WHAT TO LOOK OUT FOR IN YOUR COSMETICS
What to avoid when shopping for cosmetics so that you can radiate from within with a clean conscience …
[…] avoid synthetic preservatives and stabilizing agents, like parabens, BHA, and BHT. Parabens can penetrate your skin, cause adverse health effects, interfere with hormone levels, and lead to aging …
Over the last year, we have become accustomed to talking to people through digitals screens and shielding our faces from the public. It was a welcome pause for our skin as we began to practice self-acceptance and embraced fresh faces for many of us.
But, soon, we too began to long for lipstick. And in that time of self-care, we rummaged through our makeup bags, clearing away items by expiration, and began to build back our beauty basics, but this time, with a focus on clean beauty.
In a world filled with an oversaturation of cosmetic lines from designer to celebrity, selecting the right one for you can seem a bit daunting. It’s easy to get distracted by marketing, packaging, and well-placed lighting on a social media ad to keep us from questioning the most important thing of all. What’s in our cosmetics?
Advised by dermatologists and NYFW makeup artists, the editors at SLHLifestyle have included our top list of what to avoid when shopping for cosmetics so that you can radiate from within with a clean conscience.
COSMETIC COMPONENTS TO AVOID
When searching for non-toxic beauty and cosmetics, look for natural products with a clean beauty logo containing no toxic chemicals, parabens, or synthetic preservatives.
SYNTHETICS – PARABENS & STABILIZING AGENTS
Avoid synthetic preservatives and stabilizing agents, like parabens, BHA, and BHT. Parabens can penetrate your skin, cause adverse health effects, interfere with hormone levels, and lead to aging and various cancers. Common parabens to look out for are methylparaben (MP), ethylparaben (EP), propylparaben (PP), and butylparaben (BP). Like parabens, BHA (butylated hydroxyanisole) and BHT (butylated hydroxytoluene) are endocrine disruptors and carcinogens that can harm you and the surrounding wildlife once your cosmetics are disposed of.
FOAMING AGENTS – SULFATES
Foaming agents like sulfates are synthetic agents derived from petroleum that can strip skin of its natural oils and cause skin irritation. The foaming agent, sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), can stay in the body longer than intended.
WATER RETAINERS – MINERAL OILS
Water Retainers like mineral oils & petrolatum, often found in lip balms and powders, can clog your pores, keep your skin from breathing, and lead to premature aging. Look out for 1,4-Dioxane as it’s a byproduct developed to make petroleum less of a skin irritant. Instead, look for natural alternatives to mineral oils like coconut oil, shea butter, grapeseed oil, and avocado oil.
PLASTICIZERS – PHTHALATES
Phthalates are chemicals that help act as binders and plasticizers in fragrance, cosmetics, and various personal care products. Phthalates like dibutyl phthalate (DBP) and dimethyl phthalate (DMP) are endocrine disrupters that can significantly affect hormone levels in humans and are incredibly harmful to the environment.
MINERAL POWDER – TALC
Talc is a mineral powder composed of silicon, hydrogen, oxygen, and magnesium. It acts as a smoothing agent in various cosmetics but is often used in mineral makeup, face powders, and eye shadows. Talc that isn’t purified can be contaminated with asbestos, a known carcinogen with links to cancer.
PRESERVATIVES – FORMALDEHYDE & RELEASERS
Formaldehyde and formaldehyde-releasing preservatives like bronopol, DMDM hydantoin, imidazolidinyl urea, diazolidinyl urea, and quaternium-15 are cosmetic preservatives used in personal care products like hair straighten products, nail polish, eyelash glue, and color cosmetics. Formaldehyde is a known carcinogen that can cause various irritations and cancers.
IT’S ALL ABOUT THAT BASE
Any top makeup artist will tell you that the benefits of cosmetics start with a steady skincare regime, daily use of an SPF, and application of a moisturizer before they can prime that base. One of the single best things you can do daily for your face is to incorporate a sunscreen SPF of 15 or higher and wear it underneath your moisturizer or use a moisturizer with built-in SPF protection. But not all SPF is created equal. First, you want to look for a broad-spectrum SPF that protects against ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB).
To source a clean sunscreen, you want to focus on mineral-only options vs. chemical options or a combination found in mineral-based options. Mineral–only options will contain zinc or titanium dioxide that will block the UVA & UVB rays by sitting on the skin. Chemical sunscreens will contain chemicals like oxybenzone, octinoxate, homosalate, and octocrylene. These are endocrine disruptors that can interfere with our body systems and remain in your body long after initial use. Mineral sunscreen can offer additional benefits such as being GMO-free, gluten-free, vegan, and hypoallergenic. Try to incorporate a resetting spray with SPF to reset your makeup while reapplying SPF protection throughout the day.
Our 5-Step Guide for Sourcing Cosmetics
1. START FROM WITHIN
Incorporate vitamins & a balanced diet to radiate from within.
2. PRIME YOUR CANVAS
Develop a cohesive skincare regime & incorporate daily SPF.
3. IDENTIFY YOUR SKIN TYPE
Identify & embrace your skincare needs and unique undertones.
4. SOURCE FROM NATURE
Shop clean to eliminate parabens, phthalates, and synthetics whenever possible.
5. DO YOUR RESEARCH
Align with brands that invest in quality components for effortless shopping.