Top Cosmetic Ingredients to Avoid

If you have read my About Me section you know that I went all out getting rid of all the nasty ingredients out of my life. I want to give you a list of the top nasty ingredients that you should not be applying to your skin.

Your skin is your largest organ and absorbs chemicals right into your bloodstream. Absorption by your skin may be worse than eating some of these chemical. Your skin does not have any enzymes to flush these toxins out so the toxins soak straight into your body, going right for your beautiful organs. There are no exact numbers as to how much is absorbed but the fact that it happens should void you from using these ingredients.


Found In: Deodorant

The Ugly Truth: Aluminum is a neurotoxin that has been linked to bad, BAD health effects in lab animals. There are some scientists that suspect that the rise in breast cancer is highly related to the use of antiperspirants. That is why I avoid all toxic deodorants and antiperspirants that have aluminum.

How it is listed on the label: Aluminum chloride, aluminum hydroxybromide, aluminum zirconium, and aluminum chlorohydrate


Found In: Hair dyes, dandruff shampoo, anti-itch creams, cosmetics and sometimes toothpaste.

The Ugly Truth: Coal tar is a known carcinogen. In lab tests it was shown to cause cancerous tumors when injected under the skin of animals, I avoid this chemical like the plague! Coal tar is also a skin and eye irritant. Several countries have completely banned this ingredients, except for us, of course.

How it is listed on the label: coal tar solution, tar, carbo-cord, estar, impervator, KC-261, Benzin B70, petroleum benzin, naphtha.


Found In: Facial cleansers, body wash, shampoo, conditioner, shaving cream, foundation, mascara, eyeliner, eyeshadow, sunscreen, soap, hair relaxers, hair colour and more.

The Ugly Truth: Using this nasty ingredient will give you a host of skin growths and conditions. Ive read studies saying that there is a connection between topical application of DEA and cancer in lab rats. I also read that DEA appears to mess with brain development in baby mice when applied to their pregnant mothers. That is why I think its crucial to discard of this nasty ingredient from your beauty regime especially when pregnant.

How it is listed on the label: Cocamide DEA, cocamide MEA, DEA oleth-3 phosphate, lauramide, DEA, DEA cetyl phosphate, stearamide MEA, TEA lauryl sulfate, triethanolamide. Basically anything with DEA, MEA and TEA.


Found In: Nail Polish, antipersperant, makeup, bubble bath, baby products, keratin hair treatments, hair dye, hair growing treatments, shampoo.

The Ugly Truth: This is what they use to embalm dead people and it is found in way too many cosmetics as a preservative! YUK. The risk factor of fermaldehyde is high, it is classified as a carcinogenic and is associated with various kinds of cancer. It can also cause liver problems and immune system toxicity.

How it is listed on the label: Cormalin, formic aldehyde, methanal, methyl aldehyde, oxymethane. It is also released by DMDM hydantoin, quaternium-15, diazolidinyl urea, and imidazolidinyl urea.


Found In: Lipstick, hair dyes, mascara, eye makeup

The Ugly Truth: These are brain and nervous system toxins. These hormone disruptors and carcinogens should be avoided when trying to get pregnant, when pregnant, and beyond. Led can cause depression, aggressive behaviour, miscarriages, and smaller babies. Mercury is associated with dementia, muscle tremors and mental deterioration. Things like depression and brain damage are definitely not worth having the latest lipstick.

How it is listed on the label: Thimerosal and variations, usually not listed.Ugh right!


Found In: EVERYTHING! makeup, shampoo, lotions, scrubs, conditioners, baby products.

The Ugly Truth: I’m sure all of use have heard of these bad boys, lately you see this listed on labels as saying Contains No Parabens, for a good reason friends! Parabens are the most widely used cosmetic preservative because they are cheap. They were banned in European cosmetics market but are still allowed by the FDA. There is growing evidence that they mimic estrogen, which disrupts hormonal activity. Parabens have been found in breast tumor tissue 

How it is listed on the label: Methyl-paraben, ethyl-paraben, butyl-paraben, isobutyl-paraben, propyl-paraben


Found In: Makeup, hair products, nail products, baby products, and skin care products

The Ugly Truth: This stuff is allover the place, some people with sensative skin develop allergic reactions. The symptoms can range from skin rashes to enlarged hearts. The reasons to avoid it is this, it is derived from petroleum, a nonrenewable resource. These petrochemicals are not natural, they don’t let your skin breath. Now why would you apply something that is made by the process of refining crude oil, yuk.

