9 Ingredients to Avoid in Beauty Products

9 Ingredients to Avoid in Beauty Products

I have been working on this post for WEEKS guys! WEEKS! In my last post about Fenty beauty where I discussed one of the harmful ingredients, you guys gave me such an overwhelming positive response that it gave me the inspiration to write about several ingredients we should avoid in our beauty products. It makes me so happy to know that you guys enjoy learning about what is and isn’t safe for you skin. Better yet, that you guys actually care.

Just like we want to take of our bodies and feed it what it deserves, we also need to take care of our skin and we often forget that the ingredients in our makeup and skincare often have a large impact on how our skin looks overall. I hope todays post will inspire you all to clean out your makeup bags + read your labels when you go in Sephora!

I broke this post down into 3 categories. I list where you will find these ingredients, why companies put these ingredients in makeup, and lastly, why you want to avoid them! I hope this helps give you guys an overall understanding of the ingredients.

Ingredients to Avoid:

  • Any type of silicone (dimethicone, methicone, trimethicone)
  • Parabens (Propyl-, Isopropyl-, Butyl-, and Isobutyl-)
  • Hydroquinone
  • Sodium lauryl sulfate
  • Polyethylene
  • Fragrance
  • PEG (Propylene glycol)
  • Retinol (Vitamin A) (make sure you read below on this one)
  • Petroleum Distillates

Breakdown of Ingredients:

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate:

  • Where you might find it: Foundation and Skin Care
  • Why it’s used: Helps create a lather in hair so your shampoo gives your hair a better clean
  • Why you want to avoid it: Known to irritate skin, is a pesticide used to kill plants, toxic fumes are released when heated, irritates eye


  • Where you might find it: Any makeup products and Skin Care
  • Why it’s used: Helps stop fungus from growing in your prodcuts
  • Why you want to avoid it: Parabens are preservatives (no one needs preservatives in their makeup!) can disrupt hormone function, related to breast tumors (British study done in 2014), linked to reproductive issues


  • Where you might find it: Makeup and Skin Care
  • Why it’s used: Acts as an adhesive, exfoliates
  • Why you want to avoid it: Known to irritate skin, often contaminated with dioxane- a carcinogen that penetrates the skin, can easily collect pollutants


  • Where you might find it: Anti Aging Skincare and Sun Screen
  • Why it’s used: Fights those pesky wrinkles
  • Why you want to be careful with it: Don’t ever use a product with retinol and go out into sunlight. If you use a retinol product and go out into sunlight, it ends up having reverse effects. Tip: Never ever buy a sunscreen with retinol! If it says “anti aging” read that label!!


  • Where you might find it: Makeup and Skin Care
  • Why it’s used: Masks unpleasant smells of other ingredients
  • Why you want to avoid it: Known allergen, contains hormone disruptors


  • Where you might find it: Skin Care (mainly skin lighteners, acne scar medicine, hyper pigmentation medicine)
  • Why it’s used: fades acne scars and hyper pigmentation
  • Why you want to avoid it: bleaches your skin, can cause ochronosis (skin disease that causes irreversible  black and blue lesions), skin irritant

Silicones: (anything that ends in -cone)

  • Where you might find them: Makeup and Skin Care
  • Why it’s used: Silicone creates a smooth canvas and it’s water resistant, + cheap to use
  • Why you want to avoid it: Silicones can be real bad for us oily skinned acne prone girls. Silicones trap debris in your pores! Therefore you end up with a few breakouts. They can also dehydrate your skin, which if you’re oily may not sound so bad, but it’s not healthy.

PEG (Propylyne Gylcol)

  • Where you might find it: Makeup and Skin Care
  • Why it’s used: Creates a smooth canvas on your skin, acts as a humectant (slows the loss of moisture)
  • Why you want to avoid it: Propylyne is a chemical that comes from petroleum or natural gas. When mixed with water its not considered toxic anymore. Makes sense. When on your skin in makeup and skin care products it creates a film over your skin and traps moisture, making your skin dry over time. It also tends to stay on your skin even after you remove your makeup.

Petroleum Distillates:

  • Where you might find it: Mascara
  • Why it’s used: Creates volume
  • Why you want to avoid it: This ingredient is produced alongside automobile fuel. It can cause dermatitis and has been linked to Cancer.

I’m sure I’m missing some ingredients, but I feel like this is a good list of several of main ones that are well known! I’d also love to know what your thoughts are on some of these ingredients. Do you use any of these in your beauty products? I created a graphic below so that you guys can easily save this list to your Pinterest boards! Thanks for taking the time to read. 🙂

Chat soon!
xo, Rach



  1. March 10, 2018 / 8:57 am

    Sodium Laurel Sulfate is the #1 ingredient to avoid in shampoo and other hair care products when you have curly hair. It’s the same ingredient that cuts the grease in your DISH SOAP! idk about you but I definitely do NOT want something that can clean baked lasagna on my scalp. Avoiding silicone is A+ important too for curly hair. So I love this whole list! I’ve found that aiming to use cruelty free and environmentally conscious products as a whole helps avoid these things. Amazing list.


    • Rachel
      March 15, 2018 / 7:38 pm

      Dannie! I did not know that about shampoo! Thankfully that product isn’t in my shampoo. It’s insane the unnecessary things that are put in our everyday products!

      Thanks for reading 🙂

  2. March 11, 2018 / 10:25 am

    Great post! This is always good to know. I like that you broke down each ingredient so we could understand why it’s there. It’s crazy how many ingredients are in beauty products that don’t actually need to be in there.

    • The Sass Room
      March 15, 2018 / 7:39 pm

      Thank you for the positive feedback, Cristina! It is truly so insane, and I’m so glad I’m aware of these things now. It has saved my skin!

      xo, Rach

  3. March 12, 2018 / 8:31 am

    Thank you for posting this!! I’m so happy that so many of the brands I love have been avoiding these ingredients the last several years; I’ve seen such a difference in my skin and hair!

    • The Sass Room
      March 15, 2018 / 7:40 pm

      That’s awesome, Renee! It’s a wonder why they even put those products in there to begin with!

      Thanks for reading!
      xo Rach

    • The Sass Room
      March 15, 2018 / 7:41 pm

      So glad to hear that, Briana! You’ll have to update me on how your skin reacts to healthier products!

      xo, Rach

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