Meet our latest blog contributor, Danielle Frizzell. She's a stay at home mom, living in Surrey, BC, and she started her own blog this year as a creative outlet and to inspire others to be creative. She loves sharing about cooking, DIY and style since those are her favourite things in her daily life. Today, she's sharing with you about the potentially toxic ingredients lurking in your makeup bag. Read on for her tips for ingredient list reading and a guide for what to avoid when you're adding makeup to your collection.

When strolling through the drug store, you see so many words and labels jump out at you… plumping, all day stay, lengthening, volume. But one thing companies don’t label on their packaging is all the carcinogens, toxic chemicals and hormone disruptors that lurk in their products. There are startling loopholes in cosmetic ingredient labelling requirements, which causes incomplete ingredient lists on many products. Misleading much? This is why I always do my research on the products I buy—and there are a few ingredients that are key to avoid, but may be in your everyday makeup routine. To help you become more informed and a savvy label reader, I've compiled nine ingredients to look for, including how they can be harmful.

Parabens: One of the most common preservatives in cosmetics and also one most people have heard of! Sure they sound like a great thing to have in your makeup, preventing fungal and bacterial growth… but they can have a harmful impact on a person. Studies show that parabens have been found in breast tumours and are also believed to be linked to skin cancer. Parabens can even mimic estrogen in your body! Many companies are now going paraben-free due to consumer concern. Make sure to stay away from anything that says “paraben” on the ingredients, it will usually have a prefix such as ethyl, propyl and butyl.

Most commonly found in: Moisturizers, scrubs, foundation, eyeliner and mascara.

PEG Compounds: Polyethylene glycols are petroleum-based compounds that are found in tons of cosmetics and are used as thickeners, solvents and softeners, and work to keep your makeup from drying out. PEGs' most common use is as a cosmetic cream base. Sometimes they can be found to contain ethylene oxide and 1,4-dioxane, which are both classified carcinogens. Who wants to plop cancer causing agents on their face? Not me! If your skincare product contains a bunch of toxic ingredients, PEGs will make it easier for them to absorb deep into your skin.

Most commonly found in: Foundation, concealer, moisturizer and sunscreen.

Siloxanes: This group of chemicals is based on silicon which disappears when sprayed. It is a biggie in hair products to add that shine and silkiness to our locks that we all desire. Siloxanes dry super-fast so they help those fast drying lip sticks and can add gloss to your pout. Not only are siloxanes bad for the environment when we wash it down our drains, but a siloxane found in cosmetics (cyclotetrasiloxane) is being researched for being an endocrine disruptor and reproductive toxicant. Avoid siloxanes and use more natural alternatives that are siloxane-free! Instead of lathering a chemical laden conditioner on your hair or lips, use coconut oil.

Most commonly found in: Hair products, lipsticks and glosses, deodorants and highlighters.

Parfum (fragrance): This is one very dishonest ingredient. When you read “fragrance” on your ingredients, it’s actually a mixture of tons of chemicals to create that scent. There are more than 3,000 chemicals that can be used in fragrance, and the companies don't have to list what their fragrances are comprised of due to trade secret laws—so companies could be using incredibly harmful ingredients with no regulation. And "fragrance-free" doesn't mean it's safe: They may use a masking agent that prevents our brains from noticing the smell. Fragrance tends to be one of the most common allergens and it hides a chemical called diethyl phthalate which makes the scent linger. There is evidence that diethyl phthalate interferes with your body's hormones. Do your research for honest cosmetics that don’t hide their parfum ingredients.

Most commonly found in: Perfume, cologne, lotions, most makeup and makeup removers.

Carbon Black: This dark black powder is used as a pigment in cosmetics. It is illegal to use in cosmetics in both the United States and Europe, but it’s still allowed in Canadian cosmetics. It is believed to have health effects such as cancer and organ toxicity. Hopefully in the future Canada will restrict carbon black but until then scan your cosmetics for D & C Black No. 2, acetylene black, channel black, furnace black, lamp black and thermal black.

Most commonly found in: Eyeliner, mascara, brow gel, lipstick, blush, foundation and eyeshadow.

