Makeup artistry ingredients to avoid

Tutorials & Tips, Your Makeup Career

6 Harmful Ingredients Certified Makeup Artists Should Avoid

If your goal is to become a makeup artist, it’s extremely important to know what your responsibilities will be! While your duties largely involve applying makeup to clients for different occasions, you’ll also need to educate yourself on new makeup trends, best practices, and of course, how to avoid using unsafe, chemical-laden ingredients on your clients’ faces.

If you’re just starting out as a makeup artist, it can be tricky to know what to look for. Follow this guide to avoid some of the most toxic ingredients that every makeup artist should avoid.

Read on, take notes, and be careful!

Foundations with toxic makeup ingredients

1. Petroleum distillates

Let’s start with an area of the body that is absolutely precious – the eyes! Makeup artists know just how dramatic and glamorous just a few strokes of mascara can be (and your clients are well aware of it, too!). But did you know how downright dangerous some mascaras can be?

Petroleum distillates, which are found in strong furniture polishes and adhesives, are also commonly found in some mascaras.

Products containing this chemical can cause harmful disorders such as dermatitis and serious irritation, especially as mascara is applied to eyelashes! In general, petroleum is often contaminated with cancer-causing impurities, making it one ingredient you should steer clear from at all times.

2. Oxybenzone

With summer upon us, there’s no better time to be vigilant about sunscreen. And we don’t just mean the application of sunscreen! Being knowledgeable about which sunscreens are safest for your client, and which ones to avoid, is vital.

One ingredient to run from (and sadly, one that is commonly found in sunscreens) is oxybenzone. Not only will this dangerous chemical potentially cause endometriosis in women, it can wreak havoc on hormones in the body and be harmful. When recommending a sunscreen to your clients, be sure to mention zinc oxide as a safe ingredient – and stress that they should always use sunscreen, even in the colder months!

List of dangerous makeup products

3. Mercury

This one is an obvious choice, as it has earned its reputation as a destructive chemical over the past few centuries. While many people know the dangers of mercury, what they don’t know is just how common an ingredient it is in makeup products!

Moisturizer, lip liner, eyeliner, lipstick, and eyeshadow are just a few of the products in your makeup kit that could contain mercury. Going through your products and ensuring that you toss any that contain this terrible chemical is crucial.

In terms of what mercury can do, it can cause serious allergic reactions, skin irritations, as well as general liver, kidney and nervous system damage.

4. Talc

This ingredient is particularly distressing due to the fact that it is found in almost all baby powders! Known for being the softest mineral, talc is dangerous because it is dug from the ground, where it can potentially come into contact with asbestos, a chemical that is well-known for causing fatal diseases if inhaled.

While baby powder, eye shadow and blush contain talc that most likely has not come into contact with asbestos, there is no guarantee that these products are not harmful. As a makeup artist, you’ll work with powder, blush and eye shadow on a daily basis. As a result, you’ll need to ensure that these products are talc-free!

The good news is that there is a large market of cruelty-free, natural, and vegan makeup to choose from, so be sure to replace your talc-laden products with these more suitable choices.

5. Formaldehyde

Using false lashes for glamour makeup

We can bet that your clients love the look of false eyelashes, and it’s no wonder! You’ll find that many freelance makeup jobs include applying false lashes so you’ll always have them in your makeup kit. However, don’t be so quick to trust the adhesive!

Formaldehyde, a seriously harmful chemical, is not only used in many eyelash glues, it’s also used in a high concentration. Formaldehyde can have terrible consequences for the human body, such as allergic reactions, irritation, and can cause a variety of different cancers.

Opt for all-natural adhesives and explain their benefits to your clients who love false eyelashes – they’ll be much healthier and happier in the end!

6. Paraben preservatives

Throughout your career as a makeup artist, you’ll work with many different products, some good and some bad. You’ll come to understand how long certain ones last, and when to throw other ones out.

Paraben preservatives are used to keep makeup products usable and fresh – they extend their shelf life in the store. It may seems like a good idea as it prolongs the life of the product, but paraben preservatives are highly dangerous. They are believed to cause various types of cancer, and cause rashes for people with sensitive skin.

As if these weren’t bad enough, they also disrupt hormones in the body (similar to oxybenzone). It’s best to avoid products with paraben preservatives completely, even though they are common in foundations, mascaras, concealers and skin creams. Protect your clients by choosing products that may have a shorter life span but will ultimately be safe for regular use!

Surprised by some items on this list? Find out about the deadliest beauty products of all time!

Victoria is a blog writer and social media expert for QC Makeup Academy, writing in-depth articles to help emerging makeup artists grow their knowledge and experience in the industry.

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