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What’s in your lipstick?

GPB Lipstick and Mad

Do you know what ingredients could be lurking in your lipstick?  Would you trust the safety of your lipstick on someone you love?  I’m thankful I use non-toxic lipsticks for myself and my daughter, who occasionally tries on my lipstick.

It’s crazy to think that lipstick could contain unsafe chemicals when lipstick is applied to lips and can be ingested.  This is why knowing what ingredients your lipstick contains and how to avoid toxic chemicals is necessary.  Look for ingredients to avoid by reading the labels or the ingredient lists if purchasing on-line.

According to the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, the following toxic ingredients should be avoided in lipsticks:

  • BHAbutalated hydroxyanisole (BHA) is a preservative and stabilizer in food, cosmetics, food packaging and animal feed.  These chemicals are linked to endocrine disruption, cancer and immune-toxicity.
  • Hydrogenated cotton seed oilcontamination concerns may be contaminated with arsenic, lead and mercury.  The oil is subject to concentration and use limitations.
  • Mineral oil should be avoided because it is a known carcinogen, and the unrefined versions are known carcinogens.  Choose alternatives based on plant oils or beeswax
  • Padimate O and Petroltum  Japan restricts use of Padimate in some types of cosmetics.  So why does the United States allow these toxic ingredients when they can be contaminated with nitrosamines and PAHS also found in car exhaust?
  • Lead and other heavy metals such as arsenic, and mercury can be found in personal care products including lipstick, but contaminant metals may not always be listed on the label.  Try to avoid the following:
    • lead acetate
    • chromium
    • thimerosal
    • hydrogenated cotton seed oil
    • sodium hexametaphosphate

Look to avoid these ingredients when you can, however, products may not always list the contaminant metals on the label.  Concerns with these ingredients range from reproductive, immune and nervous system toxicity.


Reading labels to avoid toxic ingredients is one way to find alternative safe beauty products such as lipstick.   There are also online boutiques, such as the Choosy Chick that help conscious consumers because they research the products they sell to meet their standard of safety and effectiveness.  Another way to check your beauty products is through other resources like EWG Skin Deep Cosmetic DatabaseThink Dirty,  and Good Guide.

We have the right to safe lipstick, but not all companies in the cosmetic industry are concerned with non-toxic ingredients and safety as their priority.  Until laws are changed to regulate the safety of all our beauty and personal care products, knowledge is power and we have to check labels and make conscious choices to avoid these toxic ingredients even in our lipstick.



Green Passion Beauty

[Disclaimer:  Resources from  Campaign for Safe CosmeticsBreast Cancer Fund, EWG’s Skin Deep Database where they have done and continue to do the research to keep us safe from toxic products.]



Ingredient of the Week: Phthalates

GPB phthalates SC

What the heck are Phthalates and what are they doing in my personal care products?

Phthalates are chemicals linked to endocrine disruptions, developmental and reproductive toxicity and cancer.  Phthalates are banned from cosmetics in the European Union (EU), but are still in personal care products in the United States.  We need the United States to prohibit the use of phthalates like the EU, but until the cosmetic industry is mandated by law to forbid the use of phthalates, consumers need to know how to avoid them and buy products that are phthalate free.

Phthalates pronounced THAL-ates can be found in:

  • color cosmetics
  • fragranced lotions
  • body washes
  • hair care products
  • nail polish and treatment

If you see the following on the label try to avoid it:

  • phthalate
  • DEP
  • DBP
  • DEHP
  • fragrance

According to Breast Cancer Action phthalates are known to be hormone-mimicking chemicals, which many can disrupt normal hormonal processes, raising concerns about connections to breast cancer risk.  Also, in laboratory animals exposed to phthalates during pregnancy and after birth the chemicals are known to cause a broad range of birth defects and lifelong reproductive problems.


  •  Read the labels for the ingredients to avoid
  • Look for products that indicate they are “phthalate-free”
  • Try to use fewer products
  • Do it yourself (DIY)
  • Use resources like Think Dirty, EWG’s Skin Deep Database
  • Check the list of products that are Phthalate-Free Cosmetics at Breast Cancer Action (the list is not exhaustive)
    • If your products aren’t on the list of Phthalate-Free Cosmetics find out the company that makes the product and look for ingredient lists on the companies website.
    • If the company’s website doesn’t have the ingredients listed try emailing or calling the company for information.
  • Take Action-get involved by telling cosmetic companies and lawmakers that you want safe cosmetics available for everyone
GPB Think Dirty Irish Spring 2

Think Dirty -Fragrance-could contain phthalates

Avoiding phthalates may be difficult because if the product contains fragrance then phthalates may be a component.  Companies are not required by law to disclose the ingredients that are in the fragrance because of trade secret laws.  Many cosmetic companies not only argue trade secret, but that the level of harmful chemicals in any one product is not enough to harm you.  However, we all know that we use more than one product a day which could possibly contain harmful chemicals like phthalates.  As a result of the exposure of multiple products a day for extended time periods, scientists are finding accumulations of chemicals like phthalates in our bodies.  This is crazy, I don’t want toxic chemicals in all my beauty products and in my body.

Hopefully, one day all over our products will be free of the toxic chemicals, like phthalates, but until that time we need to empower ourselves with knowledge and choose our beauty and personal care products wisely.



