Although women of any age can purchase it, makeup is not regulated by the federal government.
Eighty-nine percent of the 10,500 ingredients used in personal care products have not been evaluated for safety by the FDA, according to watchdog Environmental Working Group. Furthermore, the FDA cannot require companies to test the safety of their cosmetic products before marketing them. The fact that this $35 billion industry is unregulated leads to cosmetic companies marketing products with ingredients that have not been studied fully or are known to pose health risks, some of which can be fatal. Perhaps warning labels should be placed on cosmetics, as they are on CDs? Or maybe we should restrict their purchase to those at least 18 years of age? Whatever the solution, potentially serious problems exist now, and educated consumers are our only weapon against the greedy cosmetics companies.
1. Revlon ColorStay Cheek Color Mineral Blush
BLUSH: Revlon ColorStay Cheek Color Mineral Blush, Honey 010
Reading the ingredients list of this blush can make one dizzy. It contains Methylparaben, a chemical that is easily absorbed through the skin or gastrointestinal tract and has been proven to cause endocrine reactions, allergies, and cancer. Moreover, Methylparaben can react with UVB from the sun’s rays and lead to rapid skin aging and sun damage. So the cosmetic you’re applying to give your skin some color is actually aging it faster than normal. This blush contains over 20 ingredients that the Environmental Working Group say can cause all sorts of health problems, and rates the highest 10 out of 10 in hazard concerns.
2. Anastasia Tinted Brow Gel for Eyebrow Control
BROW GEL: Anastasia Tinted Brow Gel for Eyebrow Control, Caramel
Top on this brow gel’s list of ingredients is methylparaben, which causes all of the above problems. Add to that butylparaben, which can cause developmental and reproductive problems; triethanolamine, a chemical so strong it’s also used in cement (!) that has been linked to liver tumors; and at least ten additional ingredients known to cause cancer, allergies, and a host of other health issues. This brow gel ranks number 8 out of a hazard rating of 10 on the Environmental Working Group’s list.
3. L’Oreal Hip High Intensity Pigments Concentrated Eyeshadow Duo
EYESHADOW: L’Oreal Hip High Intensity Pigments Concentrated Eyeshadow Duo (Shades Cheeky, Saucy, Rascal & Shady)
In addition to methylparaben and butylparaben, this eye shadow also contains BHA, known to disrupt the immune system; aluminum powder, linked to neurotoxicity and cancer; and silica, a carcinogen. At least 15 other ingredients in this eye shadow are linked to cancer, developmental and reproductive problems. This eye shadow ranks a whopping 10 out of 10 as a health risk.
4. Givenchy Lady Pulp
LIP PLUMPER: Givenchy Lady Pulp
Ah, the price of full lips! Women will spend $55 on a lip plumper that contains methylparaben, silica, and other carcinogens just to look beautiful. Other culprits found in this expensive lip plumper include BHT, which interferes with the immune system; dimethicone, whose use has actually been restricted by the Cosmetic Ingredient Review Board as not being safe for use on damaged skin; and fragrance, which can cause all sorts of immune reactions. It rates as a high hazard (9/10) on the Environmental Working Group’s list.
5. Almay Line Smoothing Concealer
CONCEALER: Almay Line Smoothing Concealer for the Face in Light, Light/Medium
How badly do you want to conceal those fine lines and blotches on your face? Are you willing to risk your health, even your life, to do so? If you’re using this concealer, you might be doing just that. In addition to methylparaben, this concealer contains the polymer polyethylene, determined by the Cosmetic Ingredient Review Board not to be safe for damaged skin; silica and alumina, both of which can cause cellular changes and enhance skin absorption of the other ingredients, and at least six more ingredients known to be toxic. This concealer ranks 9/10 on the list of hazardous cosmetics.
6. CoverGirl Clean Pressed Powder
FACIAL POWDER: CoverGirl Clean Pressed Powder, Creamy Natural
Next on the list of hazardous cosmetics is a product many women have in their purses right now. Cover Girl’s Clean Pressed Powder is one of the classics, used by countless women over the years. However, this simple little cosmetic can do more damage than many others on the market. Added to the usual culprits methylparaben, BHT, propylparaben, and at least five other ingredients whose toxicity is known is Quaternium-15, or quaternary ammonium salt. This is a known immune system toxicant and possible skin toxicant. It can also cause reproductive problems when used over a period of years (such as the length of time most women stick with one cosmetic when they find one they like). This powder ranks 9/10 on the Environmental Working Group’s list of toxic makeup.
7. Tarte Eyeliner Pencil
EYELINER: Tarte Eyeliner Pencil, Olympia
One of the most toxic eyeliners on the list of toxic cosmetics is made by Tarte. This little eyeliner has ingredients that can cause cancer, reproductive problems, immune system toxicity, allergic reactions, neurotoxicity, endocrine problems… the list goes on and on. It ranks a high 8 out of 10 on the list Environmental Working Group compiled of the most toxic makeups. Bottom line: according to them, 100% of all other eyeliners on the market are safer than this one.
8. Neutrogena Healthy Skin Cream Powder Makeup
FOUNDATION: Neutrogena Healthy Skin Cream Powder Makeup, Natural Buff
Even a product with the so-called healthy Neutrogena label can be dangerous to your health. This cream powder foundation ranks a whopping 10 out of 10 on the toxicity chart, and contains methylparaben, propylparaben, and other culprits like the sunscreen ingredient OCTINOXATE which can cause hormone disruption; Aluminum Starch Octenylsuccinate which can cause neurological and reproductive problems, and at least three other ingredients ranking high in toxicity. There are many other foundations safer than this supposedly healthy one.
9. TexasLash Mascara
MASCARA: CARGO TexasLash Mascara
You would think paying $20 for a mascara would at least guarantee its safety? No. This mascara ranks 9/10 on the toxicity scale. It contains Ceteareth-12, not recommended for use on damaged skin; the known inmmue system toxicant Coumarin; and at least 10 more toxic ingredients. It proves that paying more for a cosmetic does not mean it’s any safer than another. Check the ingredients before you buy.
10. LOREAL Superior Preference Hair Color
HAIR DYE: LOREAL Superior Preference Hair Color, RR04 Intense Dark Red
This popular hair dye ranks a whopping 10/10 on the toxicity scale. Not only does it include carcinogens such as methylparaben and propylene glycol, it also contains ingredients that are found in coal tar, a known carcinogen. The most recent studies on Coal Tar-based hair colors state that “women using permanent hair dye at least once a month for a period more than one year more than double their risk of bladder cancer. ” Use it at your own risk!