Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Warning: NYX Lipstick Contains a Dangerous Ingredient

Post Update 2016: NYX Lipstick Contains BHA, a Known Carcinogen and Dangerous Ingredient

I apologize for the hearts I am about to break with this one.  I was answering reader comments when I saw EmmeFatale had posted asking if the NYX Jumbo Pencils contained Parabens.  No, they don't contain Parabens, they contain something much, much worse.  

NYX lip products contain a chemical called BHA (Butylated Hydroxyanisole).  It's primarily used as an antioxidant to prevent fatty products from going rancid and developing a funky smell.  BHA is banned in Europe in the use of cosmetics and California has it on the list of 'known carcinogens and reproductive toxicants'.  The Environmental Working Group has BHA topping out at a 10 on their health hazard scale.  But hey, let's put it into lip products where women can slowly ingest it throughout the day.

Other NYX cosmetics contain BHT (Butylated Hydroxytoluene), also an antioxidant.  Along with being in cosmetics, it is also in jet fuel, rubber and embalming fluid.  Yummy.  It is a Toluene-based product. Toleune is a neuro toxin that is especially dangerous to pregnant women.  Those of you who are into nail polish should recognize Toluene as the chemical the majority of nail polish companies removed from their products.  Most nail polish actually boasts a 'Toluene' free label.

NYX Lip Products Containing BHA:

The above list is not inclusive. If you use NYX products, please search out the ingredients list on the NYX website so you can make an informed decision about your products and your health.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Review: Maybelline Great Lash - Lots of Lashes

Maybelline Great Lash Lots of Lashes (LOL)

I will admit it, I could never understand how the original Great Lash continues to make it on the top products lists year after year.  Back in my Paraben days, I would try it every few years and always end up throwing it in the garbage.  After watching multiple rave reviews of the new Lots of Lashes on You Tube, I decided to give Great Lash another shot.

I know that some people have issues with the shape of the brush.  It took a couple of tries to get the brush going the right direction but I got the hang of it.  I kind of like the brush design, it's the actual mascara that just didn't do it for me.  If possible, it was worse than the original formula that I remembered.

I wore it twice to give it a chance. The first was to work.  That was a very long day. The mascara did make my lashes thick and dark, but it was like being encased in cement.  They felt very spiky and heavy.  When it came time to remove it, the mascara pretty much chipped off and I had flakes all over my face.  That was a very messy removal - and I lost an eyelash.  My second wearing was for Halloween.  It didn't take much to give myself those thick, spiky spider lashes.  I wore this instead of the false eyelashes I bought.  That is not a positive.  It went into the trash directly afterward.

The upside is that many people actually do like this mascara and it is paraben free where the original formula is not.  If you don't mind the hard lash look, you may want to give this one a try.

Price:  $5.49

Aqua (Water) , Paraffin , Potassium Cetyl Phosphate , Cera Alba (Beeswax) , Copernicia Cerifera Cera (Carnauba Wax) , Acacia Senegal (Acacia Senegal Gum) , Glycerin , Cetyl Alcohol , Hydroxyethylcellulose , PEG , PPG-17 , 18 Dimethicone , Steareth-20 , Phenoxyethanol , Caprylyl Glycol , Sodium Polymethacrylate , Sodium Dehydroacetate , Hydrogenated Jojoba Oil , Hydrogenated Palm Oil , Simethicone , Disodium EDTA , Polyquaternium-10 , Silica , Panthenol , May Contain: CI 77491, CI 77492, CI 77499 (Iron Oxides) , CI 77007 (Ultramarines) , CI 77891 (Titanium Dioxide) , Mica , CI 75470 (Carmine) , CI 77288 (Chromium Oxide Greens) , CI 77289 (Chromium Hydroxide Green) , CI 77742 (Manganese Violet) , CI 77510 (Ferric Ferrocyanide)

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Is Your Hair Flat, Dry, Or Cranky? Could Be Your Water Quality.

A few weeks ago, the water filter I've had on my shower for years physically broke and had to be removed.  I really didn't think it did that much, so I didn't immediately replace it.  Fast forward to a week later and I notice my shower has a layer of scum that I just can't get out without physical scrubbing.  My usual scrubbing bubbles shines the faucets up, but everything gets grimy as soon as I take a shower.  What I hadn't noticed was what was slowly happening to my hair.

