Worried about toxic makeup? The Environmental Working Group has a database with safety ratings on more than 25,000 personal-care products. [Skin Deep]


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  1. Eyebrows McGee (now with double the baby!) says:

    I love this thing. Even if I weren’t a bit of a greeniac, I have terribly sensitive skin, and this has helped me identify products that don’t irritate my skin. When we found my husband’s skin reacted badly to a particular ingredient, we were able to easily seek and avoid products with that in it.

    I also use it in class to drive home to my students just how many chemicals are allowed in their everyday lives and why blind trust in government regulation of chemicals is probably not the greatest idea. (They all, of course, hate and distrust the government on principle … except for all the things they rely on the government to do for them and refuse to believe the government might do badly, despite their general belief that the government does everything badly. Amusing.)

    • Eyebrows McGee (now with double the baby!) says:

      @Eyebrows McGee: There used to be a way you could collect all the products you use and see them all reported at once, along with the number of chemicals you were being exposed to on a daily basis from your beauty regime. I can’t find that, did they remove it?

    • oneandone says:

      @Eyebrows McGee: I use it the same way! I used to check it all the time, but got very discouraged when the sunblocks I use got high ratings on SPF but also bad ratings on ingredient carcinogenicity. Cancer no matter what I do, I guess.

      My only gripe with the database is the way a product’s rating can seem ‘very toxic’ when it’s actually just reflecting a lack of transparent information or testing. I think it’s EWG’s perogative to say untested = unsafe, but I think it causes needless freak-outs and may make some people take them & the database less seriously. It would be great if they could find a way to emphasize the importance of transparency without conflating that with toxicity.

  2. missdona says:

    Worried about toxic makeup?

    Well now I am!

  3. Robobot says:

    Healing Scents is in the 0-2 range in almost every category. I can’t speak for their entire line of products, but their hair care stuff is incredible. I seriously couldn’t stop touching my hair when I first began using the shampoo-body wash because it felt so soft and amazing.

    Warning: It makes you smell kinda like a health food store.

  4. Kyattsuai says:

    Toxic makeup? We don’t need the Environmental Working Group, we need Batman.

  5. somuch says:

    I love that this is available, but honestly, it’s really confusing. Micronized titanium dioxide is one of their big no-no’s.

    I consider myself an intelligent person, but have no idea what do do with the “data gap” percentages.

  6. edwardso says:

    @oneandone: I have the same problem with sunscreen and it’s non-negotiable for me. I’m just too fair not to use products with oxybenzone and titanium. My skin breaks out in terrible sunrashes

  7. chinadoll724 says:

    I love the concept of this tool, but I just tried out the site and the products they have are very outdated. I see tons of products that were discontinued years ago still on their site while a lot of popular new products don’t even show up. I could not find most of the products I’m using, including Cover Girl Lash Blast mascara and Clinique mild bar soap/facial bar.

  8. Dennis Abbeduto says:

    The EWG is like the PETA of cosmetics safety. Some good intentions and information buried in a lot of alarmist rhetoric and misrepresentation. They ignore dosing, routes of exposure, and every other reasonable method for assessing real risk. Allergic dermatitis is real and if you think you have a problem you should absolutely get testing. Otherwise, cosmetics are generally MUCH safer than the EWG would have you believe.

    @eyebrows the world is made of chemicals. it’s fundamental science. don’t be scared of them, please.