Are you ready to become a Green Queen?

Liv Lundelius Organic Makeup Artist Sydney

I have changed my own beauty routine as well as my professional makeup kit from conventional products to safe toxin-free, yet high-performance and wonderfully luxurious beauty products.

Are you ready for a truly luxurious effective beauty routine that works with and not against your body?
I believe that beauty should be fun and that we all deserve to be beautiful and healthy.
I want everyone to have fun with makeup and cosmetics and enjoy them.
I do not want to scare you or take the pleasure out of beauty products. Cosmetic ingredients are unfortunately widely unregulated and therefore it is in YOUR responsibility to educate yourself and READ LABELS.

The skin is your largest organ and everything you put on your skin will be absorbed into your body.
(that is why nicotine patches work!) You can imagine it to be like a big sponge capable of absorbing pretty much anything. Applying something toxic topically can more dangerous than swallowing it, because it goes directly into the bloodstream. There it is transported to a variety of vulnerable organs very quickly. Especially as women in childbearing age, it's important to be mindful. Many harmful chemicals can build up in the body, way before pregnancy and breastfeeding.
That's why it is a good idea to avoid some questionable ingredients in your beauty bag ASAP.

Are you ready to detox your makeup bag and bathroom cabinet? Are you inspired to make better choices?
You can use the list below as a starting point. Of course please always do your own research and keep eyes and ears open for any updates. Find below all the ingredients to watch out for and to avoid.

Follow along on my green beauty journey on the Liv Well Blog for the latest reviews, advice & tips on organic beauty.

Cosmetic Ingredients To Avoid Glossary

Liv Lundelius Organic Beauty Blog Coconut Oil


Sodium Lauryl/Laureth Sulfate (SLS and SLES) Products: anything that foams: shampoos, body wash, face wash, hand-soap, toothpaste, bubble baths...

A foaming agent used to break down water in grease. It’s used in industrial cleaning and car wash products because it's so powerful. It is quickly absorbed and stored in several parts of the body including: the eyes, brain, heart and liver. It's believed to cause harmful long-term effects. It can cause slow skin healing, cause eye problems in adults and children. SLES is often polluted with formaldehyde releasing 1,4-dioxane. It also corrodes hair follicles resulting in hair not being able to grow properly. It can cause skin irritation or trigger allergies.

Petroleum/Paraffin/Mineral Oil Products: baby oil, lip balm, lip stick, lip gloss, mascara, moisturizers, concealer, foundation, face powder, hair gel, body wash, eye shadow, paraffin treatments, petroleum jelly, and hair conditioner

Derived from crude oil this is a petrochemical waste product. It covers the skin creating a barrier which feels smooth. However it interferes with the skins natural functions. The skin cells can not develop properly. This causes premature aging and other health and skin disorders. Contact dermatitis is another known side effect.

Formaldehyde Products: nail polish, shampoo, body wash, eyelash glue, hair products, the Brazilian Blowout,straightening treatments

This won't be listed as “formaldehyde” on the label. Look out for ingredients such as: quaternium-15, DMDM hydantoin, imidazolidinyl urea, diazolidinyl urea, sodium hydroxymethylglycinate, 2-bromo-2-nitropropane-1,3 diol (Bronopol), glyoxal and oxaldehyde. Proven to be a carcinogen, it’s linked to lung cancers and leukemia. It can cause eye, nose, and throat irritation; reproductive and developmental toxicity; asthma; neurologic and behavioral toxicity; and immunological toxicity. It’s banned for use in some countries, yet still available in most parts of the world.

Parabens (Isobutylparaben, Butylparaben, Methylparaben, Propylparaben) Products: almost every type of personal care product Parabens are preservatives. They can mimic the hormone estrogen disrupting the endocrine system, which is known to play a role in the development of breast cancers and fertility problems. Studies indicate that methylparaben applied on the skin reacts with UVB leading to increased skin aging and DNA damage. There is still a lot unknown about these chemicals and it's best to avoid them.

Phthalates (DBP, DEHP, DEP) Products: Found in: synthetic fragrance, nail polish, hairspray. These are plasticizing chemicals used to make products more pliable or to make fragrances wear longer on the skin. Phthalates disrupt the endocrine system and may cause birth defects. They have been linked to damage of the kidneys, lungs, and liver, as well. For more information read Synthetic Fragrance/Parfum, as they are often contained in it.Look for labels that say, “phthalate–free”.

