Why You Need Non-Toxic, Organic Cosmetics

The cosmetic industry is a multi-billion dollar industry. Cosmetics are some of the most prominent sources of hormone-disrupting, synthetic, toxic chemicals.

Most women use, on average, 12 different beauty products everyday. Between cleansers, moisturizers, serums, oils, mists, body products, perfumes, hair sprays, nail polish, makeup, shampoos & conditioners, I could argue some women use a lot more than 12 products a day (I certainly do).

In the US, we are exposed to over 80,000 chemicals everyday. And most of them haven’t been tested for human safety. A lot of these toxic chemicals are the foundation to our cosmetic industry. Our $380.2 billion (2019) cosmetic industry.

Unless you’ve taken the time to read the ingredient list of every product you’re using (if so, good for you!), you probably aren’t aware of the toxic-rich, synthetic chemicals you are slathering on your body everyday.

And what’s worse, some brands/cosmetics don’t even list all of their synthetics, leaving you completely clueless to what exactly you are applying onto your largest organ.

I’ve been aware of hormone-disrupting chemicals for some time now, but until reading the book Not Just a Pretty Face by Stacy Malkan, I had no idea of their truly harmful effects.

If you want to learn about the dark secrets of the cosmetic industry and the truth about cosmetic safety, I would highly recommend this book. I must admit, I felt a bit sick at times.

In this post, we dive into just a few specific synthetic chemicals, and their harmful effects.

As we go, I will also list some of my favorite organic, non-toxic beauty products that are great alternatives to the toxin-ridden cosmetics praised in today’s industry.

So, let’s begin with some of the most infamous synthetics out there, phthalates.

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Phthalates (THa-lates)

An alarming 1 Billion tons of phthalates are produced per year (worldwide). Their purpose is to hold scent in fragrances and prolong the shelf-life of a product. In the non-cosmetic world, they’re mainly used to increase the flexibility of plastics and vinyl.

Most perfumes, colognes, deodorants, hair sprays & gels, shampoos, and conditioners contain phthalates. And a lot of them contain multiple different kinds of phthalates, posing a greater threat.

These toxins are absorbed into the body by inhalation, application to the skin, or ingestion.

Phthalates have harmful effects to the body, particularly for males.

These toxic chemicals disrupt the production of testosterone, which is obviously critical for the male species. This is particularly toxic for males when exposed in the womb.

Hundreds of studies show phthalates can permanently effect sex hormones by blocking androgens.

This can cause damage to the reproductive system by altering the development of genitals and by lowering sperm count/quality. These hormone-altering synthetics have also shown a delay in the onset of puberty.

Other hormone-altering effects can decrease thyroid hormone production. Phthalates have also shown the ability to mimic estrogen, possibly contributing to the most common form of breast cancer.

Some studies have even shown they can provide harmful effects to the liver and kidneys.

High exposure to these toxins can have harmful effects on not only you, but future generations. So, it is so crucial to use products phthalate-free.

Thankfully, consumers are becoming more aware of these toxins, which means more brands are ensuring their products are phthalate-free.

Phthalates are usually found (cosmetically) in hair products, fragrances, deodorants, and hand/body lotions & washes. Avoiding tampons and sanitary pads with fragrance is also an easy way to limit your exposure.

In short, anything that has “fragrance” listed as an ingredient is a big no.

shop a Few Alternatives:

Rahua’s Redefining Hair Spray

Tata Harper’s Hydrating Floral Hyaluronic Acid Face Mist

MADARA Skincare’s SMART Anti-Fatigue Moisture Fluid

The Importance of Clean, Non-Toxic Skincare


Parabens are one of the most well-known synthetics out there. These synthetics are used as preservatives in cosmetics. Which means, they are in many different types of cosmetics.

In fact, over 90% of Americans have parabens in their body.

The biggest concern with these synthetics are their hormone-altering abilities.

Theses toxins, similar to phthalates, can mimic hormones. But this time, it’s estrogen.

To much estrogen could trigger tumor growth, which is why parabens are linked to breast cancers. Again, estrogen positive tumors is one of the most common forms of breast cancer.

An excess of estrogen can also put you at a higher risk of blood clots, thyroid disfunction, reproductive issues, and even stroke.

Parabens can also increase the cellular damage from UV rays. This would, therefore, encourage premature aging, and possibly increase your chance of skin cancer.

To be honest, the U.S. is very, very behind in their cosmetic safety regulations. Southeast Asia and the EU have entirely banned some parabens that are found in some US cosmetics.

More than 40 nations have placed regulations on or banned all together cosmetic ingredients for human safety reasons. Some nations have regulated/banned up to 1,400 cosmetic ingredients. However, the U.S, only 9.

