Make It Toxic-Free Cosmetic Clean-Out Week of Action

It shouldn't be consumers' responsibility to make sure the products we use on our bodies don't contain toxic chemicals that can make us and our loved ones sick. But until governments and companies adopt the necessary policies to protect us and ensure our products are safe, we can take steps to clean up our routine. Join us for Cosmetic Clean-Out Week January 11-15, 2021.

Toxic threats

This New Year, we have some new goals. Join Us. Jan 11th-15th for our Cosmetic Clean-Out Week.
Gina Werdel

This year, the Make It Toxic-Free campaign has 3 resolutions for safer cosmetics:

1. Comprehensive ingredient disclosure

2. Elimination of toxic ingredients in cosmetics

3. Switching to safer alternatives

But until policy-makers and cosmetic companies take action, we will keep providing you with the resources and knowledge to shop safe. 

This New Year’s we want you to join us for our Cosmetic Clean-Out Week. For the week of January 11th-15th, each day we will post a quick, easy action you can take to learn more about clean cosmetics and making you and your family’s daily routine a little bit safer. These actions are quick, easy, and fun! 

And if you participate in any of the actions, please share about it on social media and use the hashtag #CosmeticCleanOut and tag us at: 

Twitter: @uspirg 

Facebook: @U.S.PIRG

Instagram: @uspirg 

Day 1 – Bookmark this California Department of Public Health Cosmetic Database in your browser.

Why? Under current FDA guidelines, cosmetic companies don’t have to disclose any fragrance ingredients. Companies can simply list these ingredients as “fragrance,” even if they cause cancer, reproductive problems or harm to the environment. This means that people could be using toxic chemicals on their bodies everyday without knowing it. 

However, California passed a law this September that will empower customers like you to find out which toxic chemicals are in your products. The law requires manufacturers in the State of California to disclose more hazardous fragrance ingredients (as defined by a set of designated hazard lists in the bill text) to a public database. While this law is just in California, this database will help people across the country, because anyone can search for their product. Soon, we will be able to know where hazardous fragrance ingredients are being used in our everyday products, and be able to avoid them. Keeping this bookmarked will help you shop for safer products. 

Day 2 – Check the ingredient lists for your own personal care products for the word “fragrance.”

Use this checklist to help you find all your products. Take a picture of the items you found and post them to social media with #CosmeticCleanOut. You might find more fragrance products than you expect!

Why? Fragrance ingredients can be toxic to our health. Some reports have shown that fragrance can contain hormone disruptors and chemicals linked to cancer. But we can’t even tell which products they’re in, because they’re not labeled. Currently, the easiest way to avoid toxic fragrance chemicals is to avoid products that contain fragrance altogether. 

Day 3 – Look through your kids’ personal care products for the ingredient “fragrance.”

Here is a checklist for kids’ and babies’ personal care products. 

Take a picture of the products you found and post to social media with #CosmeticCleanOut 

Why? Fragrance ingredients can be especially toxic for children. Because children are smaller and still developing, they are more susceptible to the health risks of harmful fragrance chemicals. You should make sure you know what your kid is putting in his or her body, but unfortunately, until all fragrance chemicals are disclosed, you can’t. The best way to keep toxic fragrance chemicals away from your children is to avoid products with fragrance altogether. 

Day 4 – Make a plan to phase out your products with fragrance ingredients.

For example, ask yourself these questions: Will I use the rest of my product and then buy a fragrance-free one next time? Or will I stop using this product now, and buy a new, fragrance-free one tomorrow? Do I need this product at all, and if so, is there an alternative I can use? (See Day 5 for our list of safer products!) Summarize your plan and share it with your friends and social media followers to encourage them to join you! 

Why? No matter what plan you decide on, the health benefits of eliminating fragrance products from your routine might be significant. We don’t always know whether or not the chemicals in a fragrance product are toxic, but in the absence of full disclosure of all ingredients, it’s best to err on the side of caution and switch to fragrance-free products.  

Day 5 – Check out these lists of safer products and consider switching up your beauty routine to incorporate them.

EWG Verified:

Think Dirty Verified brands:

Why? Switching to clean beauty products can have a positive impact on your health. Research has shown that only days after participants eliminated certain beauty products that contained toxic chemicals, such as phthalates and parabens, the level of toxic chemicals in their bodies significantly decreased.

Beauty companies that are disclosing ingredients are doing the right thing for their customers. However, you may notice that some of these products are more expensive or harder to find in the store. Ultimately, people shouldn’t have to pay more or work harder just to avoid toxic chemicals and know the ingredients in their beauty products. All products should be safe and toxic-free.


Gina Werdel

Find Out More