I have very long hair that is somewhat wavy.  The healthier and happier my hair, the wavier it becomes.  From the moment I removed the water filter, my hair started getting flatter and flatter.  The texture started to change and become dry.  By the time I got another filter installed, my hair was completely straight and plastered to my head.  It reminded me of the Seinfeld episode when they installed the low-flow showerheads and everyone's hair went flat. 

I'm currently in my second week with the new filter and my hair still hasn't fully recovered.  I never realized that the water at my house was so hard.  I started doing some research and discovered that approximately 85% of people in the US bathe in hard water. Now, hard water refers to just the minerals in the water, it doesn't even address all the chlorine and other chemicals that are added to city water to make it 'healthier'.   I have read on many hair care forums that people believe hard water doesn't only affect hair quality, it can cause baldness.   

This article sums up many of the problems that people may be experiencing due to hard water; acne, dry skin, Rosacea, and shaving problems.  I found another interesting one from the UK talking about doctor's prescribing water softeners for children who suffer from Eczema. 

If you have gone through endless product changes, but your hair or skin issues never seem to clear up, you may want to consider adding a water filter to your shower or home.  I will never be without one again! 

Interesting video showing hard water scrunge.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

UK Calls Shenanigans on L'oreal Ads With Julia Roberts

In 'well, der' news, the UK has banned L'oreal ads featuring Julia Roberts and supermodel Christy Turlington because they have been deemed as overly airbrushed.  If America did this, there wouldn't be a magazine left on the stands at the grocery.  

L'Oréal has been forced to pull ad campaigns featuring Pretty Woman star Julia Roberts and supermodel Christy Turlington, after the advertising watchdog upheld complaints by Liberal Democrat MP Jo Swinson that the images were overly airbrushed.
Swinson, who has waged a long-running campaign against "overly perfected and unrealistic images" of women in adverts, lodged complaints with the Advertising Standards Authority about the magazine campaigns for L'Oréal-owned brands Lancôme and Maybelline. The ASA ruled that both ads breached the advertising standards code for exaggeration and being misleading and banned them from future publication.  Full Article.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Awesome Video: The Story of Cosmetics

SuJin over on the Princess Facebook page just shared this video and I thought it was fantastic.  Entertaining and informative. Of course, if you read this blog, you can already recite this by heart, but it is still fun to watch. Remember, READ YOUR LABELS and spend your money on those products that deserve to be purchased based on their ingredients, not their marketing.

Sunday, July 10, 2011


Back in 2009, I was throwing some major hate at Yes to Carrots for their use of Imidazolidinyl Urea as a preservative.  For a year straight, I would send them a stink-o-gram every month asking them to stop using this ingredient.  Apparently, I was not the only one.  The have really cleaned up their act.  Currently, only one product is listed on their website ingredients list contains Urea and I don't believe it is currently in production.

They actually have multiple lines now:  Carrots, Tomatoes, Cucumbers, Blueberries.   I used up bottles of their Tomatoes shampoo and conditioner I bought on clearance at Walgreens during the winter.  My hair loved it and they have a great smell.  The only drawback for me is that their products are bit pricey (shampoo $8.99).  They are in-line with the pricing for Burt's Bees in drugstores.  I will be adding more of their products to my routine as I catch them on sale.  

Overview of the different Yes to Carrots offerings on

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Haul & Swatches: Sally Girl Mini Baked Eye Shadows

When I was searching for baked makeup products, I ran across these Sally Girl Mini Baked Eyeshadows from Sally Beauty Supply. They sell for .99 each.  Yes, they are less than a dollar.   They don't have the best ingredients, but they are Paraben Free and free of most of the other chemicals I dodge.  Caveat:  They do contain Mineral Oil and BHT which may cause skin irritation, so don't buy if you are sensitive to these ingredients.

Price:  .99

I found these in a small display at the front register.  There are 12 colors available.  The containers are not labeled with the color name.  The actual product is a bit larger than a dime and is a healthy mound of eye shadow. 

