Common Harmful Chemicals Found in Makeup - Zafra

Common Harmful Chemicals Found in Makeup

Makeup is supposed to enhance your beauty but most often than not, many of your favorite products contain ingredients that aren't exactly all that beautiful. That's the hard reality of the makeup products that people have been accustomed to patronizing for decades.

So be mindful of these harmful compounds the next time you go use or buy a certain cosmetic product.


Phthalates are used to plasticize products, making them more flexible or better able to hold in color and scent. However, this group of chemicals may be disruptive to the endocrine system, which is responsible for hormone production. Such interference can lead to developmental, reproductive, and neurological damage. 


This ingredient is something that cosmetic companies don’t have to legally tell you about. Three thousand or more chemicals may be used to create synthetic fragrance. The result? Some have been linked to allergic reactions, asthma, and breathing difficulties while others have links to cancers.


Lead is definitely bad for anyone—that’s the reason why it was removed from paint materials. The crazy thing is that this ingredient can still be found in foundations and lipsticks. Lead is a proven neurotoxin linked to miscarriage, reduced fertility, and delays in the onset of puberty for females.


Quaternium-15 is often used in mascara, pressed powders, and eyeliners. In addition to potentially causing cancer, this ingredient can cause skin sensitivities and irritation.

These have many uses—as preservatives, surfactants, germicides and conditioning agents. Instead, you can choose products that use natural alternatives that perform similar functions such as rosemary, honey, tea tree oil, grapefruit seed extract, and vitamin E.


Polyethylene glycols, or PEGs, are petroleum-based compounds that are used to thicken, soften, and gelatinize cosmetics, making them a common ingredient in cream-based products. The main issue with PEGs is that they are often contaminated with ethylene oxide and 1,4-dioxane.

Ethylene oxide is a known human carcinogen, potentially harmful to the nervous system and human development. 1,4-dioxane is a possible human carcinogen that can remain in the environment for long periods of time without degrading.

Want more cosmetic products that will keep you safe from harmful chemicals? Check out our full list of items on our Beauty Products!


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