Skin Care Products Vary in Safety

Many products have toxic ingredients, find safer alternatives


Sage Marmet

BeautyCounter has, what is called, “The Never List,” which is a list of over 1,800 ingredients that they never use. For context, the US bans only 30 ingredients, and the European Union bans 1,400. In addition to creating cleaner products, they are working to change laws regarding ingredients in beauty products, so that everyone can have access to cleaner products.

Sage Marmet, Co-Editor-in-Chief

We are constantly surrounded by and consuming toxic chemicals in our daily lives, and these chemicals have a toll on our minds, bodies, and environment. It only takes 26 seconds for any product that you put on your skin to absorb into your bloodstream–this includes dangerous, carcinogenic, and toxic chemicals that are in most mainstream personal care brands. 

Many companies include the words “all natural” into their marketing, however, this does not mean that they are actually clean brands. It is absolutely crucial to look at the ingredient list to really know if a brand is truly clean and toxic free. I recommend using the app ThinkDirty and the website EWG (Environmental Working Group) as great starting points for finding out how clean or “dirty” a product or brand is. Both companies vet certain brands and have their own scrutiny and certification processes for brands to certify themselves as clean or toxic-free. They rate products on different scales, both displaying how clean or toxic a product is. While neither is perfect and have every product, they offer a great starting point for learning about how to have cleaner personal care products. One rule of thumb is that if a product has ingredients that could not be edible, chances are you do not want to put them on your skin, and thus still into your body and bloodstream. 

It only takes 26 seconds for any product that you put on your skin to absorb into your bloodstream–this includes dangerous, carcinogenic, and toxic chemicals that are in most mainstream personal care brands.”

Instead of purging the products you already have and scrapping them entirely, I recommend looking at what you have and starting to find cleaner alternatives. Introducing new products slowly helps because you need to adjust your body to different ingredients. I would recommend weaning off of toxic products as well because they can have addictive ingredients that make it hard to start using products with different, cleaner ingredients. Additionally, throwing away products that are partially used is just downright wasteful. There’s more to clean beauty than just what is in the ingredients, it is also about how the packaging that the products come in will affect the environment. 

Additionally, companies use the word “fragrance,” “parfum,” “essence,” or “perfume” to indicate that the products are scented. The truth is that fragrances are completely unregulated, and it is legal to not list what is actually creating the scent. These can be made from anything, and typically the reason why they’re not listed is because the ingredients are not good for you, are toxic, or even carcinogenic. A lot of chemicals in beauty and personal care products are considered hormone disruptors, as they imitate many of the natural hormones in your body. They can mess up your body’s hormone regulation, potentially leading to some more serious side effects and consequences. 

While it seems that there’s no hope–do not despair, because there are some great clean and toxic-free brands out there. Here are a few of my personal favorites: 

  • BeautyCounter (it is not perfect, but it is very regulated and is working on getting many more regulations and restrictions in the beauty industry)
  • Juicebeauty (they have lots of clean makeup)
  • Acure (there’s a lot of skincare products)
  • Pacifica (they have everything from shampoo, to sunscreen, to mascara, to perfume)
  • Alaffia (they have a lot more soap options)
  • Vika’s Essentials (a great local brand that offers organic skincare)
  • Shea Moisture (very similar to Pacifica’s product lines without makeup)
  • Native (very clean deodorants and soaps)
  • The Body Deli (lots of lotions and skin care products)
  • Coola (lots of skincare products, and my personal favorite brand for clean, reef-safe sunscreen)
  • Whole Foods has a decent scrutiny process, looking further into product ingredients than the FDA
  • Many Co-ops vet and scrutinize their products even more so than Whole Foods (Lakewinds Co-op carries a lot of great products)

We can all work harder to spend money on products that are safe for our own use and that are safe for our environment, instead of caving for the big-name brands using toxic ingredients in their products and dumping dangerous chemicals and plastics into the environment. Let’s be more intentional and let’s be more conscious, after all, it is going into your body.