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Makeup Madness: Steering Clear of Toxic Ingredients

You may have noticed that the list of substances to avoid in cosmetics is becoming more prominent by the second. What makes you feel sensitive might not bother someone else. Understanding the nuances, teaching others, and being open are the keys. Yet, it is still crucial that you learn to read ingredient lists.

Here is another set list of toxins to look out for in makeup products:


Despite the absence of formaldehyde from the ingredients list, you should assume it is present. To make matters more complicated, businesses don’t just add more formaldehyde to their goods. Instead of using formaldehyde, they use a combination of compounds that, upon decay, emit formaldehyde. Confusing, right? Also, quite unkind. 

It is well-established that formaldehyde causes skin sensitization, allergies, and cancer. Many common cosmetic preservatives, including bronopol, DMDM hydantoin, Diazolidinyl urea, imidazolidinyl urea, and quaternion-15, are known to break down into formaldehyde over time.


Parabens would be our number one no-go ingredient. These are dangerous, although they are included in 70–90% of cosmetics.

Parabens, a preservative, are endocrine disruptors because they act like estrogen in the body. They have been related to a lower sperm count and increased breast and skin cancer risk. Also, they are easy to absorb, so all their harmful properties go right into the body.

Parabens are hidden in many products, but you may find ones without them if you know what to search for. If you find the word “paraben,” including “methylparaben,” on the label, put the product back where you found it.  Another option is to choose a cosmetics brand that does not use parabens in its products.


Triclosan is an antimicrobial compound frequently used in antibacterial soaps and occasionally used in cosmetics. Both thyroid problems and the spread of antibiotic-resistant superbugs have been connected to this toxin.

You can quickly identify products containing triclosan by looking for the ingredient’s specific name on the label. It’s often used in “antimicrobial” or “hygienic” products.

Sodium Laureth Sulfate

This aids in the absorption of cosmetics into the skin and hair; hence it is a staple in many cream-based cosmetics like foundation and concealer. However, although it is helpful in this respect, it is often polluted with carcinogens such as 1, 4-dioxane and ethylene oxide. It may also irritate the skin, develop canker sores, harm the eyes, and cause acne.

Be on the lookout for sulfates and polyethylene glycol on the ingredient list to avoid this.

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