Your Guide to Decoding Makeup Ingredients

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Fragrance. Gluten. Mineral Oil. Talc. Parabens. Phthalates. Parabens. Sulfates.

You know these terms well enough to know that when it comes to cosmetics, they should be avoided. But what, exactly, is it that earns these “bad ingredients” their spots on the Don’t List?

Whether it’s improving application, providing a sensorial experience, or preserving makeup, “bad ingredients” do serve a useful purpose in makeup—at least on the surface.

Brett Gallagher, our Executive Director of Global Education & Field Sales.

But the downside is that the benefits they provide are considerably outweighed by the harm they can cause to your skin through irritation, dryness, or worse.

At Cover FX, we’ve found a way to make makeup that’s free from the bad stuff, yet doesn’t compromise on quality. Read on as Brett Gallagher, our Executive Director of Global Education & Field Sales, explains not only why you’ll never find these ingredients in our products, but also why our alternative options are way better.

Fragrance

What purpose does it serve?

Makeup with a perfumed scent has an appeal before you even apply it—a brilliant marketing trick!

What’s the downside?

Fragrance is a known irritant to the skin—not to mention it’s totally unnecessary in makeup.  

What types of beauty products is it typically found in?

Fragrance finds its way into many cosmetics—foundation, powder, lip and eye products, and more.

What is the Cover FX alternative?

By leaving out fragrance, we make room for more good-for-you ingredients in our cosmetics.

Gluten

What purpose does it serve?

Gluten serves as a binder in beauty products, meaning it holds other ingredients together. Some gluten-derived skincare ingredients can also soothe and calm the skin.

What’s the downside?

While research is limited, there have been cases reported of adverse reactions to gluten in makeup by individuals with celiac disease, an autoimmune disorder that is characterized by sensitivity to gluten.

What types of beauty products is it typically found in?

Lipstick, eye makeup, foundation, and may more.

What is the COVER FX alternative?

Cover FX sources ingredients that are gluten free in order to ensure that everyone, including clients with celiac, can use our products freely.

Mineral Oil

What purpose does it serve?

Mineral oil is an emollient—it makes skin feel silky smooth and also improves the application of liquid and cream makeup to the skin.

What’s the downside?

Due to the barrier that it creates to lock in moisture, mineral oil sits on the surface of the skin and can clog pores. (Hello, breakouts!) It may also contain toxins.

What types of beauty products is it typically found in?

Foundations, concealers, and primers.

What is the Cover FX alternative?

Cover FX uses a wide variety of nutritive emollients, including vegan Squalane (a naturally occurring moisturizing oil) and Vitamin F, that provide all of the hydrating and application benefits of mineral oil, while still allowing the skin to breathe!

Parabens

What purpose do they serve?

Parabens are chemicals that are used as preservatives in makeup; they prevent the growth of harmful bacteria and mold, so your cosmetics last longer.

What’s the downside?

Considered possible endocrine disruptors, parabens may interfere with the normal function of the hormone system. They may be linked to breast cancer and reproductive issues like infertility.

What types of beauty products are they typically found in?

All types of makeup, plus personal care products like lotion, shampoo, and toothpaste.

What is the Cover FX alternative?

Rather than using parabens, we use clean preservatives to prevent bacteria growth that are both effective and safe.

Phthalates

What purpose do they serve?

Phthalates are plasticizers—substances added to plastic to increase its transparency, flexibility, and durability. In the beauty industry, phthalates are used to make products more elastic. 

What’s the downside?

Phthalates are affiliated with health concerns such as endocrine disruption and developmental and reproductive toxicity. Their use has been restricted in some countries due to high levels of concern.

What types of beauty products are they typically found in?

Nail polish, to make it less brittle; hair spray, to make it more flexible and to get a better hold on hair; and scented products, to help the scent linger.

What is the Cover FX alternative?

We use alternatives like soybean oil, ATBC, Di-isononylcyclohexane-1,2-dicarboxylate, or trimellitate that keep our formulas durable and safe for the body and skin.

Sulfates

What purpose do they serve?

Sulfates are the detergents that cause the sudsy lather in shampoos and cleansers. Sulfates also act as a surfactant, a substance that reduces the surface tension of water in order to in order to loosen the grease from your hair and skin.

What’s the downside?

Sulfates are very aggressive. By stripping the natural oils from your skin and hair, they can lead to dryness and dehydration. They also sting if you get them in your eyes.

What types of beauty products are they typically found in?

Skin cleansers and shampoo.

Talc

What purpose does it serve?

The softest natural mineral available, talc is paired with pigment to help powder makeup apply smoothly to the skin. It’s the duct tape that holds powder makeup together!

What’s the downside?

While the American Cancer Society has not classified talc as a carcinogen, there are nevertheless fears that the ingredient could be linked to cancer or could be otherwise harmful in cosmetics. Aesthetically, talc has a chalky look that’s at odds with the natural glow-y look most people desire.

What types of makeup products is it typically found in?

Setting powders, powder foundations, eye shadows, bronzers, highlighters—basically every form of powder makeup on the market today.

What is the Cover FX alternative?

Cover FX uses ultra-finely-milled mica as a substitute for talc. When manufactured into powder makeup, mica creates a soft focus effect that never looks dry, chalky, or cakey. It’s also easy to apply and blend.

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