Seven harmful beauty products

Indira Kasaeva tells you which beauty products to stash and which to trash
The Community By Indira Kasaeva
Published on August 1, 2015
Seven harmfull beauty products photo

The beauty industry is teaming with millions of products that are supposed to make you look younger, healthier and prettier with glowing skin and plump soft lips; however in the long run many of these products are actually harming your overall health.  No matter how ‘caring’ the products seem to be, the multimillion dollar companies are after the profit. The organic and less harmful products typically have a very short shelf life and tend to be more expensive, while the most common products that are widely available and produced in masses are those with strong chemical bases. From shampoos to lipsticks, beauty products might be serving their purpose but it may be at the cost of your health in the long run. It is best to check the ingredients for potentially harmful chemicals before buying your next beauty item.

In the complicated list of ingredients lurks everything from hazardous chemicals, carcinogens and pesticides to hormone disruptors and bacteria. Even though it is impossible to completely stop using make-up, know what to look out for and try to find a better alternative. A great website to help you with that is where you can just type in the name of your product and see how chemically hazardous is the item. In general just watch out for the following:

Skin creams

The image of a woman with fair and light skin is very popular with stacks of skin lightning creams on the shelves of make-up stores; however a trace of mercury has been found in the ingredients.  The next time you buy a skin lightning or even an anti-ageing cream, make sure that there is no mercury listed in the ingredients; the name of the toxin can be listed as “mercurous chloride,” “calomel,” “mercuric,” or “mercurio.” Mercury contamination is a serious health matter; just the symptoms of mercury poisoning are memory loss, impaired vision and hearing, and the likes.


It is the top beauty mantra for young and healthy skin – moisturize. Moisturizing keeps the skin more elastic and slows down the process of skin ageing; at least that is what we are being told. Our skin might feel softer after slathering a moisturizer but have you ever thought of all the unpronounceable chemicals that get absorbed into your skin. The general rule is that if you can’t pronounce the name of the chemical, it’s most likely not good for you. Mineral oils, paraffin and other detergents destroy the natural functioning by creating a layer that doesn’t allow the skin to breathe. They harmful chemicals also get absorbed into the skin and damage it. Sunscreens also can be listed as dangerous as the retinyl palmitate found in sunscreens has signs of causing cancer, while oxybenzone can be the source of allergies and even hormone disruption. As an alternative use natural moisturizers like olive and coconut oil, or find a more organic alternative.


A bright and colourful pout is our ultimate aim with lipsticks, but on the dark side are the several dangers. From lead that can cause brain damage to oils that are harmful for the lips. Matte lipsticks are a special case; they dry out the moisture from your lips causing disruption in the skin cell activity. Instead, opt for lip balms that are less harmful.

Nail polish

You probably already knew from the strong toxic smell of the nail polish, that it’s not the best product. Inhaling the fumes is harmful. Ingredients like phthalates and parabens are endocrine disruptors to name a few. The most dangerous ingredients to avoid are Dibutyl phthalate (DBP), Formaldehyde and  Toluene. The darker or brighter the nail polish, the more chemicals it has and the more harmful it is. Wearing nail polish for long periods of time will weaken your nails to the least. To prevent brittle, weak and chipping nails, try to minimize nail polish or look for non-toxic lacquers. The same can apply to nail polish remover; find a non-toxic substance to keep your nails safe.

Eye make-up

Due to the sensitive nature of eyes, eye make-up should be picked very carefully. Mascara easily breads bacteria while eyeliner when applied inside eyelids can cause eye infections like conjunctivitis.  Make sure to change your mascara every three months, as that is the maximum amount of time that it is safe from harmful bacteria. Eye shadow should not be applied that often due to the thin skin of the eyelids. Most eye-make up has phthalates and traces of aluminium powder, which are both toxic ingredients found in eyeliners, mascaras and eye-shadows.

Bleaching creams

These can be considered as the most dangerous out of all beauty products.  To make your skin look lighter, the creams actually destroy your skin layers with toxic ingredients like Hydroquinone. At first, bleaching can result in puffiness, redness and dryness. Bleaching in the long term will have negative effects on your skin, as it will disrupt the skin regeneration process giving an early start to wrinkles. If you want to lighten your skin, use natural products like lemon juice, milk and honey.

Hair dyes

There is a reason behind doing a test colouring before applying a hair colour– hair colouring creams can cause allergies, burning, itchiness and other unpleasant issues. Ingredients of hair dyes are known to be one of the most hazardous. For example P-Phenylenediamine, an ingredient found in most dyes can cause irritation of skin, lungs, eyes; it is also said to be carcinogenic, cause reproductive toxicity and have neurotoxicity effects. Aside from that if you have weak and brittle hair; hair colouring will severely damage your hair. The bleaching cream destroys the hair structure when it penetrates inside the hair and changes the colour, making your hair more dry, brittle and dull. You can easily make your hair a few shades lighter with lemon juice and camomile, or darker with henna – harmless ways to beautify your locks.


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