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The Top Ingredients to Avoid In your Makeup Products

You may have heard that the majority of conventional makeup products on the shelves can contain harmful chemicals, you would be correct. But which ones should you avoid?

It can be quite overwhelming to switch to a natural beauty routine because there is so much confusion and many factors to consider. I want to take some of that pressure away.

My clients always appreciate when I make lists for them as it can be quite helpful to have a guide to refer to when making healthier choices.

It is important to keep in mind that many of the ingredients in products can be hidden under different names which can make them harder to avoid. Don't worry, I got you covered. I have also included the various names these ingredients can be found under.

Okay, let's get started. Grab your makeup products and review them as you go along.


Preservatives are used in a wide variety of beauty products to prevent the growth of microbes. Can be endocrine-disrupting, have estrogen-mimicking properties, and contribute to many health related disorders.

What to look for on the label

Methylparaben, propylparaben, butylparaben, Benzylparaben or ethyl paraben.


A mineral substance used in a variety of cosmetic and personal care products to absorb moisture, prevent caking, and soften products. It can be contaminated with asbestos, a mineral substance linked to Cancer.

What to look for on the label

Talc, talcum, talcum powder, cosmetic talc,

and magnesium silicate.

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Synthetic Colors

Derived from petroleum and coal sources. Can be skin irritants and a carcinogen.

Some of the largest natural beauty brands still use synthetic colors in their products. It really is a matter of choice on your part. I personally do not use any products with synthetic colors nor do I recommend them to my clients. There are much healthier ways to pigment makeup.

What to look for on the label

Red 7 lake, orange 5 lake, FD&C, D&C,and similar synthetic color descriptions.

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The word fragrance can hide hundreds of ingredients that do not have to be disclosed on the label. Consumers have no way of knowing what is actually in their products. You could essentially be using hundreds of harmful chemicals simply by using fragrance.

What to look for on the label

Fragrance, perfume, parfum, natural fragrance, and aroma.

Heavy Metals

Just because a product is natural does not mean that it is free from toxicants. This one is a bit tricky I will admit. Even many wonderful and well intending natural beauty brands can contain heavy metals.

A lot of natural beauty brands use minerals in their products to add pigment. Minerals mined from the earth are known to naturally be contaminated with heavy metals. Regular exposure to heavy metals can be detrimental to your health. Just to put it into perspective for you, there is no safe level for lead and many brands still contain this contaminant.

What to look for on the label

Heavy metals will not be listed on the label because it is not an ingredient. It is a contaminant.

It is up to you as the consumer to research, ask questions, and find brands that test and are transparent. A good brand will indicate on their website if they test for heavy metals.

It is important to keep in mind that just because a brand claims to test for heavy metals does not mean that they test all of their products for these contaminants. They may test 5-10 products. Not the entire line. There honestly needs to be more transparency and testing done to protect consumers.

If I had my wish, all makeup brands would test their entire line after each new batch is created. Not just once a year. Not just 5-10 products. Every new batch.

I don't want to overwhelm or confuse you so just keep this in mind. Don't let it prevent you from making the switch to healthier products. Knowledge is power so research as much as possible and do the best that you can.

Petroleum & Mineral Oil

Used in personal care products as a moisturizing agent. It is a cheap filler ingredient that is a by-product of petroleum refining. The primary concern with petrolatum is that it can potentially be contaminated with (PAHs), polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons These have been shown to be carcinogens.

What to look for on the label

Petrolatum. Petroleum Jelly, Mineral Oil, and

Paraffin Oil.


Commonly found in color cosmetics. They are associated with reproductive and hormonal issues.

What to look for on the label

Phthalate, fragrance, DEP, DBP, and DEHP

Propylene Glycol

A humectant that increases moisture retention. It is a penetration-enhancing humectant, preservative, stabilizer, and emulsifier. It is derived from petroleum.

What to look for on the label

Propylene Glycol, 1,2-dihydroxypropane, 1,2-propanediol, methyl glycol, and trimethyl glycol


A preservative used in cosmetics that can cause skin and eye irritations when used regularly.

What to look for on the label


Did any of your makeup products contain these ingredients? If so, don't stress. Do not run and toss your makeup in the trash. Wait until you are close to running out of a product and try to replace it with a healthier option.

In the meantime, do your research. Try to find brands that do not contain any of these ingredients.

Do you need more help? Check out my non toxic beauty guide.

A helpful guide to help you ditch the toxins and get healthier beauty products. I've included a step by step guide and the best clean beauty products. Non toxic skincare, makeup, hair care, non toxic cookware, and wellness products.

Remember, that every small change adds up. Each step in the right direction will have a positive influence on your overall health and appearance.

Xo Jessica Rose

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