Chemicals in Makeup: Controversial Chemicals, Popular Alternatives, and How to Learn What You’re Putting on Your Face
Have you ever actually looked at the list of ingredients on your favorite cosmetic? If not, you'll be amazed—and totally perplexed—by some of the scary-sounding components you see. Can you guess which popular cosmetic includes the following?
Cyclopentasiloxane, Isododecane, Vinyl Dimethicone/Methicone Silsesquioxane Crosspolymer, Lauroyl Lysine, Tocopheryl Acetate, Ethylhexylglycerin, and... Methicone
Those are just a few ingredients from one of our favorites: Smashbox Photo Finish Pore Minimizing Primer. We love that stuff, and it’s kind of a bummer to hear it’s got so many weird things in it. And, unfortunately—the full ingredient list is much longer!
And you're putting that stuff. On your face. Every day. For years.
So... it makes sense to look at what your wearing, and understand what it is your putting on your skin.
Here's the good news: despite those crazy names, many of those ingredients are totally fine to wear for a great number of people. Many of the chemicals in makeup have scary-sounding names, but they're safe for use for many people (and that’s why so many people can wear makeups without any negative side effects). Other chemicals are a little more controversial, however, and their exact nature isn’t quite understood, so some people choose to avoid them.
Below, we go reaaaaaaally in-depth (that's kind of our style) about the ingredients in your makeup. We'll talk about the types of chemicals in makeups, the controversial ingredients that a lot of people don't like, and alternative ingredients you can look for if you want to stay away from the controversial ones. We'll also talk about how to find "natural" beauty products, and discuss the true meaning behind some of the buzzwords used when describing natural makeups.
There are two things we should mention before we jump in:
1) We are not chemists. In fact, if you asked us for a thousand words that describe us, not a single one would be “chemist.” We are also not medical professionals. The post below is designed for informational purposes only, and if you are concerned about a skin condition or need medical advice of any kind, please contact a licensed medical professional and get the information you need.
2) In the post below, we won’t tell you to use / not use products that contain certain chemicals. There are plenty of websites that do so, and that’s not our aim. This post is to discuss the various chemicals in makeup, provide relevant information, and let you decide what’s best for you.
How Makeups Are Made / The Types of Ingredients Involved
This is a good place to start. All makeups include certain types of substances that give them shape and color and tone. Here are the most categories of chemicals that you’ll need to make a cosmetic:
Emollients are a type of ingredient that give a cosmetic its consistency. A lot of makeup products, like concealers, foundations, lipsticks—and even some blushes and eyeshadows—are creams or thick liquids, and in order to develop the consistency of that cream or thick liquid, cosmetics companies use an emollient ingredient.
Emollients include oils, waxes, and silicones, and are combined to make the base of a makeup formula, and to ensure it has slip and glide and can spread across the skin. Once the emollient base is created, pigment is added to the cosmetic to give it color.
Some of the more "natural-sounding" emollients you may come across would be plant oils, shea butter, cocoa butter, mineral oil, fatty acids, and petrolatum. Some of the more "chemical-y" emollients you may find include benzoates, myristates, stearates, triglycerides, and palmitates (among many others).
Emollients are also sometimes used as binders in pressed powders in order to help keep the powder makeup in one solid piece as well as to give it slip.
Emulsifiers are a class of ingredients that keep cosmetics from separating into different parts. Because cosmetics often contain ingredients that want to separate (like water and the oily emollients we just discussed), a “unifier” is needed to keep them together. Emulsifiers are included to do just that.
There are a lot of different kinds of emulsifiers used in cosmetics, and while their names aren’t always familiar to consumers, they are usually considered to be benign. Typical emulsifiers include laureth-4, polysorbates, and potassium cetyl sulfate.
The most important part of a makeup formula is probably the pigment. Pigments are the powder-based ingredients that give a cosmetic its color. Most pigments in makeup come from minerals like iron oxides (especially when it comes to skin-colored makeup), but occasionally food-grade synthetic dyes will also be used for more vivid shades. Pigments and dyes, especially ones mined from the earth, can sometimes become contaminated with dangerous substances so they are often more carefully regulated than other ingredient classes.
Some common mineral pigments you'll find will be iron oxide (which can be used to make red, yellow, brown, and black tones), chromium oxide (for green pigments), and ultramarines (for blue/violet colors). Titanium Dioxide / zinc oxide is also common in white pigments.
