Julia Rose K.

Julia Rose K.

10 Hidden Chemicals in Your Beauty Products

No matter what beauty products you use on a daily basis — be it face wash or foundation, moisturizer or eyeshadow, hair dye or lip gloss, you may not know about the secret ingredients inside these goods. There is no law that requires cosmetic or health product companies to warn that their products contain ingredients harmful to your health. The fact that the U.S. has restricted the use of a mere eleven chemicals while Europe has done so with more than a thousand, screams problematic.

When I discovered this, I transformed my makeup collection by throwing away products that contained harmful ingredients. I replaced the products I used on my face like my foundations, concealers, and powders, with safer and more natural alternatives from other brands. While this means I spend more money on makeup, it also means that I know exactly what I am putting on my body, and therefore inside of it.

Studies have shown that when you apply makeup on a daily basis your body absorbs 60% of that material through your skin — that’s about five pounds per year, according to the Organic Consumers Association. We need to be aware of what goes into our health and beauty products!!

Many forms of body products, both health and cosmetic, often use carcinogens, which are synthetic materials that are known to cause cancer or allegedly have endocrine disruptors – substances that can affect personal health and hormone balance. Some of these chemicals include formaldehyde, commonly found in nail polishes, and parabens, which act as preservatives in a wide array of beauty products. The term ‘fragrance’ when featured on any label could represent any number of chemicals that add scent to the product, whether or not they are safe. By purchasing products that are scented with essential oils, you can avoid the fragrance issue altogether, according to Beauty Lies Truth.

Demand to know what is in the products you are using. Next time you buy makeup, be sure to read the label the same way you might inspect the “Nutrition Facts” of a packaged snack. In order to move towards purchasing healthier products, I suggest doing some brand research beforehand. Personally, I feel better supporting smaller, more honest companies that care about my health just as much as they care about how much I like their products.

Here are some common chemical additives to watch out for:

Formaldehyde is identified as a human carcinogen and still has not been banned, therefore is still making its way into many hair products.

Benzophenone is a UV light protectant commonly found in health and cosmetic lip and skin care products, according to the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics. It’s been identified as an endocrine disruptor.

Lead Acetate, Chromium, and Thimerosal are heavy metals often found in deodorants, lipstick and eyeliner, which have been linked to reproductive and nervous system toxicity, according to the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics.

Sodium Laureth is one of the most dangerous chemicals in our products, it is not only found in most cosmetics, but also in engine cleaning liquids, according to Beauty Lies Truth.

Phenoxyethanol, a cosmetic preservative, can cause mild to severe allergic reactions and become extremely damaging to infant nerve functioning, according to the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics.

Homosalate is a potential endocrine disruptor found in products with SPF, according to the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics.

Propylene Glycol, also known as antifreeze, is commonly found in everything from hair gel to moisturizing lotion-  it can causes reproductive harm according to Beauty Lies Truth

Isopropyl Acetone is linked to organ and reproductive harm, according to the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics. It is most commonly found as the main ingredient in many nail polish removers.


Illustrations by Jazz Cooker