-up, but will not release an actual list of ingredients.
4.) Ingredients to Beware Of: Here is a list of ingredients to look out for when shopping. If a product contains any of these, do not buy it. (These are a few of the major ones, but read this helpful article for a more thorough list ! )
- Parabens. This is usually a suffix tacked on the end of a really long word. These are preservatives that have hormone-disrupting effects.
- Petroleum. Might also be the word “petrolatum” or “mineral oil.” Impedes the skin from eliminating toxins.
- Phthalates (synthetic fragrances). This will appear as “fragrance” or “parfum” on an ingredient list. Linked to birth defects, respiratory disorders, chronic skin reactions and a number of other health complications.
- Anything you don’t understand or can’t pronounce! (Google it and then look it up in the Skin Deep Cosmetic Safety Database to find out what it is if you are unsure)
- Any brand that claims to be “non toxic” or “organic” but will not list ingredients. Lists of what they “don’t” use do not count! That’s just marketing.
Here are some ingredients that are controversial but not quite proven to be as toxic as the ones mentioned above. Some of them might have to be inhaled or ingested at very high levels to do any damage. Evidence is very limited, but you’ll still get a lot of opinions and mixed reviews on these (I’m sure some of my readers have some opinions! Wink, wink.):
- Titanium Dioxide (can be good because it is used as an SPF, so pick your poison. Lots of opinions on this one. Found in many of the the “non-toxic” brands, including Bare Minerals and most foundations.)
5.) Suggested Make-Up to Consider: Now that you are all fired up to detox your make up bag, how about some other full-line cosmetic brand recommendations to get you started? Remember, don’t trust a brand or a label. Set your budget and priority list and take a careful look at each product!
- Aubrey Organics
- 100% Pure Fruit Pigmented Make-up (Frugal Faye’s Blogger’s Choice Award for amazingness, cleanness, and affordability! You could make a small vegan meal from this stuff if the apocalypse hit. Order online from 100% Pure, or find locally at Eco Chic Baby and Home in Vacaville!)
- Gabriel Cosmetics (Makers of Zuzu Luxe, Frugal Faye’s second choice)
- Coastal Classic Creations (the only make-up brand that consistently scored 0-1 on the database!)
- Bare Minerals (warning about controversial ingredients such as talc, mica, and titanium dioxide, but overall not bad for the price)
- Any brand that is a signer of the Compact for Safe Cosmetics deserves a fair shake.
Note: Once you know what product and shade you want, sometimes you can order these cosmetics for a few dollars cheaper at online stores like VitaCost.com. If you prefer to see product in person, check stores like you local health food store or Whole Foods.
I hope this guide will encourage you to tackle the job of finding a safe make-up! Here are the results of my original make-up bag detox and here is an update on the items currently in my make-up bag!