Some common dye pigments you'll see in ingredients lists include AZO colorants (mainly for red and yellow tones), triarylmethane (used for blue and green pigments), and xanthenes (for red and orange hues). Anthraquinone is also used in some green pigments.
Makeup formulas will often also include some kind of “filler,” which is a powder that will take away some of the product’s saturation (i.e. bring down the intensity of the color) and may also have an impact on the finish of the product (i.e. how matte or reflective it is). They may also improve the “spread-ability” of a product.
The most common filler is talcum powder, but mica, a group of silicate minerals, is sometimes also used, especially when shimmer is desired. Liker pigments, fillers are also usually mined from the earth, so they can also pose a contamination risk, and there are a lot of regulations about how these ingredients are processed.
Preservatives are the antimicrobial ingredients in cosmetics that prevent formulas from getting spoiled. They are extremely important because without them you would have to replace all of your makeup every week instead of every few months, or you may risk serious infections or sickness. Any makeup formula made with water absolutely requires a preservative, while formulas without water can sometimes be made without preservatives since the emollient ingredients do not host bacteria. Preservatives are also the types of ingredients that become controversial most often (and we’ll talk more about that below).
Preservatives span a wide range of ingredients, from parabens to formaldehyde releasers to isothiazolinones to phenoxyethanol to organic acids (like benzoic acid / sodium benzoate. Some are more controversial than others.
Cosmetic ingredients, all on their own, don’t usually smell that great—after all, they have all those weird chemicals in them!—and that’s why fragrances became such an important part of makeup formulation.
Sometimes, a fragrance used in a product is listed as “fragrance” or “parfum,” and that’s because cosmetics companies don’t want other cosmetics companies trying to figure out a similar formula.
But that means that a fragrance can have a list of ingredients not listed on the ingredient list—and that can be problematic, especially since certain fragrance ingredients can be irritating to the skin. Fragrance is very often one of the elements that cause skin issues among makeup/cosmetics wearers, so if you’re experiencing rashes, redness, etc. after makeup use, you may want to consider using a fragrance-free formulation.
There are other ingredients that are sometimes added to makeup formulas, like solvents, chelators, pH balancers, film-formers, and occasionally even skincare ingredients, but they can really vary from formulation to formulation.
The Controversial Chemicals: What They Are, What They Do, and Their Level of Controversy
Some of the ingredients commonly used in makeup have come under a lot of scrutiny, with some getting heavily regulated in certain countries because of the potential risks they pose.
There are many different groups that advocate for healthy ingredients in consumer products, and one of the better-known organizations is the Environmental Working Group (EWG). They’ve created a list of chemicals they consider toxic, and would like to have banned.
We’ll go through many of the chemicals on this list, and discuss the various scientific studies / literature / attitudes related to each. Just a quick reminder—we are not chemists or scientists of any stripe, and the text below is for informational purposes only. If you are worried about a skin condition or need medical advice, contact a licensed medical professional for the information you need.
Parabens are preservatives that have been extremely popular in cosmetics for many years but are now probably the most controversial class of ingredients, as they have been accused of being endocrine disruptors that can potentially lead to breast cancer. Other groups, including BreastCancer.org, stop short of saying that parabens cause cancer, but there are plenty of groups that warn consumers against using products that contain it.
It has become common for consumers to simply avoid ALL parabens in cosmetics, and in some places, parabens are already banned. The European Commission for Consumer Safety has banned Isopropyl-, Isobutyl-, Phenyl-, Benzyl-, and Pentylparaben, while mandating that others only be used at specific percentages. As a result, companies that manufacture or sell cosmetics in the EU adhere to these regulations. For Americans, the FDA (Food & Drug Administration) allows parabens in cosmetics, but is aware that there are many consumers who are concerned with the ingredient, and they continued to review published studies about the ingredient.
Phthalates (DBP, DMP, and DEP)
After parabens, phthalates seem to be the next group of “frequently avoided” ingredients. They have been considered a risk to the development of children, and because they are often added to the plastic used to make toys, many governments have taken action to restrict them. As endocrine disruptors, they may cause issues to the reproductive system. For many people, that alone is enough to make them worth avoiding.
In makeup, diethyl phthalate (DEP) is often used as a fragrance fixative and is often not labeled in the ingredient list, and dibutyl phthalate (DBP) used to be a common nail polish ingredient that increased flexibility (most brands avoid it now).
