Toxin Spotlight: Parabens

An image of a selection of non-toxic cosmetics, featuring brands such as e.l.f., The Body Shop, Wet N Wild, and Nyx.

What It Is You may have heard of parabens before, since public awareness of their negative effects has grown within the last decade. You may have even seen "paraben-free" products on the shelf but never understood why that's a good thing. If you'd like to know why (and you should), read on! Parabens come in …

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Toxin Spotlight: P-phenylenediamine

An image of a selection of non-toxic hair care products from brands such as Live Clean, Be.Better, and Lush.

What It Is P-phenylenediamine is a type of coal tar dye--a mixture of ingredients derived from petroleum--that serves as pigmentation, most often used for hair. While p-phenylenediamine is particularly worth avoiding, other petroleum-based coal tar dyes can be found listed as "C.I." (Color Index) followed by a five digit number (in the 75000 and 77000 …

Toxin Spotlight: Formaldehyde

An image of a selection of non-toxic moisturizers and cleansers, featuring brands such as Sukin, The Body Shop, and Nova Scotia Fisherman

What It Is Formaldehyde and formaldehyde-releasing ingredients--including the more commonly used DMDM hydantoin and urea--most often serve as preservatives in personal care products. They specifically prevent bacteria growth and allow products to last for an (unnecessarily) long amount of time. Where It's Found While straight formaldehyde is generally only found in nail products, the formaldehyde-releasing …

Toxin Spotlight: Diethanolamine (DEA)

An image of a selection of non-toxic body and face care products, including brands such as Sukin, Live Clean, and Lush.

What It Is Diethanolamine (DEA) and its compounds--along with related but less commonly used ingredients such as¬†monoethanolamide (MEA) and¬†triethanolamine (TEA)--are used to give personal care products a creamy or sudsy texture. DEA also acts as a pH adjuster due to its ability to neutralize acidic ingredients. Where It's Found DEA is primarily found in skin …