Cruelty Free - Vegan Cosmetics

Do You Know What's In Your Makeup

Sonia OBrien

Posted on January 02 2020

Do You Know What's In Your Makeup

(In photo: miranda of


I used to be one of those people who didn’t bother to check the ingredients inside makeup nor other health and beauty products. Like many today, I assumed they were safe, as long as I brought them from reputable companies and stores  or popular internet websites.   

How wrong I was about makeup

The fact is today lots of makeup contain loads of harmful chemicals and some other stuff.  Another unfortunate fact is that cosmetic companies are not strictly regulated in terms of harmful and unhealthy chemicals, and therefore get away with selling ingredients that are just plain bad for us.  Other companies manufacture their products with third-parties who are often unregulated, and therefore are riddled with unsanitary conditions resulting with products that contain nasty contaminants such as bacteria.     

How we get roped in.

You buy cheap beauty products and makeup because you're looking to save money, and when you see a bargin basement cosmetic you go for it.  But this isn't always the smart move. You may luck up and find lipstick on sale at reputable retailers. But beware of prices that seem too good to be true on the internet or from sellers that may not be around tomorrow, like flea market vendors, especially when buying popular brand beauty products. And sometimes from the brands themselves. Buying some brands may land you in more trouble than you bargained for.

How nasty is it

According to a NY Times article of February 09, 2019, "independent researchers have found asbestos in shimmery products marketed to young girls; they’ve linked harmful chemicals in nail polish to serious health problems in nail technicians; and they’ve traced reproductive health issues and mercury poisoning to hair and skin products used by many women of color. At the same time, some 200 people reached a settlement in a class-action lawsuit against Wen Hair Care, whose products they say burned their scalps and gave them alopecia; and nearly 12,000 people have sued Johnson & Johnson claiming that asbestos in the company’s baby powder gave them ovarian cancer. (Wen issued a statement saying it believes its products are safe; Johnson & Johnson has said its baby powder is safe and has never contained asbestos.)"  

Which brings to mind, according to, a consumer alert regarding asbestos, has been issued claiming popular kids makeup products containing asbestos are being sold at Claire's Stores ( Not associated with, a national retailer of cosmetics, jewelry, and novelties aimed at children, tweens, and young adults. 

And it gets nastier 

In 2018, officials in Los Angeles seized $700,000 worth of counterfeit cosmetics from a well-known outdoor shopping area. The knock-offs  included high-end brand names, such as Urban Decay, MAC, NARS and Kylie Cosmetics.

Customers definitely did not get the luxury products they had bargained for.  Instead, lab test on the makeup revealed some surprising results. The makeup was contaminated with high levels of bacteria and feces, according to ABC News in Los Angeles.

Asked how feces got into the makeup, Detective Rick Ishitani of the L.A. Police Department explained that counterfeit products aren't made under the same safe and hygienic conditions that real products are.

"Those feces will just basically somehow get mixed into the product they're manufacturing in their garage or in their bathroom -- wherever they're manufacturing this stuff," he told ABC News.

How you can be hurt

Fortunately, most incidents of cosmetic counterfeiting or product contamination aren't as serious. But if you don't buy from reputable brick and mortar and online retailers, it's hard to know exactly what's in the products you're putting on your face. You don't want to become the unfortunate few who buy defective makeup.  

That's what happened to a 47-year-old California woman earlier last year. She was semi-conscience for weeks after using a Pond's-fake-labeled skin cream that was purchased in Mexico. Turns out the product had been corrupted with mercury. According to some reports, the levels of mercury in her blood were 500 times the normal amount. 

Pond's official statement declared that it emphatically never uses mercury in its products. The company is working with authorities investigating this incident and will update the media at a later date.

How can you protect yourself?

Most consumer experts and law enforcement agree: It's almost impossible for the average consumer to tell the difference between a branded product and a well-done counterfeit.

The best advice is to buy cosmetics and skin care products from reputable sources, such as legitimate dealers and websites.  

The FDA cautions consumers to be wary of products on sale at flea markets or re-sold online in channels such as auctions. It recommended checking packaging carefully for any evidence that the product might have been repackaged or relabeled. Also, make sure the product looks and smells like it should.

You can also buy natural vegan beauty products like the ones sold at  The popular vegan website suggest there are "5 Things To Be Aware of When Choosing Your Makeup." 


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