Sure, the “Inflammatory 5” sounds like something you definitely want to avoid, but what actually are the ingredients that have earned this ominous moniker, and why does Cover FX avoid them like the plague? Here, we break down what they are, what they do—and how to spot them quietly lurking in your beauty products.
The softest natural mineral, talc is widely used in cosmetics (especially powders) to create a silky feel and absorb moisture. Since talc is mined from underground deposits where asbestos is also found, there is risk of cross-contamination. Due to this potential contamination, there are growing fears about talc’s possible link to ovarian cancer, lung cancer and more harmful health issues. When shopping for blush and other powder-based makeup, look out for talc in the ingredients list (note: talc can also be listed as talcum powder, cosmetic talc and magnesium silicate).
Used to protect cosmetics against the growth of bacteria and mold, parabens are preservatives found in everything from makeup to toothpaste. But while they increase the shelf life of a product, there are concerns that they may also interfere with the normal function of the hormone system by mimicking estrogen. Estrogen disruption may in turn be linked to both breast cancer and reproductive issues. Watch out for the most commonly used parabens—methylparaben, propylparaben and butylparaben—on ingredient lists.
Many people don’t even know that gluten exists in their beauty products, let alone why they may want to avoid it. Gluten is used in cosmetics to help bind ingredients together, and can be found in many makeup, skincare and haircare products. While sensitivity ranges from person to person, there have been cases of allergic reactions to gluten in beauty products by people with celiac disease. If you have celiac disease or gluten intolerance, always check product ingredient lists for gluten, hydrolyzed wheat protein and wheat germ oil.
4. Mineral Oil
Emollients are ingredients that increase water levels in the epidermis, but not all emollients are good for skin. An emollient derived from petroleum, mineral oil is widely used in makeup and skincare to smooth skin and lock in moisture. However, it does not absorb into skin and instead creates a barrier that can clog pores. Beware of it in your lotion, primer, concealer and foundation, and look for formulas labeled “non-comedogenic” (re: will not block pores).
Fragrance is used in many makeup and skincare products to create an appealing sensory experience and mask the smell of certain ingredients. However, synthetic fragrance can cause irritation, redness, allergic reactions and other inflammatory reactions. Cover FX uses only natural fragrance, including essential oils, lavender and linalool (derived from flowers and spice plants).