Clean Cosmetics

Clean Cosmetics: A Quick Rundown Of What To Look For And What To Avoid

Aside from the heart and the brain, the skin is one of the most crucial organs. It’s also the largest and serves as a protective barrier for our vital organs, muscles, nerves, and bones. What most people don’t realize is how perceptible the skin really is to everything we put on it.

And when it comes to cosmetics, the ingredients in them are more important than ever. While there is a huge trend centered on clean cosmetics right now, what does that phrase actually mean?

Here’s a breakdown of the ”nasties” that clean cosmetics will not contain and how to determine what’s really clean, and not.

The Ingredients You Won’t Find In Clean Cosmetics

The skin absorbs up to 64 percent of the compounds it comes into contact with, depending on your body weight and how much you apply. It also depends on the product and its ingredients. But nevertheless, the statistics show us that the skin is an extremely vulnerable organ that many of us probably take for granted.

When it comes to clean cosmetics, you generally won’t find any of these ingredients:

1. Aluminum

In recent years, aluminum has been exposed as a type of toxic metal that can wreak havoc on the body, eliciting unwanted estrogen-like effects within our system. This can have a negative impact on endocrine function and result in hormonal imbalances.

This ingredient is very common in many mainstream body care products, especially deodorant.

2. Talc

This is yet another very common ingredient that you’ll find in any number of eye shadows, face powder products, and body powders. But what exactly is talc? It’s made from a mixture of silicon, hydrogen, magnesium, and oxygen. Sounds harmless enough, right?

The risk of using talc products is exposure to ingredients that aren’t purified or are cross-contaminated with asbestos, which is a harmful human carcinogen.

Today, there is plenty of talc-free face and body powders on the market — and these are the products you want to stick to, find out why here.

3. DEA, MEA, And TEA

This is a serious trifecta of ingredients you want to avoid in your cosmetics, skincare, and body care products. Diethanolamine, monoethanolamine, and triethanolamine all look seemingly harmless. They are clear, colorless liquids, but have an ammonia-like smell.

You’ll find these products mostly in cleansers and soaps, as well as fragrances, hair products, sunscreen, and eye makeup.

4. Urea (Imidazolidinyl) and DMDM Hydantoin

These ingredients are most common in popular skincare brands and their products today, as well as detergents, shampoos, and conditioners.
They are popular because of their preserving qualities. However, these ingredients also release a type of formaldehyde, which is a highly toxic chemical to humans. The result? Skin allergies, headaches, joint pain, and disrupted sleep.

5. Mineral Oils

Mineral oil is a common by-product of products manufactured with petroleum. Today, you can find mineral oils in just about everything, from lotions, ointments, cosmetics, creams, soaps, and more.
It’s a comedogenic product, meaning that it coats the skin, instead of the skin absorbing it, which results in clogged pores and other skin conditions.

6. Parabens

Some of the most common parabens you’ll find in skincare products, moisturizers, and deodorants today include methyl, butyl, ethyl, and propyl.
They’re used as preservatives and act in the same way as aluminum, which can disrupt endocrine function.

7. Phthalates

This is a sneaky type of ingredient that you won’t often see listed on a product. That’s because it’s often described as a ”fragrance”. However, phthalates are actually a type of chemical used to increase the strength and flexibility of plastic, and the viscosity of products.
You’ll find this product in many cosmetics and fragrance oils.

8. Propylene Glycol

Also known as PG, this ingredient also has a close cousin named butylene glycol (BG). They are gas-based, hydrocarbon compounds that serve as surfactants in their liquid form. This means that their purpose is to help products quickly absorb into the skin.

However, due to the fact that they penetrate the skin so quickly, this can weaken the cell and protein structure of the skin itself. It’s important to note that this product is often used in some ”clean” beauty products that claim to be made from herbs.

9. Fragrance

It’s no secret that cosmetics, beauty products, and skincare that smells good is a huge selling point. But many of these products contain synthetic fragrances, which comprise thousands of different ingredients. Most of these ingredients are not listed on the label, so you never really know what you’re exposing your skin to.

Synthetic fragrance is also a well-known skin irritant and can cause conditions such as eczema, dermatitis, and more.

10. Triclosan

This ingredient serves an anti-bacterial function, however, when it degrades it turns into dioxin. This chemical is toxic and can cause any number of toxic conditions.

It’s common in products such as mouthwash, shaving cream, deodorants, toothpaste, and soaps.

What To Look for In Clean Cosmetics And Other Products

With so many buzzwords doing the rounds in terms of ”clean” products on the market, what should you really be looking for when choosing your cosmetics? What should non-toxic skincare, cosmetics, and body care products include?


This word means that a product is environmentally friendly. It should have little to no impact on the environment when it’s manufactured and used. Green products should have a very clear mission statement. You should be able to research the product and access thorough information on its environmental impact, or lack thereof.

Many of these products contain non-toxic ingredients for the environment and skin, as well as biodegradable packaging.


An organic product (that’s 95 percent natural, or more) should bear the USDA organic seal. This means the product complies with handling, manufacturing, and distribution specifics. It shouldn’t contain any genetically modified organisms or compounds, either.

These products should use plant-based ingredients that are pesticide-free. Beware of smaller, independent brands smacking an ”organic” label on the product, without official certification.


This is a product that, as you may already know, is not tested on animals during the manufacturing of the product, or any time before it’s sold. But, it also means that it should not contain any animal-derived ingredients or those extracted at an animal’s expense/welfare.

Remember that cruelty-free products are not always vegan, and vice-versa.

Expand Your Beauty Knowledge With Us

At the end of the day, you want to wear your thinking cap when shopping for clean cosmetics. Nowadays, it’s easy for brands to mislabel ingredients and make claims. Do your research on clean products before you invest in them!

If you loved this article and found it helpful, there’s plenty more where it came from. For your daily fix on all things beauty, accessories, makeup, and health don’t miss out on the rest of this site for more.

Also Read : How To Choose Bridal Makeup: 5 Useful Tips

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