Synthetic Fragrance/Perfume Products: any type of cosmetic product Synthetic fragrances used in cosmetics can have up to 200 different ingredients. Therefore it's impossible to know which harmful chemicals are contained. The formulas are protected by law’s to protect trade secrets of custom fragrances. On the label it will only say "perfume" or “fragrance.” Health problems caused by some of these chemicals include hormone disruption, headaches, dizziness, rash, hyperpigmentation, violent coughing, vomiting, skin irritation etc. Simply do not buy a cosmetic that has the word “fragrance” on the ingredients label.

Propylene Glycol Products: all types of cosmetics e.g. baby wipes, bodylotion, toothpaste, shampoo, deodorant Used in anti-freeze solutions and brake fluids as solvent or anti-freeze. If it's absorbed by the body it will result in severe health problems like liver and heart damage as well as central nervous system damage. It is known to cause skin problems like eczema, allergies and hives.

Triclosan Products: antibacterial products such as soap, hand sanitizer, deodorants, toothpaste, and cosmetics Triclosan is an endocrine disruptor, which has been proven in studies about this chemical. It helps bacteria to become antibiotic-resistant. Antibacterial soap has been found no more effective than regular soap, so there is no need for this chemical in cosmetics. It could potentially impact the human reproductive systems. It is highly toxic to the aquatic environment.

Toluene Products: nail polish A petrochemical solvent. It is toxic to the immune system. It is also known to cause birth defects.

Mercury (Thimerosal and Merthiolate) Products: ear and eye drops; may be used in mascara Metallic element used as a preservative and antiseptic known to damage brain function.

Hydroquinone Products: skin lightening creams A skin lightening ingredient, inhibiting the production of melanin. It has been linked to cancer, organ toxicity and skin irritation.

Benzalkonium chloride Products: sunscreens, moisturizers A preservative/disinfectant causing severe skin, eye and respiratory irritation as well as allergies.

BenzophenoneA Products: Fragrance, Sunscreen possible human carcinogen and hormone disruptor used to absorb ultraviolet light.

Bisphenol A (BPA) Products: food packaging like plastic bottles, lining of aluminum food cans, possibly in eyeshadow and styling gel A hormone disruptor that may also alter DNA, used in plastics and resins.

Butoxyethanol Products: fragrance, hair color A solvent used to control viscosity, or a “fragrance” additive. It irritates skin and may cause cancer and reproductive toxicity.

BHA & BHT Products: for example lipsticks, moisturizers, diaper creams Synthetic antioxidants that are used to extend shelf life. They are likely carcinogens and hormone disruptors, and may cause liver damage.

Bismuth Oxychloride Products: mineral powder makeup While this may not be a truly toxic ingredient, it is an irritant to about 80% of people causing irritation and sensitization such as redness, itching, rashes and inflammation. Because of its molecular crystalline shape, many people experience itching from this ingredient, particularly when they sweat. (via Green Beauty Team)

Aluminum Products: antiperspirants, and cosmetics (eyeshadow), deodorants; Aluminuim has been linked to breast cancer and Alzheimer's. Avoid all products containing this ingredient. Known to be carcinogenic and toxic.

Coal Tar (Aminophenol, Diaminobenzene, Phenylenediamine) Products: hair dye, shampoo, colorant in cosmetics Coal tar tar ingredients are known carcinogens. It is used as a colorant and an anti-dandruff agent.

Cyclomethicone and Dimethicone Products: primer, skin care, foundation, tinted moisturizer, hair conditioner, hair styling products, shampoo Ingredients Cyclomethicone or those ending in -siloxane are silicones. They have the potential to bioaccumulate in aquatic organisms and are therefore not green or clean. The jury is still out on this one. It achieves a nice application and finish in skin products, especially primers and foundations and some organic brands decide to use it in their products and still achieve organic certifications. Do your own research and see what works for you.

Diazolidinyl Urea and Imidazolidinyl Urea Products: skin, body and hair products, antiperspirants and nail polish These formaldehyde-forming preservatives can cause joint pain, allergies, depression, headaches, chest pain, chronic fatigue, dizziness, insomnia and asthma. They can also weaken the immune system and can even cause cancer.

