How do you know what ingredients to avoid?

If you want to lighten the chemical load of your beauty routine, how do you know which ingredients to avoid?

First, check out the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Database.  You can look up any of your existing products to see their rank on the toxicity scale (0-10, 10 being most toxic).  While they don’t state which products to avoid, you can us the information to set your own threshold.   During this beauty detox I won’t use anything higher than a 5 (and hopefully won’t have to use many purchased products at all, if I can help it!).   My biggest surprise was that my favorite NARS blush scored a 7, and contains BHA which is a known immune system toxin, possible carcinogen and has been banned in Europe.  And I used it daily for about 7 years.  Awesome!

Also check out their What Not to Buy list of the top 10 ingredients to avoid in your beauty products.  Did you know that some products still contain mercury and lead??  I thought those were removed years ago.  It’s interesting reading.

Want to learn more about what’s in our cosmetics?  Watch the Story of Cosmetics video.  If you only do one thing, watch this video!

One of the most eye-opening points for me is that while chemicals in beauty products are regulated, we are getting exposure from the chemicals in multiple products at the same time.  So while your shampoo might have safe levels of a chemical, what happens when you also use conditioner, perfume, moisturizer and toothpaste with the same chemical in it??  Your exposure to that chemical just increased.  But the effects?  We just don’t know.

Although this project started as a way to save some money and make homemade beauty products, I’m starting to realize it’s a much more important issue that affects everyone.

If you look up any of your products in the Skin Deep database and have any surprises, let us know in the comments!

3 Responses to How do you know what ingredients to avoid?

  1. Amanda says:

    @wendy: yeah, I noticed there aren’t a lot of UK product either – but you can type in the ingredients and add it to the database (if you want to put in the time!). Over time it should become a lot more comprehensive.. I hope!

    @laurie: let me know what you find out if you do!! 🙂

  2. Laurie says:

    Very informative! Thanks. Now I’m going to look up all of my products. Wish me luck. :/

  3. wendy says:

    OMG! what a minefield, I really hadn’t thought about any of this stuff, I am very conscious of buying products which haven’t been tested on animals but hadn’t worried about what i was putting into my body! I would love to find a site like this one which has all the British brands too, as i recently switched to using simple for my skincare and i couldn’t find it on there. will really start to look into this though thanks A xx