So you’re eating plants and doing a “dry January”, good for you! Putting good things into your body is a great way to start the year. But what about what you’re putting on to your body? Think about it, your skin is your largest organ and it’s full of pores, so where do all of those chemicals found in standard beauty products go? Yup, back into that beautiful body of yours.

While it seems like just about everything causes cancer these days, extensive studies have proven the dangers of certain toxins commonly found in skin and beauty products. In fact, there’s even a “Dirty Dozen” of beauty just like there is for produce. So what exactly do we need to avoid, where do we need to look and why? Here are the Cliffs Notes:


Endocrine disruptors mess with your hormones and glands like your thyroid and adrenals. This can mean anything from birth defects and fertility issues, to cancerous tumors, obesity and even autoimmune diseases. (They’re found in a lot of household cleaners too, so stay tuned for my guide to cleaning up your house…)


Preservatives often found in moisturizers and makeup.


A plasticizer found in nail products. Also a reproductive toxicant.


Preservatives found in a variety of cosmetics.


Used in many products like shampoo and lip gloss to smooth and soften. Also a reproductive toxicant.


Used in antibacterial cosmetics including toothpaste, antiperspirants and cleansers. Also causes antibiotic resistance to good bacteria (part of the reason we all need probiotics now?).



Frequent exposure to these body bullies can cause a variety of cancers from tumors to blood. Many of these also do double duty and poison the brain with heavy metals and lead to neurotoxicity. (Yikes!)


Used to make things creamy or foamy like moisturizers and shampoos.


Inorganic pigments often used in dyes and colored products. Have also shown heavy metal toxicity.


Used to preserve a variety of cosmetics, the slow release of formaldehyde causes cancer.


Used to make a variety of products smell “good”, parfum can lead to neurotoxicity and cancer.


Often used in cosmetic cream bases, these can also include other ingredients with the letters “eth”.


It’s a petrol product. Same stuff we use to fuel our cars. Need we say more?


Used to cause foaming in things like cleansers and bubble bath.


Before you freak and resign yourself to feeling un-groomed for the next 50 years, we have options. Check out our own “Clean Fifteen” list of beauty products that you can trust. Plus, a couple of key spots in NYC and LA to get pampered and de-stress from all of this toxin talk.  


1. SheaTerra Maracuja Beauty Milk $26

When oil is too rich and cream is too thick, this light beauty milk offers just the right amount of moisture with aloe vera and maracuja oil.

2. Pratima Kumari Ayurvedic Cleanser $19

Formulated according to Ayurvedic principles, this liquid cleanser uses organic aloe, lemon and sweet orange to gently clear you of your sins...or blackheads.

3. Tata Harper Volumizing Lip/Cheek Tint $35

Give your lips and cheeks a rosy zzzzing with natural pigments and a pinch of Spanish lavender.

4. Aimee Raupp Cocoa Butter Eye Cream $24

Formulated by a holistic fertility coach in NYC, this intensely nourishing eye cream eradicates all the bad stuff like fine lines, dark circles and age spots.

5. Intelligent Nutrients Antioxidant Lip Gloss $24

This USDA organic, antioxidant food grade ingredients that fights aging and tastes like a piece of gluten-free cake.

6. W3LL People Narcissist Foundation/Concealer Stick $39

Cover your bases with this do-it-all stick made from organic sunflower oil, aloe vera and green tea.

7. Caudalie Vinoperfect Tinted Moisturizer $49

Just the right amount of coverage, this lightweight cream is even lighter (like empty) on toxins.

8. Juice Beauty Refining Finish Powder $22

Finish off your look with this powder made of tapioca and natural fruit extracts.

9. RMS Beauty Living Luminizer $38

Get that lit from within glow, now and long term with organic ingredients like purifying rosemary and vitamin-E rich coconut oil.

10. Alima Pure Natural Definition Brow Pencil $18

Just as the name suggests, Alima is pure and free of toxic, synthetic or animal ingredients. Brow raising, we know.

11. Kjaer Weis Mascara $38

This lengthening and volumizing mascara packs it’s organic power into a tiny tube meant to avoid bacterial build up from air exposure.

12. S.W Basics Makeup Remover $14

Clean as these products may be, nothing beats a bare face.

13. Facials at Marie Lou & D Salon (NEW YORK)

A sweet spot for pampering yourself in SoHo with luxurious, vegan/toxin free Caudalie products.

14. Retail Therapy at CAP Beauty Spa & Shop (NEW YORK)

This West Village boutique and spa does the research so you don’t have to. Shop their pre-screened selection of cosmetics and beauty without fear.

15. Ayurvedic Beauty Treatments at Surya Spa (LOS ANGELES)

Customized beauty treatments based on age old Ayurvedic principles for skincare.


PHOTO CRED: Lianna Lianna Tarantin for S-Life Magazine