A sun-kissed glow without harmful chemicals!

Non-Toxic Bronzers

Roundups

Bronzer is an essential part of any makeup routine. It helps contour, adds a sun-kissed glow, and flatters every skin tone! A lot of bronzers contain harmful preservatives and fragrance, which is why we rounded up our favorite non-toxic options! We searched high and low to bring you the safest, most effective products possible. These bronzers are all widely available at different price points and have great reviews. Check them out below!


a) W3ll People Bio bronzer stick

b) BLK OPL beauty true color illuminating stick, bronze glow

c) Ilia Nightlite Bronzer Powder

d) Burt's Bees Blush Toasted Cinnamon

e) Kosas The Sunshow Moisturizing Baked Bronzer

f) Mineral fusion bronzer, luster bronzer duo

g) RMS beauty buriti bronzer

Life

Does Your Makeup Have Teflon-Like Chemicals in It?

Why is there PFAS in makeup and is it bad for me?

Nowadays there are so many makeup options for us to choose from like waterproof mascara, dewy or matte foundations, smudge proof lipsticks, metallic eyeliners, and so much more. But how do companies get these products to have the perfect finish or such long lasting effects? One of the most common ways is to use chemicals like PFAS. PFAS or per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances are chemicals that are often called forever chemicals because they don't naturally break down in the environment and are associated with all sorts of health issues. Keep reading to learn more about what PFAS chemicals are, why they are in makeup, and how to buy makeup without PFAS!

What is PFAS?

PFAS is a group of thousands of chemicals that are used in many consumer products as well as industrial processes. PFAS is primarily used as a stain and oil repellent or a waterproofing agent so you can find it in food packaging, camping gear, waterproof clothing, nonstick cookware, paints, and personal care products (1,6). These chemicals have been found to cause a wide variety of health issues including high cholesterol, thyroid disease, hypertension, immunosuppression, hormonal imbalances, and different types of cancers (2,3). And because the chemical composition of the different PFAS chemicals are so strong it makes them really durable and long lasting in the body and in the environment. Many studies have found PFAS in breastmilk and found that the levels of PFAS in people's bodies is steadily on the rise (4).

And besides being harmful to our health, PFAS chemicals are also highly damaging to the environment (6). Due to contamination from industrial processes and consumer products, PFAS contaminated drinking water is a major concern. The average water treatment plant is unable to remove the PFAS from the water, allowing these chemicals to continue to pollute our waterways (5). But water isn't all that gets polluted. Our soil is also heavily impacted by PFAS contamination as well. Most of the contamination comes from farmlands reusing the sludge and water that comes from wastewater treatment plants that contain PFAS, which then infiltrates the soil and disturbs microbes and bacteria causing the soil to deteriorate (5). This can negatively affect the food currently growing in the soil and cause issues for growing food in the future as more of the soil deteriorates (5).

Clearly PFAS is bad for our health and the environment, so why is it put in our makeup?

PFAS in makeup

The makeup that you are most likely to find PFAS in is foundation, concealer, lipstick, eyeliner, eyeshadow, and mascara. The reason it's in these products is because PFAS chemicals are great emulsifiers which keeps the products mixed together, stabilizers that prevent the product from breaking down, viscosity regulators that help change the texture of a product, and a great waterproofing agent (7). And in makeup these properties help to make a product smooth and conditioning for the skin, make it appear shiny, make it waterproof, and create a smoother texture for the product (8).

Ever since the 1950's, when PFAS was first created, the health and environmental effects of PFAS have been researched and more research comes out everyday as more PFAS like chemicals are created. On the other hand PFAS in makeup and how that affects our health still needs to be looked into more (9). Research has shown that products like lipstick and lipgloss that contain PFAS are much more likely to enter into the bloodstream compared to products like foundation because lipstick and lipgloss are so easy to accidentally ingest (7). There has also been evidence that putting cosmetic products containing PFAS around the eye area, where the skin is much thinner than the rest of the face, has a higher rate of absorption into the bloodstream (7,10,11). This means products like concealer, eyeliner, and mascara.

These studies show that there is some correlation between using cosmetics with PFAS and having PFAS within your body. And although not all products seem to pose a danger to our health, you have to remember that we might be ingesting and being exposed to PFAS in many other ways than just our makeup. PFAS is all around us in our drinking water, food packaging, clothes, household items, and more. So it may not seem like a big deal that a few of your makeup products have PFAS in them but the more PFAS builds up in your body the more risk there are for health issues associated with PFAS.

