Natural-BeautySure, the old adage is “no pain, no gain” for beauty. But, beware of certain chemicals in popular cosmetics that cause premature aging, cancer and even fatalities! Why so head-on? Because, to save face, there is just no denying the harmfulness of all makeup and personal care products, even the “natural” ones on the market today. According to a June 15, 2009, article, “Are Toxic Chemicals In Your Cosmetic Products?” written by Dr. Edward F. Group III, natural products are a better choice because their ingredients are more straightforward. Knowing what is in a product makes it easier to avoid the common culprits of some pretty nasty conditions, according to his list. The top three most terrifying are categorized by the author and then quoted directly from the site; no one could describe the dilemma better than Dr. Group III.
  1. Nail product chemical to chip off of your list: toluene. This chemical can be particularly dangerous if inhaled or absorbed through the skin. Aspiration can cause chemical pneumonitis, a fatal disorder. It is highly flammable in both liquid and vapor form, and it may affect the liver, kidneys, nervous system and blood. Overexposure can cause fatigue, confusion, headache, dizziness or numbness. Severe overexposure can cause coma and death. Exposure to toluene can also affect the proper development of a growing fetus.
  2. Save your skin and skip this moisturizer: propylene/butylene glycol. This chemical compound is considered so toxic by the EPA that it mandates that its workers wear protective equipment when handling it. It is a petroleum product that penetrates the skin easily and can cause brain, liver and kidney malfunctions. This ingredient is often found in stick deodorants, where it can cause acute and chronic health hazards.
  3. Toss your hair care if you see high levels of this ingredient: stearalkonium chloride. Originally developed as a fabric softener, this chemical is often found in hair conditioners and creams. It is a toxic chemical that, when in high enough concentrations, can cause allergic reactions on contact. According to, these are the safe amounts to look for on the label: Hair care and rinse-off products: < 3% — avoid contact with eyes. Other products: 0.1 % maximum — avoid contact with eyes.
So, where can a consumer go to get cosmetics that are straightforward with the chemicals that they contain? GreenPeople lists beauty products by category. But, remember, the best way to check is always the most obvious solution: Check the label.