Hi my beauties! I hope you are all having a fabulous day or night wherever you are, whatever you’re doing!
Today’s post is something I’ve been wanting to sit down and work on for a while because I’ve learned a lot in the past year about the formulation of beauty products. In developing my own natural beauty brand, I’ve been in labs and have done a lot of research on what is in our products and the reason they are used. I want to be completely honest with you about the fact that I used to turn a very blind eye, not that long ago. I knew makeup and skincare products were full of junk I probably didn’t want on my skin, let alone in my body. But, they worked really well, came in beautiful packaging, and gave me the results I was looking for. So, I told myself, they couldn’t be that bad if millions of women use the same products every single day. Right? Right….
The sole reason I created Lawless, and working really hard every single day to expand into more products, is because I want safe products that work as well as the chemical versions I’m used to. When I started breaking down formulas of products I love to see how I could mimic the same results, I was really shocked at what I found in things I was using on a daily basis.
This post is not in any way intended to be all-inclusive, preachy, or even to scare you! It is simply just to provide some information you may not have, just like I didn’t, and to share facts about some of these ingredients that I think many of us aren’t aware of. The following is a list I’ve compiled of some of the most common offenders in our beauty products that have been shown in one way or another to be detrimental to our health. As I said, this is NOT intended to be all inclusive, and I’m certainly not pretending to be a scientist here. I just want to share some things I’ve learned in hopes I can help you understand ingredients better and have more information about products you consume.
1) Parabens – This one is the popular kid in school that we all know a thing or two about by now. Many brands have removed parabens from their products and proudly include it in their labeling. Parabens have been recognized by the FDA to be linked to breast cancer, skin cancer, and decreased sperm count. They are absorbed by the skin and have been found in biopsy samples from breast tumors. Because they mimic estrogen in the body, parabens may cause reproductive and developmental issues, as well as endocrine disruption. They are used so widely, that our exposure can be pretty high over time, so it’s best to avoid them entirely.
2) Talc – I’m sure you’ve heard some bad things about talc lately in relation to the Johnson & Johnson lawsuits regarding the link between the long term use of talcum powder and death. Talc is found in baby powder, body and shower products, lotions, feminine hygiene products, eyeshadows, foundation, setting powders, lipsticks, deodorants, and face masks. Talc particles have been shown to cause tumors in the ovaries and lungs of cancer victims. Cosmetic grade talc is unregulated by the FDA, and often contains asbestos. Talc is also restricted in the European Union (EU).
3) FD&C and D&C colorants – These are synthetic colors that are followed by a color and a number (for example, FD&C Red 27). These colors are derived from coal tar or petroleum and are carcinogenic to humans. They can irritate the skin and have been linked to ADHD in kids. The European Union (EU) has banned these colors, but not surprisingly, the US has not.
*Fun fact – Romeo was originally supposed to be a classic, true red, but the type of red that creates that vibrant, bright red is not natural. Romeo became a deeper, vampier burgundy red because I used Red 7 Calcium (which is naturally derived and safe) instead!
4) Fragrance – This one is kinda sketchy. “Fragrance” is a term companies use to get around having to disclose their fragrance mixture. This is to “protect” their scent from being copied, but it also allows for them to use any chemicals they want in their “fragrance” without having to disclose them on the label. This could mean there are 20+ chemicals in your product that you don’t know about because they aren’t on the label. Fragrance is one of the top 5 allergens/irritants in the world, and some of the chemicals in fragrances are linked to asthma, respiratory disorders, and hormone disruption.
*Fun fact – The natural scent in Lawless liquid lipsticks is apple. A lot of people can’t put their finger on it!
5) Phthalates – These are a category of chemicals used in tons of products to increase the softness and flexibility of plastics. They are proven to be endocrine disrupting and have been linked to breast cancer and reproductive birth defects, particularly in men. A very common phthalate containing ingredient is “fragrance” which is not disclosed because companies are not required to list the ingredients in their fragrance. The main phthalates in beauty products are dibutyl phthalate, diethyl phthalate, and dimethyl phthalate.