How is it listed the label: petroleum distillate, light liquid paraffin and stoddard solvent.


Found In: Hair dye, hair bleach, coloured shampoo annnd my green mamas watch for it in some henna dyes

The Ugly Truth: PPD can causes skin and respiratory irritations and is thought to be carcinogenic. It is widely banned in Europe as exposure can cause bronchial problems, nervous system damage, eczema, and allergic reactions.

How is it listed on the label: 1,4- benzenediamine, p-phenyllenediamine, 4-phenylenediamine


Found In: Perfume, nail polish, eyelash glue hairspray, lotion, most fragrances in products

The Ugly Truth: A phthalate is a toxic petroleum derivative that has been associated with disorders of sexual maturation in girls and birth defects in boys. I read that it has been found to produce liver cancer in lab animals. Phthalates can impair fertility, give you hormonal acne and cause reproductive defects. If that doesn’t sound appealing to you please get rid of it.

How it is listed on the: In fragrance it is not listed this is to protect the products “secret list of stink ingredients” I just can’t believe they can get away with this. On other products it goes under the name DBP, DEHP, DMP, DEP, and variations of dibutyl/diethyl ester or just plain old phthalate


Found In: Shampoo, makeup, lotions, foundation, baby wash, soaps

The Ugly Truth: These ingredients might give you some nasty rashes and acne. The risk factor is medium but it has the ability to penetrate the skin easily. With the impurities involved with it, PEG contaminants can include lead, nickel and arsenic.

How is it listed on the label: option by the names provided, PG, PEG, 1-2 propanediol, PPG


Found In: Shampoo, soap, body wash, bubble bath, face wash, toothpaste, baby wash and exfoliants

The Ugly Truth: rashes, canker sores, scabs. This nasty little ingredient is commonly used for its effective cleaning power. Its cutting through oil properties are a possible endocrine disruptor. The biggest concern is contamination with 1,4-dioxane and ethylene oxide and the link to cancer, remember those two are know human carcinogens. It is said that small percentages are not harmful but thats something I would not risk.

how is it listed on the label: sodium laurel sulfate, sodium laureate sulfate, SLS, SLES, sodium dodecyl sulfate, sodium salt sulphuric acid, sodium salt


Found In: soap, toothpaste, hand sanitizer, antiperspirant, lipstick, acne treatments

The Ugly Truth: Triclosan is a synthetic antimicrobial agent a powerful germ killer. It is known as a skin irritant and hormone disruptor. There is a concern that overuse of this product can interfere with the good bacteria that forms on our skin. It kills everything off, sort of like the overuse of antibiotics.

How it is listed on the label: triclosan and a whole slew of chloro and dichlorophenoxy names.

I hope you find this list useful, I never purchase a product without checking if it contains any of these ingredients. It is a great habit to get into and not waste your money on companies that don’t have your best interest in mind. Your body is a temple and you should treat it with respect, and not overload it with ingredients that harm you.

If you want a easy database to go to, you can always punch your product name into this website it gives you a nice list of high to low toxicity products. Before I purchase a product I always ensure that they are clean and toxic free.


10 thoughts on “Top Cosmetic Ingredients to Avoid

  1. Such great information here! Cannot believe there is not more regulation on skincare/beauty products. I will refer to this list next time I’m trying something new!

    1. I know!!! its a serious problem, I always shake my head when I see products advertised for babies with some of these nasty ingredients. Its really too bad that our industry allows this to happen. Im glad that this information is becoming more available to the consumers, this way we can vote with our $$ and make changes for the better.

    1. Thank you!! I do have a few mascaras that I like. At the moment I am using 100% pure maracuja oil mascara its awesome. I will be doing a post on all my favorite makeup items so make sure you pop back and check it out.

  2. Great article with wealth of information! Thanks for sharing! Would love to see a post about your and your kids favorite cosmetic and personal cleaning products “. Thanks

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