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The Never List: Ingredients to Avoid

The Never List

Here’s what I’ve learned: the United States Government does not make sure our beauty products are safe. Sad, but true. Since it’s essentially up to each individual consumer to research, it can feel really overwhelming and confusing, and I am so thankful for finding The Never List . A list for people who care what’s in their beauty products.

The Truth

Let me lay it out for you.

  • The United States has not passed a federal law governing the cosmetics industry since 1938.
  • The FDA does not require that cosmetics products or ingredients be approved before they go on the market.
  • The U.S. has banned or restricted only 30 ingredients to date, while the European Union has banned close to 1,400.
  • 1 in 2 men and 1 in 3 women in the US will be diagnosed with cancer.
  • In one study, close to 16 potentially toxic cosmetics chemicals were found in the bodies of 20 teenage girls.

This is unacceptable.

Enter: Beautycounter

The good news is that the cleaner, safer beauty product space is expanding, and there are people fighting for more regulation & more transparency in this industry.  Gregg Renfrew, the CEO of Beautycounter, has testified in Congress on this very issue.

Beautycounter has gone above what is legally required in the US and has willingly banned more than 1800 questionable or harmful chemicals.

The Never List: Ingredients To Avoid In Your Beauty Products

If you are unsure where to begin on your clean beauty journey, the Never List is a great place to start.  You can download the list here and keep it handy in your wallet so when you’re out shopping you can easily reference it. 

Many of these ingredients are known carcinogens (cause cancer), can induce allergies and skin reactions, disrupt hormones and interfere with reproductive health.

  • Benzalkonium Chloride
  • Butylatedhydroxy Anisole and Butylated Hydroxytoluene
  • Coal tar hair dyes and other coal tar ingredients
  • Ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA)
  • Ethanolamines (MEA/DEA/TEA)
  • Formaldehyde
  • Hydroquinone
  • Methylisothiazolinone and methylchloroisothiazolinone
  • Oxybenzone
  • Parabens (methyl-, isobutyl-, propyl- and others)
  • Phthalates (DBP, DEHP, DEP and others)
  • Polyethylene glycol (PEG compounds)
  • Retinyl palmitate (Vitamin A Palmitate)
  • Sodium Lauryl Sulfate and Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLS and SLES)
  • Synthetic flavor or fragrance
  • Toluene
  • Triclosan and Triclocarban

So How Do I Find Safer Products?

The beauty industry is VERY loosely regulated (which we already established) and lots of terms are thrown around (natural, organic, pure, healthy) that confuse consumers and give the impression of a clean product even if that’s not the case.

The very best way to make sure your products are safe is to understand and read the product labels and ingredient list.

First, become familiar with the most toxic ingredients to avoid in your products (see above).

And then, become familiar with the ingredients in the products you’re using. I love how transparent Beautycounter is with providing this comprehensive ingredient glossary so that everyone can understand the ingredients  in their products. 

Small Changes Over Time Add Up To Big Results

Over the past few years, I have been actively reducing the number of chemicals in our home. I know it can seem really overwhelming (& expensive) if you try to do it all at once so just remind yourself that small changes over time are going to make your family a lot healthier.

I am making safer products a priority. Are you?

If you have any questions about any of the Beautycounter products, or if you are interested in becoming involved with Beautycounter to help spread the education about the skincare industry you can email me here. I love being a Beautycounter consultant because safer products are a cause near & dear to my heart.

Hey there!


I design curriculum and am a self proclaimed tech nerd! I love designing resources to make teachers’ lives easier. In addition, I blog all things education. Let’s get to know each other and connect!