Put Down the Makeup Products! Why It’s Time for a ‘Makeup Fast’


Perhaps you don’t even realize the effects your makeup products are having on your appearance until you let it all go – that is, go commando. Just like taking a break from food can clear out the toxins in our bodies, a makeup “fast” can improve your skin’s health and appearance.

Washing your makeup off before bed may not be enough to keep your facial skin immune to the hazards present in the most popular makeup products. The damage is already done.

The cosmetics industry uses thousands of synthetic chemicals in its makeup products. Loopholes in U.S. federal laws make it possible for carcinogenic substances to make way into your beauty kit. Some of these common chemicals include the following:

1. Phthalates: Phthalates are a group of endocrine-disrupting chemicals that have been linked to early puberty in girls and breast cancer. They are found in nail polish, synthetic fragrances and a number of other skin care and household items.

2. Triclosan: Triclosan can disrupt the body’s hormones and lead to a bacterial resistance to antimicrobial agents. Triclosan is found in antibacterial soaps, deodorants and toothpaste.

3. 1,4-dioxane: This petroleum-derived contaminant is often not listed on ingredient labels. It is a byproduct in the production of shampoos, body wash, children’s bath products and other cosmetics that make suds. It is classified as a possible carcinogen.

4. Parabens: Parabens are added to cosmetics to act as an anti-fungal agent, preservative and antimicrobial. It is found in creams, lotions and ointments, among others.

5. Ethylene oxide: This one is known as a human carcinogen.

6. 1,3-butadiene: Commonly found in shaving creams, spray sunscreens and foundations, 1,3-butadiene has been shown to increase mammary tumors in rodents.

7. PAHs: Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons are inherent in coal, crude oil and gasoline. Some shampoos and cosmetics are made with PAHs, which increase the risk of breast cancer.

An FDA investigation found that some imported skin creams contained toxic levels of mercury and other heavy metals, causing people to get sick. Meanwhile, your lipstick could contain lead. The FDA tested hundreds of lipsticks and found lead in–get this–100 percent of the lipsticks tested. And these are not measly, cast-aside levels – the first FDA test found levels up to 3.06 parts per million. The second FDA test found levels up to 7.19 parts per million. Lead was found in popular national brands, including L’Oreal, Revlon, Avon and Cover Girl. The high-end brands Dior and M.A.C. also contained lead.

Then there is mascara. Mascara doesn’t come with bacteria in it but after repeated use, the bacteria naturally present in the eyes can transfer to the wand. In one study, researchers found microbial presence in 36.4 percent of the mascara tubes cultures after 3 months of use.

The dangers of mainstream makeup are very real and could pose both a moderate or extreme threat to your body. In a Brazilian study, 45 percent of women had a skin disease associated with their cosmetics, while 14 percent had acne lesions due to cosmetics. It’s clear to see that your skin would be a lot better off without an overload of chemicals and other toxins. They may offer a short-term boost in your beauty but can eventually harm your appearance and health.

The best way to avoid these harsh chemicals in makeup products is to abstain from wearing any at all. This may not be the most sustainable of solutions, as your professional and personal life may demand otherwise. But if you plan ahead, you can most certainly carve out a few days or even a week in which you wear no makeup at all. To do this, all you have to do is cleanse your face in the morning after waking and at night, before sleep with a light, vegetable-based soap that is free of fragrances. Keep it simple. Use a light oil as a moisturizer – the kind that does not leave your skin shiny but rather dewy and with a glow. Jojoba, argan, grapeseed oils are perfect for this. If you would like to shop around for a better-engineered moisturizer with the consistency and aroma you prefer, check out Juice Beauty or the Body Deli for an appropriate moisturizer that is not only eco-friendly and free of any toxic ingredients but also affordable.

A makeup fast is not something you should do once and never again. Try to partake in one a few days per week – perhaps over the weekend or during days with fewer interactions with coworkers and clients. Whenever you go on vacation, attempt to nix makeup altogether, letting you skin and your soul breathe at the same time.

Such a makeup fast, however, will do no good if you resort back to your old cosmetic habits afterwards. Instead, use these breaks from makeup as a jumpstart to a cleaner and healthier skincare regimen. Check out Ecosalon’s Eco-Beauty Approved Guide Parts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 for inspiration, making sure to avoid the dirty dozen along the way.

Related on EcoSalon:

Dangerous Toxins in Personal Care Products Exposed in Online Cosmetics Database

5 Mobile Apps for a Non-Toxic Lifestyle

Cruelty-Free Drugstore Makeup? Yes, Please

Photo Credit: Courtney Rhodes