All The Weird, Gross Ingredients Secretly Hiding In Your Makeup

Let’s talk about that hypothetical desert island scenario. You can only pick three things to take with you. Most (smart) people would probably snag a water purifier, a fishing rod, and at least a personal hotspot you can use for your iPad.

As for me, I’d always bring my makeup. No, I’m not totally insane.

In fact, I’m not alone, either. According to a poll of 1,292 women in the US, over 44 percent feel unattractive without makeup. While I don’t think we need makeup as much as we want to put it on and enjoy the process, we do need to be more careful with what we’re putting on our face.

Earlier last week, makeup brand Lime Crime got slammed with an FDA warning for putting unapproved ingredients in one of their cult-favorite lipsticks, Red Velvet Velvetine. While we absolutely love the makeup artist-fave brand, we can’t help but wonder what else our favorite labels are stocking in the products we use on our skin day-to-day.

Hope you like bugs.

Crushed up bugs aren’t just in your Frappuccinos — they can also be in your lipstick. Derived from crushed up cochineal bugs (Google Image search it if you’re really curious), the red dye can be found in food, clothing and — yup — your gloss.

It’s not like you’ll actually see crushed bugs listed on the label. They’re normally listed as “carmine” or “natural red 4.”

Even if you don’t mind a little bit of bug juice on your lips, keep in mind that many people are allergic to the coloring, and it can trigger asthma. This is also important to keep in mind if you’re vegan (or are just horrified by the idea of bugs that close to your mouth).

Try not to lather up.

You know when your shampoo gets super foamy and you try to give yourself a shower mohawk and it actually stays in place? Yeah, that’s all due to sodium laurel sulfate, which gives you that foamy, lathering effect.

Doesn’t sound too bad, right? It’s fizzy and besides, “laurel sulfate” sounds like it could be the name of a flower. Wrong.

SLS is a toxin. It’s been linked to organ toxicity, developmental and reproductive issues, mutations, and cancer.

Do you really need those extra bubbles? Didn’t think so.

Even your sunscreen isn’t safe.

Every summer, there’s a huge push in the necessity of sunscreen and the focus on recent spikes in skin cancers. Sunscreen is great — if it’s natural. Most of the bottles you see at your local drugstore, however, rarely are.

Sunscreens — the basic, 2 for $15 kind — contain oxybenzone, which is used in conjunction with other sunscreens because it’s too weak to work alone and because it helps stabilize other chemicals.

However, oxybenzone is a photo carcinogen (read: it can cause cancer). It attacks DNA cells and has been linked to the recent spike in melanoma cases with people that religiously use sunscreen. It’s also been linked to eczema.

Just go all-natural. There are plenty of alternatives out there.

Your perfume has vomit in it.

You read that right.

Say you’re a whale and you ate way too much krill, or whatever whales eat. The whale tummy produces a substance called ambergris, which is a waxy oil that makes its digestive process a little bit simpler.

So, while the whale is digesting it's also letting go of all that built-up ambergris. Makes sense, right? Except when they do let it all go, that ambergris is collected, sold for enough money to pay off rent in New York for a couple years, and then added to your favorite perfume.

Why? Ambergris helps fragrance last longer. Sure, that’s a good thing, but it’s still gross. Rumor has it that Chanel No. 5 is still chock-full of the stuff. Classy.

Your pits are about to get explosive.

This isn’t quite as gross as it is cool: Many deodorants are formulated with diatomaceous earth. Nothing crazy — that’s basically a soft rock that can crumble into a white powder. You know what else uses diatomaceous earth?


Diatomaceous earth is a stabilizing component in TNT, plus it’s also a component in cat litter, insecticide, and even toothpaste. It’s also used as an ingredient in exfoliants and, yes, deodorants.

Think about that next time you get your pits day-ready.