Strip down, clean out, and rethink your beauty bags ladies, because some makeup belongs in the sewers along with its other toxic buddies.
Toxic beauty enhancing products aren’t a recent concept. In fact, it is no secret Queen Elizabeth 1 (1533 –1603) died due to blood poisoning caused by lead-based face paint (applied in order to maker her more attractive for her much younger and more virile lovers!)
Today, almost ALL major players in the beauty industry contain atleast one toxic ingredient or its variants, in their products. Yes, the name, the packaging and the allure of these famous brands make you want to buy one more cherry red lippie but is that worth the pain, trauma and doctor’s fee, in the end?
And to help you along, here are the top 5 nasty chemicals to watch out for, lurking behind your product:
A number of daily used products in our beauty bags such as bronzers, setting powders, concealers, lipsticks & mascaras contain parabens.
Parabens are the no.1 nasty chemicals in the makeup and personal care industry. So what are parabens exactly? Parabens are man-made preservatives to prevent growth of bacteria, fungi and mould– which sounds great to be honest, until you realize that parabens are known to cause skin & breast cancer.
Lead & Carbon Black
Lead is not U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved. Infact, it is one of the most toxic substances known to man. Luckily, the previous widespread use of this silent killer is so extensively studied that a company would have to be suicidal to add even a tiny trace of lead to any of their products. In spite of this in 2012, an FDA investigation found traces of lead in lipsticks of major brands such as L’Oreal, Revlon, Dior, Cover Girl, Avon and M.A.C. So watch out for these lipsticks!
Carbon Black on the other hand is used in mascaras, eye shadows and eyeliners, in order to get that much besotted smokey eye effect. Although, a smokey eye would not be the best choice for you to make, because Carbon Black is linked to lung tumors and is possibly carcinogenic. (Although further research is ongoing.)
Phthalates are ever present in cosmetics – especially used in perfumes & nail polishes. They are used to make the plastic durable and pliable to contain these products.
Phthalates are known to meddle with reproduction and development by unbalancing hormones and causing cancer (especially changes in estrogen levels in women can cause breast cancer). So I would suggest steering clearly away from them!
Talc & Asbestos
In 2019, the children’s cosmetics company Claire’s was brewed in scandal, (not once but twice!) for containing traces of asbestos, also known as the cancer- causer.
In the same year the FDA also advised individuals not to use cosmetic products containing talc powder to certain high degrees and frequency. Talc is found in products to absorb oiliness and “cakey-effect” such as blushes, bronzers, eye shadows and setting powders.
Inspite of this in-depth and very public investigation, Princess Girl’s All-in-One Deluxe Makeup Palette was found guilty in an investigation for containing asbestos in children’s makeup kits as well. (For shame!)
If you’ve ever developed a headache or sick feeling while sitting in a hair salon or nail salon for too long; you have this nasty chemical to blame!
Nail polishes, nail hardeners, hair spray and hair straightening products release formaldehyde gas into the air, which causes allergies, irritation to respiratory system & nervous system, headaches and nausea. This is why it is recommended to properly ventilate parlors because prolonged exposure can potentially be lethal.
So, if you are worried about the presence of the above toxic chemicals in any of your favourite products, check the ingredients list before your next use and opt for switching to safer, non-toxic alternatives!
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- Bussinessinsider.in. (2019). Cancer-causing toxins were just found in
foundation and sparkly makeup – here are 11 chemicals that could lurk in
your lipstick, lotion, and eye powder. [online] Available at :
- Formuzis, A. (2020). Alert: Tests Find High Levels of Asbestos in Children’s
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