10 Toxic Ingredients You Don't Want In Your Beauty Products

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Hi there!

I know finding your way to a more natural lifestyle can feel so daunting that you just don’t want to even try. But every step you make towards rejecting a chemical-filled lifestyle is good for you and your family and good for the environment since less demand for the stuff will mean less production of it.


Every product I post on my website and social media is all-natural and usually organic too.  So if you see something you like that can replace a toxic item you’re using, please try it out!


If you’re not ready to jump off the cliff into the sea of all-natural, a great place to start is to stop buying products containing these super toxic, cancer-causing ingredients:


  1. Sodium Laureth Sulfate.
    I learned about this one in the 90’s from one of my college science teachers. Cause I’m old. But, yeah this was the first time in my life I started scouring every label in order to eliminate the carcinogen from my skincare regimen. The sad part is that so many decades later the stuff is still being used as a first (therefore highest content) ingredient in many soaps. Even in brands that market themselves as natural. So you MUST read the label.  It is an agent that easily foams so that’s why it’s commonly found in liquid soap and toothpaste.

  2. Carrageenan.
    This one is a carcinogenic thickener. That’s why you’ll almost always see it in toothpaste, lotion,, and ice cream. Yep, you have to worry about ingesting the stuff too. It’s extremely difficult to find toothpaste without this ingredient which is just plain old sad. Nature’s Gate has a toothpaste without it and the luxe brand, LeBOn makes their organic formulations without it as well. For ice cream, if you stick to natural brands like Ben & Jerry’s and Haagen Daz, you should be okay. “Ice creams” whose first ingredient is corn syrup will likely contain this as well. Corn syrup is another culprit but let’s stick to the skincare stuff for now….

  3. Fragrance.
    Ugh. Fragrance is soooooo very unregulated. Fragrance ingredients don’t have to be listed in full to keep proprietary blends secret. And companies use a host of chemicals to produce those smells. Have you ever gone fragrance-free or all-natural/fragrance-only then caught a whiff of fragrances in detergents, perfumes, etc? Well I have, and those fake chemicals fragrances caused me headaches and nausea. That’s how strong it really is. To boot because it’s okay to keep the ingredients secret, consumers don’t get a chance to make informed decisions on the toxins they are electing to slather on their bodies. Not cool.

  4. Phthalates.
    These are usually found in hair spray, deodorants, lotions, nail polish, and perfumes. They can increase the risk of breast cancer, cause early development in girls and boys, and cause birth defects.  They are also endocrine disruptors. So why would I want this on, in, or near my body? Or the bodies of my loved ones? Or the bodies of anyone? We must stop funding the production of chemicals like this.

  5. Formaldehyde.  
    This chemical is used as a preservative in many beauty products. It is a known carcinogen and has been directly linked to occupational cancers (I’m guessing in the morgue industry?). It is also an allergen and is harmful to the immune system.  Again, it is widely used in beauty products so skim the ingredient lists for -dehydes.

  6. Propylene Glycol.  
    A type of alcohol, Propylene Glycol is used to make products penetrate into the skin.  It is a skin irritant and is found in many topical formulations like lotions and cremes, shampoos and conditioners, etc. They can cause dermatitis and hives in people even at a concentration as low as 2%.

  7. Toluene.
    Good lord. I’ve actually worked with toluene before when I was in the museum profession. Artifact conservators use it to treat artifacts for preservation. It is most commonly found in nail polish and remover. It is the reason I did not polish my nails until recently. I didn’t want to use it around the baby and I finally found a nice natural, non-toxic nail care line which eliminates all the nasties from their polish and remover. This substance is definitely carcinogenic and it is a volatile organic compound (VOC) so once it hits the air, you breathe it in and it is absorbed by the skin when you’re doing your nails. I know we all like our nails did but we have to stop using shit like this once and for all.

  8. Synthetic color (like Red #5, etc).  
    These synthetic chemicals are derived from petroleum and are banned in the European Union.  They are potential causes of ADHD in children and they are known carcinogens. They’re so unnecessary too!

  9. Triclosan.  
    Triclosan is an antimicrobial which is commonly found in deodorant, antibacterial soaps and toothpaste. This one especially disrupts the thyroid and reproductive organs as an endocrine disruptor.  It can irritate the skin as well. To boot, there’s no evidence showing that this stuff works better than regular soap and water to remove bacteria from any given area. <insert eye roll here>

  10. Parabens.
    I learned about these gems in the early 2000’s. Their prevalence was what sparked my research and testing to start my own natural organic skincare like 10 years ago. (It never took root lol. Why do I keep mentioning it tho?) Parabens are usually at the end of the ingredient list as they are used as preservatives to give products a long shelf life.  They are strongly linked to causing breast cancer. Need I say more about why you need to avoid this ingredient?