Welcome back to our series, Savvy Swaps, where we analyze popular store-bought products and offer up healthier alternatives, without any of the negative additives. Today, we’re tossing toxic beauty products for safer, natural cosmetics: concealer, foundation, bronzer and mascara.
The Truth About Toxic Beauty Products
Though most people are willing to acknowledge the detrimental effects processed food has in our bodies, often, we forget about the other products we put on our bodies, even though they can be just as damaging.
In fact, skin is our largest organ and absorbs over 60 percent of what we put on it—and these harmful chemicals go directly into our bloodstream!
I know I assumed for a long time that dermatologist-recommended or expensive beauty products from Sephora and high-end retailers had to be high-quality and safe. Sadly, I couldn’t have been more wrong.
Unfortunately, most store-bought beauty products are filled with a potent cocktail of carcinogens and other dangerous chemicals, including parabens, fragrance and harmful preservatives that mess with our hormones and irritate our skin.
Take a look at some of the leading brands’ ingredients labels to get an idea of how some of these toxic beauty products compare to their safer counterparts:
Note: The products shown above in the toxic cosmetic category are CoverGirl & Olay Eye Rehab Concealer, NARS Firming Foundation Liquid, Benefit Cosmetics Hoola Matte Bronzer and CoverGirl LashBlast Luxe Shimmery Volumizing Mascara.
What's so bad about these ingredients?
You may be wondering why some of these ingredients are even bad for you in the first place (it’s usually a bad sign when you can’t pronounce the long list of chemicals on the label). We’ve talked many times about why fragrance and parabens are so damaging to our health (read: cancer, hormone disruption and allergies, among other reasons). To give you an idea, here are a few of the worst offenders from above:
- Retinyl Palmitate: Rated a 9 by EWG, this form of Vitamin A, which has been restricted in Germany and Canada, may speed the development of skin tumors and lesions, and can contribute to excessive Vitamin A intake, which can cause birth defects.
- Oxybenzone: Rated an 8 by EWG, this sunscreen ingredient (which is restricted in Japan) is associated with photoallergic reactions, negative immune system effects and endocrine disruption.
- Benzyl Salicylate: Rated a 7 by EWG, this chemical is a known human immune system toxicant, allergen, endocrine disruptor and environmental toxin.
- Octinoxate: There is strong evidence this chemical (Rated a 6 by EWG) disrupts our endocrine system by mimicking hormones, not to mention causing harm to wildlife and the environment. To make matters worse, it’s also been shown to cause mutations, cell death and cardiovascular disease.
Here's a shopping list for non-toxic beauty products:
- RMS Uncover Up
- Juice Beauty Stem Cellular CC Cream
- W3LL PEOPLE All Natural Bio Bronzer
- 100% Pure Mascara
I've personally tried each of these products and can vouch for not only their safety, but also their effectiveness and beauty. I've replaced the toxic beauty products I used to use with these and absolutely LOVE them!
As always, be sure to read the ingredients label on any product you buy and search the item on EWG’s Skin Deep database to see how it ranks. Being aware and making informed decisions is the first, and most important, step.