We’re back with another clean beauty breakdown! If you haven’t checked out part one of my clean beauty series on what “clean” really even means and the benefits of a clean routine, be sure to check that post out first!
Now, let’s talk ingredients! Knowing that “clean beauty” really isn’t a regulated concept in the US, that means a clean beauty routine is really what you make of it, and it’s completely scalable to fit your lifestyle. Whether that’s determined by price, functionality, etc, there are many ways to incorporate cleaner products into a routine that works for you and your needs. Today I wanted to share a manageable list with you of toxic ingredients you should be avoided as much as your routine allows you to.
Parabens help to prolong beauty products’ shelf life, but once the body absorbs these parabens, they have been linked to disrupting hormone functions which can increase tumor growth and therefore, cause reproductive issues or cancer. Look for anything ending in “-paraben” and nix it all where possible.
Formaldehyde Donor Preservatives
Formaldehyde also works to preserve beauty products but has been linked to cancer and skin irritations.
Fragrances simply are used to make your products more enjoyable, but definitely aren’t necessary – especially knowing the fragrance in your skincare fades after a few seconds anyways! Synthetic fragrances can be linked to cancer, reproductive and developmental toxicity, allergies and sensitivities.
Phthalates (aka industrial plasticizers) are commonly getting nixed from beauty products because of their harmful side effects, but one phthalate still seen frequently is DEP – keep an eye out for this one. DEP can also avoid being listed on ingredient lists if it is incorporated into a synthetic fragrance – another reason to avoid that ingredient too!
Paraffin is a wax-like substance that can clog your pores. While it’s often used in beauty products to smooth the skin, overall, it is irritating and now a great ingredient for your skin health.
Petrolatum, derived from petroleum, is often not fully refined in the US, which means it could contain toxic ingredients called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, and PAH is a known carcinogen.
PEGS (Polyethylene Glycol Compounds)
Similar to the above, PEGS can often contain carcinogens if they are manufactured poorly, and there is no way for consumers to find this out – so, better to avoid it completely.
Mercury & Mercury Compounds
Mercury is often used in skin lightening products as it can help reverse the effects of skin darkening in small spots, but it’s been linked to many adverse effects too, such as skin irritation, rashes, and scarring. When mercury is washed off your skin and drained into our wastewater, it can also lead to additional negative effects on our environment and then again on us as it reenters the food chain.
Sulfates are responsible for the bubbly lather you get with shampoos or soaps and they aid in helping remove oil and dirt, giving you that perfect clean feel. However, sulfates can be very irritating to your eyes and skin, causing itchiness or dryness and can lead to acne in skincare. When in haircare, sulfates might just clean your hair too well and can lead to drying and breakage.
That’s a lot to look for. I get it! But like I said before, any steps you can make will make a difference, whether that’s eliminating one ingredient or the whole list.
If you’re looking for a bit of extra help, I definitely recommend the app Dirty, which you can use to scan your beauty products and find out how clean they are – and what ingredients you should be aware of!
I also recommend finding brands you trust that take a pledge against including any of the above ingredients to make your life a little easier. You all know my love for P/Y/T Beauty (one of my favorite affordable clean beauty brands!) and all of their products are free of each and every one of those toxins listed, so I have confidence in picking up their latest launches without scouring the ingredient list. You can grab any of their products at my favorite Ulta Beauty!
What are your thoughts on this dirty ingredient list? What goals are you setting for your clean beauty journey?
Thank you to P/Y/T Beauty for sponsoring this post! All opinions are my own.