Are There Toxins in Your Makeup?
Updated: Oct 8, 2022
It took effort to find cleaner food, makeup and other beauty products to replace my previous favorites, but here’s why it’s worth it. Learn how I became a conscious consumer and how you can, too.
Before I became pregnant with my first child in 2012, I was determined to remove every chemical I came across. I even stopped getting highlights until he was 4 months old to minimize my exposure—and his—to the chemicals from the hair products since I was breastfeeding him. I wouldn’t even spray stuff in my car or house (not even hairspray), or on my winter boots.
After reading hundreds of health and wellness publications, I knew that the more chemicals you’re exposed to—even in small increments on a daily basis—the more you put yourself at risk for a host of concerns, including endocrine issues. I've had hypothyroidism for more than a decade. Could this explain why?
Get self-care ideas delivered to your inbox monthly and 25% off my books when you register for the Nourish Note newsletter.
So I combed through every product that contained a potential toxin in my house—makeup, nail polish, hair products, shampoo, deodorant, cleaning products, food, even furniture. I read every ingredient of every health and beauty product, and food package I owned, and ended up throwing away 90% of the items I came across.
The average woman uses 12 beauty products every day. Everything you apply to your skin, hair or nails day after day adds up, and these are the very products that can impact your health. The thing is that you get to choose what goes in and on your body.
We’re already exposed to several everyday toxins and chemicals beyond our control in the air we breathe and the water we drink, so we have to be our own best advocates for a cleaner life and do our best to remove the chemicals that we can.
I seriously researched healthier, cleaner and greener alternatives to replace the products I threw away. And let’s be clear here. I didn’t just dip my toe into the world of cleaner living, I swam in the deep end. Eventually, I came across the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG's) Skin Deep® database for safer cosmetics, where I began to find safer alternatives.
Since starting my research, the beauty scene and food world have exploded with tons of cleaner options. Today, the top things I look at when deciding what to buy:
It has to be as clean as possible (the fewer ingredients and the more organic, the better).
It has to be reasonably priced.
It has to be effective/last.
Below is a list of cleaner products I use on a daily basis. Note that these are some of the cleanest products that work for me. You may have a different experience because everyone is different. I want to hear what you have to share. Tag @JulieGtheYogi on Instagram and use #standupforyourselfcare to let me know your cleaner recommendations.
You’ll notice that I have a lot of Mineral Fusion products on my list. Mineral Fusion received an EWG VERIFIED™ seal, which is given to product lines that carry safer cosmetics and meet specific criteria. On its website, the EWG gives products a hazard score of 1 to 10 (10 being the greatest risk) based on amount of chemicals used and their impact on human health.
All-in-one highlighter, blush and eye shadow: Mineral Fusion Illuminating Powder (comes with four colors) (free of parabens and artificial colors)
Eyebrow pencil: Burt’s Bees Brow Pencil (no parabens, phthalates, petrolatum or SLS)
Lip Gloss: W3LL PEOPLE Organic Bio-Extreme Lip Gloss in Berry
Lipstick: Mineral Fusion Intensity (paraben free) and W3LL PEOPLE Optimist Lipstick in om yeah! (made with certified organic ingredients)
Liquid eyeliner: Mineral Fusion Liquid Eyeliner in Black (paraben free)
Mascara: Mineral Fusion Volumizing Mascara (free of parabens and fragrances)
Pencil eyeliner: Mineral Fusion Pencil Eyeliner in Black (paraben free)
Body Wash: Dr. Bronner’s 18-in-1 Hemp Lavender Pure-Castile Soap
Cleanser: Mineral Fusion Renewal Charcoal Gel Cleanser (paraben free)
Deodorant: Schmidt’s Lavender and Sage Natural Deodorant, which does not contain aluminum, propylene glycol or artificial fragrance (This was a tough one for me. I tried several brands before I found this one. You may need to experiment to find one that jives with your body’s chemistry.)
Dry shampoo: Acure Rosemary & Peppermint Dry Shampoo (free of parabens, sulfates, mineral oil, petrolatum and silicone)
Hand soap: Earth Friendly Products ECOS Lavender Hand Soap (free of dyes, parabens, phosphates and phthalates)
Moisturizer: Mineral Fusion SPF 15 Brightening Moisturizer (paraben and phthalate free)
Nail polish: Mineral Fusion nail polish, which does not contain formaldehyde, toluene or butyl phtalate
Organic coconut oil: I use this as makeup remover, hair conditioner and a full-body lotion in my Abhyanga practice. (I typically buy it at Aldi.)
Overnight Face Cream: Mineral Fusion Nighttime Recovery Face Cream and Mineral Fusion Line-Smoothing Treatment (both paraben free)
Shampoo: Acure Argan Oil & Pumpkin Shampoo (free of parabens, sulfates, phthalates, mineral oil, petrolatum and silicone) and Nature’s Gate Shampoo Jojoba and Sacred Lotus (no parabens, SLS, phthalates, butylene glycol or artificial colors)
Toothpaste: Dr. Bronner’s All-One Peppermint Toothpaste, which doesn’t have fluoride, which I mostly stay clear of because of my hypothyroidism.
My go-to cleaning product is vinegar. I wipe down everything with it. I mix it with water in a spray bottle and use it on countertops, floors, mirrors and appliances.
I aim to eat real foods without packaging or labels, such as whole fruits and vegetables and lean proteins. I even swapped out my favorite dessert—dark chocolate—for a cleaner version: Theo® Chocolate. My favorite is the Pure Dark 85% and Sea Salt 70%, which are organic and fair trade and do not contain soy lecithin. In 2015, I took a tour of the Theo Chocolate factory in Seattle, which is how I learned about this chocolate company.
I also refer to the Clean Fifteen™ and Dirty Dozen™ from the EWG's 2022 Shopper's Guide to Pesticides in Produce™ to see what I absolutely need to buy organic (strawberries and spinach, always) and what I can safely buy without it needing to be organic (avocados top the current list).
Practice It: Clean Your Makeup Bag and Your Cabinets
Begin to go through the products in your makeup bag and cabinets. Look at every ingredient listed on the labels. If there is anything questionable, throw it away and don't look back! Build a cleaner, greener supply of items you can feel confident about that will support your wellness.