My “No List”: What I Avoid When Choosing Beauty Products

My “No List” – The things I say NO to in my beauty, bath and skin care products and a simple explanation of WHY. I did an Instagram series in December on this topic and promised to put them all together in a blog post for one easy point of reference. So here it is, better late than never!

No Mineral Oils

What is Mineral Oil?

Mineral oil is a colorless and odorless oil that’s made from petroleum – as a by product of the distillation of petroleum to produce gasoline. It’s long been used as a common ingredient in lotions, creams, ointments and cosmetics.

Why I avoid it?

First, mineral oil is considered comedogenic which means it can clog pores. Not only can that cause acne and blackheads but it’s also trapping the harmful chemicals and and bacteria already present on your skin since mineral oil actually creates a physical barrier over the skin.

A report by the National Toxicology Program stated that mineral oils are known to be human carcinogens and another study stated, there is strong evidence that mineral oil hydrocarbons are the greatest contaminant of the human body, amounting at 1 gram per person with the biggest route of contamination being dermal (skin) absorption.

Mineral oil may reduce moisture loss, but it doesn’t give your skin any nutrients or actual hydration. More like a band-aid over a problem. Why settle for a film over your skin vs. actually hydrating and giving your skin what it needs like natural oils with fatty acids and antioxidants?

Check the ingredient label to tell if the product is free of mineral oil—liquid paraffin, liquid petroleum, paraffin oil, paraffinum liquidum, petrolatum liquid, petroleum oil, white mineral oil, and white oil are all mineral oils.

No Phthalates

What are Phthalates?

Phthalates are a group of chemicals most commonly used to soften and increase the flexibility of plastic and vinyl. However, phthalates are also used in hundreds of cosmetic and personal care products. In the U.S. you can’t tell if there are phthalates in personal care products without laboratory testing. Companies can put phthalates in products and hide the ingredient. For example, if the label says “fragrance,” it may have phthalates.

Why I avoid them?

They are linked to endocrine disruption and developmental and reproductive toxicity. Highest at risk are pregnant and breastfeeding mothers and studies have shown that high exposure to phthalates during this time have caused birth defects.

The easiest way to avoid phthalates is to look for products that directly state, “No Phthalates” on their branding or packaging. Examples: Savvy Minerals makeup and the Shea Moisture brands both do this. Or read your labels and avoid products when the ingredients phthalate, DEP, DBP, DEHP and fragrance (synthetic) are listed.

No Synthetic Fragrances

What are Synthetic Fragrances?

Synthetic fragrances are aroma chemicals, created in a lab to mimic more expensive, natural scents.

Why I avoid them?

95 percent of the chemicals in synthetic fragrances are derived from petrochemicals. These chemicals include: benzene derivatives, aldehydes, phthalates, and a bunch of other known toxins that are capable of causing cancer, birth defects, nervous-system disorders and allergies. No thanks!

Not all fragrance is synthetic so be cautious, but open-minded when reading labels. If you see fragrance listed on a label, do the research to find out if it is a natural fragrance, for example natural fragrance from essential oils. Think Dirty app and EWG’s skin deep database are great places to start, but sometimes don’t have the product fully vetted. If you’re just not sure if a fragrance is natural or synthetic, reach out and ask the company directly. If the company is using truly all-natural ingredients, fragrance included then they should have no problem explaining exactly where the ingredients came from.

No Sulfates

What are Sulfates?

In simple terms, Sulfates are the cheap detergents that are added to shampoo, soap and other cosmetics to create a high lather product. The most common and familiar are sodium lauryl sulfate and sodium laureth sulfate.

Why I avoid them?

Sulfates are classified as a skin and membrane irritant. The lather that is created from them can actually strip away moisture and protective layers of the skin and hair, causing damage, dryness and irritation. They also can cause an offspring of toxins when combined with other ingredients.

Two chemicals called 1,4 dioxane and ethylene oxide are commonly found as contaminants in sulfate detergents. These are known carcinogens (cancer causing substances) and classified as developmental and nervous system toxins.

No Parabens

What are Parabens?

Parabens are preservatives found in a variety of personal care products and cosmetics.

Why I avoid them?

These chemicals are absorbed by the skin, even into your blood stream and disrupt the endocrine system due to their ability to mimic estrogen. They are linked to reproductive and developmental toxicity as well as cancer. If you’re new to green beauty, go through your most commonly used every day items and check the ingredient list for anything ending in “paraben” as these are very common and one of the easiest toxic ingredients to find on labels.

No Animal Testing!!

This is something I am passionate about and an absolute no brainer in my opinion. I think it’s truly insane that it’s still happening here in the United States. The European Union (EU), Israel, and India have banned the sale of any cosmetics or cosmetics ingredients that have been tested on animals, yet animal experiments for cosmetics and household products continue here and elsewhere even though non-animal tests are now widely available.

There is absolutely no reason whatsoever for animal testing. Our technology has beyond surpassed any arguable need for animal testing. If you want to argue about this topic, I’m up for it. You should see pictures of what these poor animals endure. The cruelty alone along with their terrible reactions to the toxic chemicals should make you never want to use a brand or product that tests on animals.

While most cosmetics companies no longer conduct animal testing in the United States, animal testing is required by law in China. If a company’s products are sold there, then required animal testing is still happening with their products.

One way to stop companies from using animals is to refuse to purchase their products. Visit for a current list of the companies that are still testing on animals. There are so many BETTER, amazing, non-toxic and cruelty-free brands out there! Let’s support them and make a change for these innocent animals!


There are obviously other toxic ingredients I avoid, but these are my top “No’s.” I challenge you to go through your most commonly used every day items and check for these harmful ingredients. Need ideas for a swap? I’m happy to help with my own favorites! Just ask!

Thanks for reading 🙂

Lots of love and good health,

Tasha, The Non-Toxic Newbie

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