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Dirty Secrets Behind Beauty Products

Most people might think cosmetics and personal care products, from shampoo, lotion to lip gloss, are tested for
safety before they land on store shelves. Think again!

Federal regulation on cosmetics hasn’t been updated since the adoption of the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act in 1938. Hazardous chemicals such as phthalates, PFAS, and formaldehyde are legally used in the products we use every day. Many of the toxic chemicals are even under the disguise of the word “fragrance.” These toxic chemicals have been found with association with cancer, birth defects and reproductive harms.

In particular, researchers have found dangerous levels of mercury in skin lightening and anti-aging creams; they’ve linked chemicals in hair dyes and straighteners to breast and uterine cancer; they’ve traced fragrances in soaps and shampoos to poor semen quality and fertility issues.

Even products label with ‘clean’, ‘naturally derived’, ‘non-toxic’, they are just marketing terms.

Luckily, there are organizations overseas that can provide product safety guidelines. For example, the U.S. EWG (Environmental Working Group), which was established in 1993, has EWG’s Skin Deep® database that you can check for product ingredients and determine product safety.

However, the database of Asian brands are still limited. So let’s learn some of the toxic ingredients
in cosmetics and be a wise consumer!


Common examples: Candles, scented diffuser, perfume, shampoo, shower gels, lotions, creams.

Fragrance formulas are considered “trade secrets”, which means companies can hide any number of chemical ingredients under the umbrella terms “fragrance” or “parfum” . You can find this not only in perfume or cologne, but shampoo, soap, body wash, deodorant, lotion, face cream, scrubs and makeup.

Some fragrance compounds may be used as dyes, solvents or stabilizers for active ingredients or for masking other undesirable smells in a product.

According to the International Fragrance Association, there are more than 3,600 chemicals used in fragrance
mixtures around the world.

The chemicals in fragrances can trigger skin allergies, eczema, nasal irritation and asthma.
Studies on some of the chemicals in fragrances, such as diethyl phthalate and musk ketones, act as endocrine disruptors (i.e. interfering normal hormone function), which has been linked to ovarian failure and sperm damage.


Common examples: Nail polish, scented lotions and creams, eyelash glue

The most common phthalates include dibutyl phthalate in nail polish, diethyl phthalate in scented products such as lotions and Di-2-ethylhexylphthalate in eyelash glue.

If you see the word fragrance in the ingredient list, it likely contains diethyl phthalate.

Not only we can inhale phthalates through breathing, it can also happen through skin contact with cosmetics and skin care products. All absorbed chemicals from the skin go straight to organs.

Phthalates are a family of chemicals known to be endocrine disruptors that disrupt hormone function and impair fertility.  Exposure to phthalates has also been associated with lower IQ levels.


Common examples: waterproof mascara, foundations, liquid lipsticks, concealers

Often called “forever chemicals”, PFAS are a mix of linked carbon and fluorine atoms that never degrade.

PFAS are added to anti-aging products and cosmetics (blush, eye shadow, bronzer, mascara, powder, foundation, nail polish, shaving cream and eyeliner) to provide a shiny look and smoother feel.

Some of the most common PFAS include polytetrafluoroethylene (known by the trade name Teflon), perfluorooctyl triethoxysilane, perfluorononyl dimethicone, perfluorodecalin and perfluorohexane.

PFAS have been associated with cancer, infertility, reduced vaccine effectiveness, and more.

Butylated compounds

Common examples: Lipsticks, eyeshadow

Butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) and butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT) are preservatives found in lip products, makeup, sunscreen, deodorant and creams.

Several groups consider it a potential human carcinogen, including the World Health Organization’s International
Agency for Research on Cancer, the U.S. National Toxicology Program, and the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment.

Butylated hydroxytoluene, or BHT, is considered slightly less toxic but has also been flagged for regulation in
Europe and Japan.

Both BHA and BHT can act as endocrine disruptors.


Common Examples: Nail polish, Sunscreens

Benzophenone is added to soaps to maintain the smell and prevent the colors from fading. It can be found in nail polish, foundations, shampoo, conditioner, hair spray, moisturizers and perfume.

Benzophenone is also found on labels as oxybenzone, sulisobenzone and sulisobenzone sodium. Oxybenzone a common, active ingredient in many sunscreen products.

Benzophenone is a mutagen, carcinogen, and endocrine disruptor.


Common examples: baby powders, blush, eye shadows

Talc is a naturally occurring mineral used to absorb moisture and make makeup opaque.

Talc is added to baby powders, eye shadows, blush, deodorants and soaps. In other uses, it can help improve the feel of a cosmetic or prevent caking in makeup.

Scientific literature going back to the 1960s and ’70s has suggested that talc use, particularly in the pelvic area, is
linked to cancer. There are also concerns that talc can be contaminated with asbestos, a known carcinogen that is found near talc mines.


Common examples: shampoo, conditioner, lotions

Parabens serves as preservatives to cosmetics products (mainly liquid products) to prevent bacteria growth and
increase their shelf life.

Unless a label specifically denotes a product as paraben free, you’re likely to find it in shampoo, conditioner, lotions and cleansers. Common parabens include ethylparaben butylparaben, methylparaben, propylparaben, isobutylparaben or isopropylparaben.

Parabens are an endocrine disruptor that mimics estrogen.

Coal tar

Common Examples: Hair dyes, shampoos

Coal tar is a thick brown-black liquid produced from the burning of coal. They are frequently found in hair dyes,
also added to shampoos, soaps, hair dyes and lotions and may appear on labels as KC 261, lavatar, picis carbonis, naphtha, high solvent naphtha, naphtha distillate or Benzin B70.

Recognized as a carcinogen that link to non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, multiple myeloma, acute leukemia and bladder cancer, coal tar dyes may also cause allergic reactions or skin irritation that can result in hair loss.

Internal Beauty Is More Important

Many people take a lot of care on food choices, but not many do the same for skin care and beauty products. Your intestine barrier serves as a protection for you, but the toxins from skin care and cosmetics goes directly from the skin to your organs.

Any sorts of chemical, carcinogens, endocrine disruptors are being absorbed directly by the body and most of them accumulate inside.

It’s time to detox from all these nasties! Having internal beauty (the state of your organs) brings health and longevity, while external beauty is just temporary and may even deceive you by encouraging you to bypass the warning signals that surface on your skin!

Chlorophyll, which is naturally present in vegetables, is a great substance that can bind with the harmful toxins and help you to eliminate them from your body. Drinking Green Juice daily is one of the effective ways to help you detox.

Unlocking Health

Green Juice Veggie Pack

Pre-washed & Portioned