Buying guide for Makeup products
What to look for
It’s generally best to choose makeup products that only include ingredients with no or low health concerns, as rated by GoodGuide’s Science Team. Skip or replace products that include ingredients with regulatory bans or have been assigned a medium or high health concern.
American women use an average of 10 personal care products a day, including shampoo, lotion, makeup, and fragrances. With dozens of ingredients in each product, the daily use of these types of products can contribute to chronic exposure to low levels of potential hazards.
The GoodGuide Ratings of makeup products cover lip sticks, foundations, eye makeup, blush, bronzers, plus most every type of makeup found in women’s cosmetic bags. To do their job, makeup products include ingredients to moisturize, color, fill, preserve, absorb, add texture, and smell good.
Some issues associated with deodorant and antiperspirants include:
Health concerns — Ingredients in many makeup products can carry human health concerns. Some of the most popular deodorants include ingredients that have been restricted for use by the European Union like D&C Red 30 Lake, ingredients like Triethanolamine that are suspected of causing toxicity to skin and sense organs, and Titanium Dioxide which has been authoritatively recognized to cause cancer, according to the State of California (Proposition 65).
Ingredient disclosure — Complete lists of ingredients in deodorants are often unavailable, creating a significant barrier to assessing the safety of personal care products. Although companies are required to disclose the ingredients in personal care products, these lists rarely contain information about percent composition (needed to assess potential exposures) and often rely on generic terms like “fragrance” which make it impossible to assess whether there are any problematic ingredients present.
Contamination concerns — The Food and Drug Administration only requires cosmetic firms to list “intended” ingredients in products, which allows manufacturers to hide the presence of other ingredients from consumers.
Inadequate regulation — Personal care products are not subject to safety reviews by the FDA before they are put on the market, and the agency is frequently criticized for its lax approach to regulation. The European Union, for example, has banned the use of more than 1,000 substances in cosmetics; in contrast, the FDA has only prohibited the use of eight substances in cosmetics. There is widespread skepticism that the current regulatory system is sufficiently protective of human health.
Rating Makeup products
To rate a personal care product, GoodGuide considers the following attributes:
- A health hazard rating based on the number of product ingredients categorized as low, medium or high health concern.
- Indicators that the product exhibits other negative aspects (e.g., does the product contain ingredients that have been banned or subjected to regulatory restrictions).
- Indicators that the product is among the best on the market in its category (e.g., has the product been certified as safe or healthy by a credible third-party).
- Indicators of data gaps that preclude evaluation of the product (e.g., no or inadequate disclosure of product ingredients).
Categorizing ingredients by levels of health concern
Defining Levels of Health: In order to identify ingredients of health concern, we utilize the science of health hazard assessment and rely on lists of chemicals labeled hazardous by various authoritative organizations. GoodGuide tracks whether chemicals are recognized or suspected of causing any of twelve major types of human health problems, ranging from cancer to endocrine toxicity to skin or eye toxicity. We combine this hazard data with chemical potency, human detection frequency and toxicity testing information, in order to assign ingredients to four levels of health concern: none, low, medium and high.