Should You Be Buying Paraben and Talc Free Makeup?

by Stacey Kole

It seems like nearly every day a new warning comes out about an ingredient in that food you love or your favorite coffee drink. But it’s not just what we put in our bodies that requires a second look — what we put on them deserves one too.

A whopping 60% of the cosmetics products we use are absorbed into the skin, making it so important that you check the ingredient list the next time you’re in the market for a new powder or eye shadow or bronzer. Because makeup can literally go more than skin deep, products heavy in harmful chemicals not only can cause not only irritation but also very real health concerns.

The Problem of Parabens

Parabens are preservatives commonly used in makeup, lotion and other beauty products. They’re added to cosmetics to keep them free of bacteria and germs. The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics attributes endocrine disruption to parabens, as they are known to mimic estrogen in the body. Additionally, the group has linked parabens to cancer and reproductive toxicity. While the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) hasn’t banned parabens, due to the very low-level concentration typically found in cosmetics, the Environmental Working Group still advocates avoiding these ingredients whenever possible.

The Trouble With Talc

Talc is a mineral powder often found blush, eye shadows and face powders. Unpurified talc can be contaminated with asbestos, which is linked to cancer. Additionally, tests dating back to the 1960s revealed a possible, although not conclusive, link between powders with talc and ovarian cancer. While the FDA continues to monitor talc for asbestos contamination, fairly recent testing did not reveal any traces, so talc is currently not banned from use in cosmetics.

Beauty Concerns

While not a concern of equal severity, talc is also best avoided because of its tendency to look chalky. As a mineral, talc absorbs moisture, and beauty products with it as an ingredient tend to have dense coverage. Instead of allowing for a natural glow to peek through, makeup containing talc covers up the skin and can lead to a dry, chalky finish. In other words, if you’re looking for a fresh, radiant complexion, talc is not your friend.

Safe Alternatives

In light of the dangers of parabens, talc and other substances in makeup, a growing number of beauty lovers are demanding organic products that are free from synthetic, dangerous ingredients. While the FDA hasn’t banned many chemicals from beauty products, responsible cosmetic companies are picking up the slack. For example, RMS Beauty uses coconut oil in place of parabens for antibacterial and antifungal properties. We are also committed to paraben-free and talc-free makeup here at Shared Planet. Our approach is one of responsible luxury, meaning you can get the high-impact, glamorous look you want, without having to sacrifice your skin — or the planet — for it.  

The next time you find yourself poised to buy some new makeup, keep in mind the stealthy ingredients, like parabens and talc, that for health and beauty purposes are better off avoided. Better alternatives exist and — thanks to eco-conscious brands that put your health and the environment first — are easy to acquire.

Stacey Kole was managing editor of the national beauty and style magazine “Savvy” and is currently a freelance writer and editor based out of Phoenix, Arizona.