Cosmetics and our health: a link not to be underestimated

Les cosmétiques et notre santé : un lien à ne pas sous-estimer

We smear them all over our faces and bodies, sometimes several times a day. Over the last fifty years, cosmetics have never been such an important part of our daily lives. Serums, creams, shower gels, perfumes, nail varnishes, eyeshadows, lip balms... The list is looooong and we're sure your bathroom cupboard is full of them.

Yes, but... Behind their increasingly exceptional promises, these products that smooth, rejuvenate and beautify hide many mysteries. What is the real impact of the cosmetics we use on our health? Are there alternatives to conventional cosmetics? And how do we know if a so-called "natural" cosmetic is really clean?

In this article, we give you the keys to (really) unravelling the truth about your favourite cosmetics and the impact they have on your overall health. And because we're so nice, at the end you'll find our best tips for finding healthier alternatives. Let's get started!

Deciphering cosmetics: first steps

The risks of unsuitable cosmetics

Did you know that the majority of cosmetics we use are not adapted to our skin type?

It may seem like a relatively basic piece of advice, but it's true! It's absolutely essential to make sure you're using cosmetics that are adapted to your skin type and its problems. What are the risks? From increased sensitivity, to allergies in the worst case, to irritation, redness and more. To avoid this, be sure to read the product packaging carefully.

  • Case in point: you have sensitive skin that reacts very easily? Avoid facial cleansers for oily or acne-prone skin, which are likely to strip your poor skin. Instead, look for "very sensitive skin" and "ph neutral" labels to respect your delicate skin.
  • Remember: every skin is unique! So just because your best friend loves that new cream everyone's talking about doesn't mean it's right for you! Find out what's in it, if the lights are green, test it and, if in doubt, ask a professional (a naturopath, for example) for advice!

The composition of cosmetics: a proven lack of transparency

In simple terms, the INCI list of a cosmetic product is the detailed list of its ingredients. Regulations require all products on the market to comply with this standard.

Ingredients are classified according to their concentration, so the more an ingredient is present, the higher it appears on the list.

Unfortunately, who hasn't wanted to read an INCI list in search of clarification, only to end up with a headache? Granted, it takes a bit of practice, but with these basics, you'll become the boss of the INCI list. Here are the substances to avoid in your cosmetics, and the risks they present:

  • parabens: found in moisturizers, shampoos and sunscreens, to name but a few. Their primary function? To prevent the proliferation of germs and bacteria in your cosmetics. Basically, they're preservatives. Unfortunately, parabens are suspected of being endocrine disruptors (stay here, we'll talk about it later in the article 😉) and we also know that in high doses, they are carcinogenic! Not a pretty picture. So, just to be on the safe side, if you see the words "butylparaben" or "propylparaben" in an ingredient list, it's ciao! ✋
  • silicones: their names end in -xane, -ane, - conol, -con, and they're EVERYWHERE (we'll let you check by picking up the first product you see 🫣). We love them in hair products because they make our hair soft and silky, except that... their function is more of a hiding place than anything else.

They're also suspected endocrine disruptors, so they're not only bad for our health, but also for the environment, since they're non-degradable. When you rinse off your conditioner, the silicones present in its composition end up... in rivers and oceans. In short, to save fish, avoid silicones. 🐟

  • Phthalates: present in hair sprays and varnishes, phthalates are used to stabilize cosmetic formulas. Proven endocrine disruptors, they are a major cause for concern, as they can lead to hormonal imbalances, precocious puberty, genital deformities and infertility. What's more, "phthalate" is difficult to pronounce.
  • perfume in general: used to enhance the sensoriality of cosmetics, perfume presents risks to our health, as it is irritating and can cause allergies and skin reactions.

What's worse? You've got to have a nose for it, because under the name "fragrance", manufacturers can hide relatively any substance, more or less harmful. So much for transparency. When in doubt, avoid products that mention "fragrance" (of course), but also "lilial", "BMHCA" and "aroma".

  • triclosan : an antibacterial agent found in some soaps, toothpastes and facial cleansers. Like parabens, triclosan is a preservative! And it too is problematic: it disrupts our hormonal system, is toxic to our respiratory tracts and is even suspected of contributing to antibiotic resistance. It's best to avoid it as much as possible, isn't it?

PEG (Polyethylene Glycols): PEGs are commonly used in conventional, non-labeled cosmetics. Why have organic specifications banned them? PEGs can be contaminated with ethylene oxide and 1,4-dioxane. There's no need to remember these names; what you need to remember is that these are 2 substances that are a health concern! One is a potential carcinogen and irritant, and the other is difficult to eliminate. As if that weren't enough, PEGs have the ability to increase the penetration of other components: a fine promise if the formula contained only qualitative active ingredients, far less so if it is accompanied by parabens, EDTA and other dubious components...

