How harmful are your beauty products?
A study found there are as many as 126 potentially harmful ingredients in the average adult’s daily beauty routine. From synthetics in your shampoo to chemicals in your concealer, find out which ingredients you should swap out and why.
“If you only change one thing in your beauty routine, the ingredient you should avoid is fragrance,” says Lindsay Coulter, the David Suzuki Foundation’s resident green living expert. Fragrance isn’t just in colognes or perfumes; in fact, it’s added to everything from body wash to shampoo to face creams. Even unscented products can contain fragrance compounds that act as masking agents. “It shows up as one word [on the ingredients label], but it can be a concoction of hundreds of different ingredients,” Coulter explains. According to research published by the Canadian Cosmetic, Toiletry and Fragrance Association, these anonymous chemical compounds can trigger allergies and asthma, cause hormone disruption, and in many cases, are harmful to fish and other wildlife after they get washed down the drain.
Not ready to give up smelling pretty? There are still plenty of green alternatives, says naturopath Jen Newell. “I recommend that people opt for products with essential oils or other natural scents,” Newell says.
Parabens are preservatives that can be found in everything from makeup to moisturisers to fragrances. Problem is, numerous studies have shown that these chemicals – which are easily absorbed through the skin – have the potential to interfere with hormone function and have been linked with breast cancer. How do you rid your beauty routine of this particularly harmful ingredient? Keep an eye out for products that are labelled “paraben-free,” and study the ingredient list carefully, as these pesky preservatives can be listed in different ways, including “methylparaben” or “propylparaben.”