Green Passion Beauty

[Disclaimer:  Information gathered from  Campaign for Safe CosmeticsBreast Cancer FundEWG’s Skin Deep Database, Breast Cancer Action where they have done and continue to do the research to keep us safe from toxic products.]


Ingredient of the Week: Parabens

GPB Parabens Safe Cosmetics

With all the harmful ingredients/chemicals in our cosmetics and personal care products we need to arm ourselves with knowledge.   So let’s take some baby steps, one ingredient a week for in depth learning on what these ingredients are, which may include research from both sides of the argument and how to avoid these chemicals of concern in our beauty and personal care products.  When I first started learning about the nasty toxic ingredients that could be in my products I kept hearing about Parabens, but I wasn’t sure what they were and how to avoid them.  So for our first “Ingredient of the Week” let’s start with Parabens.

The Breast Cancer Fund categorizes Parabens as an endocrine disruptor, found in preservatives for food, pharmaceuticals, and cosmetics.  Parabens are used to prevent the growth of yeasts, molds, and bacteria in cosmetic products.  Generally, Parabens are found in products that contain a significant amount of water, such as:

  • Deodorants and antiperspirants
  • Shampoos and conditioners
  • Lotions
  • Facial cleansers and scrubs
  • Shower cleansers and scrubs


According to the Breast Cancer Fund, Parabens are found in products that are applied to the body or hair and are absorbed through intact skin and from the gastrointestinal tract.  Parabens are estrogen mimickers, meaning the chemicals interfere with the body’s natural hormones and may cause developmental and reproductive toxicity, allergies and immunotoxicity.  The other side may argue there is only a weak, if any, endocrine disrupting effect from the use of Parabens in beauty and personal care products and connection to cancer may only be observed in extremely high doses.  So what does extremely high doses mean?  Does extremely high doses of Parabens mean when the average woman in the United States uses at least twelve (12) or more products containing Parabens once or twice a day for their lifetime?


Here are some tips to avoid products containing Parabens.  Look for products labeled “paraben free” and read labels to avoid products with the following:

  • ethylparaben
  • butylparaben
  • methylparaben
  • propylparaben
  • other ingredients ending in “-paraben”

For example, see the label below, the cleansing product contains methylparaben (see the end of the ingredient list):

GPB label condensed

Parabens are not regulated at this time in the United States, but consumers are becoming educated and concerned about the use of Parabens in their products.  So for now, it’s up to us to read labels and avoid buying products with Parabens.

Green Passion Beauty

[Disclaimer:  I’m not an expert, merely a passionate green beauty sharing my opinion and information gathered from  Campaign for Safe CosmeticsBreast Cancer FundEWG’s Skin Deep DatabaseBreast Cancer Action where they have done and continue to do the research to keep us safe from toxic products.]

Resources:  The Breast Cancer Fund, Campaign for Safe Cosmetics,


Avoid these ingredients

It would be great if all products available on the market were safe and we didn’t have to worry about checking labels, but they’re not.  The products we use everyday have the potential to cause long-term health concerns like cancer and reproductive problems. The Cosmetic Industry lacks the regulations other industries are under when it comes to labeling and safety standards.  Therefore, it is up to us to figure out what products are safe to use.

Seems easy enough to avoid certain ingredients/chemicals in our products by looking for them on the label, right?  Not really,  some of these ingredients are difficult to decipher, pronounce and they may not even be disclosed.  However, due to the potential toxic chemicals we need to educate ourselves so we can protect our families and communities from these chemicals of concern.

Thankfully, research has been done and continuing through groups, such as the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, a project of Breast Cancer Fund and the Environmental Working Group (EWG). The following are some of the chemicals of concern from the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics:

  • 1/4-Dioxane
  • Benzophenone & related compounds
  • Butylated compounds
  • Carbon Black
  • Carcinogens in Cosmetics
  • Coal Tar
  • Ethanolamine Compounds (MEA, DEA, TEA and others
  • Fragrance
  • Formaldehyde and Formaldehyde-releasing preservatives
  • Homosalate
  • Hydroquinone
  • Lead and other heavy metals
  • MICA
  • Nail Polish Removers
  • Nitrosamines
  • Octinoxate
  • Polyacrylamide
  • Polytetrafluorethylene (PTFE, AKA Teflon)
  • P-Phenylenediamine
  • Parabens
  • Phthalates
  • Quaternium-15
  • Resorcinol
  • Retinol and Retinol compounds
  • Synthetic Musks
  • Talc
  • Titanium Dioxide
  • Toluene
  • Triclosan

I know the list seems daunting and you’re probably wondering how you will ever remember all of them.  Let Green Passion Beauty help with “Ingredient of the Week” to discuss one ingredient at a time so we all can learn about the specific chemicals of concern.  Also, I will share any educational tools I find through my research that might be helpful, like the RED LIST example below.

The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics enlisted scientists to make a shopping list or “RED LIST” for chemicals of concern to avoid when shopping for the following products:  shampoo, conditioner, creams, sunscreen, color cosmetics, hair color and skin lighteners.  Below is the Red List for cosmetics:

GPB Redlist-eye-face

Hopefully one day we won’t need to use any lists of ingredients to avoid when shopping and all of the products will be safe!  But for now please read your labels.

Green Passion Beauty