I have not used them yet, but I did a finger swatch and these deliver nice shimmering color completely dry.  I always use my shadows wet, so it will be interesting to see how intense these will become. 


Sunday, July 3, 2011

You Must Be Joking: Laura Geller Baked Eyeshadow Ingredients

I have never used a baked product and have been scouring the web looking for one that isn't pickled in Parabens.  Still looking, but I made an interesting discovery. The popular Laura Geller brand baked products have more dangerous ingredients than a the cheapest Wet 'N Wild product you can conjure. A jaw-dropping experience for me. Highlights:  Talc, Mineral Oil,  Zea Mays (Corn) Starch, Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate, Methylparaben, Ethylparaben, Propylparaben, Imidazolidinyl Urea, Butylparaben, BHT.  SERIOUSLY?

I compared the ingredients list of Geller to a cheap knock-off.  A Geller Baked Shadow ($23) to an Essence Baked Shadow ($2.99). 

Please do NOT use either of these products.  I wanted to show readers that some expensive brand names use ingredients just was dangerous - and worthless - as dime store brands. 

NOTE:  I sorted these alphabetically so I could match them up.  

Laura Geller Solid Baked Eyeshadow Essence Baked Eyeshadow
Butylparaben Butylparaben
C13-14 Isoparaffin C13-14 Isoparaffin
Carmine (CI 75470) Ci 75470 (Carmine)
Cetearyl Ethylhexanoate Cetearyl Ethylhexanoate
Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil
Dimethicone Dimethicone
Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate  Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate
Ethylparaben Ethylparaben
Glyceryl Ethylhexanoate/Stearate/Adipate Glyceryl Ethylhexanoate/Stearate/Adipate
Imidazolidinyl Urea Imidazolidinyl Urea
Iron Oxide (CI 77491) Ci 77491
Isopropyl Myristate Isopropyl Myristate
Laureth-7 Laureth 7
Lauroyl Lysine  
Magnesium Aluminum Silicate Magnesium Aluminum Silicate
Manganese Violet (CI 77742)  
Methylparaben Methylparaben
Mica Mica
Mineral Oil Paraffinum Liquidum (Mineral Oil)
Octyldodecyl Stearoyl Stearate Octyldodecyl Stearoyl Stearate
Phenoxyethanol Phenoxyethanol
Polyacrylamide Polyacrylamide
Polysorbate 20 Polysorbate 20
Sodium Dehydroacetate Sodium Dehydroacetate
Sorbitan Stearate Sorbitan Stearate
Talc Talc
Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891) Ci 77891 (Titanium Dioxide)
Tocopheryl Acetate Tocopheryl Acetate
Ultramarines (CI 77007) Ci 77007 (Ultramarines)
Zea Mays (Corn) Starch Zea Mays (Corn) Starch
  Ci 77492
  Ci 77499 (Iron Oxides)
  Synthetic Fluorphlogopite

Friday, July 1, 2011

What's In My Purse: Beauty Products

Was just digging for my address book and realized it would be fun to show you what the Princess schleps around with every day.  I buy for ingredients and value, not brand names.  No fancy brands here.  I try to keep my beauty products as pared down as possible.  My purse already weighs enough. 

Last weekend I purchased the hemp and cotton EcoTools makeup bag from Big Lots for $3.99.  I believe the original contained a full brush set.  This one only had one brush, so it was heavily discounted.

Physicians' Formula Organic Wear Jumbo Lash Mascara in Black.  Beautiful tube, but I hate it which is why it is relegated to my purse.  I feel like I am trying to perform surgery using one of those giant kid pencils.  Love the original though and swear by it.

ELF Mineral Lipstick in Bare Brown.  Most of the ELF line is garbage, but I like their mineral lipstick products.  This one is almost used up.  

Chicken Poop lip balm.  Was a gift.  I like it, but usually reach for my Carmindy lipstick instead.

Sally Hansen Natural Beauty by Carmindy lipstick in Rosy Brown.  I have about a quarter of a tube left.  Holy Grail lipstick.

