As consumers, we have the power to make a positive impact on industries when it comes to safer products for us and the environment. Every purchase we make sends a message to companies about what matters to us. The first step in making empowered purchases is education. 

We’re going to take the next few minutes to walk you through a few things that matter to us when purchasing cosmetics. Because we know all too well how easy it is to purchase the latest and greatest in wrinkle prevention or a lipstick that promises not to rub off in T-30 seconds, we wanted to shed some light on a few ingredients that you should also be looking out for when deciding on that new eyeshadow shade..

In the past few years more and more research has been conducted on some harmful ingredients that are hidden in our everyday products. By educating yourself and making small changes in your buying patterns you will be sending a big message to larger corporations that you’re not willing to put yourself at risk for their gain.

Check out our top 5 ingredient no no’s in regards to cosmetics: 

  1. Fragrance – this “ingredient’ can house over 3,000 potentially harmful ingredients under one single term because it is considered a trade secret. Most often it includes phalates, which are known hormone disruptors.

  2. Parabens – (aka methylparaben, propylparaben, butylparaben and ethylparaben) – an ingredient used to preserve products. It is linked to cancer and endocrine disruption.

  3. BHA/BHT – another preservative that is linked to skin irritations, organ toxicity and hormone disruption.

  4. Heavy Metals – (lead, mercury, arsenic, etc) – these would not even be listed as ingredients, which is scary! You don’t know if they are present unless you shop with a company that tests for heavy metals in every batch. These metals are linked to reproductive, immune and nervous system toxicity.

  5. Sulfates – synthetic foaming agent added to products that is the most common reason for skin irritation and allergic reactions.

A great way to ensure you are using safe products is by utilizing the Environmental Working Group (EWG) website or app. They use a rating system of 1-10 for products that lets you know how safe each one is – even breaking it down by ingredient. 

Our rule of thumb is to never use a product that is a 4 or higher!

Mary Quintiliani, our clean cosmetic expert, found through lots of research and testing that there are some great companies offering high quality and safe products! 

Here are a few of our favorites:

  • Primally Pure – the best non toxic deodorant that actually works!
  • Beautycounter – great skin and cosmetic options
  • Jane Iredale – we love the powder foundation!
  • Josie Maran – skin oils and concealer are our favs!
  • True Botanicals – we love the eye and face oils; glass containers make these eco friendly too!
  • Indie Lee – our go to facial oil!
  • YTTP – we love this cleanser and your skin will too!
  • Ilia – their mascara is the best!


Mary Quintiliani – Mary started her wellness research journey about 4 years ago when she struggled with “unexplained infertility.” Since then she has been dedicated to transforming her home into a healthy low toxic environment for her family including countless hours of research into her own beauty products. Through her research she found Beauty Counter and became a Senior Consultant focused on sharing her favorite products (loads of which are not Beauty Counter). You can follow her on instagram at @cleanliving_with_mary.