Formaldehyde, Toluene, Phthalate
I think it's safe to say something used to embalm bodies (and gives biology labs their nasty smell) should generally be avoided in beauty products. Formaldehyde is one of the three ingredients that are omitted in "3-free" nail products. Formaldehyde is a 10 on the EWG's hazard scale (the highest score.)
Wet n Wild MegaLast Nail Color
REVLON Core Nail Enamel
Sally Hansen Hard as Nails Color
(Also, you know how you're supposed to replace your mascara every three months? Part of that is to avoid bacteria etc., but it's also because some ingredients in mascara can break down into formaldehyde.)
There are many different kinds of parabens, the worst ranking a 10 on the EWG's hazard scale (propylparaben, see why here.) They are "endocrine disruptors," meaning they mess with your hormones. Since they're so icky, there are a lot of paraben-free products on the market.
Jordana Best Volume Extreme Volumizing Mascara
Hempz Treats Body Lotion
Herbal Essences Naked Moisture Shampoo
Yes To Brand
e.l.f. Mineral Line
Acetone can be very drying on your skin and nails and can irritate your lungs as well. However, it's not particularly dangerous, so if you have a strong preference for acetone over non-acetone nail polish removers (which are often less effective,) you can probably use it anyway.
Cutex Non-Acetone Jar Twist and Scrub Sponge
(You can find acetone-free nail polish remover at just about any drugstore.)
The thing about fragrance is that it refers to an undisclosed list of ingredients that make up a product's smell. In some cases, such as Yes To products, this can refer to essential oils and other natural ingredients. However, synthetic fragrance can be harmful: it received an 8 rating on the EWG's hazard scale. And, if you have sensitive skin, it might be best to avoid all fragrance, even the natural kind.
Burt's Bees Shea Butter & Vitamin E Fragrance Free Body Lotion
Jason Fragrance Free Daily Shampoo
Aveeno Active Naturals Fragrance Free Skin Relief Body Wash
Olay Regenerist Daily Regenerating Serum Fragrance Free Moisturizer
Neutrogena Body Oil, Light Sesame Formula, Fragrance Free
Products with Natural Fragrance:
Yes To Brand
Sulfates (Sodium Lauryl Sulfate/Sodium Laureth Sulfate)
While the health effects of sulfates aren't particularly terrifying, they can irritate your skin and aren't the best for your hair (people with colored and/or curly hair are usually instructed to stay away from them.)
L'Oreal Paris EverPure Sulfate-Free Color Care System Moisture
Aveeno Active Naturals
WEN Cleansing Conditioner
Burt's Bees Very Volumizing Shampoo
Products lower in sulfates:
Suave Keratin Infusion Shampoos
While it's not particularly dangerous (denatured alcohol only scores a 4 on the EWG scale), alcohol can cause irritation and dryness, which can exacerbate both dry and oily skin (your skin will produce more oils to compensate for the dryness alcohol produces.) Keep in mind that fatty alcohols, such as cetyl alchol, are not skin-irritants and can actually be beneficial for dry skin.
Neutrogena Alcohol-Free Toner
Yes To Cucumber Hypoallergenic Facial Towelettes
Stri-Dex Medicated Pads
Neutrogena Oil-Free Moisture Sensitive (no drying alcohol)
A 10 on the EWG scale, diethanolamine has many derivatives and relatives. There aren't many DEA-free options on the market, but if you have the choice between a DEA-containing product and a DEA-free one, it might be smart to opt for DEA-free.
Pre de Provence Soap Shea Enriched Everyday French Soap Bar
TotLogic 2 in 1 Body Wash & Shampoo
Are there any ingredients you avoid in your beauty products? Do you have any favorite natural beauty products?