Sally Hansen Natural Beauty by Carmindy Pressed Powder in Light.  I hit pan earlier today.  Good thing I have 3 backups in the drawer.
Sally Hansen Natural Beauty by Carmindy Natural Shine Lip Gloss in Bronze Berry.  Getting low on that one as well, better stock up.

Clean Well All-Natural Hand Sanitizer spray.  Alcohol Free.  Another Holy Grail item I have been using this since it came on the market.

Generic eye drops.

Clever Products: Travalo and Flo Pocket/Purse Atomizers

I was watching You Tube last night and several gurus had been sent Travalo perfume vials by the company to review and they intrigued me. Researching a bit, I found a similar product called Flo.  Both have gizmos that allow you to fill them up directly from a spray bottle.  Good for perfumes or other liquid spray products you may want in a smaller container for your purse.  Both are the size of a lipstick tube.

NOTE:  Comments below are based on my research, I currently do not use either product.  Although, I did end up ordering one.  Keep reading.

First up is the Travalo.  MSRP $15.99.  I have seen it listed on sale for $12.99.  You can see more details and video on their Travalo website.  Here are the You Tube video reviews.

How it works:  You take the spray cap off your bottle, place the Travalo over the nozzle peg and start pumping until you reach your desired amount.  That simple. 

Watch the how-to video here:  Travalo Atomizer

  • Extremely easy to use. Bonus for the uncoordinated.
  • Spill-proof transfer.
  • Variety of pretty colors.
  • Window so you can see your liquid level. 
  • There isn't a bottom cover for this.  I would be a bit paranoid about leakage through the pinhole on the bottom - even though it does close after you fill it up.
  • You can only use this product on bottles with pegs.
  • I don't see a way to clean it out when you want to change out perfume.

Next up is the Flo.  MSRP is $14.95.  I have seen it on sale for $9.00.  You can see it in more detail on their Flo website

This one has a built-in silicone funnel on the bottom that allows you to fill from a variety of sources.  You can spray or pour liquid into it.  From the video it appears you press it against the sprayer and squirt.  Simple, but requires some coordination.

There are only a couple of You Tube videos for this product, so apparently they did not do the same guru push as Travalo.  The users I saw did not use it according to the video instructions below.  They were holding the bottles  back and spraying into the hole.  I think the purpose of the silicone is to seal the nozzle so all of your product goes into the tube instead of spraying all over.  

Watch the how-to video here:  Flo Atomizer

  • Fill it from a variety of bottles.
  • You can pour warm water into it to clean for fragrance change.
  • This does have a screw on bottom cover.
  • Medium difficulty to use.  Takes coordination.  May slosh or spill if you are not careful.
  • Choice of 3 colors.
  • No window to see the amount of product.  
  • Pink is currently sold out on their website.  
 So, which one did I end up purchasing?  I bought the Flo in basic black from Amazon for $8.69 with free Prime shipping.  I have used plastic funnels for atomizers for years without issue.  The problem always ended up being the atomizers themselves falling apart or not spraying correctly.  I will take a chance with this one and let you know how it turns out.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Update: Mary Kay Cosmetics Ingredients

My Mary Kay ingredients list continues to be the most-viewed page on the blog.  It is obvious there are quite a few people looking for more information on these products.  The original ingredients list that was provided by a Mary Kay rep is over 2 years old now.  If anyone is a rep or can provide me with an updated list of ingredients, I would appreciate it (e-mail is at the bottom of the page).  If the company has improved the quality of ingredients in their products, I will happily blog about that.  If not, consumers have the right to know and are actively seeking out this information. 

While searching the web for an updated ingredients list, I did run across an interesting post by a former Mary Kay sales rep who was experiencing severe problems with her estrogen levels. They returned to normal after she stopped using the products she sold.  This is one woman's experience, but certainly something that should make all of us cautious and ask questions about the products that we use.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

When Did Drugstore Makeup Become So Expensive?

Back in my day (when dinosaurs roamed the Earth), if a drugstore mascara cost more than $4, it raised eyebrows.  Now, $10 seems to be the norm.  Even figuring in inflation, that is a pretty steep price increase.  What is going on? **

We can make the assumption that a chunk of money is going into research and development.  While the ingredients are questionable, there is always something new and shiny being released.  What about the other $9.99?


