Favorite Paraben Free Skincare & Beauty Products

illustration by  @sublinhando

illustration by @sublinhando

by Hannah Haghighi

In about every other “clean” beauty product seen on the internet, brands boast in the product description that it is “paraben free”. Most of us can’t even count how many times we have read that phrase in Sephora. But do any of us even know what “paraben free” even means? Why are parabens bad in the first place? Simply put, parabens are a type of chemical used to extend the shelf life of products. These preservatives are typically used to prevent the growth of bacteria and mold, but can be harmful to consumers. When looking at the ingredients list on a product, it will ”typically list more than one paraben in a product, and parabens are often used in combination with other types of preservatives to better protect against a broad range of microorganisms” says the FDA. Since the FDA does not require any cosmetic ingredients other than color additives to be approved before they are put on the market, parabens can be found in a variety of cosmetic products such as shaving creams, moisturizers, and foundations.

It is a controversial argument whether or not parabens are harmful to the body. It has been found that parabens have the ability to mimic estrogen and interfere with hormones in the body. There have also been studies that show that parabens have the ability to sink beneath the skin, and they are thought by some professionals to be linked to breast cancer. It is important to keep in mind, however, that if companies and businesses were to eliminate all parabens in their formulas, there is a possibility for them to substitute it with a preservative that is much more harmful to the body. In addition, an article in Volume 43 of Food and Chemical Toxicology states that, “Parabens are rapidly absorbed, metabolized, and excreted.”, so using products that contain them hasn’t yet been proven to have verified harmful effects on all bodies. Basically, it is up to the consumer whether they choose to invest in products that contain preservatives such as parabens.

Burt's Bees Beeswax Lip Balm, paraben free

For those readers who choose to steer clear of parabens in their skincare and beauty products, there are plenty of clean brands that pledge to be paraben free. A helpful tip for those of you wanting to avoid these chemicals in their beauty and skincare products: all products that have the green “Clean” seal on the Sephora website are free of parabens and similar preservatives. One brand that most readers probably already know and love is Burt’s Bees; one thing Burt’s Bees is best known for is their ultra-hydrating lip products, especially their Beeswax Lip Balm ($24). This affordable, multi seasonal lip balm comes in tons of flavors, and not only are they paraben free, but they are phthalate, petrolatum, and sodium lauryl sulfate free as well. Almost all Burt’s Bees products 95%+ natural origin, meaning they come from formulas with all natural ingredients.

Drunk Elephant serum

For skincare, a lovely paraben free brand worth checking out is Drunk Elephant. Drunk Elephant states in their brand philosophy that they are, “committed to using only ingredients that either directly benefit the skin’s health or support the integrity and effectiveness of our formulation.”, so not only are you bypassing all the chemicals or preservatives that may be found in other skincare products, but you are getting only the good stuff. This makes up for the relatively high price point of most D. E. products, most full size bottles being at least $50. One of their most popular products is the D-Bronzi™ Anti-Pollution Sunshine Drops. This serum is a highly concentrated source of “sunshine in a bottle,” something not to be used alone, but perfect for mixing into another serum or moisturizer for the perfect bronzy glow with plenty of hydrating skincare ingredients to go along with it.

Lululemon anti-stink deodorant

The well known and loved athleisure brand Lululemon recently launched their brand new “self care” cosmetics line on Sephora. They too have earned the green “Clean” seal on Sephora. An interesting addition to this line is an aluminum free deodorant ($12-18) which comes in two scents, “Aloe Lotus” and “Black Pepper Sandalwood”, and also comes in recyclable packaging (are we seeing a trend with recyclable packaging in this article? I think so).

Afterglow organic infused mineral foundation

Afterglow Cosmetics, another brand that prides themselves on having natural, clean beauty products, features a mineral foundation ($39), blush, eyeshadow, mascara, lipstick, and eyeliner. In addition, they also carry a line of vegan makeup brushes. This quote on the Afterglow Cosmetics website sums up my thoughts on keeping your skincare and makeup products as natural and gentle as possible pretty well, “All cosmetic ingredients are man manipulated to come extent, which means that even the most natural cosmetic ingredients have undergone man-manipulation and refinement taking them one step away from mother nature. We choose to formulate with all-natural cosmetic ingredients that offer the highest level of refinement and organic agricultural processes to ensure the purest possible products.”

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