EWG Shopper's Guide to Safe Cosmetics: It's Easy

If you're a regular Enviroblog reader, likely as not you've searched our Skin Deep database once or twice (or if you're like me, every time you head to the store). Maybe to find safer products for your baby, maybe to research your own skin care products. Whatever the case, you're probably looking for the quickest way to choose safer products for you & your family.

Because there are so incredibly many products available to us, I have found it easier to avoid the worst ingredients, the ones we know have adverse environmental health effects. Like reproductive deformities and cancer. And since naturally I can't recall the specific ingredients at the exact moment I'm in the grocery aisle, pushing that gigantic 2-seater shopping truck that my kids always head for, I carry a wallet guide.

Yeah, yeah, I know. Another wallet guide. But trust me on this one, I actually pull it out and in the end it saves me time and prevents me from making bad heat-of-the-moment purchases. It lists the top ingredients and products to avoid whenever possible:

Cosmetic ingredients to avoid:

  1. DMDM hydantoin & Imidazolidinyl urea
  2. Methylchloroisothiazolinone & Methylisothiazolinone
  3. Fragrance and dyes
  4. Parabens or -paraben
  5. Triethanolamine
  6. Iodopropynyl butylcarbamate
  7. Triclosan & triclocarban

Cosmetic products to avoid:

  1. Anti-aging creams with lactic, glycolic, AHA and BHA acids
  2. Hair dyes with ammonia, peroxide, p-phenylenediamine, diaminobenzene, and all dark permanent hair dyes
  3. Liquid hand soaps with Triclosan, aka Antibacterial hand soaps
  4. Nail polish & removers with fermaldehyde
  5. Skin lighteners with hydraquinone

It might sound like a lot (some serious tongue twisters in there), but it's really not that hard. All you have to do is: download guide, fold and place in wallet, remember it's there (!), and check it when you're buying personal care products. If any of the to-be-avoided ingredients are listed, put it back on the shelf and roll safely on.

And if you want the quick and easy on sunscreen and children's products, this wallet guide is definitely for you. If you want to know more about children's products (as I always seem to), you can peruse our 1-page Guide to Safer Children's Products or check our very thorough list of safer kids products in Skin Deep - including diaper cream, play make-up, and shampoo, among others.

So go forth and shop safer. Could be the perfect New Year's resolution.

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