Get GREEN deals — View Deals

<< Go to Blog Homepage

Beware of These Harmful Cosmetic Ingredients

Your makeup might be toxic

How much science is just too much science when it comes to makeup?

We all get it – that overwhelming feeling when we walk into a makeup section. There are so many little bottles and powders, shades and shimmers, and beautifully packaged products that promise to make us beautiful.

Yet, with so many formulas that say they’re “dermatologist-tested,” “gentle” and “natural”, it’s a bit hard to believe they’ll all do wonders for our complexion while making our eyes, lips, and cheeks pop perfectly under any light.


It’s easy to get ahead of ourselves when it comes to fancy chemistry. Science can only do so much, though, and I think, the best kind of science is the kind that’s rooted in nature – the stuff that our bodies were exposed to long before synthetic chemicals were ever introduced. When it comes to makeup, it’s best we be informed about what ingredients are harmful to us and then do our best to avoid willingly putting them on our face! Seems simple enough, no?

Here is a list of harmful ingredients found in cosmetics – using a nifty online database called Skin Deep. Use it as a basic reference when consulting labels on makeup and cosmetics:

Benzoates (Benzoates Benzoic acid, sodium benzoate or parahydroxy benzoate): Used as a preservative in cosmetics (and carbonated drinks!)

Dibutyl phthalateHas caused birth defects in animals, and is damaging to the male reproductive system. Used in cosmetics to assist the absorption of other ingredients.

Isopropyl AlcoholDrying agent that comes from petroleum.

Methylisothiazolinone and methylchloroisothiazolinone: Preservatives that are often used together in personal care products, and which cause skin irritations.

Parabens (Propyl, Isopropyl, Butyl, and Isobutylparabens): Estrogen-mimicking preservatives that may disrupt the endocrine (think: hormone) system and cause reproductive and developmental disorders.

PEG/Ceteareth/Polyethylene compoundsThese synthetic chemicals are frequently contaminated with 1,4-dioxane, which has been claimed to be carcinogenic. Used as a thickening agent in foundations.

Petroleum distillatesPetroleum-extracted cosmetic ingredients. Commonly found in mascara.

So how do we best avoid all these harmful additives? By always reading the label. And if the scientific mumbo jumbo has you running for the hills and you’re in doubt, just leave it out! Simply, opt for organic products and use fewer products in general.

Unlike our mothers and grandmothers, at least we’re in for a treat because organic makeup is so in right now that it’s not that hard to find at our local drugstore.


Here are some brands I turn to for organic makeup products:

Pure + Simple is a Canadian brand that produces makeup and skincare products that have no petroleum or chemical fragrances, colours or preservatives. I especially like their bronzers, which are made of 100% pressed minerals (Zinc, Titanium, Iron, etc.) and can be used pretty much everywhere – lips, cheeks, and lids!

Jane Iredale Mineral Cosmetics offers a high-quality line of chemical-free makeup. I especially like their concealers and foundations, which are talc-free so they won’t clog pores.

Lavera produces certified all natural products that are cruelty-free. I especially like their lipstick and gloss line because of all the great shades.

Physicians Formula’s Organic Wear line is 100% free of harsh chemicals, synthetic preservatives, fragrances and colours, parabens and GMOs. I always opt for their Natural Lash Boosting mascara.


About the Author:

Visnja Milidragovic is a passionate communicator specializing in new media and writing for the web. When not exploring (and living!) the tension between virtual and face-to-face interaction, she can be can be found inventing and sharing new ways to feel good both on the inside and out. She also blogspins, and tweets.

Leave a Reply