natural beauty productsI get a lot of questions about makeup from readers, so I wanted to discuss the problems with conventional makeup, as well as alternatives that I particularly love.

I like organic makeup brands that are fresh and natural – the kind that enhances your own beauty without clogging your pores or aging your skin with silicone or petroleum products, allowing your own natural gorgeousness to shine through. When you provide your body with healthy foods, it shows in your skin. In general, with such glowing beauty there’s very little need to cover it up completely. Instead, you can enhance what you’ve worked so hard to build with light, natural makeup.

I’ve talked before about just how important of a role your skin plays in detoxification. Your skin is an organ that breathes. You expel toxins through your skin, and you can also absorb them into your body via that route. When you use many commercial brands of makeup, including foundation, cover-up, and liquid blush, you’re actually hampering your skin’s ability to breathe. This can result in blemishes and other skin irregularities that rob you of your natural beauty.

At the same time, when you so carefully minimize your chemical intake by eating wholesome, natural foods, why would you want to turn around and add harmful chemicals back in by using them in your makeup? According to The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, the cosmetics industry produces one of the least regulated products for human use on the market. Testing is not required to monitor the effects of cosmetics on human health. Let’s take a look at some of the harmful ingredients you may find in makeup.

Heavy Metals

According to Health Canada, it is virtually impossible to remove heavy metals from cosmetics. The Canadian government limits heavy metals to a certain percentage; however, no such laws exist in the United States. Metals you may find in cosmetics include:heavy metals in makeup

  • Lead
  • Arsenic
  • Mercury
  • Antimony
  • Cadmium

Heavy metal exposure can cause an array of health problems, including:

  • Renal failure
  • Gastrointestinal hemorrhage
  • Diabetes
  • Encephalopathy
  • Neuropathy
  • Cirrhosis of the liver
  • Metabolic acidosis
  • Certain cancers
  • Dermatitis
  • Allergic reactions

harmful sunscreenSunscreen

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) states that the FDA has failed to generate any sunscreen safety standards. Many makeup products, particularly foundation and lip balms, contain chemical sunscreens. According to the EWG, however, the evidence that chemical sunscreen protects you from skin cancer is minimal, at best, and some evidence even shows that chemical sunscreen may increase the risk of developing melanoma, a deadly form of skin cancer. Likewise, sunscreen blocks vitamin D absorption, and many chemical sunscreens contain potential hormone disruptors that can be absorbed through the skin.


harmful fragranceIt’s understandable that you want your cosmetics to smell nice. Unfortunately, many fragrances are chemically generated and can contain multiple chemical compounds. According to The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, fragrance is considered a “trade secret,” so there’s no way of knowing just what those chemicals are. Instead, you’ll typically find these trade secret scents listed in the ingredients merely as “fragrance.”

Possible problems with the chemicals used to create fragrance include allergic reactions, hormone disruption from phthalates and synthetic musks, and even neurotoxic effects from certain chemicals.


nanoparticles in productsNanotechnology is a big deal in the cosmetics industry right now. Unfortunately, according to the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, nanotechnology is almost completely unregulated and untested for its effects on human health. Among the listed potential health effects of nanoparticles are:

  • Inflammation
  • Increase in oxidative stress
  • DNA mutation
  • Mesothelioma and other cancers (from inhalation)

Petroleum Products

Petroleum ProductsAccording to a study conducted by the Environmental Working Group in 2007, products containing petroleum-based ingredients may be contaminated with a cancer causing chemical called 1,4-dioxane. In fact, the study showed nearly ¼ of all cosmetic products may be contaminated with this ingredient.

Additionally, the most commonly found petroleum product in makeup is phthalates, which are linked to endocrine disruption and certain cancers.


Many makeup products contain chemical dyes. Others may contain powdered elements such as aluminum and barium. These coloring agents also act as neurotoxins in the human body, according to Bloomberg.

Formaldehyde & Preservatives

Many makeup products contain formaldehyde or other preservatives to extend shelf life. According to the National Cancer Institute, formaldehyde may cause cancer in humans. The EPA classifies formaldehyde as a carcinogen.

What’s a Girl to Do?

Above, I’ve listed just a few of the many chemicals you may find in the cosmetics you use. Fortunately, there are some cosmetic products I’ve come to love and rely on, not only because they contribute to beauty, but also because they don’t detract from my health.

You can check out ALL my favorite brands on my favorites page, below I share a selection of products I love and use regularly!


Powder foundation, or bronzerWhile I am not and have never been an advocate of wearing foundation or makeup that covers the surface of your skin on a daily basis, I have found a liquid foundation that I am in love with. When you try the Vapour Organic brand Soft Focus Foundation you too, I am confident, will be in love. This super awesome foundation is made of 70% certified organic ingredients and 30% natural mineral pigments & vitamins. It contains nourishing ingredients such as organic pumpkin and papaya complex, lysine (an essential amino acid), and the mineral silica.

I shudder at toxic, silicone and chemical-filled “high performance” makeup brands that make my skin feel suffocated and clogged. In contrast, Soft Focus has none of these highly questionable ingredients but makes your skin look just as good…actually, better. It creates a dewy look to your skin that is magically flattering. I now bring it along with me in my purse and hand it off to makeup artists that put on my makeup before TV shows. I highly recommend it for all your foundation uses!


blushMy other Vapour  obsession is the Multi-Use Blush in Courtesan, which I think is universally flattering. Many powdered mineral brands just sit on the surface of your face, and don’t blend in quite enough to be truly believable. These products give the dreaded “I am wearing blush makeup!” look. I’ve never been into liquid blushes because quite honestly, they creep me out. I don’t like more liquids put on my skin than is absolutely necessary. But I just put a dab of this wonderful solid blush in the apple of my cheeks, and then blend it in well with a blush brush. It gives a fresh, natural glow. Yes! This product is also made with 70% certified organic ingredients and 30% mineral pigments and vitamins. Try it, and you’ll never go back to pressed powdered blushes.


I like to finish both with my Sally B’s Skin Yummies Get Even powder, which is my all-time favorite loose powder, which controls shine and finishes everything off!

Lip Gloss

My favorite lip gloss comes from Sally B’s Skin Yummies, as well. The B Glossy lip gloss contains organic ingredients and no petroleum products. It also comes in four great shades that soothe and moisturize lips.

You can be naturally beauty without compromising the good health you’ve worked so hard to achieve. By using the right beauty products, you’ll be able to enhance your natural beauty instead of covering it up with unhealthy and even dangerous chemical-laden cosmetics.


New York Times Bestseller and Nutritionist