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Watch Out For These Ingredients When Looking At Personal Care Product Labels!

Some beauty ingredients are better than others. Some, downright harmful. Arm yourself with this information to make smarter choices for your health!

These days, there's lots of talk about going green, and going clean. With the state of our planet today, it's hard to turn a blind eye towards issues like climate change, sustainability, and the like. What we put into our mouths and on our bodies truly has the power to create change—for better or worse. 


First off, it has the power to create change in the environment. Cleaner options mean less impact on the planet, meaning our tiny actions don't contribute to the growing problem we're already experiencing firsthand today. Secondly, it creates change in our bodies. Are you aware of how each product you use or ingest affects your health? I'm pretty sure that a lot of us aren't a hundred percent sure about the impact, most especially the negative ones, of the teeny tiny ingredients on product labels in your home today.


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Just because a product has a 'natural' or 'green' label plastered on its packaging doesn't mean it's 100% safe. The only way we can truly make better decisions for ourselves and for our families is by constantly educating ourselves, and trying to change one small decision into a better one, until all our collective actions creates that shift we all need to see. 


Ahead, a list of ingredients most often found in personal care products (even in home care products) that oftentimes do more harm than good. These days, it's best to be a diligent, informed consumer, rather than a blind one shelling out money for things that aren't necessarily after our own good. Read up, get educated, and take the power to make better shopping decisions today!



Ingredient: BHA/Butylated Hydroxyanisole/BHt

Purpose: Extends shelf life

Found In: Lipstick and moisturizer

Effects: Immunotoxicity, hormone disruption, cancer

Alternatives: Vitamin E


Ingredient: Formaldehyde

Purpose: Protects cosmetics against contamination by bacteria

Found In: Nail products, hair dye, false eyelash adhesives, shampoo

Effects: Cancer, skin irritation including scalp burns, hair loss

Alternatives: Vitamin E, certain essential oils (grapefruit and tea tree), grapefruit seed extract, antioxidants



Ingredient: Fragrance/Parfum

Purpose: Enhances scent

Found In: Moisturizers, creams, hair products

Effects: Allergies and hormone disruption

Alternatives: Essential oils and herbs, natural fragrances


Ingredient: Hydroquinone 

Purpose: Skin lightener

Found In: Serums, moisturizers

Effects: Cancer, immunotoxicity

Alternatives: Kojic acid, Vitamin C, Bearberry extract




Ingredient: Methylisothiazolinone (MIT)

Purpose: Anti-bacterial

Found In: Water-based products such as skincare, hair care, sunscreen, and body wash

Effects: Immunotoxicity, neurotoxicity

Alternatives: Vitamin E, certain essential oils like tea tree and grapefruit, grapefruit seed extract, antioxditants


Ingredient: Mineral Oil

Purpose: Byproduct of petroleum

Found In: Baby oil, moisturizers, styling gels

Effects: Cancer, immunotoxicity, premature ageing, clogs pores

Alternatives: Cold-pressed oils




Ingredient: Parabens (Methyl-, Propyl-, Ethyl-, Butyl-)

Purpose: Increase shelf life and prevents bacterial growth

Found In: Facial wash, body wash, lotion, foundation, shampoo 

Effects: Immunotoxicity, hormone disruption, reproductive health issues

Alternatives: Vitamin E, certain essential oils like tea tree and grapefruit, grapefruit seed extract, antioxidants


Ingredient: Petroleum, Parrafin

Purpose: Emolient and lubricant

Found In: Moisturizers, lip balms, makeup

Effects: Cancer, skin irritation, acne

Alternatives: Cocoa, shea, mango butters




Ingredient: Sulphates (Sodium Laureth Sulfate and Sodium Lauryl Sulfate)

Purpose: Foaming agent and penetration enhancer

Found In: Shampoo, facial cleansers, toothpaste, facial wash

Effects: Dryness, skin irritation and allergies, reproductive health issues

Alternatives: Castile soap, soapwort, decyl and coco glucoside


Ingredient: Triclosan

Purpose: Preservative, antibacterial agent

Found In: Antiperspirants, cleansers, hand sanitizers

Effects: Endocrine disruptor (thyroid and reproductive hormones), immunotoxicity, and hormone disruptor

Alternatives: Essential oils



This article originally appeared in METRO Magazine's April 2018 issue and was repurposed for Metro.Style. Source: Beauty Heroes, 2016


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