California is banning 25 toxic chemicals in makeup by 2025 – these brands already make the cut

Posted: 8 October 2020 1:37 pm

Trial lipstick in various shades of red, pink and orange at a high-end makeup counter

The act could change what’s been a largely unregulated industry until now, but many clean beauty brands are ahead of the curve.

California lawmakers took a step toward ensuring safe beauty for all by passing the Toxic-Free Cosmetics Act on September 30th. The bill bans the manufacturing or sale of products purposefully containing 25 chemicals and contaminants in the state of California by 2025. Given that California makes up the largest portion of the US economy, and many influential makeup brands manufacture in California — including Colourpop, Kylie Cosmetics and KKW Beauty — we’re predicting the bill will usher a shift across the entire cosmetics industry.

Though the beauty industry has historically gone unregulated, many brands have cleaned up their ingredient lists, forgoing chemicals like sulfates, parabens, phthalates and formaldehyde based on consumer demand for cleaner beauty. Phthalates and parabens are particularly avoided, as research shows they interfere with hormonal activity in both men and women.

But endocrine-disruptors like phthalates are still present in a worrying number of products, making the Toxic-Free Cosmetics Act a potential catalyst for mainstream makeup manufacturers to find better alternative ingredients.

Which ingredients are banned?

The Toxic-Free Cosmetics Act requires products to be free of the following ingredients, except in naturally and artificially occurring trace amounts.

  • Dibutyl phthalate
  • Diethylhexyl phthalate
  • Formaldehyde
  • Paraformaldehyde
  • Methylene glycol
  • Quaternium-15
  • Mercury
  • Isobutylparaben
  • Isopropylparaben
  • m-Phenylenediamine and its salts
  • o-Phenylenediamine and its salts
  • Several per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) and their salts:
    • Perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS); heptadecafluorooctane-1-sulfonic acid
    • Potassium perfluorooctanesulfonate; potassium heptadecafluorooctane-1-sulfonate
    • Diethanolamine perfluorooctane sulfonate (CAS 70225-14-8).
    • Ammonium perfluorooctane sulfonate; ammonium heptadecafluorooctanesulfonate
    • Lithium perfluorooctane sulfonate; lithium heptadecafluorooctanesulfonate
    • Perfluorooctanoic acid
    • Ammonium pentadecafluorooctanoate
    • Nonadecafluorodecanoic acid
    • Ammonium nonadecafluorodecanoate
    • Sodium nonadecafluorodecanoate
    • Perfluorononanoic acid
    • Sodium heptadecafluorononanoate
  • Ammonium perfluorononanoate

What’s missing from the list

Though the Toxic-Free Cosmetics Act prohibits 12 toxic endocrine disruptors and their derivatives, a few controversial ingredients are notably absent — like talc. Although talc, or talcum powder, is generally regarded as safe by the FDA, it’s been at the center of lawsuits filed by women who believe its use in baby powder contributed to their ovarian cancer. Talc is often used in powder foundation, blush, highlighter and eyeshadow to give products slip and absorb excess moisture.

The bill also leaves off coal tar and petroleum, used in products like lip balm and to make synthetic fragrances. Studies have linked both to cancer.

Discover clean beauty brands without the dirty dozen

Though the law doesn’t go into effect until 2025, plenty of companies are already manufacturing quality beauty products without additives like parabens and phthalates. Here are just a few to shop in the meantime.

BrandProducts availableAlso free ofWhere to shop
100% PureFruit-pigmented makeup, skincare, hair and body careFD&C colorants, heavy metal
Ilia BeautyFace, lip, eye and multipurpose productsGMOs, synthetic fragrances, gluten and
Thrive CausemeticsSkincare and makeupSynthetic fragrance,
BriogeoHaircareSilicones, sulfates, DEA, artificial

KitavaMDSkincare developed by dermatologistsSulfates, SLS, synthetic fragrance, petrochemicals, triclosan, artificial
SephoraMakeup, skincare, hair care and body products from Clean at Sephora brandsCoal tar, sulfates, hydroquinone, triclosan, synthetic

Photo: Getty Images

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