Sunday, March 4, 2018

Is Your Makeup Safe Enough for Your Daughter?

Little girls love to play with their mama's makeup.... I remember doing it and loving those 'special occasions', like a ballet performance, when I myself was allowed to where a bit of my mom's makeup.  

Today, I kind of cringe when I see little girls and teenagers using makeup.   

Girls are starting younger every day to use makeup- sometimes its for a dance recital, or special event and by the preteen or early teens many are already using daily makeup products.   Pregnant women sometimes count on extra makeup to help them achieve that ‘natural glow’ when it doesn’t come naturally…..   bottom line?  Women, teens and young girls use makeup and since makeup is not  regulated by any governing body there can be a whole lot of nasty chemicals in  makeup. I mean, the EU has banned 1300 chemicals from beauty products deeming these thousand + chemicals to0 dangerous for human use…..  the US has only partially banned  30 chemicals - so basically buy makeup in the US and you are exposing yourself to 1,270 chemicals that the Europeans deemed to toxic for Europeans.  Makes you kind of wonder

What kind of chemicals ?  Well, we still have:

1.  Lead in conventional lipstick
2. BHA and BHT, likely carcinogens and hormone disruptors, in: lipsticks, moisturizers,  and other cosmetics.
3. Ethanolamines (MEA/DEA/TEA),  linked to allergies, skin toxicity, hormone disruption, and inhibited fetal brain development, found in: mascara and foundation
4. Retinyl palmitate and Retinol (Vitamin A): Found damage DNA and speed the growth of skin tumors when used topically and found in: moisturizer and anti-aging skincare.
5.  Parabens:  linked to reduced fertility and hormonal disruption
6.  Quaternium-15: Manufacturers use Quaternium-15 to help their makeup last as long as possible.  It can release the carcinogen formaldehyde and it can be  found in various powder facial cosmetics 

and the list goes on.... (you can read more more about what harmful chemicals are in our makeup at the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics

The good news is that non-toxic makeup has come a long way in the past 5 years - there are truly some amazing brands that preform as well as the conventional brands   you might have been using for years…. oh yeah and they wont expose you to known harmful chemicals.

And yet women have a hard time making the switch.  I fully understand this:  when you find a color or product you love and have been using for years it can be so so hard to find a substitute.  BUT, like I said,  today there really are some great companies producing truly high quality and safe cosmetics that are comparable to conventional  products.   It might take some experimenting to find the brands/ products that work best for you (I myself use a mix of different brands) but avoiding the accumulation of endocrine disrupting chemicals, petrochemicals etc  is definitely worth it.   

Even more important? Mom of girls.  Mom of girls know that, from a young age, little girls (and sometimes boys!) love playing with their mom's makeup.  They love playing dress up, love wearing makeup to feel like a princess  (I cringe when I see girls at Disney who have been made up like princesses with the makeup- just thinking of that toxic junk they probably have on their face makes this mom of boys cringe.) or just want to look like mommy.   As I said, I used to do it and you probably used to too and now, if you have daughters, they probably do (or will do) it.   Having non-toxic makeup around protects them from a list of nasty chemicals and teaches them to choose the natural/ non-toxic way when they grow older.

So, let's get started!

IF you are looking for a place to start your switch to non-toxic makeup consider starting with these three:  lipstick, foundation/ base cremes and mascaras.   


- The average women applies lipstick from 2 - 14 times every day

- a UC Berkley 2013 study found lead and cadmium, chromium, aluminum and titanium in conventional lipsticks

- if you are pregnant, heavy metals (especially lead) and other chemicals ingested due to lipstick can be particularly bad for the developing fetus.   Some studies have found (obviously, depending on the lipstick) in some cases women who slathered lipstick on (14 times a day or more) were meeting or surpassing the daily recommended exposure to chromium, aluminum, and manganese. 

- Remember:  the amounts of exposure to these toxic chemicals  on any given ‘dose’ of lipstick is actually really small.  The cumulative effects of constant use is what could be worrisome.

