Next up in our better beauty series: let’s talk about foundation. It’s a darling of the beauty world, and one that is so very deeply personal because we all have such different needs: coverage, color matching, moisturizing but not greasy, etc. The list goes on. But before you decide to just pop into a drug store or go to a specialty retailer to get the most talked-about foundation, remember a few things first:
- This is going on your largest organ – your skin – and is staying put all day. Needless to say the ingredients do matter.
- You can have safe ingredients AND efficacy all in one. And you deserve it.
- Marketing and advertising will be coming at you to BUY THIS ONE! BUY THAT ONE! Look at our fancy packaging! But you have to be your own advocate. I implore you to please do your research to make sure that what’s on the ingredients label matches what you want to be on your skin.
WHAT TO LOOK OUT FOR WHEN BUYING A FOUNDATION
First of all I always recommend running the product through EWG’s Healthy Living App to see how it ranks in safety on there. This is a great (FREE) resource that helps you to gage the initial safety of a product, and then points out the questionable ingredients so you can push your research a little further. I run literally everything I buy through the app first, and if it scores poorly I go through and figure out why. SO HELPFUL.
Now foundation. While I obviously can’t send a blanket statement over every single brand and type out there, you should be wary of a few very specific ingredients that are found frequently in foundations in every price bracket:
- propylene glycol: created by the chemical reaction of a byproduct of fossil fuel and fermentation, considered a probably carcinogen (cancer causing compound). Can be found in higher doses in antifreeze and paint. Also could have neurological effects, isn’t super safer for pregnant/nursing moms, and has a good amount of skin irritation possible.
- methylparaben – in the paraben family of preservatives, mimic estrogen and can act as potential hormone (endocrine) system disruptors.
- propylparaben – also in the paraben family of preservatives, mimic estrogen and can act as potential hormone (endocrine) system disruptors.
- Polyethylene glycol (PEGs) – may be contaminated with measurable amounts of ethylene oxide and 1,4-dioxane, which are both carcinogens.
- fragrance – any combination of close to 4,000 ingredients that don’t have to be disclosed because they’re considered a trade secret. This means that things like parabens could be lurking in fragrance, and the company doesn’t have to tell you. Always always always be wary of fragrance!
Our endocrine system regulates ALL of our body’s processes, so endocrine disruptors would certainly not be something you want on your body at all, let alone for long periods of time. Endocrine disruptors are considered to be a global threat to fertility as well as to the environment, and have ties to breast cancer (and rendering breast cancer drugs ineffective).
So the natural thing to do would be to turn to a mineral-based powder foundation, right? Well, not necessarily. These can contain those same terrible ingredients, as well as potential exposure to heavy metals and neurotoxic ingredients like alumina. When companies don’t share their screening processes, or don’t screen their products at all, we all lose.
The good news is that it’s not all bad news. There are products that keep the safety of the consumer and the environment in mind and are still beautifully effective. A few of my favorites:
- Beautycounter’s Tint Skin Foundation (I know I’m biased but this is the most high-performing and safe I’ve found yet)
- Omiana Loose Powder Foundation
- Crunchi Beautifully Flawless Foundation
- Primal Life Foundation
- Maia’s Mineral Galaxy Foundation
Friends, when it comes to personal care products it is just that: PERSONAL. It’s personal when we trust a company to do right and they don’t. It’s personal when we think the government is protecting us and they’re not. It’s personal when we believe we have a right to feel beautiful but have to choose between that and safety. We deserve to know that the products we use are formulated with our safety in mind. So I beg you – look at your products. It could be overwhelming…do it anyway. Because you deserve better!
Click here for last week’s look at the dangers of lip balm!
Finally, I would love to hear your thoughts, what kinds of products you’d like to learn more about, and how I can help you figure out how to clean up your bathroom cabinets, one product at a time! Leave comments below with questions!