Friday, 7 July 2017

On the safety, or lack thereof, of cosmetics

Blog post about safety issues with cosmetics 

I was originally going to do a post about analog photography today, and I still will later on. 
I wanted to talk about this first because it’s just so important. 

I have swatched Urban Decay products in the past. 
Every single time I got a bad reaction. The kind of reaction I get from methylparaben and MIT
My skin first starts to feel like it’s on fire, and then it will literally start to blister, resulting in chemical burns. 
Thankfully I have always been able to wipe the stuff off and treat it right away, but had I left it on longer, I would have had burns and now: burn scars. 

Urban Decay employees in Belgium claimed, high and low, that their stuff was paraben free. 
A while ago, one did admit that they used to use MIT as a paraben replacement. So there you have the reason that I got allergic reactions from it. 
Of course, MIT wasn’t listed. 

Isn’t that illegal though? 
No, sadly it isn’t. 
In the EU, companies are only legally bound to list ingredients if they use x-amount in a product. Stay under that amount, even by a micro gram, and you don’t have to list it. 
So a company can claim to be paraben free, and in fact contain a bazillion parabens, so to speak. 

Companies are also not legally obliged to release MSDS sheets, not even to their employees, which furthers difficulties. 
So far, I’ve only encountered ONE company that IMMEDIATELY volunteered, full transparency, their MSDS sheets when I enquired about ingredients and that was Snazaroo. 
M.A.C has always been very forthcoming when I enquired about ingredients, pulling out the book with MSDS info or copying from the sheet, also, but they didn’t release a copy of the full sheet to me. 
Still, they gave the info, so A+. 

Now, the plot thickens. 
A while ago, an EU commission voted that due to the fact that MIT is dangerous, it is now forbidden in leave on cosmetics. 
Meaning: all make-up. 
Meaning that Urban Decay shouldn’t be having any products with MIT in them in circulation at this point. 

 During the French Sephora sales (which started June 28 2017), I noticed that they had a travel size of the primer potion. 
So I figured I’d give it a go, because I see so many YouTubers rave about it (word to the wise: trust your gut, not YouTube). 
I figured that since MIT was outlawed and they didn’t use parabens, it’d be fine. 

THANKFULLY I had the common sense to swatch it on my arm first. 
And it didn’t take long before it felt like someone pressed a red hot poker to my arm. 
A copious amount of remover wipes, ice cubes and burn cream later, I managed to JUST avoid chemical burns, but it was a VERY close call. 
So either they recalled their products and repackaged them, pretending they are obeying the law. 
Or Sephora France is breaking the law by still having products containing MIT in roulation still. 
(As a side note, Sephora also sells products without ANY ingredients listed at all, which is definitely against the law, so I wouldn't even be surprised).

In any case, there’s something very dubious going on with Urban Decay products and I don’t like it, not one bit. 
 It’s not just Urban Decay, this is an ongoing issue with a lot of cosmetics brands. 

The ones like M.A.C, Too Faced and Snazaroo, listing all ingredients on their packaging are a vast minority. 
The ones that go the extra mile and give MSDS sheets or copy the ingredients from that are even fewer and further between. 
The only way to protect consumers at this point, is for the EU (and preferably the entire world) to not only point blank and outright FORBID dangerous components such as MIT and methylparaben, but to also to issue a law that forces companies to list all ingredients they use. 
And to have MSDS sheets in all their points of sale, so their sales reps can at all times look them up and give (potential) customers the transparency they deserve. 

It’s not just a matter of being correct, it’s not just a matter of trust, it’s a matter of safety. 

And just some food for thought. 
Ingredients of my primer potion, bought via 
Ingredients of primer potion from the US site. 
For a paraben free company they list a suspicious amount of parabens don’t you think? 

This all said, I am not attacking anyone personally. 
If you enjoy using Urban Decay, or any other company that is being iffy with their ingredient listing, by all means, continue to enjoy them. 

My post isn’t to attack anyone who uses these brands, it’s to point out that some brands are more than a little dubious and that cosmetics safety is a very real issue that needs to be talked about, and that we need better laws to protect us from corporate malicious intent. 
I’m just using Urban Decay as an example as I have hands on experience with them.


  1. I'm so glad you watched on your arm and avoided serious hurt. I'm not too into makeup, mainly because it's almost impossible to find one that is completely natural, eco friendly and cruelty free. Once upon a time I liked Urban Decay because they had claimed they were vegan and were switching to a more natural its of ingredients. But a short time after they were back to not being vegan and by then I had learned to ALWAYS read all labels and lists of ingredients, and yeah no thanks! I rather stay bare faced if those are the options lol

    1. It's totally ok to be bare faced I feel, everyone should totally just do what they are comfortable with :)
      I must admit I don't know of many brands that are and vegan AND pretty natural, which is kinda bad if you think about it XD.
      Belladonna's Cupboard is based in the US, and I know they are vegan, cruelty free, paraben free and pretty decent all around, so if you, some day, really want make-up for some reason or other, you at least have one name to look into :)

      I hate how brands are only going vegan with some of their products because they feel like "vegan is the hype of the moment". It's just plain wrong :(

      I know sugarpill has a lot of vegan makeup, but I'm not sure about the rest of their ingredients. Kat von D is vegan and cruelty free, but they use a lot of parabens. So that's far from natural. If you trace them all the way down to ownership, I'm not sure that the ultimate parent company (so to speak) is cruelty free.
      Same with Too Faced, a lot of their stuff is vegan friendly, their ingredients are generally a-ok, Too Faced themselves are cruelty free BUT they are owned by Estée Lauder who sell in mainland China.

      That said, they are at least legit trying to stop animal testing for cosmetics globally. They were the driving force behind the ban in the EU and the upcoming ban in South Korea. Even though L'Oreal is generally claiming they are behind it (which no one believes as they test on animals wherever they get the chance).

  2. Ooh haven't heard of belladona's will look into it. I am sticking to Tarte for the lil things i get to use since they have a lot of cruelty free botanicals and no parabens,etc

    1. I got a tarte liquid lipstick in an ipsy bag once that I really like, but sadly they are too expensive to import to Belgium, or I would have gotten the full size brown version of that one ages ago :) My only issue with Tarte is that they aren't forthcoming about a lot of their ingredients. Like the Amazonian clay. How is it sourced? Is it natural sendentation stuff that happens every year and that you can take away without damage to the environment? Or have they been dredging up rivers in the amazon with total disregard for nature etc? IDK, I've read a few pieces about them "greenwashing" so I don't know what to think about them O_o
      The one product I have by them is good though :)

      I do love Belladonna's, but again: shipping + customs put me off importing more of their stuff. Else I totally would have snapped up pretty much EVERYTHING :).

  3. Considering all the hype that this gets from beauty bloggers I was kinda shocked to get such a strong reaction to it and this was a loooong time ago when I tried it like maybe 7 or 8 years ago so they haven't changed the formula of it at all and we can't be the only ones to have reacted so badly to it...

    1. No, we really can't be. I think there probably are quite a few bad words online about it, but they're probably review threads on websites that sell the product. You know, like the customer reviews on amazon. I really wish google would easily pick up on those.
      All the hype from the beauty community was exactly why I wanted to try it as well, I figured that with the legal changes it would be safe to do, but apparently still not. It's really put me off using Urban Decay products.