Toxic Cosmetics

by Purple Herbal

Learn what ingredients used in makeup could be hazardous to your health

By Bryan Walsh.

Time Magazine, Wed. July 7, 2010:

About Face

It began, as few great scientific discoveries do, with a $400 hair treatment in West Hollywood. Siobhan O’Connor and Alexandra Spunt had decided to get Brazilian Blowouts — only to find out later that the secret straightening ingredient was formaldehyde, a known carcinogen.

That revelation prompted the two journalists to begin researching the cosmetics industry. They found that it was more toxic and less regulated than they’d ever suspected. They detail their findings in the new book No More Dirty Looks, which also highlights ways to look good and be green at the same time. Some advice from the authors:


Many shampoos and conditioners contain sulfates and preservatives like parabens, both of which are potential hormone disrupters

Seek out organic shampoos and conditioners — the authors recommend the John Masters line — or make your own with baking soda and mayo


Mascara contents may include mercury, a neurotoxin, and coal tar, a carcinogen; eye shadow can be contaminated with 1,4-dioxane, linked to cancer

Activated charcoal can sub for conventional eye makeup


Lots of big-name moisturizers have parabens and other preservatives, while many sunscreens contain oxybenzone, a hormone disrupter

Extra-virgin olive oil [try grapeseed, apricot, or rose hip seed oil too] is a natural moisturizer, and Soléo Organics makes a good all-natural sunscreen


Your favorite lipstick may be contaminated with lead, a neurotoxin, as well as BHA, a potential carcinogen

Use an organic alternative like RMS Beauty Lip2Cheek, which is also a blush