Harmful Ingredients to Avoid in Personal Care Products

There are over 80,000 chemicals currently used in the United States and most haven't been tested for their effects on human health. Of those 80,000 chemicals, only 80 are banned from being used in personal care products in the US (compared to 1400 in the UK and 600 in Canada). The government is not focusing on safety so it’s up to use to screen products for ourselves.

Below is a list of some of the top ingredients you should be avoiding in your skincare, makeup, lotions, shampoos, and hair dye. This is not an exhaustive list but it does have some of the most concerning ones.


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    Check out this list and bring it with you while you’re at the store or cross-reference it while you’re looking for products online. You can also shop at Beautycounter, a brand that has banned all of these ingredients (as well as 1500 others that may pose a potential risk for human health).

    Don’t want to carry this list around? Check out the Healthy Living or Think Dirty apps to scan products and see where they rank. Note that not all brands are listed, so it’s still good to have this list on file somewhere.



    Somewhere in my mid-twenties I started noticing a lot more blackheads than usual. If I rubbed my hand along my nose and chin I would feel hundreds of tiny bumps protruding. I’d spend hours in the mirror trying to squeeze them out, only to find I was making them larger. Then I decided to purchase an at home extractor to help limit the amount of grease my fingers were adding to my skin and crossing my fingers I wasn’t doing lasting damage to my face.

    Then I started using Biore Pore Strips. Those worked well except for when they didn’t. I couldn’t quite nail the water to strip ratio and sometimes they’d just get super-soggy and only pull up a couple blackheads. Next up was harsh exfoliators that are known to leave micro tears in skin.. and also didn’t keep my blackheads away.

    There seemed to be nothing out there that could help me get the clear, glowing skin of my youth. Then I found Beautycounter. Beautycounter has a couple of incredible products that have made my pores not only shrink and stop being clogged, I literally feel like my complexion glows now. See below: no foundation/no filter!


    So, what products am I using to banish my blackheads? I’m using Beautycounter, a safer skincare company committed to health and safety standards that go above and beyond what’s required by U.S. law. They’ve banned over 1,500 harmful or questionably harmful ingredients so you can feel comfortable putting them on your skin. Here’s my lineup:


    I use the Charcoal Cleansing Bar in the shower every morning. This product is formulated to cleanse your skin and break down oils that tend to clog your pores without causing extreme dryness. I love how squeaky clean I feel after I use it. I tend to stick with one wash with the charcoal bar each day and use a more hydrating cleanser at night (like the Pure Calm Cleansing Milk or the Cleansing Balm).


    No. 3 Balancing Face Mask is something I used 1-2x/week when my blackheads were really bad. I love how you can see the oil being absorbed by the charcoal as the mask starts to dry. It’s really satisfying! As your blackheads start to be less and less of a nuisance you will only need to do a maintenance mask every other week.

    Overnight Resurfacing Peel has been a game changer for me. This thing has 15 botanically derived acids that help break down dead skin cells, meaning there are less to collect in your pores. After using this product the appearance of my pores has gone down tremendously and my skin feels smoother than a baby’s butt. Not kidding!


    The Countermatch Adaptive Moisture Lotion leaves skin feeling super hydrated without feeling extra greasy. It’s formulated to be lightweight and absorb quickly into your skin and I always feel refreshed after putting it on. It won’t clog your pores and will help you get bright, beautiful skin.