And if you thought PFAS in makeup wasn't a big enough issue, another concern is that not all brands are being transparent about it. A recent study found that many US cosmetic products contained PFAS and many of them did not disclaim it on the label. This means that cosmetic companies are purposely hiding the fact that they use PFAS in their products. This study also discussed that this issue is widespread throughout the entire cosmetics industry from drugstore makeup to high end brands (15,16). So now the real question is, how do we stay away from makeup with PFAS in it?

How to find makeup without PFAS

Finding PFAS free products can be difficult especially if the brand isn't upfront about it, but the first thing to do is check the ingredients list and look for any ingredients that have the word "fluoro" in it, that's usually a pretty good indication that there is some type of PFAS chemical in the product! You can also check EWG Skin Deep to see if your product is listed on the database and if it has PFAS in it!

Since you can't be sure if the ingredients list is accurate or not, another option is try natural or clean makeup brands. Often these brands have fewer chemical additives in them and ingredients are screened for potential health effects. Some clean beauty retailers are Sephora Clean, Target Clean, Credo Beauty, Follian, and Detox Market. And other stores like Walmart, Target, Rite Aid, CVS, Walgreens, and Amazon have all started to take action by looking for toxic chemicals in their beauty products (16). If you want to check out how some of your favorite stores handle toxic chemicals and their retailer report card, check out this link!

What Else Can You Do to Get PFAS out of Makeup?

Besides buying PFAS-free products and making choices with your money, another great thing to do is get involved in changing the policies around makeup. Right now there is very little legislation out there that tests for the safety of chemicals that are added to cosmetics. Only two states currently have regulations on PFAS in cosmetics, California and Maryland. A few other states have bills in the works but it could be years before they are passed (13). Compared to other places like the EU and Denmark, the US is very far behind when it comes to regulating PFAS (11,14). So by voting with your dollar, signing petitions, talking about the issue with your friends, and even emailing companies about your concerns, you have the power to try and shift the entire cosmetics industry to be cleaner and safer. Many companies have made the choice to make safer products for their customers, but there are still far too many companies who will not make that choice unless required to by better policies. If you want to read more about clean beauty legislation and how you can get involved in the issue, check out this article!

At the moment, there are hundreds of studies on the health impacts of PFAS chemicals. By limiting the number of interactions and exposures we have with PFAS the better! One easy way to do this is by getting rid of all of your makeup that contains PFAS. Getting new makeup is a blast and what could be better than supporting brands that care about your health and the health of the planet!


