All products with a shelf life beyond a couple of months require a preservative, which is why parabens are included in cosmetics as they stunt the growth of bacteria. Parabens have been confirmed to mimic the action of oestrogen, meaning they are capable of affecting our hormones.
Consumer demand has led to many companies creating paraben-free products. Check ingredient lists for anything ending in ‘paraben’, such as butylparaben, ethylparaben, isobutylparaben, methylparaben or propylparaben. They’re commonly found in make-up, hair products, deodorants, moisturisers and even shaving products.
Depending on the type of phthalate, it can be used in the cosmetics world as a plastic softener, fragrance or solvent for dyes. As they are known to cause reproductive problems, the European Union has banned the usage of three phthalates; DBP, DEHP and BBP, in cosmetics after classifying them as CMR (carcinogen, mutagen or reproductive toxicity) substances.
Phthalates can be found in perfume, eye shadow, moisturiser, nail polish and hairspray, but most alarmingly, they are often not listed. Use products from companies committed to producing phthalates-free products.
Consumers need to make the decision whether they are happy to use products that include potentially harmful chemicals. I am not. And the same goes for products tested on animals. And to go one step further, let’s support those brands that use recyclable packaging and source ingredients that are organic and sustainably harvested.