What's Makeup Made Of?

Clean Makeup Decoded

Clean Beauty decoded


Chemicals in beauty products have received a lot of bad press recently, and tons of 'organic' and 'clean' brands are popping up every day piggy-backing on this trend.


Unfortunately, most of these brands resort to green washing. 

Many claim that they only produce "Clean Makeup", but a glance at their ingredients will prove that this is little more than marketing jargon. Many who claim their products are 'Organic', unless they are USDA certified, they're likely to have heavy metal, lead, growth hormones etc. in their fertilisers and manure.


While 'Chemical' sounds toxic and harmful, and 'Organic' sounds sexy and responsible - it doesn't necessarily mean that natural and organic is safer for us or better for the environment.


After all, even tobacco can be 'organic'! 


Most makeup is made from primarily artificial ingredients, and so the long list of ingredients on the back can seem alien to you.

Many chemicals in and of themselves are not harmful; on the contrary they can help ensure hygiene, performance and longevity and even help cut down on waste and overall carbon footprint in the production cycle.


With so many new trends, ingredients, lobbies and options at play, it's natural for consumers to get confused about what's good for them and for the environment. This is a huge subject to tackle in just one blog, but there are a few ingredients that you really should keep an eye out for. Read on for the top chemicals to avoid when it comes to makeup and skincare.


1. Parabens


Topping our list of ingredients to avoid are parabens. Despite being harmful, they are used in 70-90% of all cosmetics. 


They are preservatives whose chemical structure mimics that of estrogen. When used frequently, they can disrupt your hormones. Worse still, studies show that their usage is linked to higher chances of breast and skin cancer. The parabens used most commonly in cosmetics are methylparaben, propylparaben, butylparaben, and ethylparaben. 


2. Fragrance


Many cosmetics, including shampoos and health products list "fragrance" as one of their ingredients. Worryingly, companies are not required to disclose the breakup of the fragrance itself, and it can be a combination of more than 3,900 individual ingredients! Many of these chemical ingredients can be irritative, and it'd be very difficult to identify the root cause. The wiser option is to avoid it altogether. There is no reason why your foundation needs to have a scent; that's what perfume is for. 


3. Sodium Laureth Sulfate

Often found on the back of many cream-based cosmetics listed as sulfates and polyethene glycol, this common ingredient can be quite harmful. The chemical promotes absorption, which helps skin and hair products but is also contaminated with carcinogens like 1, 4-dioxane and ethylene oxide. It can also cause skin irritation, canker sores, eye damage and acne.

4. Petroleum distillates 

Produced alongside auto fuel and heating oil in oil refineries, this particular ingredient is not something you'd want near your face. Studies show that Petroleum Distillates, a common ingredient in mascara, is often accompanied by cancer-causing chemicals. The ingredient may also cause contact dermatitis, an itchy, irritating rash. There are plenty of alternatives, however. So look for products without them! 

5. Lead

Despite the well-known dangers of ingesting lead, 61% of all lipsticks still list it as an ingredient. Lead is a neurotoxin and can inhibit the processes required for learning, language and behaviour. Moreover, the ingredient can induce reproductive and hormonal issues, regardless of gender. Keeping in mind that even a little exposure to lead can be dangerous, this is one ingredient you really want to avoid.

6. Formaldehyde

Formaldehydes are commonly found in hair gels, nail and eyelash glues, and even in shampoos and baby soaps. It helps prevent growth of microbes and other contaminant in products. But it can be absorbed by our skin and in know to be carcinogenic. Watch out for Paraformaldehyde, Methylene glycol, which are types of formaldehyde, and Quaternium 15, which releases formaldehyde.

The list of chemicals in your cosmetics products can seem long and overwhelming, but just being aware some of these commonly used, but potentially harmful ingredients can help you make better choices. While many brands claim to be "Clean Makeup", scanning the labels and making mental notes is a great way to be on the safer side. To help you get started, https://www.ewg.org/skindeep/ is an excellent resource for verifying the safety of ingredients. 


We at GoPlay Cosmetics make a promise to only use ingredients that are proven to show efficacy, are harmless on the human body and are better for the environment. 

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