The FDA does not consider phthalates in cosmetics a risk because the amounts used in cosmetics are very small, and it seems to be dosage that determines whether or not the ingredient is harmful. If you are nervous about them, using fragrance-free makeup is a good way of avoiding phthalates in your cosmetics, and you can also look for cosmetics that explicitly state they are phthalate-free.
Formaldehyde (or Formalin)
Formaldehyde is an organic compound (you read that right—believe it or not, it’s an all-natural compound found in organic food, including pears, apples, and onions), but it’s also known to be cancer-causing, particularly after long-term exposure. It used to be a common ingredient in nail polishes, which was usually more of an issue for nail technicians working in poorly ventilated salons than it was to consumers who weren’t inhaling it on a regular basis. Most mainstream nail polishes are made without it these days.
When it comes to mainstream makeup, you may occasionally see formaldehyde in adhesives that contain latex, like certain eyelash glues. The amount of formaldehyde used in eyelash glues is usually far below what is considered potentially problematic by most governing bodies which is 0.2% in the EU, USA, and Australia. Nonetheless, some people choose to avoid it.
Increasingly more brands have released formaldehyde-free eyelash glues which they usually advertise as such, so it has become easy to avoid when you do your research and read product labels.
Formaldehyde Releasers (DMDM Hydantoin, Diazolidinyl Urea, Quaternium-15, and Diazolidinyl Urea)
Formaldehyde releasers are a category of preservatives that work by slowly releasing formaldehyde into a formula to prevent the formation of bacteria and fungus. One concern about these preservatives that is often presented is that, while they are mostly safe initially, problems can arise once the product has been sitting on the shelf for a while and the preservative system has degraded, filling the product with formaldehyde, which then poses the same hazards we described earlier. In Europe, formaldehyde releasers may only be used up to 0.05% concentration, though in the USA they are not regulated. You can choose to avoid them altogether or to mitigate risk by using products preserved with them within a few months.
Mercury and Thimerosal
Mercury, and the preservative derived from it, thimerosal (sometimes listed as thiomersal), has been used to preserve cosmetics, although it is now banned from use in most cosmetics in both the EU and the USA (with the exception that it may be used in cosmetics around the eyes in very small amounts). Both mercury and its derivatives can cause contact dermatitis in small amounts, while high amounts of mercury can be toxic.
It's very rare to find a cosmetic made with mercury, and in all of our days obsessing about makeup, we haven’t found any mainstream cosmetic products that include mercury or thiomersal. THAT SAID, mercury can still be found in skin lightening products sold in countries that have lax regulations, so it’s important to be careful and always read the ingredient list.
Carbon Black (D & C Black No. 2 or Acetylene Black.)
Carbon black is a type of black pigment sometimes used in cosmetics (especially mascaras and eyeliners) that is often derived from coal tar. It is considered a potential carcinogen, but the risk usually comes from inhalation at the workplace so it is generally approved for use in cosmetics. The FDA regulates the levels at which it may be used, but many cosmetic producers have replaced it with iron oxides.
Lead and Other Heavy Metals
Lead is a heavy metal that is never intentionally used in cosmetics, which unfortunately means that scanning an ingredient list for it won’t tell you much. Instead, it can occur as a contaminant, usually when pigments are not properly processed. In the US, the FDA regulates color additives that are likelier to be contaminated with heavy metals and mandates testing, and per usual, the EU is even more strict. The real risk comes from buying color cosmetics from companies that are not reputable.
PTFE, PFAS, or PFOA (Fluoropolymers or Teflon)
You may be familiar with Teflon as the coating on your non-stick pan, but similar chemicals called fluoropolymers are occasionally used in cosmetics, usually to make them more waterproof. This ingredient has come under fire for being potentially carcinogenic and toxic to the reproductive system, though most research that has been done was on people living in places where water supplies were contaminated with it due to proximity to factories.
Per usual, the risk is in the dose as well as in the method of exposure, but it’s also worth noting that fluoropolymers haven’t been thoroughly studied as used in cosmetics (and, of course, that doesn’t mean they’re actually safe to use). The Cosmetics Ingredient Review (CIR) board, an organization devoted to studying cosmetics ingredients, is still reviewing this class of chemicals, while the EU will start regulating PFOA (Perfluorooctanoic acid) specifically in 2020.
