I was surprised to find out that nail polish, eyelash glue, and hair products contained formaldehyde. I guess I shouldn’t really be surprised since the cosmetic industry isn’t regulated. The good news is that there are companies that create wonderful cosmetics with some ethics and safe ingredients.
Formaldehyde is a volatile organic compound (VOC). This colorless poisonous gas created by the oxidation of methanol releases gas at room temperature and especially with heat.
It is a known ingredient in many household products and building materials, yet I never thought would be in cosmetics. It has been named a disease causing carcinogen that effects the body over long term exposure. To learn more about formaldehyde go to National Cancer Institute.
Formaldehyde may have been removed from some major nail polish companies, yet it is challenging to know for sure since the ingredients are so tiny on nail polish bottles. Other ingredients to avoid are toluene, a human reproductive and developmental toxin*, DBP (dibutyl phthalate) linked to cancer**, and camphor linked to neurotoxicity***. Before assuming that the nail polish that you desire is free of toxins, I would look up the ingredients online. A few companies that make nail polish with ingredients for completely safe use are No Miss and Honey Bee Gardens. The two other companies that do have camphor but are formaldehyde, DBP, and toluene free are American Apparel and Zoya. (Some natural nail polishes surprisingly had aluminum powder and are no longer listed even though they did not contain formaldehyde, DBP and toluene.)
Formaldehyde had been linked to the newly popular Brazilian Keratin Treatment.
Although not everyone has used this treatment or is inclined to do so, formaldehyde remains hidden in other chemicals that release formaldehyde especially with heat such as diazolidinyl urea, imidazolidinyl urea,quarterinium-15,DMDM hydantoin,2-bromo,and 2-nitropropane 1. These ingredients are in common shampoos, conditioners, and hair styling products. For a list of natural hair products go to “Green” Up Your Beauty Routine.
Lastly discovering that I was applying formaldehyde to my eyes every time I put lashes on for a show or by an artist on set was disturbing.
Unlike other beauty products there aren’t that many eyelash glue adhesives on the market in general not to mention formaldehyde free eyelash glue adhesives. I have not tried the brands for lash extensions that I have researched, but I will share my results.
Xtreme Lashes and Lash Beauty Formaldehyde Free Eyelash Pro-Glue Plus are formaldehyde free eyelash glues for lash extensions. (Xtreme Lashes is not formaldehyde free! Please read comments below) Duo Surgical Adhesiveis also a lash adhesive for false lashes that is formaldehyde, paraben, and sulfate free. (Duo Surgical Adhesive is not formaldehyde free! Read the comments below for more details. I will continue to search for something safe to use for false eyelashes, although it seems it may not exist. If someone has any other information on a formaldehyde free lash glue it would be greatly appreciated. I do not use false lashes daily, yet must wear them for stage performances and on set for industry jobs.)
Most women use cosmetics daily. The long term effects of chemical ingredients aren’t worth beautifying ourselves for. I sometimes wonder how long it will take for cosmetic industries to become strictly regulated and for toxic chemicals to be banned from products in the US. Until then we as consumers can make the best choices for our health.
I don’t believe that eliminating beauty cosmetics completely is the best way as some minimalists have done. I actually enjoy using cosmetics and creating my own like my DIY foundation and powder which I’m reminded of everyday that I use it with joy. By educating ourselves and actually going through the products in our cabinets is the beginning of safe beauty.
Go to The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics to research what is in your cosmetics and begin making new choices.
Are there any natural cosmetic brands that you can’t get enough of? Please share!
(Image by D Sharon Pruitt)