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Why Is My “Clean, Fresh” Makeup Full of Plastic?

CoverGirl Makeup

It’s marketed as a “clean, fresh, shine-free look that lasts.” It’s also dermatologist tested, hypoallergenic and won’t clog your pores.

But is Cover Girl’s pressed powder really good for your skin? Or, is this just marketing hype?

To find out just how good this makeup is, Jewell’s Naturals researched each of the ingredients to determine if the product lives up to its claims.

Jewell's Naturals New Customer Offer

To make it easy to understand how valuable or toxic these products are, you’ll see a color code beside each ingredient:

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Safe Caution Avoid

makeup review

Dimethicone—Cover Girl’s big claim to fame has always been that the makeup won’t clog your pores. But one of the ingredients, dimethicone, is designed to smooth lines and pores. It creates this smooth, even effect by filling in your pores with liquid silicone! This thin rubbery layer on your skin can trap all kinds of things in your pores, like dirt and dead skin cells.

So no, Cover Girl’s pressed powder does not live up to this promise. However, the nice medicinal smell leads you to believe that it’s doing its job.

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Polyethylene-Would you believe that this is plastic?! Yes, plastic! The Environmental Working Group gave it a rating of 1 out of 10, with 10 as the most dangerous. But the even though the EWG is a good resource, it’s not the final answer. A low EWG rating simply means there are few or no studies that have proven an ingredient harmful. Doesn’t make you feel very safe about applying tiny plastic particles to your face, does it?


Talc—This is a soft mineral mined from the earth. So far so good. However, it can be found to naturally occur with asbestos, a known carcinogen. If the talc is not mined and processed correctly, the asbestos can make its way into your skincare and makeup. Unless the label says the talc is certified free of asbestos, it’s best to avoid it.

safe cosmetics

Avena Sativa (Oat) Kernel Flour—This is oat kernel flour. Oat flour can be soothing to the skin for many people. However, one word of caution. The Cover Girl label does not say that it’s organic. So if pesticides or GMO’s are a concern for you, you might want to steer clear.

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Octyldodecyl Stearoyl Stearate—This is a mouthful of an ingredient that has a rating of 1 by the Environmental Working Group. It isn’t likely to cause irritation or create harmful effects on your skin like rashes, but it’s not going to benefit your skin in any way, either. The long and the short of it is this. It’s just a cheap filler.

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Mica—A ground mineral that provides shimmer or luster, mica is generally safe and has no contaminants. That’s good!

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Zinc Stearate—Cue another cheap filler. This a white, fatty powder that helps keep the other ingredients to stick together.

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Quaternium-15—Want a lab-created chemical that is completely synthetic? Then quaternium-15 is your go-to ingredient! It acts as a preservative but many sources say it releases formaldehyde. Many studies show that it causes allergies and toxicity.


Dextrin—Ahem. Cue a THIRD cheap filler. This is a powdered starch extract. No, it’s not usually allergenic or toxic, but it’s not doing anything beneficial for your skin either.

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Calcium Silicate—Another mineral powder composed of calcium and silica, calcium silicate has no known irritants or allergic reactions.

makeup toxicity

Sodium Dehydroacetate—This is a synthetic antimicrobial preservative added to extend shelf life. It can also cause skin sensitivities. That means that at some point your skin will say, “Enough!” and you develop an allergic reaction to it.

The bigger problem is that once you start reacting to one ingredient, you become more likely to be sensitized to other ingredients. This is called cross-reactivity.

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Lauroyl Lysine—An amino acid usually derived from coconut oil, this ingredient acts as a binder for the other ingredients and may actually be beneficial in conditioning skin. Well, that’s good news!

makeup toxicity

Propylparaben, Methylparaben—Oh, parabens! Who hasn’t heard of their dangers to human health. These nasty ingredients have gotten a lot of bad press for good reasons. Parabens are hormone disruptors. Researchers go so far as to suggest that methylparaben may increase the risk of breast cancer, or, at the very least, accelerate the growth of these tumors.

Methylparabens have also been linked to birth defects. While these studies are very controversial, the evidence against parabens continue to grow.

toxic makeup brands

BHT—These three little letters are easy to miss, but they stand for Butylated Hydroxytoluene. You want to believe that BHT is a good thing because it acts as an antioxidant, but this time it’s not a good thing. It just means it prevents the product from oxidizing, which is good for a products shelf life, but not for your health. BHT is linked to liver accumulation, cancers and tumors, and was recently removed from plastic containers.

The big question is this: Why use a synthetic chemical of highly questionable integrity when you can use a natural ingredient like vitamin E to do the same job? Answer? It’s cheaper.

green makeup

Iron Oxides, Ultramarines—These mineral based colorants are actually a good ingredient (finally!) to find in your makeup. A small percentage of people are allergic to ultramarine; when in doubt listen to your skin! The colorants everyone should look out for and avoid are listed as “lake dyes" or "FD&C colors".

So what do we get when we add all of this up?

A graph that looks like the one below.

toxic makeup brands

As you can see, the results are evenly split:

  • 33% caution

  • 33% avoid

  • 33% safe or neutral ingredients

That means for this one Cover Girl product alone, 67% of the ingredients may cause harm to your skin and body!

This makeup, marketed as clean, fresh, non-comedegenic, is anything but.

Why Is Makeup So Polluted?

The answer is easy.

The Food and Drug Administration has no authority to require companies to test their cosmetic products for safety. The FDA doesn’t review or approve the vast majority of cosmetics that end up on supermarket shelves.

The consumer watchdog agency only conducts pre-market reviews of certain cosmetic color additives and active ingredients classified as OTC (over-the counter) drugs.

Myths About Government Cosmetic Oversights

toxic chemicals in makeup

It’s simply a myth that the government prohibits the use of all dangerous chemicals in the personal care products sitting on your shelf or in your handbag.

What’s worse is this. Cosmetic companies can use any raw material or ingredient in their products without government review or approval (FDA 2005).

To contrast this appalling inaction, the European Union has banned more than 1,000 ingredients from use in cosmetics.

The FDA has only prohibited these ingredients:

  • Bithionol

  • Chlorofluorocarbon propellants

  • Chloroform

  • Halogenated salicylanilides (di-, tri-, metabromsalan and tetrachlorosalicylanilide)

  • Methylene chloride

  • Vinyl chloride

  • Zirconium-containing complexes

  • Prohibited cattle materials (including material from non-ambulatory cattle, material from cattle not inspected and passed and mechanically separated beef).

Read more about this at the EWG website.

What Makeup Options Do You Have?

makeup without chemicals

It’s a buyer beware market. Bottom line, YOU have to watch out for you.

If you care about lifelong good health, you must read labels and not believe the marketing hype.

Make better choices to protect yourself and your family from the greed of manufacturers.

If you want to learn more about making better makeup choices, please go to our website, www.jewellsnaturals.com to learn about natural makeup solutions that cover, heal acne, and give your skin a natural glow that you can feel good about—for a lifetime!

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