WE often hear the phrase ‘beauty is pain’.
But have you every wondered whether your beauty products could actually be harming you?
A lawyer – known as Lawyer Angela – took to TikTok to detail things she no longer buys as someone “who tracks all the lawsuits” waged at beauty companies.
And her revelations might make you rethink your future beauty purchases.
In a video that’s racked up over 10 million views, the Harvard Law School graduate listed three beauty products she had sworn off.
1. Waterproof mascara
“As a crier, I used to only buy waterproof,” Angela said, “but there are multiple class actions right now against major beauty companies. Turns out, in order to make mascara waterproof, these companies often have to add PFAS.”
Poly- and perfluoroalkyl substances are resistant to oil and water, making them highly valuable to the makeup industry due to their long-lasting wear time, but they’re also used in nonstick cookware, stain-resistant carpeting, and water-repellent clothing.
They are known as “forever chemicals” because they do not naturally break down.
The lawyer linked to a 2021 study which tested 231 beauty products found in the US, 29 of which contained at least four PFAS.
Professor professor of environmental science and engineering Elsie Sunderland exposure to some PFASs has been associated with impaired immune function, certain cancers, and increased risk of diabetes, obesity, and endocrine disruption.
“They appear to be harmful to every major organ system in the human body,” she said.
In the UK, a report published in January revealed that major cosmetic companies including Urban Decay, Revolution and Inglot are selling makeup containing PFAS.
2. Dry Shampoo
“I wish I never used dry shampoo,” Angela stated about the second item on her list.
“I used to use it every other day.”
She provided a list of dry shampoos she frequently used, including Drybar, Redken, IGK, Batiste, Paul Mitchell, Not Your Mother’s, Pantene, OGX, and Herbal Essences – products that all reportedly contain a harmful chemical known as benzene.
Benzene is a “known carcinogen, where even low levels can be linked to increased risk of cancer,” according to Angela.
In the UK, use of the toxic chemical is no longer permitted in cosmetics and domestic products.
“In the past, long-term occupational exposure to benzene has been shown to produce a range of diseases, including a decrease in white blood cells (which normally help fight infections), leukaemia and damage to DNA,” according to guidance released by Public Health England in 2019.
Angela continued: “Horrifically, apparently the benzene stays in the air after you’ve sprayed it, and I used to get ready in the bathroom with my toddlers by my side.”
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced a nationwide dry shampoo recall due to “elevated levels of benzene” in dozens of aerosol products late last year.
3. Chemically straightening hair
Thirdly, the lawyer said she’d sworn off chemically straightening her hair.
“I used to do it. I love the sleek look, but turns out, women who chemically straighten their hair at least four times a year more than double their risk of uterine cancer,” the lawyer explained.
She claimed it also may increase the risk of ovarian and breast cancer, likely because certain chemicals – parabens, bisphenol A and formaldehyde – “are absorbed directly into the scalp”.