Organic Makeup: Should You Make The Switch?

Read time: 6 mins

Have you ever thought about making the switch to organic makeup? Well you should seriously consider making the switch because our skin absorbs the makeup we use and if you use makeup, which has alot of irritants you can suffer from the side effects. According to the article,” Why Switch to All Natural Cosmetics?” by Lori Stryker, it states, skin has the remarkable ability to absorb applied products, partially or completely, into the bloodstream. Up to 60% of the products we use on our skin are absorbed and deposited into the circulatory system. Cosmetics penetrate the skin to some degree. For instance, people who wear lipstick consume 1.5 to 4 tubes in a lifetime. If you consider the ingredients being absorbed by the body, absorbing plant oils and waxes, is healthier than absorbing petroleum by-products and synthetic chemicals. The article,” Why Switch to All Natural Cosmetics?” by Lori Stryker created this table to show which ingredients have possible negative side effects.

Ingredients to Avoid

Forms Found in Cosmetics and Possible Negative Side Effects


Thought to contribute to Alzheimer's Disease.

Found in almost all antiperspirants.

Works by blocking pores so sweat cannot be released by the skin.

Artificial colours

FD&C, derived from coal tar.

For example, Azo dyes are a risk to asthmatics, eczema sufferers and people sensitive to aspirin.

Causes hyperactivity in children, severe headaches, blurred vision and itchy/watery eyes and nose (Antczak, 2001).


Benzoates Benzoic acid, sodium benzoate or parahydroxy benzoate.

Used as a preservative in cosmetics and fizzy drinks.Causes gastric irritation, numbing of the mouth and aggravates asthma (Antczak, 2001).

Certain essential oils

Rosemary is harmful to epileptics.Sage is not recommended for pregnant women.


Causes allergic reactions, irritating to eyes and dries out hair and skin (Fairley, 2001).

Dibutyl phthalate

Found in all persons tested by the CDC (Center for Disease Control, USA) in a 2000 Fall study.

Highest levels were found in women of reproductive age.

Causes birth defects in animals, and damaging to the male reproductive system (ABC News, Internet Ventures 2000).

Used in cosmetics to assist the absorption of other ingredients.


A preservative.

Causes skin reactions.

Imidazolidinyl urea is the second most identified preservative causing contact dermatitis (American Academy of Dermatology: Fairley, 2001).

DMDM hydantoin

Quaternium 15





Can contain up to 200 undeclared substances (Fairley, 2001).

Major cause, in addition to artificial colours, of skin irritations and allergies (Antczak, 2001).

May cause dizziniess, skin irritation and hyperpigmentation (Fairley, 2001).

Genetically Modified Organisms

Soy, Corn

Effects still undetermined.

Isopropyl Alcohol

Drying agent, from petroleum.

Keratolytic chemicals

Such as hydroxyl acids, retinoic acid.

Corrosive, used in skin peels.

Dissolves the stratum corneum of the epidermis (outermost layer), making skin more sensitive to sun damage.

Accelerates production of dead skin cells; the skin thickens to repair its surface so that vulnerable skin cells underneath are protected from the effects of skin peeling.(Antczak, 2001).


Causes allergic reactions and irritations (Fairley, 2001).


Petroleum product.

Triggers skin irritations and may be an xerestrogen (Fairley, 2001).May play a role in falling sperm counts and rising breast cancer rates (Fairley, 2001).Used in 99% of all cosmetics (Fairley, 2001), and in many so-called 'natural'products.


Derived from petroleum.

In the form of wax, mineral oil or petrolatum.

Comedogenic, i.e.blocks pores.

Propylene Glycol

When derived from petroleum.

Increases the amount of acid in the body, resulting in metabolic problems.

Large amounts are needed to produce this effect (Agency forToxic Substances and Disease Registry or ATSDR, 2003).

Sodium laureth sulfate, sodium lauryl sulfate

Forms carcinogenic nitrogen compounds when combined with specific ingredients.

Irritating to eyes, skin and lungs (Antczak, 2001).

Harmful if swallowed and may cause damage to eyes (Antczak, 2001).


Animal fat.

Not suitable for vegans, and may be a skin irritant.


Found in many nail products and nail polish removers.

Produced during the process of making gasoline and other fuels from crude oil or coal.

Evaporates into the air when products containing toluene are opened.

May affect the nervous system, and/or cause tiredness, confusion, weakness, nausea, or loss of appetite.

Symptoms disappear when exposure is eliminated (ATSDR, 2003).


The Benefits of Organic Makeup:

  1. Natural and organic cosmetics contain organic vegetable oils and organic essential oils. Vegetable oil is rich in active substances, such as, essential fatty acids, vitamins which have a natural feel and texture; it has a moisturizing effect on the skin;

  2. It is better to use organic products on a daily basis especially for skincare and hair care because there is little chance of harsh reactions.

  3. Organic makeup does away with experiments on animals and promotes fair trade etc;

  4. People with skin conditions and other medical requirements should go for organic products as they are natural and safer than their synthetic counterparts. To be on the safe side, always test for allergies as certain products can react differently on some of us;

  5. In case of reactions, they subside very quickly as natural products are much safer than the chemical compounds (Kazi);

  6. It doesn't contain endocrine disruptors - Endocrine disruptors are man-made chemicals, which mimic, change hormone production or the system carrying them. Many of these endocrine disruptors are found in regular makeup and can be linked to mood swings, hormonal imbalances, fertility issues and even cancer;

  7. It's good for the environment - organic makeup is generally more nutrient rich and tends to contain more vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Many consumers that are fans of its true environmental benefits look at using organic products as a way of cutting down the amount of pollutants that can enter the body, and

  8. It's widely available and affordable (Mitchell).

The Bad:

  1. The shelf life of organic beauty products is shorter, as they are free of preservatives and lead;

  2. Not many color options available (Kazi);

  3. Organic makeup isn't waterproof - No cosmetic product that is certified organic for purity will ever be waterproof or water resistant;

  4. No preservatives- If a product is truly made up of 'all certified-organic ingredients,' then it does not contain the preservatives that have been developed to keep bacteria and other contaminants from forming in your makeup bottle. These well-understood preservatives ensure your makeup mixes smoothly and lasts longer. There are some 'natural preservatives' that do help, but they just don't work as well, and

  5. It's not safe for everyone - There is a misconception that natural or organic means safe and meant for everyone. However natural and organic ingredients are some of the strongest on the market. Therefore some skin, especially sensitive skin types, can react badly to these ingredients (Mitchell).

Making the switch to organic makeup can help your skin because your skin is not being feed harmful chemicals. For instance, skin problems such as, acne, contact dermatitis, irritations and allergies may disappear once petroleum or synthetic ingredients are removed from your skin care regimen (Stryker).

Organic makeup has many benefits and it can be great for your skin. However before you decide to make the switch to organic makeup talk to your doctor first because your skin might be too sensitive for organic makeup. If you are in the clear to wear organic makeup, I have provided you with a list of links to places, which carry organic makeup.

Stores with Organic Makeup:

Happy Organic Makeup Shopping!!!



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