Sources

    1. Schultes, L., Vestergren, R., Volkova, K., Westberg, E., Jacobson, T., & P. Benskin, J. (2018). Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances and fluorine mass balance in cosmetic products from the Swedish market: Implications for environmental emissions and human exposure. Environmental Science: Processes & Impacts, 20(12), 1680–1690. https://doi.org/10.1039/C8EM00368H
    2. Sunderland, E. M., Hu, X. C., Dassuncao, C., Tokranov, A. K., Wagner, C. C., & Allen, J. G. (2019). A review of the pathways of human exposure to poly- and perfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) and present understanding of health effects. Journal of Exposure Science & Environmental Epidemiology, 29(2), 131–147. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41370-018-0094-1
    3. Bell, E. M., De Guise, S., McCutcheon, J. R., Lei, Y., Levin, M., Li, B., Rusling, J. F., Lawrence, D. A., Cavallari, J. M., O'Connell, C., Javidi, B., Wang, X., & Ryu, H. (2021). Exposure, health effects, sensing, and remediation of the emerging PFAS contaminants – Scientific challenges and potential research directions. Science of The Total Environment, 780, 146399. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2021.146399
    4. Zheng, G., Schreder, E., Dempsey, J. C., Uding, N., Chu, V., Andres, G., Sathyanarayana, S., & Salamova, A. (2021). Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) in Breast Milk: Concerning Trends for Current-Use PFAS. Environmental Science & Technology. https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.est.0c06978
    5. Abunada, Z., Alazaiza, M. Y. D., & Bashir, M. J. K. (2020). An Overview of Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) in the Environment: Source, Fate, Risk and Regulations. Water, 12(12), 3590. https://doi.org/10.3390/w12123590
    6. Abunada, Z., Alazaiza, M. Y. D., & Bashir, M. J. K. (2020). An Overview of Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) in the Environment: Source, Fate, Risk and Regulations. Water, 12(12), 3590. https://doi.org/10.3390/w12123590
    7. Thépaut, E., Dirven, H. A. A. M., Haug, L. S., Lindeman, B., Poothong, S., Andreassen, M., Hjertholm, H., & Husøy, T. (2021). Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances in serum and associations with food consumption and use of personal care products in the Norwegian biomonitoring study from the EU project EuroMix. Environmental Research, 195, 110795. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.envres.2021.110795
    8. https://www.fda.gov/cosmetics/cosmetic-ingredients/and-polyfluoroalkyl-substances-pfas-cosmetics#:~:text=Per%2D%20and%20polyfluoroalkyl%20substances%20
    9. https://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/pfas/health-effects/overview.html
    10. https://www.huffpost.com/entry/teflon-in-beauty-products_n_5ab2b16be4b0decad04661b6
    11. Risk assessment of fluorinated substances in cosmetic products. (2018). Danish Environmental Protection Agency.
    12. https://safemakeupproject.com/natural-makeup/are-the-best-drugstore-makeup-products-safe/
    13. https://www.saferstates.org/toxic-chemicals/cleaning-cosmetics-and-construction/
    14. https://ec.europa.eu/environment/pdf/chemicals/2020/10/SWD_PFAS.pdf
    15. https://pubs.acs.org/doi/10.1021/acs.estlett.1c00240
    16. https://www.cnn.com/2021/06/15/health/makeup-toxic-chemicals-wellness/index.html
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    Who can resist Target? It's our one stop shop for all things home, beauty, baby, snacks... basically everything! But Target is a huge store that carries thousands of different items; how do you know what are the best non-toxic picks? That's where we come in! We did the research and found the best non-toxic personal care items. All these items have been vetted by us and are readily available both online and in stores.


    Everyone Meyer Lemon Mandarin Hand Soap
    versed brilliance brightening serum
    cocokind Mymatcha All Over Moisturizer Stick
    e.l.f. Holy Hydration Face Cream Fragrance Free
    Dr. Bronner's All-One Hemp Peppermint Pure-Castile Bar Soap
    Tenoverten Nail polish
    Hello activated charcoal toothpaste
    Honest Lip Crayon
    Herbal Essences Bio Renew Sulfate Free Shampoo
    Welada Skin Food

    Roundups

    Non-Toxic Face Creams

    Keep your skin happy and healthy!

    Whether you're a die-hard skincare aficionado with a 10-step routine or just like the bare necessities, chances are you use a face cream. Along with keeping your skin moisturized, face creams are key for soothing irritation, banishing dry flakes, and giving you that "just got back from vacation" glow. But many face creams are packed with harmful chemicals like parabens and fragrance. That's where our non-toxic face cream roundup comes in! We searched high and low to bring you the safest, most effective products possible. These face creams are all widely available at different price points. Check them out below!


    a) Mad Hippie Face Cream

    b) Burt's Bees Daily Face Moisturizer Cream for Sensitive Skin

    c) Weleda Soothing Facial Cream, Almond

    d)Pai Anthemis Calm Soothing Moisturizer

    e) Acure Seriously Soothing Day Cream

    f) Honest Beauty Hydrogel Cream

    g) Biossance Squalane + Omega Repair Cream

    h) Ursa Major Golden Hour Recovery Cream

    When it comes to fragrance, we always say that the safest option is to look for products that are completely fragrance free. Choosing to go fragrance-free is a great way to avoid chemicals that may be harmful to your health. Plus, does everything we own really need to smell like cotton candy?! In case you haven't heard why fragrance is so problematic, we break it down below.

    What's Actually in Fragrance?

    One of the big problems with fragrance is that there are so many different chemicals that can be added to a product. According to the International Fragrance Association's Transparency List, there are approximately 3,000 fragrance ingredients that can be used in consumer goods worldwide (1). And since the FDA does not require approval before a chemical goes onto the market, it's impossible to say that all of these fragrance ingredients are safe to use. The chemical that's making your house smell like clean laundry or a cinnamon apple might also secretly be toxic.

