With that in mind, it is a good idea to avoid any ingredients in cosmetics that are linked to cancer, allergies, or hormone disruption. But how can you tell if something contains toxins? Sure, cosmetics are required to list their ingredients by the FDA (except for perfume), but its hard to tell from ingredient lists if something is bad for you. I mean, what is cyclotetrasiloxane anyway?!
To quickly find out if a product has toxic ingredients, I consult the Environmental Working Group's Skin Deep Database. All you have to do is type in the name or maker of the product and the site gives you a rating.
EWG rates all products on a 0 -10 scale, with 0 being absolutely harmless, and 10 being a high hazard. The site also gives you a breakdown of what ingredients account for the overall score and what hazards are associated with each ingredient.
You might be surprised what you find when you look up some of your favorite products. For example, Covergirl Natureluxe Foundation (sounds safe right? I mean the word nature is in it....) is rated a 7! It has ingredients that are associated with endocrine disruption (aka estrogen mimics that could potentially lead to breast cancer or birth defects)!
Scary isn't it?
p.s. Cameron is the founder of Boston Green Blog and a contributor to Merida, the premier source for natural rugs with a conscience for sustainability.