Top 5 Ingredients to Avoid in Your Every Day Products

Let’s chat product ingredients

When it comes to reading the ingredient labels of our every day products, it’s important to know which ingredients to avoid. So many of our personal care products contain harmful ingredients that are known carcinogens, hormone disruptors, neurotoxins, etc. This is because the cosmetic industry is not strictly regulated by the FDA. Manufacturers are not required to submit any sort of safety data to the FDA in regards to the ingredients in their products. Say whattt? What’s even more surprising is that the last major law to be passed in the US regulating the cosmetic industry was in 1938. Considering how far we’ve come since then, there is no reason for the industry to be so under-regulated. 

So how do we know which ingredients to avoid? Research. It is up to us to do our own research. As much as it sucks to have to do the research ourselves, what sucks even more is unknowingly using products that are harming our bodies. Believe me, I used to use products from every brand you can think of, both drug store & high end. Dove body wash? Used to be my go to. Nars foundation? You bet I used that on my face every day. But once I became aware of the potential harmful ingredients in my every day products, I committed to doing the research and swapping things out because I didn’t want to jeopardize my health. Was it a hard pill to sallow? Yes it was. But I can honestly say that the reward is worth it. There are brands out there who care about their consumers and use clean ingredients because it’s the right thing to do. This gives me such peace of mind, especially now that I am pregnant. I want to know for a fact that what I’m using on my skin & my baby’s skin will not be harmful to our health.

Here are the top 5 (IMO) ingredients you should avoid in your every day products. While this isn’t a comprehensive list, it’s a pretty good start! 


When you see fragrance or parfum listed as an ingredient in any of your household or cosmetic products, run in the opposite direction. This one little word can be a combination of up to 3,000 different ingredients that are potentially harmful to us - think endocrine disruptors, carcinogens, neurotoxins, etc. Companies do not have to disclose what they put in their fragrance because it is considered a trade secret. This is the perfect opportunity for them to hide toxic ingredients in their products without us knowing.

When it comes to grasping the fact that certain ingredients are harmful, this one was the toughest for me. Simply because it’s such a small word seen on SO SO many product labels. But until companies start to disclose what is in their fragrance, it is going to be hard to trust them, even if they claim to be clean!


Phthalates are often found in cosmetic products such as body lotion, hair spray, shampoo, etc. and are typically used to extend the life of fragrance. It is important to avoid them because they are endocrine disruptors that have been linked to problems of the reproductive system and even birth defects. When reading ingredient labels, phthalates are often listed as DEHP and DNOP. Even if a product is labeled phthalate-free, they are still able to slip these ingredients in under fragrance, which is why avoiding fragrance is so important.


Parabens are synthetic chemicals that are often found in cosmetics, foods and beverages acting as preservatives. They are known hormone disruptors and will be listed as words ending in -aben. Many products are now labeled paraben-free which is a step in the right direction, but you still need to be reading the entire ingredient list!


Formaldehyde, a known carcinogen, is most often found in nail polish and eye lash adhesives. It blows my mind that this is allowed in products when there is evidence stating that it is a carcinogen! Clean nail polish brands I have found & love include Londontown and Ella & Mila. I also really want to try Dazzle Dry.

Heavy Metals

Heavy metals such as mercury and lead are often found in makeup products like eyeliner, mascara, and lipstick. Whether they are used intentionally, or show up as a contaminant, they should be avoided either way. Mercury compounds can cause allergic reactions, skin irritation, or neurotoxic problems. Lead is a well known toxic chemical that has been linked to reproductive problems (miscarriage, premature birth) and developmental problems, especially in children. It is important to do the research and find brands that test for heavy metal contamination, since this is not required by the FDA. 

For more information on cosmetic and personal product ingredients, head to I have found that to be an amazing resource when evaluating my current products and doing research on specific ingredients! You can also check out this blog post for a list of more resources I have used along the way! 

As always, thanks for reading!