    Even though there are a lot of untested chemicals, we do know that some fragrance ingredients are definitely harmful to human health. Many fragrance ingredients can be allergens that cause headaches, runny noses, sneezing, or coughing (2). Allergens are probably the reason you have to stand two feet away from that one coworker who wears a super strong perfume.

    Phthalates are widely used in as a solvent or fixative in perfume, shampoo, lotion, and nail polish even though they're endocrine disrupting chemicals. Fragrance found in candles has been shown to contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs) like formaldehyde and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), both of which can cause short-term health effects like irritation, and long-term health effects like cancer (3, 4).

    To make matters worse, companies don't even have to tell you all the ingredients they use in their fragrance! Trade secret laws keep companies from disclosing proprietary fragrance blends, but that means we don't actually know what's in our products. There could be 10 ingredients that go into the "fragrance" listed on your body lotion, or there could be 500! And if we don't know what all of these ingredients are, how do we adequately protect our health?

    When in Doubt, Go With Fragrance Free

    Like we mentioned before, the best bet is to purchase products that are free from all fragrance. Only look for labels that say "contains no added fragrance"... some products labeled as "unscented" may still contain fragrance as a way to hide ingredients that naturally have an unpleasant smell (2). If you really can't live without a fragranced product, go for something that only uses essential oils (although they have their own pros and cons as well).


    References
    1. https://ifrafragrance.org/initiatives/transparency/ifra-transparency-list
    2. https://www.fda.gov/cosmetics/cosmetic-ingredients/fragrances-cosmetics
    3. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0304389414010243
    4. https://toxtown.nlm.nih.gov/chemicals-and-contaminants/polycyclic-aromatic-hydrocarbons-pahs
    Roundups

    10 Non-Toxic Makeup Removers

    Safeguard your skin while removing the toughest waterproof mascara

    There is nothing better than taking off your makeup at the end of a long day. Sometimes it's the favorite part of our evening! But lots of makeup removers contain harsh chemicals that aren't great for your skin or your health. That's why we rounded up our top 10 favorite non-toxic makeup removers! We know there are different preferences for makeup removers, which is why we included 5 wipes and 5 liquids. These products have been vetted by us and will remove the toughest of waterproof mascaras!


    a) Aromatica Natural coconut Cleansing Oil b)Beauty by Earth Makeup Remover c) NARS makeup removing water d) the body shop waterproof eye makeup remover e) Klorane Floral Water Makeup remover with soothing cornflower f) C'est Moi Gentle Makeup Remover Cleansing Wipes g) RMS Beauty The Ultimate Makeup Remover Wipe h) Beautycounter One-Step Makeup Remover Wipes i) Brandless Facial Wipes j) Honest Beauty Makeup Remover Wipes


    We rely on EWG's consumer databases, the Think Dirty App, and GoodGuide in addition to consumer reviews and widespread availability of products to generate these recommendations. Learn more on our methodology page.

    *Because Health is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program so that when you click through our Amazon links, a percentage of the proceeds from your purchases will go to Because Health. We encourage you to shop locally, but if you do buy online buying through our links will help us continue the critical environmental health education work we do. Our participation does not influence our product recommendations. To read more about how we recommend products, go to our methodology page.

    Now that you've invested in some glass and stainless steel food storage containers, maybe you're wondering if you should Marie Kondo all the plastic ones you used to use? Instead adding them to the landfill, what if we told you that all those plastic containers can help you achieve a new level of organization zen? While we don't recommend storing food in them anymore (for those of you who haven't heard: these plastic food storage containers often have BPA or phthalates in them, which can leach into your food over time and cause all sorts of health problems), we also don't think you have to throw them away.

    So, what can you do? We have 6 great suggestions for you to repurpose those containers throughout your home.



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    Life

    The Darker Side of Perfumes

    Why you might want to take a second look at what you're spritzing

    Whether it's a Friday night party or Monday morning class, perfumes might be your routine go to if you're looking to feel extra fancy, or if you're running late and haven't had a chance to freshen up. With a million and one choices to choose from, you really can't go wrong - or can you? Government oversight on cosmetics is fairly lax, and they tend to take the approach of it's safe until we learn it isn't, so we're here to help you become a pro on picking perfumes that are both full of personality and free of unnecessary chemicals.

    Keep Reading Show Less
    Want an easy way to live healthier?
    Sign up for our newsletter! Curated environmental health news delivered to your inbox every three weeks.
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