Today, stringent federal guidelines banning toxic substances take away some of this risk. But many commercial products still contain some questionable ingredients.
For those who want to keep their bathroom cabinet free of products containing potentially harmful chemicals, a little personal research is needed.
The average woman puts 168 chemicals on her body daily, according to the Environmental Working Group.
This makes it all the more critical to evaluate your own morning routine, and see what you may unintentionally be putting on your face.
What can be there?
Multiple studies have found alarming chemicals in our makeup.
Phthalates, found in fragrances, skin lotions, nail polishes and hair products, have been linked to endocrine dysfunction, and multiple specific phthalates that have been banned in Australian cosmetics are still available in the US.
Formaldehyde is frequently found in makeup products, as well. High levels of formaldehyde in hair products and eyelash glue have spurred recalls in the past, but even in products that aren't recalled, formaldehyde is often present in trace amounts.
Coal tar is found in psoriasis and dandruff treatments and can be used as a cosmetic dye. However, the substance is a known carcinogen and is not recommended for long-term contact.
Makeup can frequently also contain products like lead in trace amounts, leaving wearers potentially exposed to lethal chemicals, some of which have not been thoroughly studied.
What should you do about it?
The proper way to detox your beauty routine starts with a massive cleanup.
It may feel wasteful or unnecessary, but clearing out all of your old products will give you a clean, blank slate from which you can begin a new detox beauty routine.
Make sure to investigate all the products you use, and see if any have any toxic ingredients to watch out for.
Look at your makeup, particularly your lipstick and foundation, as well as your face cream, any lotions you wear, sunscreens and primers.
Your toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner and soap can also contain suspect chemicals, and you should include them in your search and purge. There are many natural alternatives to tooth whitening and shampooing your hair that can easily replace the items in your bathroom cabinet.
If you want to try to retain products whenever possible, look to see if you have any all-natural products, or products that claim to be derived from natural ingredients, for possible candidates. However, it's quite likely that you will have to toss it all as even all-natural products can frequently contain toxic ingredients.
What should you use?
On the other hand, the easiest way to keep dangerous chemicals off your face is to limit the amount of chemicals ever on your face.
Look for simple ingredients lists and avoid unnecessary products. Just because something is “all natural” doesn't mean it's critical or even worthwhile to have. Now is a great opportunity to cut down on and simplify your routine.
In many cases, you'll find some products are so all-natural that you can buy the basic ingredients and recreate them yourself, which can cut down both on costs and on ingredients.
Coconut oil, baking soda and corn starch can all be used in a beauty routine.
Indie makeup communities can frequently provide all-natural products or products with detailed ingredient lists as well, making you feel better about knowing what is going on your face.
Avoiding harmful or suspect chemicals can be a difficult task in the modern world of commercialization and industrialization.
However, the benefits of a natural lifestyle outweigh the convenience of a pre-packaged one.
Consider a full detox of your beauty routine to avoid the potential damage that toxic ingredients can do to your body.