Avoid these toxic beauty offenders

Be Careful of Toxic Beauty Supplies

Have you ever thought of taking a sip out of your gasoline tank? Moisturizing you hands with oven cleaner? Dousing your body with anti-freeze or surrounding your body with solvents? Smoothing your hair with an engine degreaser, or painting your nails in a layer of coal tar?

Surely your answer is an emphatic, “No!” Yet, many women (and men) are doing these things unknowingly, as they apply everyday beauty products to their hair, face, and body. Watch out for these top offenders.

Lip Gloss:

That perfect pout may not be worth the harmful chemicals it takes to create that shimmery kiss. According to Dr. Mehmet Oz, “The shine in lip gloss comes from petroleum jelly, a byproduct of oil drilling and when you spread it on your lips, you end up eating it, which is essentially the same as drinking gasoline.”

Brazilian Keratin Hair Straighteners:

Sleek, straight hair without endless hours of blow-drying and flat ironing sounds too good to be true, and it is! There have been claims of serious illness regarding this treatment and the Campaign for Save Cosmetics recommends avoiding these treatments entirely. “Keratin smoothing treatments contain high levels of formaldehyde, which changes the chemistry of hair. Unfortunately, formaldehyde is also incredibly toxic. The hair-straightening process requires heat to be applied to the hair along with the straightening solution; this causes the formaldehyde in the product to off-gas into the air of the salon.”



What’s not to love about smelling like an apple orchard or freesia bouquet after you wash your hands, hair, apply your morning lotion, or dry your clothes with a fragrant fabric softener? The answer: chemicals. That lovely smell is rarely from natural scents or oils and is often from harsh or harmful chemicals that can cause serious allergies and other maladies. Meanwhile, commercial fabric softeners emit chemical fumes like toluene, styrene, and phenol that can cause acute respiratory tract inflammation and irritation, according to a study by Anderson Laboratories.


Anti-Wrinkle Creams:

Dr. Oz wars that your skin might look younger without that expensive wrinkle cream. “Magic potions that purport to eliminate wrinkles actually often damage the skin to produce a wrinkle-free effect. In order to eliminate the appearance of wrinkles, they plump up the skin by inflaming it with products that are actually irritation to the skin and break down collagen, encouraging more wrinkles down the road.”


Beauty Alternatives

Beeswax: If your lips must have a little shine, try all natural beeswax instead of lip gloss or find a gloss without petroleum jelly or mineral oil on the ingredient list. Dr. Oz suggests, “If you are deeply attached to a petroleum-based glass, save it for special occasions and use a sunscreen under it to protect your lips.”

Hair Straightener: Use a fragrance and paraben-free shampoo and conditioner and take the time to give yourself a manual blowout with a blow dryer, round brush, and flat iron––in you must.

Essential Oils: The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics suggest using fragrances that do not contain phalates or try using essential oils or approved organic lotions to be safely scented. The Body Shop offers delightfully fragrant flavors that will keep you smelling sexy and feeling safe. Meanwhile, avoid using chemical-laden dry sheets, and try using a ball of aluminum foil or use wool dryer balls.

Real Wrinkle Reducers: Not all wrinkle creams are just hype. Look for products that are fragrance-free and color-free and contain vitamin A-Retinol, vitamin c, and Alpha Hydroxy. For a personalized cosmetics guide of safe beauty products, visit the Environmental Working Group at ewg.org.

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