We must use our own judgement regarding what products we use on our bodies. There are so many great non-toxic, organic alternatives. Again, I’ve listed just a few here.

shop a Few Alternatives:

True Botanicals Natural Ginger Turmeric Cleansing Balm

KORA Organics’ Milky Mushroom Cleanser

RMS Beauty’s Un Cover Up Cream Foundation


Sulfates are used as cleaning agents in cleansers, body washes/gels, shampoo, toothpastes, and detergents. This ingredient creates the lathering effect in these products.

The most common sulfates used in cosmetics are sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) and sodium laureth sulfate (SLES).

Consistent exposure to sulfates for long periods of time can potentially have harmful effects on the body. Not only can they completely throw your skin out of balance, they are also endocrine disruptors.

Endocrine disruptors can cause infertility issues (male & female), impaired immune functions, and irregular menstrual cycle.

Cataract formation, severe eye damage, are also linked to SLS.

Exposure to high-concentrations of Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate (ALS) has shown to cause depression and laboured breathing.

Skin irritation is a rather common issue that results from sulfate-filled products. Body washes and foaming cleansers can strip your skin of their natural oils, leaving it dry and scaly. OR it can have the reverse effect, and cause your skin to overproduce oil.

And for those who have sensitive skin, sulfates could clog pores and/or cause breakouts.

I have oily hair and skin. And I can honestly say switching to toxin-free, natural products changed my skin and scalp. Removing them helped balance my skin & scalp’s microbiome. Rather than stripping my skin, these products gently cleanse.

Removing sulfates from your daily regime could help balance your overall skin & scalp health.

shop a Few Alternatives:

Rahua Organic, Rainforest-Grown Shower Gel

Tata Harper Regenerating Cleanser

Triethanolamine (TEA)

Triethanolamine is a common ingredient found in cosmetics such as eyeliners, mascaras, cleansers, moisturizers, and hand sanitizers. In skincare, it is usually used to balance pH levels and act as a “base” for the product.

Although not a carcinogen, this ingredient can be toxic when applied onto the skin and/or inhaled. When exposed to this toxin for long periods of time, it can cause organ damage, cancer (tumorigenic), affect genetic material, and can aggravate multiple areas of the body.

Studies show prolonged application of TEA (moisturizers, cleansers, makeup, ect.) can cause skin irritation, eye irritation, and skin into the bloodstream causing liver and/or metabolic damage. Prolonged skin contact can also lead to skin necrosis.

When inhaled on a regular basis (facial mists, paints, nail polishes, detergents, ect.), it can cause respiratory tract irritation, affect the liver, blood, and/or cardiovascular system.

If used frequently, the chronic effects can possibly include kidney and liver damage.

shop a Few Alternatives:

ILIA Natural Fullest Volumizing Mascara

MADARA Skincare Brow Pomade

Tata Harper Water-Lock Moisturizer

environmental wellness: toxic cosmetics and the environment


I’ve heard a lot of people say “Well, we don’t have enough evidence to prove a manicure can cause birth defects. Or your favorite Chanel fragrance disrupts thyroid hormones. These chemicals might not be so bad after all. Doesn’t everything supposedly cause cancer these days?”

Personally, I think we have plenty of evidence that supports limiting our exposure to synthetic chemicals. In this modern world, we are exposed to thousands & thousands of synthetic chemicals in our everyday lives (cosmetics excluded). So, I believe limiting them wherever possible is important.

“As scientists, we’ll never known enough. It’s inherent in science that there is uncertainty. But just because something is complicated doesn’t mean we can’t understand it. It comes down to, how much proof do we need? If we insist that the only proof we’ll accept is dead bodies and sick people, than we are dooming our kids to getting sick before we can take action to protect them.”

Dr. Derva Davis, PhD

I firmly believe removing as many toxic ingredients as possible from daily life has contributed to my holistically-healed thyroid. When I chose to detox toxic products, it included skincare (face & body), hair care, fragrance, candles (this one was brutal, but I found some alternatives–stay tuned), cleaning products, and even some aromatherapy products.

Beauty vs. Health: You Can Have Both

You don’t have to sacrifice great skin, hair, and nails. Your body makes new cells from what you eat. So, a diet consistently high in nutrient-dense superfoods will create radiant skin, strong nails, and shiny hair.

The products you use simply add to your natural beauty. I linked only a few of my favorite products but there are so, so many more out there.

Plants, when sourced and formulated properly, are powerful skincare ingredients. Read: The Top 10 Natural, Non-Toxic Skincare Ingredients

Plants, when consumed, are skin-healing wonders. Read: The Diet that Transformed My Skin

Read labels. Research the ingredients. Eliminate as many toxins as possible. But there’s no need to stress—just make it a lifestyle.

Comment Below:

What is your favorite non-toxic, natural skincare product?

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1 Comment

  1. Thank you for the sensible critique. Me & my neighbor were just preparing to do some research on this. We got a grab a book from our local library but I think I learned more from this post. I am very glad to see such wonderful info being shared freely out there.

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