Beauty | How can you avoid toxic makeup?

toxic free makeup and how to avoid toxic beauty

7 ways To Avoid Toxic Makeup! 

  Do you know every ingredient that’s in your cosmetic products? If you answered no, you’re not alone. Each year, dozens of cosmetic products are recalled after they’re discovered to contain harmful ingredients.  Why are these products put on shelves in the first place?

Well, the answer is because the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not legally require cosmetics to be evaluated before they’re sold to consumers. This means that there’s only self-regulation for beauty brands, leaving the opportunity open to add dangerous chemicals into their products. Here’s a list on how to shop smart and the 7 ways to avoid toxic makeup.

art by makeup toxic free makeup
art by: zhangxii

7 ways to avoid toxic makeup – 1. Read the ingredients!

There are common toxic ingredients used within the cosmetic industry. While this list is not inclusive of all potential dangers, it has the most common to look out for within certain beauty enhancers. 

  • Talcum Powder in Blush, Eyeshadows & Bronzers
    • Talcum Powder is made from talc, which is a natural mineral consisting of magnesium, silicon, and oxygen. It’s used in cosmetics to absorb moisture and help reduce rashes on the skin.
    • Talc itself is safe for consumers, the issue lies in that it’s commonly mined near asbestos deposits. 
    • Asbestos is a known carcinogen, and its use has been brought to a halt in other industries. However, because talc is mined near asbestos, it’s highly likely that talc can become contaminated with asbestos and manufacturers don’t always check for this since there aren’t any regulations.
    • Exposure to asbestos in makeup can lead to plenty of health complications, including mesothelioma cancer or asbestosis.
    • The life expectancy for mesothelioma cancer is 18 to 31 months after diagnosis, which is just one reason to pay close attention to the ingredients in your powder-based cosmetics. The signs of asbestos exposure don’t occur until later in life, so do what you can now to protect yourself from harm.

  • Coal Tar Dyes in Lipstick & Hair Dyes
    • Coal tar dyes are used in lipstick and hair dyes to give them color and make the color last. While the color may be beautiful, the health effects are not. Coal tar is a known carcinogen that is a mixture of hundreds of compounds, oftentimes containing hard metals.
    • Exposure to coal tar can have numerous health implications.   
    • Coal tar dyes can be absorbed through the skin, which is alarming, as it can lead to skin allergies, Alzheimer’s Disease, and even cancer.
    • Recent studies show that hair dyes that contain coal tar dyes can result in the development of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, which is a form of cancer that develops in one or many areas of the body through lymphoma cell growth.
    • The best way to avoid coal tar dyes is to pay attention to the labels and look for a warning on the label. If there is no warning, then it likely wasn’t approved by the FDA and should be avoided at all costs. You can also look into natural vegan products.
  • Parabens In Shampoo & Conditioner
    • Parabens are a preservative commonly used in shampoos and conditioners to prevent bacteria growth. They are known to disrupt the endocrine system as they mimic estrogen. The issue here is that they are likely absorbed into our skin cells when used as a topical treatment.
    • Studies show that parabens are linked to an increase in breast cell growth due to their estrogen-mimicking properties. This can result in a greater chance of developing breast cancer over time. In addition to cancer, parabens can also cause harm to reproductive health in men and women, and negative fertility and birth outcomes. 
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  • Formaldehyde In Nail Polish & Polish Remover
    • Formaldehyde is a known carcinogen and can cause damage when absorbed through the skin. It’s used as an additive in nail polish and polish remover and acts as a hardener when it bonds with the nails’ natural hardener, keratin.
    • When used in nail products formaldehyde can cause breakage to the nails or make them brittle. It can also lead to other reactions on the skin such as irritation or an allergen development called dermatitis.   
    • Exposure to formaldehyde is linked to short-term effects such as wheezing, coughing, headaches, or shortness of breath. In the long term, formaldehyde exposure can increase the risk of developing cancer.
    • It’s important to limit formaldehyde exposure to prevent short and long-term health effects and be aware of when you might be exposed. In terms of nail polish, look for naturally made polishes and refrain from harsh removers. 