6) Triclosan – This is an antimicrobial chemical that became popular when antibacterial products hit the scene in the 90s. The FDA agrees there is no benefit to including triclosan in products, and, in 2013, ruled that manufacturers using it must prove there are no long-term detrimental health effects. Triclosan has been linked to hormonal imbalance, bacterial resistance, impaired immune and muscle function, and increased allergies. Studies have also proven that triclosan contributes to antibiotic resistance. It has also been shown that there is no benefit to using antibacterial soaps containing triclosan over regular soap and water.
7) Sodium Laureth Sulfate & Sodium Lauryl Sulfate – These can be found in 90% of beauty products and cleaning products. They are known skin, eye, and lung irritants, and can interact with other chemicals in beauty products to form nitrosamines, which are carcinogenic. When that combination happens, a lot of other issues like kidney and respiratory damage can occur. SLS’s are also widely thought to be a major cause of acne – specifically cystic acne – around the mouth and chin area.
8) Formaldehyde. This just sounds bad – you probably know you don’t want formaldehyde on your skin. FRP’s (formaldehyde-releasing preservatives) are used in a lot of beauty products to prevent the growth of bacteria and extend shelf life. The International Agency for Research on Carcinogens designates formaldehyde as a human carcinogen because it has been linked to several types of cancers. It is also known to cause allergic reactions and immune system problems.
9) Coal Tar and coal tar containing ingredients– This is a byproduct of coal processing, and is a known by the National Toxicology Program and International Agency for Research on Cancer as a known human carcinogen. Europe has banned most coal tar ingredients, including aminophenol, diaminobenzene, and phenylenediamine.
10) Sunscreen chemicals – I know…you are just trying to do the right thing so you buy products with SPF. But you may be doing more harm than good. These chemicals are endocrine disruptors and believed to be very easily absorbed into the bod. They may also cause cancer and cellular damage. Oxybenzone is one of the higher risk sunscreen chemicals that mimics estrogen in the body, has been shown to alter sperm production in animals, and is linked to endometriosis in women. Other common sunscreen chemicals are PABA, benzophenone, avobenzone, homosalate, and ethoxycinnmate. Use sunscreens with titanium oxide or since oxide in place of these!!
*Fun fact – I do not wear sunscreen or use any SPF containing products. This is not because I think it’s ok to lay in the sun all day. It’s because I use hats and protective clothing in place of chemicals. And I also believe some sun is better for you than none, considering vitamin D deficiency is one of the major deficiencies among Americans. Vitamin D deficiency is also linked to several types of cancer and disease. I’m more concerned about the chemicals in sunscreen than I am about the sun. Go figure.
11) Lead – Despite the known sickness caused when a human body consumes lead, 61% of lipsticks (including high end luxury brands) contain lead. Even a small amount of lead can be dangerous, and it has been declared that “there is no identified threshold or safe level of lead in blood” It is a neurotoxin linked to cognitive, neurological, cardiovascular, and behavioral problems. It also causes hormone and reproductive issues in men and women. Over time, lead exposure can affect every organ system. I hate to name names, but it’s out there already, so the highest lead levels in lipsticks tested were found in L’oreal, Maybelline, and Cover Girl. Ugh!
Like I said, this list is not meant to be all inclusive. In fact, I had a hard time deciding which ingredients to highlight because there are quite a few that we should probably cut back on in our beauty routines, or remove entirely. I just wanted to mention some of the most common and most widely used by manufacturers so you could potentially learn something about some of the products sitting in your bathroom. If you’re interested in a part 2, let me know in the comments, and I will do that for you!
I would love to know how you guys feel about this, and if you have made any swaps in your beauty routine! I would also love to know some of your favorite natural products that you’ve discovered.
I hope you have a wonderful rest of the day and we will talk soon!