The supermarket isn’t the only place you should be reading labels.


Inside every woman’s makeup bag is a carefully curated collection of products. But there may be something more sinister lurking within – toxic chemicals.

In recent years, new information has come to light regarding the amount of harmful ingredients in cosmetics, particularly makeup. We all want to live a healthier lifestyle, but giving up on your favorite brands in exchange for non toxic makeup is a big commitment. So before you start throwing out everything in your stash, check the labels for these 6 cosmetic ingredients:


1. Talc

Even though this ingredient brings to mind delicate baby bottoms, it often shows up in cosmetics. Talc sometimes contains known carcinogen asbestos, but even asbestos-free talc is still a no-go. A jury recently ruled that one woman’s ovarian cancer was caused by the talc found in baby powder.

Found in: Eyeshadow, foundation, lipstick, face masks

Check the label for: Talcum powder, cosmetic talc


2. Titanium Dioxide 2

This additive is often used as a UV filter, and we are definitely in the “for” camp when it comes to sun protection. In lotions and creams, it presents a low risk, but in powder form it is considered harmful.

Found in: Sunscreen, pressed and loose powders

Check the label for: Titanium dioxide, TiO2


3. Polytetrafluoroethylene ( a.k.a. Teflon)

That’s right, the same chemical that keeps your food from sticking to the pan might also be in your makeup.

Found in: Foundation, pressed powder, loose powder, bronzer, blush, eye shadow, mascara, lip balm

Check the label for: Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), Polyperfluoromethylisopropyl Ether, DEA-C8-18 Perfluoroalkylethyl Phosphate, Teflon


4. Formaldehyde

They embalm dead bodies in this stuff. Enough said.

Found in: Nail polish, nail glue, eyelash glue

Check the label for: Formaldehyde, quaternium-15, DMDM hydantoin, imidazolidinyl urea, diazolidinyl urea, polyoxymethylene urea, sodium hydroxymethylglycinate, 2-bromo-2-nitropropane-1,3-diol (bromopol) and glyoxal


5. Carbon Black

Derived from coal tar, this richly-pigmented powder is not something you want to put on or near your body.

Found in: Eyeliner, mascara, eye shadow, lipstick, blush, nail polish

Check the label for: Carbon black, D & C Black No. 2, acetylene black, channel black, furnace black, lamp black, and thermal black


6. Butylated Compounds

Usually used as a preservative, these show up in food and makeup alike and are linked to several health concerns.

Found in: Lip products, hair products, makeup

Check the label for: BHA, BHT


Once you’ve ditched anything questionable in your stash, the EWG safe cosmetics database can help you find chemical free makeup alternatives. Or, try a little DIY! Either way, you’ll be on your way to building a non toxic makeup bag, and future you will be forever grateful.