I’ve never really been the girl worried about using natural or organic products. I avoided researching toxic beauty products because I didn’t want to stop using my current favorite products. I mean what you don’t know won’t kill you, right? That may be a little closer to the truth than I’m willing to bargain with.
Last week I was adding a few items to my cart at Sephora when my foundation said: this product is HAZMAT and will only ship ground. I was like hold up. What am I putting on my face that is hazmat?! It turns out that’s mostly referring to the shipment process, but it’s what got this whole toxic beauty product research rolling…
I immediately downloaded the app Think Dirty based on a recommendation from my friend Becca Bristow. I started looking up the products that I use every day and adding them to my “beauty cabinet” so I can keep tabs on all of my products and the overall safety of them. Some of my most beloved products were in bright red before my eyes, meaning really toxic! Some just had one product that was bad, usually synthetic fragrance, while others had multiple products linked to cancer, hormone imbalances, and infertility.
Using Think Dirty makes it really easy (and virtually gives you no excuse anymore) to check if your products are safe. Before, you had to look at the label yourself, and unfortunately, beauty brands try to hide toxic chemicals on the label by using less known terms. Think Dirty does all this work for you! The app makes it super easy to learn from and links to research if you need a little more convincing. Think Dirty also makes their recommendations for safer alternatives if you have no clue where to start. I find better success searching products individually verse using the barcode scanner, although there are some products I use routinely that I couldn’t find in the app. Products in red (aka dirty) are considered toxic and rank greater than 8/10, products in yellow are ranked 5-7/10 and are considered half n’ half, and neutral (clean) products are 0-3/10.
I opened up my makeup drawer first and went through each item I use routinely on the Think Dirty app. I put aside the products that ranked greater than 8/10 and put back the products that were moderately toxic or lower (<7/10). I knew this was going to be a gradual transition, but I did decide to immediately stop using the products with high toxicity. I didn’t have the heart to throw them out… beauty products can be expensive! So if I get the urge to pull them back out I still can at this point. But to be honest, I couldn’t even tell you what some of them are after not using them for a few weeks (except my beloved dry shampoo). After these products are used up, I hope to start purchasing products under a 6/10 toxicity level. Here is what my beauty cabinet looked like:
TOXIC BEAUTY PRODUCTS (>8/10)
- St. Tropez self-tanning mousse
- Jergens natural glow – this one wasn’t a surprise
- Moroccan oil dry shampoo – This product was the hardest for me to stop using. It’s been a favorite for years! The vanilla fragrance is the chemical to blame for the toxicity.
- Donna Karen deodorant – another product I’m sad to stop using. It smells so good! I still periodically reach for it when I know my natural deodorant won’t do the job. For example, if I have errands to run after a workout, or after self-tanning, because no one should have to smell me after a few hours of wearing self-tanner… lol.
- Hemps lip moisturizer- this was a surprise to me because I thought Hemps was a natural beauty line! This is exactly why you should check every product you use.
- All of my body washes had to go because of fragrance.
- Urban Decay Setting Spray
- Bobby Brown Long Wear Gel Liner
- It’s a 10 Miracle Leave-in Product
- Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Setting Powder
- Living Proof PHD Shampoo and Conditioner
- Soap and Glory Body Scrub
- Benefit Hoola Bronzer
- Pixi Glow Tonic Beauty Elixir
- Neutrogena Anti-Residue: this had a form of formaldehyde in it!!! A well known cancer-causing agent. I definitely tossed this!
- Duo lash glue: this also has formaldehyde. It went straight to the trash.
PRODUCTS IM USING UP (4-7/10 on Think Dirty)
- Urban Decay Naked Palette (7/10)
- Tarte Amazonian Clay Blush (7/10)
- Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant (7/10)
- Kiehls Creme de Corpse lotion (7/10)
- Salley Hansen Miracle Topcoat (7/10)
- Mary-Lou Manizer Highlighter (7/10)
- Mario Badescu Drying Lotion (7/10)
- Dior Overcurl mascara (6/10)
- MAC lipsticks (6/10)
- Buxom Lip Cream (6/10)
- Arm and Hammer Advance White (5/10)
- Cerave Healing Ointment (5/10)
- Anastasia Brow Wiz (5/10)
- Tarte Macacuja Concealer (5/10)
- It Cosmetics CC cream (5/10)
- Pixi Glow Tonic (5/10)
- Urban Decay Naked Concealer (4/10)
PRODUCTS IN THE GREEN (<3/10):
- Bare Minerals Original Foundation (3/10)
- Mac Prep+Prime Lip Base (3/10)
- Thayers Witch Hazel (0/10)
- First Aid Beauty Oatmeal Repair Mask (3/10)
- Coola Sunscreen (0/10)
PRODUCTS I COULDN’T FIND IN THE THINK DIRTY APP
- Benefit Gimme Brow
- MAC eyeshadows
- Coola Face Tanner and Primer
- Dermalogica Sunscreen
- Pixi Glow Serum
- Paulas Choice BHA
- MAC paint pot
- Colleen Rothchild Skincare
- Sara Happ
PRODUCTS IM SWITCHING TO
- Castille unscented soap (0/10) – it smells like basically nothing and isn’t exciting by any means, but it gets the job done. I recently make a face wash out of it and can share my recipe with my essential oils if you’re interested. There are so many ways to use it around your home, but I haven’t ventured into that yet.
- Vita Liberata self-tanner (1/10)- I figured self- tanner would be a hard non-toxic product to find, but this was the first one I tried and I’ve been impressed with it so far! When I first received it, I was not thrilled with the size of the bottle for the price tag. I’ll chat more about this at the end of the month!
- Native deodorant: This has been my daily deodorant since the switch and it gets the job done, but doesn’t compare to the antiperspirant I’m used to. If you wear a sweater or a thicker top, you will probably notice a little wetness, which isn’t my favorite. However, it’s not on the Think Dirty app so I will probably try a different one next time to be sure.
- When my It Cosmetics CC cream is used up I want to try out this version from Juice Beauty or this BB cream from Tarte.
- Safe hairsprays were pretty limited, but there are two from Loreal I plan to try when mine runs out.
- The Honest Company Bubble Bath (0/10)
- Oscar Blandi Dry Shampo0 (0/10)
- Quo Eyelash Adhesive (3/10)
I found it interesting that some brands varied greatly from their toxicity levels. For instance, when looking at Burt’s Bee’s, Aveeno, and Laura Mercier, some products were clean while others were 10/10 dirty. To be safe, I would recommend to always look up every product before adding it to your routine. It can be overwhelming at first, but after you wean everything down when you can replace your items with non-toxic products gradually. Don’t feel like making the switch to non-toxic beauty products has to happen overnight! Go your own pace and make subtle switches to keep chemicals out of your routine.
To be honest, I think it’s ridiculous that we even need to research the products on our shelves. Especially considering how difficult and time consuming it can be. And my question is… WHY? Why is there formaldehyde in my shampoo, a known cancer-causing chemical…Why is this ok? I hope that one day, companies will realize the harm they are potentially causing and will make more ethical decisions when it comes to the ingredients in their products. But I’m sure that won’t happen until there is a shift in the consumer demand. So until then, my goal for this year is to get my routine toxicity down to <5/10 on the app, so some half n’ half products will remain in my routine unless I find something cleaner that I love to replace it with.
I just wanted to clarify that Think Dirty IS NOT sponsoring this post. You can also search products and learn more information about toxic beauty products at the EWG Skin Deep website.
What are your thoughts on toxic beauty products?
xo Amanda John