Tips/ My favs 

1. Buy safe lipstick- YES - non-toxic lipsticks exist and they are actually pretty good.    Amongst our favorite brands :

2. Use less lipstick- if you have a favorite shade you simply cannot live without, save it for special occasions instead of daily use.

3. Don't let kids play with toxic lipstick- they are more susceptible to the toxic effects of lead and other chemicals found in lipstick.   


 Mascara is reportedly the 2nd most used cosmetic accessory in the United States (after lipstick). Few women leave the house without mascara and many mothers let young daughters start their makeup with mascara use.   But, it can be pretty toxic and it is actually one of the makeup products that are hardest to find a non-toxic alternative that works as well as their conventional counters.

However, once you know what is in most conventional mascaras you will find it hard to go back (I mean, it is one of the nastiest lists of chemicals on a personal care product out there) :

- coal tar dyes  These dyes are also used as a colorant in mascara and contain heavy metals.  severe allergic reactions, asthma attacks, headaches, nausea, fatigue, lack of concentration and nervousness. They are also link to an increased risk of Hodgkin’s disease, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and multiple myeloma.
- Thimerisol, a mercury-based element used as a preservative and antiseptic. It has been banned from use in vaccines, but can be found in cosmetics. It is known to damage brain function.  Mercury is considered particularly toxic to the developing brain during pregnancy, infancy and childhood. FDA has banned the use of mercury compounds in all cosmetics except those used around the eyes, where levels are limited to 65 parts per million (ppm).”
- Synthetic Dyes:  labeled as FD&C or D&C, followed by a color and a number (e.g. FD&C Red No. 6, D&C Green No. 6). These are believed to be toxic and carcinogenic. 

Benzalkonium chloride (BAK), also called benzalkonium chloride, quaternium-15 or guar hydroxypropyltrimonium chloride, is a preservative found in eyeliner, mascara and makeup remover.  BAK is well documented to be toxic to the epithelial cells of the eyes.
 Prime yellow carnauba wax
Used in mascara and eyeliners to stiffen the product and make them waterproof, prime yellow carnauba wax clogs the oil glands in the eyes and can lead to dry eye disease, 
Retinyl Acetate (Vitamin A Acetate)- linked to developmental and reproductive toxicity, and organ system toxicity. Acetate has been prohibited and restricted in Canadian cosmetics.

My favs
I have tried my fair share of non -toxic mascaras and, unfortunately unlike other 'clean' makeup products,  most of them have not left me very impressed.  Then I discovered Lily Lolo ......  its the one I love and use every single day.

Kjaer Weis Mascara:   A makeup artist recently used this Italian brand's mascara on me and I loved it!  Also love this brands eco conscious ways - your initial product has a slightly higher price tag but afterwards you purchase refills for less (the mascara refill costs $28)  which is better for your wallet and the environment!

Many women use foundation, tinted moisturizers or a combination of the two all over their face and neck every single day.   Because of how much of this products we use on our face, and because about 60% of what we put on our skin reaches our bloodstream,  I included it in my list of three items to switch first.

These can contain:

- propylene glycol, methylparaben, and propylparaben: endocrine disruptors

- PEG/PPG 10 dimethicone, PEG/PPG 18, retinyl acetate, tocopheryl acetate, laureth 7, and PEG/PPG 20 dimethicone: all of which might give produce 1,4-dioxane, a carcinogen

Petroleum based (-methyl, -propy, -caprylic, such as propylene glycol)/Mineral oil:
Petroleum jelly comes from residue that builds up on the outside of oil rigs. It is collected, distilled and refined and used in many cosmetics such as lip-gloss. While many call these products safe, the toxicity depends on the refinement process, which is currently unregulated, and lower quality refined oil may be linked to breast cancer.
My favs

Beautycounter Dew Skin and Tint Skin:  I love the dewy look and add a couple of drops of the tint skin for added coverage.   

Kjaer Weis–  I recently was at The Detox Market and tried this brand's foundation and really liked it.  It is all creamy and had a wonderful full coverage without feeling heavy.   

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