In our experience, these ingredients are not very commonly used, but you can double-check the ingredient lists of waterproof makeup for any ingredients that start with “perfluoro” or “polyfluoro” if you wish to avoid them, or buy cosmetics that are manufactured (and manufactured to be sold) in Europe.
Penetration Enhancers (Glycols)
Glycols, including propylene glycol, butylene glycol, and ethylene glycol, are humectants and penetration enhancers sometimes used in more liquid cosmetic products. Different glycols are often cited as dangerous for reasons because they also have industrial uses in products like antifreeze or that they can be harmful if large quantities are consumed at once. As used in cosmetics, a great deal of evidence points to glycols being fairly safe.
Titanium Dioxide (Nano, especially)
Titanium dioxide is a mineral often used in cosmetics as a sunscreen and filler. The concerns with titanium dioxide are mostly related to inhalation risk, and there have been documented cases of cancer caused by repeated inhalation of titanium dioxide powder in workplaces.
The nano form of titanium dioxide has raised a bit more concern since it can get into the body through broken skin or may pose an inhalation risk in a spray-on product, which is why it is slightly more heavily regulated in the EU.
You may choose to avoid titanium dioxide in face powders, especially if you use them liberally and don’t trust yourself not to inhale when applying, or you can opt for cream formulas, where the chances of you inhaling titanium dioxide are very slim.
Talcum Powder and Asbestos
Talcum powder is often used in powders as a filler and mattifier, and you might also be familiar with it as baby powder. Talc on its own may be carcinogenic when large amounts are inhaled regularly, but it poses a higher risk if it contaminated with asbestos. Johnson & Johnson got in trouble for not disclosing when tests showed that their talcum powder was contaminated with it.
Nowadays, the FDA monitors products that contain talcum much more closely, so keeping up to date with recalls is a good idea. Talcum, as used in liquid makeup, won’t pose an inhalation risk, while the risk can be easily mitigated with face powders.
Silicones (Cyclomethicone, Dimethicone, and more)
If you’ve read our various foundation posts, you know we’re usually fans of silicone, which is a class of silky-smooth ingredients used to make foundations. There are tons of different silicones used in cosmetics, so you can recognize them by the ending: words ending in -cone or -siloxane are usually silicones. They are related to silicates, which are naturally-occurring minerals.
In skin and hair care, they are highly occlusive, meaning that they create a barrier over the skin and hair. In makeup, their big benefit is that they stay on the surface of the skin without penetrating, which ensures makeup stays in place throughout the day.
There are many sources that say that silicones can trap bacteria in the skin, but, of course, there are other sources that doesn’t happen and they’re fine, and they don’t trap bacteria under the skin. There are a lot of myths surrounding silicones, and it can be difficult to ascertain what’s factual. We, personally, know a few people who suffer acne / rashes when using silicones, but that’s anecdotal—and we know plenty of people who have no problem with it.
The most legitimate reason to avoid silicones is that certain types (especially D4 and D5) can accumulate in the environment after they are washed down the drain. This has lead the EU to restrict the quantities that may be used, especially in wash-off cosmetics, and you may choose to avoid these particular silicones in your makeup.
Mineral oil, which you might be more familiar with as baby oil, is technically not an oil but a greasy fluid that is produced as a byproduct of the petroleum industry and has skin-protectant properties. It is occasionally used in cream-based makeup products but is more common in moisturizers.
Like silicones, mineral oil is also extremely occlusive, so it is often incorrectly cited as causing acne, although, in reality, research has shown that it is not comedogenic (i.e. acne-causing) at all. There are no health concerns surrounding topical applications of mineral oil—instead, the concerns come from its potential of including contaminants, but cosmetic-grade mineral oil undergoes a serious purification process so they are unfounded.
Alternatives to the Controversial Chemicals
So now that we know a little bit about the more controversial ingredients, let’s take a look at some of their alternatives.
With so many cosmetic ingredients causing controversy, the cosmetics industry had to learn to formulate cosmetics without them. In many instances, that meant totally changing the way cosmetics were formulated, by opting for water-free formulas that don’t require strong preservatives or by using highly airtight containers that do a better job of keeping away oxygen and bacteria.
In other instances, however, they’ve relied on alternatives that are regarded as safer. It’s worth noting that some professionals have raised concerns about these alternative chemicals, because very often, these alternative ingredients are not as well researched as their “controversial” counterparts. While they may not raise the same red flags, they haven’t yet been put under the same microscope.
