6 Toxic Skincare and Beauty Ingredients to Avoid and Why


I talk a lot about safe skincare and non-toxic living because I truly believe it is a huge component of our health and something that has seriously helped my day to day health, once I removed a huge portion of the toxins!

But have you ever walked through a store and wondered what even are those ingredients in my lotion and body wash?! I get so overwhelmed sometimes when I need something that I usually just end up leaving the store! Online shopping is so much easier and I think saves money on impulse buys too 😉

Soooo, I did your homework for you! YAY!

Today, I am breaking it down plain and simple with some of the most common “yuck” ingredients, why to avoid them and how to shop safe instead! This list is in no way totally inclusive, because that would take too long, but I picked out what I thought was important!

Why Remove These Toxic, Harmful Chemicals From Your Skincare Routine?!

Your skin is your largest organ and absorbs these chemicals faster than you can apply them! Skincare products, especially like lotions, foundations and lipsticks are ones we use each and everyday and sit on your skin for the majority of the day, basically taking a toxic bubble bath (eek)!

Hormone issues, infertility, cancer, birth defects, acne and allergies are SERIOUSLY on the rise and switching to safer products, and eating clean, is one of the best things you can do for yourself and your family!

I am VERY careful what brands I recommend and did a lot of “homework” about a year ago when I made the switch to safe. If you don’t want to spend hours researching like me, just take my word for it—I only share because I care for YOU, your future and your children!

Skincare and Beauty Ingredients

6 Toxic Skincare and Beauty Ingredients to Avoid and Why

1. Parabens

What is it: Parabens are preservatives found in most beauty and skincare items that help increase the shelf life and stability of your products. They are found mostly in makeup, foundation, face washes, face moisturizers and lotions.

Why avoid: Parabens are pretty scary as they can mimic estrogen and have been linked to breast cancer, skin cancer and decreased sperm in the reproductive system. Further, they disrupt the endocrine system which can influence our hormones, reproduction and even a baby’s development.

Replace with these safe solutions: Tint Skin Foundation, Touchup Concealer Pen, Nourishing Day Cream, Charcoal Cleansing Bar

2. Fragrances

What is it: This category sounds pretty friendly right!? I mean I want to smell good! Well, WRONG! This term was created to protect a company’s “secret formulas” and a fragrance can contain tons of chemicals without having the ingredients be disclosed.

Why avoid: Fragrances have been show to cause allergies both food and environmental (allergies can greatly disrupt the digestive system, which can profoundly influence your health), dermatitis, respiratory issues, hormone disruption and even effect the reproductive system. Fragrances are found mostly in creams, moisturizers and hair products.

Replace with these safe solutions: Primally Pure Deodorant, Andalou Argan & Sweet Orange Shampoo and Conditioner, Beautycounter’s Daily Shampoo, Rejuvenating Eye Cream (my FAV!), Citrus Mimosa Body Wash, Nourishing Day Cream

3. Phthalates

What is it: A large group of plasticizing chemicals that help make up more pliable and fragrances stick to your skin.

Why avoid: These greatly disrupt the endocrine system and can even cause birth defects. Phthalates are found in most items containing a fragrance and can be apart of the company’s “secret formulas” too as well as deodorants, perfumes, lotions and hair sprays

Replace with these safe solutions: Rose essential oil (instead of perfume), Primally Pure Deodorant, Nourishing Day Cream, Sea Salt Styling Spray

4. Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) and/or Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES)

What is it: Probably one of the biggest ingredients to avoid as it is found in over 90% of items on the makeup and skincare aisles and even cleaning products (think laundry soap you use to wash your sheets and sleep on all night!).

Why avoid: SLS or SLES cause irritations to the skin and eyes, these irritations can lead to acne and more issues too, and even contain chemical compounds that can react with carcinogens—SCARY! These compounds can trigger allergies as well—an issue truly on the rise in both children and adults.

Replace with these safe solutions: Citrus Mimosa Hand Wash (contains aloe to moisturize too), Super-Duper Clean Kids Body Wash, OnGuard Laundry Detergent (works to remove even those tough workout-smells!), Tint Skin Foundation, Touchup Concealer Pen

5. BHA

What is it: A synthetic antioxidant used to extend the shelf life of products found in most lipsticks and glosses, moisturizers, diaper creams and other cosmetics.

Why avoid: These synthetics antioxidants are likely carcinogens and hormone disruptors and may cause liver damage. When we have liver damage, the body cannot detox properly and this can lead to serious health issues.

Replace with these safe solutions: Lip Sheer, Lip Gloss, Color Sweep Blush, Primally Pure Body Butter, Nourishing Day Cream, Baby Soothing Oil

6. Lead

What is it: Lead in the body is a neurotoxin and found in most lipsticks and lip glosses as well as some other makeup items. The highest levels of lead are found in the leading drugstore and department store brands (sad face)! Researchers found women applied lipstick from two to 14 times every day. In terms of chemical exposure, that translates into ingesting or absorbing as much as 87 milligrams of product a day.

Why avoid: Science indicates that there is no safe levels of lead exposure as lead is a neurotoxin linked to learning, behavioral and learning disabilities, menstrual irregularities, delayed puberty and reduced fertility, all issues greatly on the rise.

Replace with these safe solutions: Lip Sheer (Plum is my FAV for fall!), Lip Gloss, Color Sweep Blush, Eye Pencil


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Hi! I'm Caroline - nutritionist, writer and photographer behind Colorful Eats! Thank you for stopping by - Pour yourself a cup of coffee and stay awhile!

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