The Rise of the Celebrity Spokesmodel
Remember about 15 years or so ago when companies actually used models to sell products and magazines?  Those days are long gone.  Now, everyone has a celebrity endorsement; an actress or singer attached to certain lines within their brand.  Check out Revlon's Spokemodel List.  Depending on the popularity of a celebrity, no doubt their contract would run into the millions of dollars.  Add a couple more bucks to your tube of mascara.

One Mascara to Rule Them All
Companies are constantly being gobbled up by larger corporations.  One corporation may own multiple cosmetic lines, high and low-end.  They need to protect their high-end properties.  As an example, L'Oreal owns L'Oreal, Maybelline and Shu Uemura.  Maybelline Lipstick: $8, L'Oreal Lipstick: $10, Shu lipstick: $26.  Your cheapest brand will drag you down.  You can't have the same company making $26 lipstick also making $4 lipstick. 

Independent Companies
What is a cosmetics company that is not conglomerate-owned and does not use celebrity spokemodels?  You get Milani.  Surprisingly higher-end quality products for less than what we normally consider to be the bargain brands (Cover Girl and Maybelline).  Lipstick $5.  I bought many of their products back in my Paraben days and can personally speak to the quality.  Milani is in line with what a drugstore cosmetics product should cost, but even their products are creeping up to keep up with the Joneses.

What are your thoughts?  Why do you think drugstore makeup is quickly closing the gap with the high-end brands? 

** Although I mention several different brands in this post, do not take it as an endorsement of any of them.  Each line has one or two paraben-free acceptable products., but still very lacking overall.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The Princess on Facebook

Well, I finally got off my throne and created a Paraben Free Princess fan page on Facebook.  I'm not really satisfied with the ability to interact well with folks on here and hope we can do a bit more chatting on Facebook.  I will also be posting all of those tidbits I don't have time to put on the blog.

- The Princess

Monday, June 27, 2011

Review: 100% Pure Organic Coffee Bean Caffeine Eye Cream

This is actually more of a rave than a review.  I have been using the Caffeine Eye Cream for about two years now.  I can't say enough good things about it.  I use it every morning before my makeup and go through a bottle about every six months.  

I have allergies, so every morning I would wake up with my eyes puffy and it would take hours for them to go down.  The first week I used this, the swelling issues went away.  I did forget to pack it one weekend when I was away from home and by Sunday my eyes had blown up again.  This works for me and is a Holy Grail item I will never give up.

Some people have issue with the smell.  To me, it smells like a latte and cream.  The product is 100% pure, so it is going to smell like the ingredients.  I don't drink coffee but really like the smell of it. 

I generally buy mine from during one of their sales.  Retail is $19 for 1 ounce.  Sale price is usually $16-$17.

Ingredients:Organic Green Tea1, Organic Calendula Hydrosol1, Organic Rosehip Oil1, Organic Green Coffee2 Vitamin E (a-tocopherol), Vitamin C (ascorbyl palmitate), Extracts of Coffee Cherry, Organic Rosemary3, Organic Oregano3, Organic Thyme3, Organic Grapefruit Seed3 and Organic Goldenseal4, Organic Vanilla Absolute3, Candelilla Wax

Sunday, June 26, 2011

What Is The Difference Between Unscented and Fragrance Free?

Made an interesting discovery the other day while trying to find an unscented hair spray.  'Unscented' is a misnomer.  Products still have a smell.  In fact, unscented can have more perfume and fragrances added than something that is scented.

There are apparently no regulations of what constitutes unscented and fragrance free.  As with most of our health and beauty products, manufacturers have a free hand to do what they want.  I have linked Unscented and Fragrance Free below to the explanations on Consumer Reports.

UNSCENTED = combination of fragrances to create a neutral smell.  Think of air fresheners, particularly Neutrair.  It doesn't smell like flowers, but puts out a bland smell that is supposed to make odors inoffensive.  It uses a combination of different fragrances to create the blandness. Same for beauty products.  If you look at the label, you will see:  fragrance, perfume, parfum.

