10 Cosmetic Ingredients to Avoid

February 7, 2009

1. Imidazolidinyl Urea and Diazolidinyl Urea

2. Methyl and Propyl and Butyl and Ethyl Paraben

3. Petrolatum

4. Propylene Glycol

5. PVP/VA Copolymer

6. Sodium Lauryl Sulfate

7. Stearalkonium Chloride

8. Synthetic Colors

9. Synthetic Fragrances

10. Triethanolamine

For complete descriptions of what these are, visit this link.  Before you head to your bathroom, medicine cabinet or kitchen though, I will warn you that nearly everything that touches your skin contains these ingredients–it’s overwhelming.  I was motivated to research harmful ingredients when, in the middle of winter, my allergies went crazy.  I can’t say positively that these chemicals are the only reason that my allergies worsened, but after reading their descriptions, I have to believe that they played a part.

We have always been conscious of the ingredients in our food (we buy natural, if not organic, we avoid high fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated vegetable oils, msg, nitrites, etc.), but we had no idea that we should be paying attention to what we put on our skin.  And I should clarify.  When I say cosmetics, I don’t mean just lip liner and mascara.  I mean toothpaste, I mean deodorant, I mean lotion.  Also, understand that we weren’t shopping generic brand cosmetics either, not that generic brands are bad, but we were spending some serious cash on cosmetics.

Anyway, do what you want with this list.  I wrote them down and carried them in my pocket until I had them memorized.  I looked like a huge dork in the aisle at the store, but I am wearing my contacts right now for the first time in about 3 months, which allergies had made impossible, and I don’t think it’s a complete coincidence.  And I’m not taking allergy medication.  I was wearing what I thought was organic deodorant, and my armpits kept peeling (yeah, odd)–well, it turns out that it contained propylene glycol.  They haven’t peeled since.

Before I leave you severly depressed, since everything contains this stuff, let me turn you on to Dr. Bronner’s castile soap.  I wash my hands, body and face with it, I brush my teeth with it and I wash my cat in it.  If it’s good enough for Greta, then it’s good enough for me.  It’s about $3 cheaper at Target than anywhere else I’ve seen it.


7 Responses to “10 Cosmetic Ingredients to Avoid”

  1. sara said

    so…what was your deodorant solution? or was the solution to abandon it altogether? because…if I remember correctly…we were using the same stuff…and I (sorry, tmi) have the same problem…

    I tried Andrew’s method awhile back but found it too messy and tiresome..

  2. mr.eggsandsoup said

    I believe the problem was propylene glycol–it’s a skin irritant. Check and see if it’s an ingredient in your deodorant. I used to use either Tom’s of Maine or Jason’s, but now Court and I both use Kiss My Face roll-on. It works quite well.

  3. sara said

    I’ve been using Tom’s. I’ll check out kiss my face…

  4. Samantha said

    Interested in reading more of your updates. Found you through Brandon McCoy’s blog.

    Anyway, I’ve been looking at Dr. Bronner’s castile soap at Target for months. (Our family tries to use natural and/or organic when possible…detergent, dairy, eggs, handsoap, shopping at farmer’s markets in season…) But to be real honest, my 31-year-old face still struggles with break outs. The thought of giving up my Neutrogena face wash and toner makes me nervous. Any reviews on how Dr. Bronner’s works for people who don’t have “ideal” skin?

  5. rachelkempf said

    Hey Court. I directed my friend Vanita to your blog. The other day she told me that she washes her hair with eggs and honey. She thought you might be interested in that little trick. She said you can mix it together in a bottle (but you have to remember to refrigerate it between uses), or you can just take an egg or two into the shower with you! The honey works as a conditioner. I have yet to try it. Not sure how it would do with long hair…at least I have chickens now. I might have too many eggs to know what to do with!

  6. ms.eggsandsoup said

    Hi Sam! Sorry, I just now saw your comment. I still have break out issues too; here are some websites for acne prone skin. Also, I completely understand not wanting to let go of your old tried and true skin care regimen, but you want to make sure the ingredients in Neutrogena are helping your skin instead of aging it.
    I’ve used products from both of these places. The product that has recently helped with my break outs, though, is Burt’s Bees Blemish Stick.

    Hope that helps!

  7. ms.eggsandsoup said

    Whoa, seriously?!? I’ll have to try that. Do you know the proportion of egg to honey?

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