Seeing the words pure, natural, and green on your cosmetics may make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside, but it doesn’t necessarily mean they’re free of harsh chemicals. Wondering how to choose the safest products on the shelf? Check out these tips for steering clear of harsh chemicals:
Check the Ingredients
It’s not enough to glance at a product’s label—you need to flip it over and read the list of ingredients, too. Legally, preservatives must be listed on products that contain them. But unfortunately, these chemicals can come with many different names. Avoid cosmetics that list any of these in the ingredients: mercury, thimerosal (a mercury-containing preservative), parabens, formaldehyde, or formaldehyde-releasing chemicals like quaternium-15, DMDM hydantoin, diazolidinyl urea, and imidazolidinyl urea.
Avoid Skin-Lightening Creams
These face creams have been known to contain mercury as a lightening agent. In fact, some studies found mercury in creams that didn’t even list them on the label. And if they don’t have mercury hidden in them, they may contain another harsh chemical that’s banned in countries other than the U.S. Play it safe by ditching them altogether.
Beware of Marketing Claims
There are no legal standards for words like “all natural” or “hypoallergenic. So even if a product swears it’s for sensitive skin, scan the entire label for any mention of chemicals or allergens that might irritate you. The one thing you can trust: a USDA-Certified Organic label.
Keep it Simple
We know it’s tempting to check out every new mascara and moisturizer on the market, but try to hold back. Not only should you look for products with fewer ingredients, but you should also use fewer products overall. It’s one of the simplest ways to cut down on your exposure to added chemicals.
Opt for Unscented
Sure, that sugar cookie-scented body wash smells freaking amazing, but those synthetic fragrances can be packed with unknown chemicals. Look for naturally-scented or fragrance-free products instead.