Beauty, Blog, Clean Beauty, wellness

The Ugly Side of Beauty Products – An Introduction To Clean Beauty

Did you know that your favorite beauty and personal care products have the ability to make you sick, depressed, infertile, suffer from cancer and disrupt organ function? You place these products directly on your skin, which absorbs these harmful ingredients directly into your bloodstream and into your organs.

From now on, Class and the City will be a space that features only beauty products that have gone through a system of vetting that ensures they will not put harmful chemicals on your body. Making the switch to clean beauty is not easy – I’m going to be fully transparent – but it IS worth it. The majority of cosmetics and skincare products on the market, including all of the brands that you’ve grown up with and have been using practically since birth, have been poisoning your body in small doses, disrupting your organ function, and even causing fertility issues in both men and women.

How is this possible? You might be wondering, doesn’t the FDA protect us from harmful, toxic and carcinogenic ingredients in our food and beauty products? The answer, which I can’t stress enough, is NO. The Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act has not been updated since 1938! Despite being pushed by many environmental and health groups, the FDA’s public response has been the following regarding the issue of harmful ingredients in cosmetics, “the Agency cannot require the premarket safety testing of personal care product ingredients, and therefore cannot prevent the introduction of dangerous products on the market.” Basically, since 1938, beauty and personal care product companies have been able to put whatever they want into their products… including many ingredients that have been linked to toxins, allergy-inducing chemicals, known cancer-causing ingredients and more. Even though the science backs that these ingredients are harmful, the FDA does not have the power to issue label warnings on products, or enforce a recall of such items.

Without the protection of the government (this seems to be a trend these days, am I right?) it is up to US to vet our beauty and personal care products to make sure that we are not using something to harm our bodies. I have been doing copious amounts of research on this topic, and am excited to introduce this Clean Beauty section of the site, where I will be sharing product swaps, chemical breakdowns of ingredients and clean beauty brands that I’m excited about.


Below – I’m sharing a comprehensive (short) list of ingredients that I will absolutely not put on my body. Feel free to bookmark this page and refer to it when purchasing new products, or checking out what you’ve been using.

+ Talc

Found in: 99% of eyeshadow, pressed powder, foundation, blush

Risks: Directly linked as a carcinogen that causes ovarian cancer and other reproductive cancers.

+ Parabens

Found in: Pretty much everything. Check the ingredient lists of your products!

Listed as: Methyl/Ethyl/Propyl/Butyl/Isobutyl Paraben

Risks: Known hormone and endocrine disruptor. Causes an increased risk of infertility, as well as certain types of cancer. Known to impair the development of the fetus and young children.

+ Phthalates

Found in: Most fragrances, nail polish, mascara, lotion, hair spray, deodorant, hair gel/mousse

Listed as: Anything with “phthalate” in the name. DBP, DEHP, DMP, DEP, but not listed in “Fragrance” at all

Risks: Suspected carcinogen to the kidneys, liver and lungs. Known to be an endocrine and hormone disruptor. Known to cause birth defects in male reproductive system and can impair fertility as well.

+ Formaldehyde

Found in: Pretty much everything… hair products, sunscreen, foundation, eye makeup, deodorant, shaving products, fragrance, hand soap… just check your product labels

Listed as: Cormaline, Formis Aldehyde, Oxymethane, DMDM Hydantoin, quaternium-15, Diazolidinyl Urea, and more

Risks: Known human carcinogen. Irritant to the eyes and upper respiratory system. Can damage DNA. (It has been banned by the European Union, but not by the US.)

+ Fragrance

Found in: Many products because it masks the foul smell of the other chemical ingredients

Listed as: Fragrance, Perfume, Parfum

Risks: Eye, skin and respiratory allergen and irritant. Some are known neurotoxins. Most contain Phthalates (see above).

+ Lead and Mercury

Found in: Many lipsticks, mascaras and eye makeup

Listed as: Thimerosal or not listed, because there are no FDA regulations about it.

Risks: Brain damage, depression, miscarriage, renal failure…


I think that cutting out these ingredients from your cosmetic and personal care products will be a GREAT start – believe me, you are actually going to FEEL different when you stop bogging down your organs with these toxins and carcinogens. It’s just a starting point, and I will keep adding to the list, but believe me that making these changes will make a huge difference.

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