Let’s explore the alternatives that the green beauty industry is now using instead:
Phenoxyethanol is the preservative that has taken the place of parabens in a lot of formulations, though it’s not accepted by everyone in the green beauty community. While it is still a synthetic preservative, there is no evidence suggesting it could be an endocrine disruptor, which is the main issue with parabens. It can cause allergic reactions to some and isn’t appropriate for babies since accidental ingestion can affect their nervous system. However, most sources consider it a safe preservative as it is used in cosmetics by adults.
For those who are also avoiding phenoxyethanol, the next class of preservatives are food-grade preservatives, like benzyl alcohol, dehydroacetic acid, benzoic acid, sodium levulinate, sodium salicylate, and sodium anisate.
Used singly, these preservatives are not incredibly strong—some can keep fungi away, but not bacteria, and vice versa—but when used together, they can make for a comprehensive preservative system that keeps natural makeup from spoiling for a good amount of time—not as long as parabens or phenoxyethanol would, but long enough for most makeup users.
The main issues with these types of preservatives are that they are much harder to formulate, but reputable green beauty formulators seem committed to taking on the challenge and finding ways to make them work. If you want to avoid some of the more controversial preservatives in makeups, these can be ingredients to look for.
Silicone Alternatives: Silica, Oils, Coconut Alkanes, and Fatty Acids
As much as we love silicones, we understand that many choose to avoid them. Formulating cream makeup without silicone is very difficult, but different green beauty brands have found innovative ways to formulate without them, usually by mixing together different botanical oils, fatty acids, and waxes until they reach a similar (but never identical) texture.
The closest ingredients that mimic the slippery but non-greasy feel of silicone are coconut alkanes, which are derived from coconut oil, as well as silica, which is the mineral from which silicone is derived. The special benefit of formulas that rely on botanical oils instead of silicone is that the oils themselves are very rich in antioxidants and soothing compounds that are excellent for the skin.
Rosemary or Grapefruit Seed Extracts
Some green beauty formulators (usually hobbyists who make cosmetics at home) will use rosemary and grapefruit seed extracts as preservatives in their cosmetics. While these ingredients do offer some nice antioxidant benefits and may have some antibacterial properties that can keep cosmetic ingredients fresh, neither one has undergone the requisite rigorous testing to qualify as a sufficient preservative for cosmetics. Because of this, you may want to think twice about any product that relies on one of these or any other plant extract as the only preservative in their formula.
How to Learn About the Chemicals in Your Makeup
We’ve covered a lot of the different chemicals in makeup throughout this post, but the truth is that we haven’t even scratched the surface—there are thousands of different ingredients that go into cosmetics, so to become truly educated you will probably have to conduct a bit more research.
Thankfully, US law mandates that companies have to include the ingredient lists of their products at the point of purchase, and we think that’s a law for a reason. Educated consumers make better purchasing decisions, and the main way to be educated is to know what you’re buying. Always have a look at the ingredients list before buying something, so that you can actually know what’s in it! The more often you do this, the more familiar you will find yourself becoming with what goes into different types of makeup items, and you’ll be able to look out for ingredients you would rather avoid.
So, what happens when you’ve read the ingredient list and you don’t understand a thing? Happens to the best of us! The next step towards becoming more educated is to research unfamiliar terms. It can be as simple as looking up an ingredient on Wikipedia (which, despite being publicly sourced, is often a great jumping-off point for research), or in any of one of the blogs we recommend below.
This will often be enough to give you a basic understanding of what an ingredient does, but with more controversial or complex ingredients you may want to dig a little deeper. At that point, especially if you see grand claims made either about the efficacy or danger of a specific ingredient, it’s important to read from a variety of sources—ideally, academic or government ones. The EU has the Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety, while in the US the FDA’s website is an excellent resource, and those who are more scientifically-minded may prefer to read what the Cosmetic Ingredient Review has to say.
As a bonus, there are a few bloggers whose insight into ingredients and the science of makeup we absolutely love:
First, there’s LabMuffin, which is a beauty blog run by Australian chemistry educator Michelle Wong, Ph.D. She does everything from product reviews to ingredient profiles and is excellent at explaining complicated scientific concepts in a way that the average person can understand. If you were ever curious about the more complex chemical processes that make makeup and skincare do what they do, her blog is a great read.
Next, there is The Beauty Brains, which is a blog and podcast run by cosmetic chemists who have worked behind the scenes for major brands formulating a ton of different products. They answer questions from readers, discuss beauty industry news, and dispel any cosmetics-related misinformation. Another incredible resource.
