I wanted to take a moment and highlight something that helps me navigate the semi-overwhelming world of the personal care aisles – Beautycounter’s THE NEVER LIST! The Never List™ is made up of more than 1,500 questionable or harmful chemicals that are never used as ingredients in their products (that’s 500 times more than the United States mandates). This includes the over 1,400 chemicals banned or restricted in personal care products by the European Union, plus additional chemicals screened by Beautycounter and found to be of concern. In a nutshell, keeping this list on hand as a quick reference tool when looking at your own products, or contemplating purchasing a new one, is an easy way to avoid the worst offenders!
Here are the statistics around the number of ingredients banned:
- 1,400 in the European Union
- 600 in Canada
- 30 in the United States = yikes
NEVER LIST INGREDIENT HIGHLIGHT:
1. Parabens (methyl-, isobutyl-, propyl- and others)
Parabens are a class of preservatives commonly used to prevent the growth of bacteria and mold. They’re widely known as endocrine (or hormone) disruptors, which may alter important hormone mechanisms in our bodies. You’ll see them most commonly in: shampoo, face cleanser, body wash, body lotion, foundation – so be on the lookout, this is a good one to avoid!
2. Synthetic flavor or fragrance
If I had to avoid ONE single ingredient in my personal care products, this one would be it! In foods you often see words like ”Spices” and “Natural Flavorings”. In personal care products you often see words like “Parfum” and “Fragrance”. A synthetic fragrance is an engineered scent or flavoring agent that may contain any combination of 3,000-plus stock chemical ingredients, including hormone disruptors and allergens. The real kicker – Fragrance formulas are protected under federal law’s classification of “trade secrets”, which means companies DON’T have to tell you what’s in them. Look for synthetic fragrances in literally EVERY TYPE of cosmetic and personal care product on the market! If a company chooses not to disclose their ingredients, I choose to shop elsewhere. We have that power as a consumer in this country!
A bill was introduced in California in 2019 to require companies to disclose what’s in “fragrance”. Check out this article from an organization Beautycounter partners with each year, Breast Cancer Prevention Partners. Read more about it here.
3. Phthalates (DBP, DEHP, DEP and others)
Phthalates are a class of plasticizing chemicals used to make products more pliable or to make fragrances stick to skin. They are known endocrine disruptors and may cause birth defects, infertility, breast cancer, acne, and/or miscarriages with consistent use. NOT OK! They’re commonly found in products that contain synthetic fragrance, nail polish, hairspray, and plastic materials.
4. Polyethylene glycol (PEG compounds)
PEGs are widely used in cosmetics as thickeners, solvents, softeners, and moisture-carriers. Depending on manufacturing processes, PEGs may be contaminated with measurable amounts of ethylene oxide and 1,4-dioxane, which are both known carcinogens. You’ll see these compounds most commonly in creams, sunscreen, and shampoo
5. Coal tar hair dyes and other coal tar ingredients:
Coal tar and its derivatives are a byproduct of coal processing that is also a known carcinogen. It’s commonly used as a colorant in hair dyes and cosmetics (like mascara) and also as an anti-dandruff agent as well!
EXTRA FACT: Do I use any products that are NOT Beautycounter? Yes, but not many. I use other brands for products outside of what we offer because I know I am getting the safest, most transparent offerings with Beautycounter (in my humble opinion!!!) including:
Primally Pure’s Charcoal Deodorant
Innersense Beauty’s (Non-Aerosol) Hair Spra
Himalaya’s Whitening Toothpaste
P.S Go ahead and download the Environmental Working Group App on your smart phone by searching EWG. This gives you a safety rating for the products you are using (if they’re in the database). If the products are not in the database (yet – remember this is a non-profit and creating this platform for us all to use takes time and $$), you can simply search by ingredient. Or you can send your products to me and I will help you understand what toxins may be lurking in your products! Just like riding a bike, label reading becomes much easier with a bit of practice!
Let me know what you find after downloading the app in the comments below.