DEA, MEA and TEA (Diethanolamine, Cocamide and Triethanolamine) Products: in most personal care products that foam, including bubble baths, body washes, shampoos, soaps and facial cleansers. Also in hair dyes, mascara, foundation, fragrances, sunscreens, dry cleaning solvents, paint.

Ingredients which are linked with kidney, liver, and other organ damage according to several government-funded research studies. They can cause hormone disruption, irritation of the eyes, skin, respiratory tract, sore throat, asthma and allergic contact dermatitis. surfactants and pH adjuster linked to allergies, skin toxicity, hormone disruption, and inhibited fetal brain development.

EDTA (Ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid) Products: hair color, moisturizers A binding agent added to cosmetics to improve stability. May be toxic to organs.

Methyl cellosolve (or methoxyethanol) Products: anti-aging creams Fragrance ingredient and solvent that is an irritant and a possible neurotoxin, developmental toxin, and cause of DNA mutations that could lead to cancer.

Methylisothiazolinone and methylchloroisothiazolinone Products: shampoo, conditioner, body wash A chemical preservatives that are among the most common irritants, sensitizers and causes of contact skin allergies.

Oxybenzone Products: sunscreen, moisturizers, foundation and lipsticks with SPF

Sunscreen agent and ultraviolet light absorber linked to irritation, sensitization and allergies, and possible hormone disruption.

Phenoxyethanol Products: cosmetics, skin care and hair care This ingredient is widely used as a preservative and an alternative to parabens. It’s still a controversial ingredient because isn’t of major concern for most people, though some do have skin, eye or throat reactions to it. The EU considers this toxic when used in products for the mouth area.

Polyethylene glycol (PEG compounds) Products: shampoo, body wash, bubble bath, foaming cleansers, creams, sunscreen Used in cosmetics as thickeners, solvents, softeners, and moisturizers. PEGs may be contaminated with amounts of ethylene oxide and 1,4-dioxane, which are both carcinogens, it depends on the manufacturing process. PEG’s can strip the natural oils of the skin leaving the immune system vulnerable. PEGs are a known animal carcinogen as well as toxic to organs and the respiratory system, and a skin irritant. Likely to be present where ethoxylated ingredients like sodium laureth sulfate, PEGs, and ceteareth are listed on ingredient labels. Potentially carcinogenic.

PVP/VA copolymer Products: hairspray and cosmetics Petroleum derived petrochemical which is considered toxic.

Resorcinol Products: hair color A colorant and fragrance ingredient that is a skin irritant, toxic to the immune system and organs. Potentially causes hormone disruption.

Retinyl palmitate and Retinol (Vitamin A) Products: anti-aging and blemish control skin care A nutrient that may damage DNA and speed the growth of skin tumors when used topically. Studies are have found different information and reviews have been mixed on this topic. It's best to avoid to be safe.

Synthetic Color Products: cosmetics Synthetic colors in cosmetics and synthetic hair dyes, should be avoided as Many synthetic colors are believed to be cancer-causing. These are labeled FD&C or D&C followed by a number. FD&C colors are approved for food, drug and cosmetics. D&C colors are approved for drugs and cosmetics only. Many have already been banned by the FDA in America. If a cosmetic has them, do not use them!

Carmine Products: cosmetics with reddish dyes and colorings A red colour made from crushed beetles. Not suitable for vegans. Used to replace other toxic synthetic colours or Coal Tar derived ingredients. People with allergies or sensitivities to insects or insect bites should steer clear of items containing carmine. Otherwise not proven to be toxic.

Talc Products: cosmetic powders, eyeshadow, blush, baby powder

Its particles are similar to asbestos and data suggests that it can cause tumors in the lungs as probable respiratory toxin in large amounts.

Animal-based ingredients: Many consumers are asking manufacturers tough questions about ethical sourcing of their ingredients. Vegetarians, vegans, and people concerned about animal welfare frequently seek to avoid ingredients derived from animals. However a number of animal-based substances are found in cosmetics, and might not be clearly labeled as such. If you are concerned about avoiding animal products the best bet is to choose brands claiming to be vegetarian or vegan or labeled with the PETA and Leaping Bunny logos.

Sources Green Beauty Team, Skindeep Database,