Then there is The Eco Well, a blog run by Jen Novakovich, a Canadian cosmetic chemist, and environmentalist. The blog covers the beauty industry from a scientific yet eco-friendly perspective, a combination of chemistry and green beauty that we really appreciate.
Finally, there is KindofStephen, a blog run by chemist Stephen Alain Ko, who always manages to challenge us. These days, the blog primarily consists of beauty news round-ups that include both fluffy content as well as important write-ups on ingredient safety and FDA actions, but the archive features a lot of his fascinating thoughts about ingredients and formulation.
How to Find Natural Makeup: Understanding the Terms
So, as we’ve discussed, not all chemicals are bad, but we can understand why you might prefer to stick to makeup that is free of controversial ingredients. Beyond doing your own research, we'll explain what the different terms usually mean in the beauty industry:
Natural beauty usually means that a product is made primarily with non-synthesized ingredients. Natural products are not necessarily safer or healthier than products not marketed as natural, but there are a lot of fantastic natural beauty products that work well simply because they are well formulated! It’s worth noting that there is no universal standard for the term “natural beauty,” so while a product might be marketed as natural, it might still contain ingredients that you personally prefer to stay away from. So always be sure to dive into the ingredients list anyway, and see what you can find about how each individual brand defines the term for themselves. When companies do this, the practice is referred to as “greenwashing”.
On the other hand, the term organic is a lot more strict. Organic farming is regulated all over the world, and there are bodies like COSMOS and the USDA that regulate what it means for a cosmetic product to be organic. It doesn’t mean that all of the ingredients are certified organic, but it does mean that the formula as a whole contains a high percentage of organic ingredients and has an all-natural formula. Sadly, some brands will practice “greenwashing” by prominently featuring the term “organic” on their packaging when only one or two ingredients are organic and the rest of the formula is totally mainstream and may even include controversial ingredients, so keep a close eye out.
Next, there are two relatively newer terms: clean beauty and non-toxic beauty, which brands use when their focus is on avoiding controversial ingredients rather than on only using natural ingredients. This makes a lot of sense because as you saw, a lot of controversial ingredients can come from nature. Clean formulations may include synthetics that are regarded as mostly safe, like silicones or phenoxyethanol, but will not include any ingredients that have raised a lot of concern like formaldehyde donors or parabens. However, this term is not at all regulated, so different brands may have different standards for formulation when using it, so it’s still always better to examine the ingredient list.
A List of Companies That Make Cosmetics Without Some of the Controversial Chemicals
Here is a list of companies that we've known to make cosmetics without some of the chemicals we've discussed above. If there's a chemical/ingredient you want to avoid, the companies below may have a product that doesn't include it.
We've listed the companies below in alphabetical order—we've got many favorites on the list!—and some have wider product offerings than others. It's an incomplete list, for sure, so if you know of a company we've missed, please let us know!
- 100% Pure
- Afterglow Cosmetics
- Alima Pure
- Antonym Cosmetics
- Au Naturale
- Bite Beauty
- Dr. Hauschka
- Gabriel Cosmetics
- Herbivore Botanicals
- ILIA Beauty
- Inika Organic
- Jane Iredale
- Juice Beauty
- Kjaer Weis
- Lilah B.
- Nu Evolution
- P/Y/T Beauty
- RMS Beauty
- Tata Harper
- Vapour Organic Beauty
- W3LL People
- Zuii Organic
If you know of others, please jump over to our “Contact” page and tell us about them!
Chemicals in Cosmetics: A Wrap-Up
We’ll leave you with one summary thought before we wrap up: if you’re concerned about safety, it is almost always better to buy cosmetics that are subject to stringent government regulations. While the FDA has excellent regulations, it doesn’t mandate that cosmetics sold in the USA be registered so its oversight is a little more limited, while in the EU, companies have to prove that their cosmetics are safe before they can start selling them to consumers. Canada, Korea, Japan, and a variety of other countries have similarly stringent registration processes. Even if you are not located in a country with a strict registration process, buying products that are sold internationally might give you the peace of the mind that your makeup is likely safe and free of potentially harmful ingredients.
We hope that helps—thank you for reading, and thank you for your concern about healthy makeups. They more the industry knows that people want controversy-free cosmetics, the more products they’ll make. Good luck, have fun, and happy makeup!