The Latest Preservative to Avoid in Your Beauty Products

It’s hard to miss all the press that parabens and their potential links to health issues from increased breast cancer risk to allergies have received over the last several years. Known to disrupt hormone function in our bodies, parabens are synthetic compounds widely used as preservatives in health, beauty and personal care products. While many products only have trace amounts of the compound, using numerous products with small amounts can lead to too much. As reported in Scientific American, researchers have found that even people who make a point to steer clear of potentially harmful beauty products, still have parabens in their bloodstreams, since around 90% of typical grocery store items contain measurable amounts of parabens. Scary. As a result, many companies have worked to eliminate parabens (methylparaben, ethylparaben, propylparaben, butylparaben and isobutylparaben) from their products and widely market them as “paraben-free.”

Now, this week a new preservative of concern hit our radar when Women’s Wear Daily reported that beauty retailer Follain has eliminated products contained “phenoxyethanol” from its shelves. Though controversial, phenoxyethanol has been thought of as “okay” in “clean” beauty products and is often used as an alternative to parabens, but now the beauty industry is swaying to the “not okay” side.

So, what to do? Well, I try to go as natural as I can when it comes to my beauty products and diet to cut down on the amount of preservatives and chemicals in my system.

To get an expert’s perspective, I talked with my friend and celebrity makeup artist, Diane Aiello of Glam Lounge Artists. Some of her favorite “clean” brands are ones that you can find at Whole Foods, such as Pacifica and Burt’s Bees (I especially love their lip balms!), as well as One Love Organics and Biossance. She also told us that a number of popular cosmetics lines like Charlotte Tilbury, Giorgio Armani and Kevyn Aucoin don’t contain phenoxyethanol or parabens either. Yay!

Here are a few of our top favorite natural, non-toxic skincare products. No parabens or phenoxyethanol!

  1. Tata Harper makes products that are not only safe, but they deliver results. I especially love their purifying cleanser and resurfacing mask. They also  offer a Daily Essentials Set, which is a great way to try out the line.
  2. This wrinkle-reducing, line-firming power serum by Biossance uses a plant-derived alternative to retinol, which can cause irritation. Seriously, good.
  3. One Love Organics Skin Savior is wonder balm that is terrific for gently removing your makeup, using as a moisturizer, smoothing rough skin, or even protecting and hydrating your lips.
  4. Affordable and effective, Pacifica has so many great products! We love the Crystal Power Hydro Mist for a quick face-hydrating refresh and use the Super Detox Deep Purification face wipes when we travel.
  5. We have one of these Burt’s Bees lip balms in every bag we own! That way we’re never without. And, their Aloe & Coconut Oil After Sun Soother is a beach vacay must-have.


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