BHA & BHT: Butylated hydroxyanisole and butylated hydroxytoluene are synthetic preservatives mainly used in lotions and lipstick, among other cosmetics. BHT is another ingredient that evidence suggests will mimic estrogen in a woman’s body. Nobody should want possible human carcinogens in their foundation! It’s scary that jet fuel and makeup can have the same ingredients. Nourish your skin safely and stay away from these two bad guys.

Most commonly found in: Lotions, lipsticks, foundation, concealer and most other cosmetics.

Sodium Laureth Sulfate: So as you're washing away your makeup you would assume a clean face is a healthy face, right? Wrong. In your cleanser, there is most likely sodium laureth sulfate which is a detergent that will make products bubbly and foamy. Depending on how it’s manufactured, sodium laureth sulfate may be contaminated with ethylene oxide, which is a known human carcinogen. Here I was thinking my clean, makeup-free face could do no wrong, yet there was toxins absorbing into my skin from cleaning it! We use soaps and cleansers so much on a day to day basis so it has been one of my big projects to replace all of mine with a non-toxic, ecofriendly alternative.

Most commonly found in: Shampoos, cleansers, makeup remover, soaps and body wash.

Lead: Lead in lipstick was actually thought to be a myth until the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics released the report “A Poison Kiss” in 2007. The findings were disturbing: 61% of the 33 lipsticks tested contained measurable amounts of lead. Really you’re better off drawing with a pencil on your pout! Exposure to lead is linked to many health concerns such as hormonal changes, early puberty and reduced fertility. And lead also isn’t the only harmful part: Lipstick can contain other toxic metals like chromium and aluminum. Companies and the FDA/USDA argue that it’s a low dose of lead per application, but what they're ignoring is the idea of cumulative exposure. All those times you apply that pretty red lipstick can add up. So buyer beware and do your lipstick brand research or use less often! It’s best to find a safe alternative with knowledge of what is in it… not wondering what hidden toxins are in your lipstick.

Most commonly found in: Lipstick, lip gloss and lip tint.

Formaldehyde-releasing Preservatives: Look for these nasty preservatives under names such as DMDM hydantoin, diazolidinyl urea, imidazolidinyl urea, methenamine, quaternium-15 and sodium hydroxymethylglycinate. What a mouthful! The main concern of these preservatives is that they slowly release formaldehyde, a classified human carcinogen. Car exhausts release formaldehyde so why should there be preservatives in your cosmetics that release it also? Be observant of your ingredients and don’t purchase anything containing these preservatives.

Most commonly found in: Many cosmetics, and nail care products.

So there you have it, nine ingredients you should definitely be avoiding when buying your cosmetics and personal care products. Hopefully you feel a little more educated about what to avoid, and maybe it’s time to chuck some make up out. It is hard throwing out your favorites, but I have found so many great non-toxic makeup alternatives, like my new favorites from EcoDiva Beauty. Such luxurious makeup with fantastic quality—you won't even miss your old stuff!

EcoDiva Favourites

ILIA Beauty Lipstick in Wild Child: I am in LOVE with this lipstick. As soon as I put this fiery red shade on I instantly feel bold and confident. If you are in a rush during the morning just put on Wild Child and a couple swipes of mascara and you’re good to go. Best of all ILIA uses organic ingredients so you can look hot and be toxin-free all at once!

W3LL PEOPLE Bio Brightener Stick: As a mother to a 9-month-old, I find my face always looks dull and tired—no more pregnancy glow! This awesome brightening stick gives you a shimmery glow that can be applied wherever you wish on your face. Add a little shimmer to your brow bones for an easy mini brow lift or to your lips' Cupid's bow for the illusion of fuller lips. This brightener is free from all harsh, artificial chemicals and petroleum and is a high-performing natural alternative.

ILIA Beauty Sheer Vivid Tinted Moisturizer SPF 20:  No matter what season it is, my face always gets dry and flaky… but then I slather on some cream and it gets greasy feeling. Since I have been using the ILIA Tinted Moisturizer my dry skin is subsiding and it doesn’t feel heavy on my skin. It is great for quick application to your face and also has SPF 20 to protect from the harmful rays of the sun. I love the dewy look this moisturizer gives my skin and that it’s organic—hooray for no carcinogens!

Check out EcoDiva Beauty for more amazing, earth friendly and safe cosmetics!


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