Hidden Household Toxins

Most of us tend to be careful about what we put into our bodies, but do you ever stop to think about what you’re putting on your body? I’m  talking about household products such as shampoo, moisturizer, makeup, fragrances, etc.

A few weeks ago in my environmental health class we had to do a presentation about an environmental program or initiative. One group did a really interesting presentation about toxins in household items and told us about a fantastic website.: Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) Skin Deep Cosmetics Database.

The database contains over 69,000 products, including makeup, skin and hair products, fragrances, toothpaste, mouthwash, lip balm and much more. Every product is given an overall score and “Health Concern” rating, a list of the ingredients, and whether or not the product has been known to be tested on animals.

I decided to look up some of the products I often use:

 Burt’s Bees Lip Balm

Overall Score: 2

Health Concern: LOW

Animal Testing: NONE

My verdict: I love this product and I will keep using it!

 Maybelline Great Lash Mascara

Overall Score: 4

Health Concern: MODERATE

Animal Testing: Unknown

My verdict: I’ve used this product for years, mostly because it’s cheap. After doing a little digging on  the database, I found another brand of mascara with a very low health concern rating: Rejuva Minerals Mascara. According to their website it’s only $8.50, plus shipping fees.

 CoverGirl TruConceal Concealer

Overall Score: 7

Health Concern: HIGH (concerns include neurotoxicity and endocrine disruption)

Animal Testing: Unknown

My verdict: This product is pretty hazardous. Good news: Rejuva Minerals also sells concealer at the reasonable price of $13.95 and it has a low health concern rating. It even comes in an “eco-friendly” container made from up to 90% recycled paper materials, according to their website.

 Herbal Essences Shampoo

Overall Score: 5

Health Concern: MODERATE

Animal Testing: Unknown

My verdict: I’m not terribly picky about which brand of shampoo I use, so I wouldn’t mind switching to a new “lower risk” kind. There are a ton of shampoo options in the database that are rated “Low” in terms of health concern. I’ll have to spend some time researching some of the different brands to find one that I like!

Interested to see what kinds of toxins are hiding in your household products? Look them up in the database and start becoming a more informed consumer! Try researching which products are the most harmful and search for more appropriate, safe options.

You can also try making some homemade beauty products! Here’s a recipe for a homemade facial made with natural ingredients, courtesy of Best Health Magazine:

DIY Soothing Facial


2 tbsp peeled, pitted, mashed ripe avocado (helps moisturize and soften)

1 tsp of honey (a natural anti-bacterial)

1 tsp plain full-fat yogurt (a source of skin-smoothing lactic acid)

1/2 tsp of lemon juice (a natural astringent)

1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and refrigerate for 30 minutes prior to applying. Wash your face before applying with a fragrance- and soap-free cleanser (here’s where the database comes in handy!)

2. Smooth a thin layer of the chilled masque on your face and relax for 10 minutes or so before rinsing off with warm water. Finally, splash your face with cooled, brewed green tea (which has antioxidant properties) and pat your face dry. Beauty, au naturel!


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