Beauty’s Bad Words || Ingredients to Watch Out For

Beauty’s Bad Words

As the pressure mounts on us and the beauty industry, we find ourselves questioning the ingredients in the products we use almost everyday. To think that what may be poisoning us is in fact in our everyday products is indeed sobering. But how do we decipher the long chemical ingredients in our product labels ? CIIN lends you a hand…



Parabens are used as preservatives in cosmetics, they have an antimicrobial activity which allow beauty products to last longer.These parabens seep into the skin, mimic estrogen and interfere with our hormones.Parabens have actually been detected in human breast cancer tissue, suggesting a possible relationship between cancer and the parabens in cosmetics.


Where to find them :

In all beauty products that generally contain water.Deodorants, makeup, lotions, lipsticks, shampoos, conditioners etc.


What to look for :

Parabens are a family of chemicals, on the label look for : methylparaben, ethylparaben, propylparaben, butylparaben, and other ingredients ending in -paraben.



These chemicals are used as solvents in beauty products.Not only are they absorbed through the skin, they can also be inhaled in perfumes.Studies have shown that these agents can cause damage to our kidneys, liver and reproductive systems.They have been linked to a reduction in sperm count, abnormal hormone activity and possibly liver and breast cancer.


Where to find them :

In general beauty products, such as perfumes, shampoos, hand lotion, eye shadow, mascara etc.


What to look for :

Diethly phthalates (DEP), dimethyl phthalate (DMP), benzylbutyl phthalate (BzBP), and dibutyl phthalate (DBP).


Petroleum Byproducts

Petroleum byproducts are used to ‘protect’ the skin, but in actual fact these inexpensive ingredients form a barrier over the skin not allowing it to breath.This in turn interferes with the body’s natural moisture-production ability resulting in dehydrated skin.As the skin is the largest organ in the body it assists in detoxification, this process is hampered by the petroleum byproducts.


Where to find them :

In lip balms, skin moisturizers, sunblocks, hair products etc.


What to Look for :

Petrolatum, mineral oil, paraffin, paraffin oil, paraffin wax, propylene glycol, PVP/VA copolymere, and even isopropyl alcohol!



Formaldehyde is actually an impurity, a by-product of preservatives used in cosmetics.The use of formaldehyde is personal products has been banned in many countries but not USA.


Where to find it :

General cosmetics such as nail polishes, liquid hand soaps, toothpastes etc.


What to look for :

DMDM hydantoin, diazolidinyl urea, imidazolidinyl urea, quaternium-15, 2-bromo-2-nitropropane-1,3-diol, and sodium hydroxylmethylglycinate.



Sadly dioxane is an unwanted by-product of a processing method called ethoxylation.It is used to reduce the risk of skin irritation from petroleum-based ingredients (also harmful)!Several agencies have classified dioxane as a probably human carcinogen (cancer causing). It has also been linked to organ toxicity.


Where to find it :

In beauty products that produce lather.


What to look for :

PEG (polyethylene glycol), and any other ingredients that contain “eth,” like “laureth,” “ceteareth,” “oleth,” etc.


Synthetic Fragrances

This is a chemical fragrance, made up of harmful ingredients such as phthalates and petroleum byproducts.What’s particularly terrible about ‘fragrance’ is that legally the company is not obligated to breakdown the ingredients, for patent purposes. This means that a long laundry list of harmful chemicals can go undetected under this category.


Where to find it :

inexpensive, fragranced beauty products.