FRAGRANCE FREE = shouldn't have any type of added fragrance.  There shouldn't be any fragrance listed on the label.

As with any labels, these are guidelines.  Remember to READ before buying.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Why Is It So Hard To Read Product Labels?

Dear Product Manufacturers,

Why do you make it so darned hard to read your labels?!  

I did a lap of Rite-Aid, CVS, and Walgreens this afternoon to see if there were any new goodies to find.  I probably read close to 100 labels and my eyes are not very happy about it.  I have above-average eyesight and yet I was squinting, scrunching and straining to read labels.  The cosmetics labels were the worst. 

The mainstream cosmetic companies (Maybelline, Cover Girl, Revlon, L'oreal) had the majority of their ingredients inside the product labels.  'Peel Here' to see ingredients.  Three broken nails and plenty of store employee stinkeye later, I have read all of them. 

Not surprisingly, every label I had to peel back contained questionable to bad ingredients.  The bottom-dollar brands I frequently malign such as Wet 'N Wild and N.Y.C. had their ingredients printed in readable type on the back of the product with only a few exceptions.  So a big thumbs up to them.  I wish they didn't use crap ingredients, but at least they are open about it.

Do they make it difficult to read the product ingredients on purpose? Oh, yeah.  Consumer behavior has changed drastically in the past decade.  People are paying attention to where their products are made, animal testing, and the all-important ingredients list.  The harder the label is to read, the better.  The average consumer is not going to stand in the store squinting and scraping at a product label with an store employee hovering a few feet away to make sure you don't steal something.  They are going to glance at the product, check out the price tag and if they like what they see, in the basket it goes.  Those of us who are trying to live a more chemical-free life are anything but AVERAGE.

Products and Ingredient Lists:
  • If there is a product I am interested in and I can't read it, I take a photo of it to look it up online later.
  • I do most of my 'window shopping' online.  I watch dozens of You Tube videos a week of people talking about products they like and I start digging around until I find the ingredients list.
  • Manufacturer websites.  This SHOULD be the only place we need to look for ingredients, but that is usually not the case.  I always start there, but usually end up on a retail website.
  • Retail websites:,,, Cosmetic Safety Database
Please post any other sites you go to look up product ingredients below! 

Review: Beauty Blender - Worth the Money?

After watching several videos about the Beauty Blender, I finally broke down and purchased one of these crazy pink eggs. was having a sale and I picked it up for $15.  LOVE IT!  Naturally, I have my complaints, but for the money I would definitely recommend this.

I have sensitive skin, so the less poking I do at my face the better.  I have tried foundation brushes, stippling brushes and a wide variety of makeup sponges over the years.  My default is fingers.  The Beauty Blender gives me a more even look and to borrow a phrase, 'air brushed'.

It is interesting watching other people use their blenders.  Everyone does it a bit differently.  Some people soak their entire egg, others just an end.  Enkore even uses it with mineral makeup.  I am still experimenting with mine.

Price: $20

TIP:   Wet frequently during application.  It absorbs quickly and if you don't keep it wet, kiss your makeup goodbye.

  1. A snap to use, more complicated to use it well.  I'm mostly a wide-end user.
  2. Fantastic finish.  
  3. Speed.  I can do my foundation in half the time it used to take with my fingers.
  1. That frigging pink.  It looks pretty, but that dye just never stops giving.  I washed mine 10 times before I first used it and my sink was still full of hot pink dye.  Be careful where you lay this and of the water splashing.  I have spots on a shelf that are never going to come out.
  2. Difficult to clean.  I didn't purchase the cleaning solution with my sponge.  I normally use liquid castile soap to clean everything but it doesn't make a dent with the liquid foundation on this sponge. I have been using cheap bar soap to get the makeup off and then washing with my castile.

Paraben Free WINNING!

I spent several hours this evening watching You Tube videos and am thrilled to see so many people reading their labels and avoiding Parabens and other dangerous chemicals.

I have also been revisiting many of the products I have dodged in the past due to Parabens and low-quality ingredients.   Whether manufacturers have finally started to bow to consumer pressure - or they see a hot new market - we are in a better position than ever before to find products on our shelves that won't send us to an early grave.