Natural" and "organic" products: vigilance is essential

In the age of better consumption, brands have understood that surfing on this trend sells products. Unfortunately, as consumers, it's becoming increasingly difficult to trust manufacturers who use and abuse greenwashing. So, should we still trust "organic" and "natural" cosmetics?

To begin with, the word "organic" on a cosmetic does not mean that the product is organic. If only it were that simple...

  • Case in point: "organic shea butter body lotion" does not mean that the product is organic, but simply that it contains one or more organic ingredients (probably at the end of the list, by the way...).
  • The important thing to remember: to be 100% certain that a product is truly organic, it must be LABELLED.
  • Did you know? In organic cosmetics, the % organic must be indicated on the packaging: it's compulsory! Is your product only 10-20% organic? Unfortunately, many products only have the minimum to be certified.

When it comes to so-called "natural" ingredients, we may surprise you. "Natural" does not mean risk-free. Certain essential oils can cause allergic reactions in some people, while other ingredients such as talc are truly problematic and slow to be banned. To find out more about the dangers of talc, we invite you to watch this this video

Now you know how to scrutinize the ingredients of your favorite cosmetics to protect your health. Endocrine disruptors have been mentioned several times, but do you know what risks they present?

A closer look at endocrine disruptors (EDs), those troublemakers.

They are present in over 40% of our cosmetics. Endocrine disruptors are substances that alter our hormonal system. In short, they mimic the hormones naturally present in our bodies and interfere with the messages sent by our endocrine system. The result?

They are known to be responsible for numerous health problems: infertility, cancer, autism, malformations, prematurity, etc. The list goes on and on.

And yet, they're everywhere, and not just in our cosmetics. We find them in our kitchen utensils, our children's toys, but also in the food we eat! It's been 50 years since the first warnings about endocrine disruptors were issued, but regulations have been slow to banish them.

  • The important thing to remember is that, depending on our lifestyle, we are not exposed to EDCs in the same way. Studies are unanimous: it's the cocktail effect of these substances and their exposure at certain vulnerable moments in life that are dangerous. No, no, we're not talking mojito here. In short, the effects of endocrine disruptors are multiplied when they interact with each other. All the more reason to try to reduce your exposure to these disruptors.

Fortunately, there are simple ways to avoid them 😉 A simple sorting of your bathroom is already a good start. When you know that 36% fewer PEs are found in urine after you stop using any bathroom products containing them, you'll feel a little more hopeful!

Our tips for healthier cosmetics

Taking care of your health also means taking care of your bathroom!

Even if it seems complicated to opt for a 100% safe routine (nobody's perfect!), it's perfectly possible to implement small gestures to effectively reduce the presence of harmful substances.

Just for you, we've listed the best tips to help you sort out your cosmetics and preserve your health 😉

  • Opt for fragrance-free products. If you read the above correctly, you know why 😉

  • Choose organic products. We advise you to watch out for false labels on packaging designed to reassure (but above all mislead!) the consumer. Here are a few good examples: Ecocert (Cosmos Organic), Cosmebio, Nature & Progrès, Natrue.

  • Always choose a product with a glass rather than a plastic container. Why would you do this? Simple: endocrine disruptors present in plastic bottles are transferred to the product. Glass, on the other hand, avoids this contamination (as well as being environmentally friendly, since it can be recycled ad infinitum!)

  • And the grail: using cosmetics guaranteed to be free from endocrine disruptors. Just what you need: Moom is the very first organic skincare brand to be certified PE-free (the products are even compatible for pregnancy and breastfeeding!). Replace your conventional products with the Moom daily routinerange: shampoo, shower gel, care oil, cream and cleanser & make-up remover.

By becoming enlightened consumers, we can make a difference and preserve our health and that of future generations.
And you can be part of this change, yes, you, from your bathroom 😉Taking the time to read the ingredients of your favourite cosmetics, to opt for healthier alternatives and to raise awareness around you is already a great victory, and we're sure it's only the beginning!

This article was written by Lisa de moom.
Moom is a certified endocrine-disruptor-free organic cosmetics brand that fights against the presence of endocrine disruptors in our daily lives. It offers a complete routine for risk-free self-care: shower gel, shampoo, cleanser, make-up remover, oil and moisturizer.

Discover the full range on their boutique.

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The information contained in the articles on is general information only. Although reviewed by health professionals, this information is not error-free, does not constitute health advice or consultation, and is not intended to provide a diagnosis or suggest a course of treatment. Under no circumstances may this information be used as a substitute for medical advice or consultation with a healthcare professional. If you have any questions, please consult your doctor.