- If you can't eat it, don't put it on your skin
- If you can't pronounce it, or it's a funky long word, don't use it
Check out this website http://www.cosmeticsdatabase.com/index.php. Skin Deep is a great site to learn about toxic chemicals in our products. You can put in the name of a product and they will rate it on how toxic it is. You will be surprised on what most products rate! Here is something from their site-
Major gaps in public health laws allow cosmetics companies to use almost any ingredient they choose in everything from sunscreen and mascara to deodorant and baby shampoo, with no restrictions and no requirement for safety testing. To help you navigate your store's aisles, Environmental Working Group researchers have scoured thousands of ingredient labels to bring you our top recommendations for what not to buy — products with worrisome or downright dangerous ingredients that don't belong in your shopping cart or on your skin.
Here is their "What not to buy list"
Major gaps in public health laws allow cosmetics companies to use almost any ingredient they choose — even lead, mercury, and placenta. Ummmmm... ewwwwww gross!!!!
Placenta used in products:
Extracts from human and cow placenta can condition skin and hair. Vital to a growing baby in the womb, these same extracts in cosmetics give the body a slug of hormones that may be enough to spur breast growth in toddlers according to a few recent case studies.
Mercury used in products:
Given everything we've learned over the past 30 years about mercury's ability to damage brain function at low levels, it's hard to believe it's still used in cosmetics. But it is. We found it in Paula Dorf mascara, listed as the mercury preservative "thimerosal." If you get a little bit of mascara in your eyes or face when it clumps or as you wash it off, you may also be getting a little dose of mercury. Watch out for mercury in eye drops, too. Send a message to companies that use brain-damaging ingredients and avoid these products.
Lead used in products:
When scientists recognized that lead harms the developing brain of a child, the government demanded its removal from gasoline and house paint — but not hair dye. This pernicious neurotoxin is in Grecian Formula 16 and other black hair dyes for men. It's hard to keep all the lead on your hair — studies find residues on door knobs and cabinets. Don't expose yourself or your children to this one.
Fragrance used in products:
It may smell great, but do you know what's in it? Fragrances are the great secrets of the cosmetics industry, in everything from shampoo to deodorant to lotion, and falling straight into a giant loophole in federal law that doesn't require companies to list on product labels any of the potentially hundreds of chemicals in a single product's secret fragrance mixture. Fragrances can contain neurotoxins and are among the top 5 allergens in the world. Our advice? Buy fragrance free.
Animal parts used in products:
If fat scraped from the back of the hide of mink and emu isn't something you'd like to smear on your skin, you may want to avoid mink and emu oil, conditioning agents in sunscreen, shaving cream, hair spray and more. These are just two of many ingredients made from animal parts — you'll find a partial list here; use Skin Deep to find more.
Hydroquinone skin lightener in products:
On a quest for lighter skin? Take a cue from FDA's recent warning, and avoid skin lighteners with hydroquinone. This skin bleaching chemical can cause a skin disease called ochronosis, with "disfiguring and irreversible" blue-black lesions that in the worst cases become permanent, intensively black bumps the size of caviar all over the skin.
Nanoparticles used in products: (now this is just frickin crazy and insane)
These tiny little inventions are touted as the next green revolution, but we don't find much sexy or green about untested ingredients that can slide up the optic nerve to the brain or burrow inside red blood cells. They're found in cosmetics in forms ranging from tiny wire cages called "buckeyballs" to miniscule bits of metals used as sunscreens. Good luck finding them, though — companies don't have to tell us that they're in our products, though we found that more than one-third of all products contain ingredients now commercially available in nano forms. And we did find them listed outright on the labels of some sunscreens (nano metals) and skin creams (buckeyballs). Buyer beware!
Phthalates used in products:
Pronounced "tha'-lates," these little plasticizer chemicals pack a punch to male sex organs. Whether it's sperm damage, feminization of baby boys, or infertility, a growing number of studies link phthalates to problems in men and boys. Pregnant women should avoid it in nail polish ("dibutyl phathalate") and everyone should avoid products with "fragrance" on the label, chemical mixtures where phthalates often hide.
Petroleum byproducts used in products:
Surprised to learn that the same factories making gas for your car also make emollients for your face cream? Meet the workhorse chemicals of the cosmetics industry — petroleum byproducts, and the cancer-causing impurities that often contaminate them. These ingredients include carcinogens in baby shampoo (see new research on 1,4-dioxane) and petrochemical waste called coal tar in scalp treatment shampoos. We list a few products and their cancer-causing contaminants here, but use Skin Deep to find more.
So please buy with extreme caution! I used to be a product junky! I had everything from Clinique to Bath and Body Works. Then I learned the evil truth! If you were to look in my shower now you would find products from DR. Bronners, Super Salve and Aubrey Organics. I'm now a crazy label reading freak he he!
Note: Just because it says "all natural" or "aromatherapy" can sometimes mean that just a couple ingredients are natural and the rest are filled with the toxic chemicals. Like Aveeno, Yeah they have oatmeal in it but check out all the other crap they add too! So be a crazy label reading freak like me and buy with caution!