5 Harmful Ingredients Hiding In Your Beauty Products

When’s the last time you took a look at what your beauty products are made of? The maker raves about how well the product works and gives simple instructions for how to apply your moisturizer, cleanser or foundation, but just beneath all of that…in the small print…that’s what you really need to read. The ingredients list of your skincare and makeup products can be frightening (if you can read them at all).

That’s not to say all the products in your bathroom cabinet are bad. You likely have a few healthy products, but navigating the list of ingredients for which to keep and which to throw out can be tough.  There are a number of ingredients to avoid, but here are eight toxic elements often found in skincare and beauty to throw out today.


Parabens are the ingredients that extend the shelf-life of beauty products. There are a number of parabens to look out for: methylparabens, propylparabens, butylparabens, and ethylparabens. You’ll likely find this chemical family in everything from your shampoo to your face wash. Not only can parabens disrupt your hormonal balance, but this harmful ingredient is also believed to be behind cancer and fertility issues.


Phthalates are the chemicals that help some skincare and personal care products stick to your skin – deodorant, lotion, self-tanners. This chemical group can be very harmful, especially for children, and many types have been banned by Congress from being used in children’s products.

  • Double Check: Deodorant, lotion, perfume, hair spray
  • Trade For: Lafe’s Deodorant, body oil, DefineMe Harper Perfume Oil


A widely held secret in the beauty industry is that “fragrance” doesn’t have to be revealed. So, products that use a “fragrance” ingredient can actually use a collection of chemicals that may cause allergies, hormone disruption or potentially more dangerous health problems – like reproductive issues.

  • Double Check: Hair products, hand creams, moisturizers
  • Trade For: Free & Clear Shampoo, body oil

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS)

SLS is known to cause skin irritation and trigger different allergies.


If you’re thinking you’ve heard of this chemical, you have. Formaldehyde is the toxic element used to preserve animals in school biology labs. Tragically, the same ingredient is used in some cosmetics. Formaldehyde is linked to neurotoxicity, asthma, and other illnesses.

As you sift through your beauty cabinet, don’t be afraid to Google an ingredient you don’t recognize. It may turn out the scientific name is a lot scarier than the ingredient itself (like sodium chloride for sea salt). Once you trade out your chemical-filled bottles for pure ingredients, your skin, hair and health will thank you. Which products did you have to get rid of and which did you keep after your cabinet clean out? Comment below and let us know!