8 Terrifying Things You Need To Know About Everyday Beauty Products

You’ll never look at nail art the same way again.

1. The FDA can’t ensure that all cosmetics are safe before you buy them.

Via SujaImages/Shutterstock

With the exception of color additives, the FDA does not have the authority to approve cosmetics before they’re sold, and can only take action once a product actually hurts people. So, beauty products are basically on the honor system.

2. The phthalates in your perfume and hairspray can cause reproductive problems in men.


Studies have shown that phthalates can cause hormonal problems in both men and women, and are already banned from toys in the U.S., as they can cause asthma in children.

3. Octinoxate in your sunscreen can actually increase the risk of skin cancer.

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An expert UV absorber, Octinoxate is really, really good at being sunscreen. Unfortunately, it’s so good that the absorbed UV rays can actually generate heat, which means it can keep causing damage to your skin even after you’re no longer in the sun. Think of it this way: Octinoxate is like a leaky bucket. It stores the UV rays, but can slowly allow them to absorb into your skin.

4. The grainy stuff in your exfoliating scrub is also one of the main ingredients in dynamite.



Along with nitroglycerin, Diatomaceous earth is one of two main ingredients found in dynamite. Its natural abrasiveness makes it really popular in natural care products.

5. Your waterproof mascara works by coating your lashes in plastic.

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Which is what makes it so hard to get off at night.

6. Your nail polish and shampoo can contain formaldehyde, which can affect your sense of smell, cause respiratory problems, and is banned in Canada.

Dmitry Fischer/Shutterstock

You may also have heard of formaldehyde from such gross things as cigarette smoke and preserving dead bodies. Not surprisingly, it’s also a known carcinogen. (From the book What’s In This Stuff?)

7. Many lipsticks contain a completely legal amount of lead, a substance that can lower IQ in children.

Via anburoushasu/Shutterstock

The FDA has gone on record to say that the amounts of lead found in lipstick is completely fine, though it has no power to keep the lead out.

8. The European Union has banned 1,372 ingredients from cosmetics. The U.S. has banned only eight.

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