  • Phthalates In Deodorant & Antiperspirants
    • Phthalates are commonly used in deodorants and antiperspirants as they can make the products more flexible and also be used as a fragrance. The concern with phthalates, especially in deodorant which is a product used at least once daily, is that exposure can lead to a description in the endocrine system.   
    • Exposure especially affects men but can also affect women as it can cause early-onset puberty and lead to breast cancer later in life. Consider DIY’ing your deodorant to avoid exposure to the chemicals in manufactured options on the market. 

Related reads:

DIY | Why I haven’t bought deodorant since high school!

2. understand the labels

The symbols and meanings behind certain elements in cosmetics packaging can be quite tricky to understand. Here are a few tips to gain a better understanding of what’s on the labels:   

  • “-Free” is a good indicator that the product you’re looking at doesn’t contain certain carcinogens. That’s a great thing to look out for. 
  • “Organic” or “natural” on labels doesn’t always mean it’s certified organic or natural. It could be used as a marketing ploy. Don’t trust these claims unless you’ve researched the product. 
  • “Fragrance” is not inclusive of all of the ingredients inside of the fragrance element. There are often carcinogens in the fragrance that aren’t required to be disclosed. 


3. use as directed

The most important way to avoid unintentional exposure to chemicals in your makeup that you may not be aware of is to use them correctly. Since cosmetics are so often used near the tear ducts, nose, and mouth it’s easy for them to enter your bloodstream. To avoid this, only use as directed.   

It may sound silly, but don’t consume your makeup. If you’re wearing lipstick, refrain from licking your lips and if you’re eating or drinking, remove the lip product and then reapply when you’re done. It’s also crucial to keep cosmetics away from children as they like to experiment and could accidentally eat the product. It’s best to use pretend makeup until children know not to eat it. 

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4. pay attention to expiration dates

Surprisingly, there are expiration dates on makeup that many do not even realize. Makeup doesn’t last forever, which is why it’s necessary to purge your stash every once in a while.   

Typically, the average shelf life for makeup with strong preservatives is 2-3 years, while makeup is 3-6 months. This means that the mascaras and liquid eyeliners you’ve been holding on to are likely no longer good. Pay attention to the consistency of your makeup. If it begins to resemble glue or won’t come out of the tube, it’s time to let it go. The same goes for oil-based cosmetics like lotions or creams; if it becomes too liquidy then it’s time to say goodbye. 

5. keep your list small

There are a few main reasons to keep your list of go-to products small. The first is that you’ll waste less. As we just learned about the shelf life of makeup, using a product entirely before buying a new one is a great way to reduce waste. Additionally, the fewer products you have the easier it is to pay attention to the ingredients and learn how it really works for you.   

Take some time to evaluate your beauty routine and determine which products you need to have in your lineup. This will also help you save time by having fewer choices when you’re getting ready. If you absolutely need to have multiple shades of the same product, then try to stick with the same brand so that you know its ingredients and how your skin reacts to it. A minimalist beauty routine is a great option for those looking to reduce their cosmetics budget and limit the number of toxins exposed. 

vegan cruelty free makeup toxic free makeup to buy 2022

6. do research before buying new products

When buying new makeup and beauty products it’s tempting to throw anything and everything into your cart. Before you do this, consider taking a couple of extra minutes to analyze the ingredients within these products to see if they’re safe for your immediate and long-term health.   

While looking for the ingredients listed above is a great place to start, it can also be overwhelming to do on your own. Luckily, there are clean and natural beauty apps out there that can help you decode and analyze the ingredients list. Using an app is a convenient way to learn more about a cosmetic product before purchasing it. Feel empowered to make the best decisions for you and your health. 


7. know the signs

Lastly, know the signs of illness caused by exposure to toxins. It’s important to seek medical help if you begin experiencing any common symptoms of chemical-induced health complications. Look out for headaches, chronic fatigue, sudden change in weight, and flu-like symptoms– just to name a few. While a tedious task, it’s also a good idea to keep a list of the cosmetics that you use in case there’s a recall announcement due to chemical exposure.   

Your health is important, so take care of yourself and pay attention to what you’re using on your body. What are some of the ways you protect yourself from toxin exposure? Let me know in the comments! 



Thanks for reading how to 7 ways to avoid toxic makeup (and where to get toxic free makeup)!

what kind of makeup do you buy and do you like buying anything thats toxic? i bet not! and if you do well hopefully this post will help you change that!

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