Clean Beauty Part 2: What I Discovered in My Makeup Products

Welcome to Part 2 of my Clean Beauty Tips! In case you missed it, head over first to my original post on non-toxic beauty, which gives more detailed information about what not-so-great ingredients might be lurking in your cosmetics and personal care products. Be forewarned, though – once you’re aware of what some products contain, it’s hard to ignore it!

As I began to learn more about the potential hazards in my products, I was both intrigued and very skeptical. Surely the items I owned weren’t all that bad. Without further ado, here’s what I discovered:

My loose powder foundation contained titanium dioxides, which are considered possible carcinogens when inhaled (such as in powdered foundations). Note: when I searched for this product on, it clearly states a warning notice because of the use of titanium dioxides. Yikes!

My black mascara contained phenoxyethanol, which can cause skin irritation/allergies. According to a statement on, the USFDA has recalled certain products for containing phenoxyethanol because of possible adverse reactions to infants’ central nervous system.

My blush contained talc and phenoxyethanol. See my original post for information on why talc should be avoided!

My bronzer contained talc, titanium dioxide and phenoxyethanol.

My black liquid eyeliner pen contained phenoxyethanol and D&C Black No.2, which is essentially coal tar and is a possible carcinogen. Find more information from here.

My black eyeliner pencil contained talc and Black 2 (CI 77266) – another name for D&C Black No.2.

My eyeshadows all contained talc.

My lip balm tube contained phenol, which is definitely toxic in large quantities and not advised for skin contact or ingestion, but is often added in tiny amounts as a preservative in cosmetics and even foods. Read more about phenol on here.

According to this article on, one common phenol compound is Bisphenol A (BPA), which is found in some plastics. Many companies are now banning BPA from their products (thus the popular label BPA-free) because of the risks involved with ingesting phenol.

It also contained flavor – just like the term “fragrance,” a flavor can contain any number of chemicals, but the contents are not required to be disclosed. So anytime you see this, you have to hope the brand is trustworthy enough to not include the bad stuff!

My face moisturizer contained phenoxyethanol, fragrance, methylparaben and propylparaben.

My shampoo contained fragrance (parfum) and Diazolidinyl Urea – a chemical that the Environmental Working Group describes here as “an antimicrobial preservative that works by forming formaldehyde in cosmetic products.”

My body wash contained fragrance (parfum).

My antiperspirant deodorant contained aluminum zirconium tetrachlorohydrex gly (which has been theorized – not proven – to play a role in contributing to breast cancer) and fragrance.

My perfume contained fragrance – no surprise there!

My hairspray contained fragrance.

These are all products that I purchased from well-known retailers or direct sales companies within the past 5 years. And I had ZERO clue what was in them.

Now, it’s your turn! I challenge you to take a peek at the ingredient labels on each of your products, and really look hard. If you investigate your products and decide based on the evidence presented that you’d like to continue using them, more power to you!

But if you decide with me that you’d rather look for something else, stay tuned for upcoming posts on some clean replacements that I’ve found and LOVE! I’m so excited to share them with you and hopefully make your journey to clean beauty a little quicker and easier than mine!

3 thoughts on “Clean Beauty Part 2: What I Discovered in My Makeup Products

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