Clean Over 50 Makeup: The most important chemicals to avoid

Why is using natural, hormone-friendly natural makeup over 50 is important for your hormones during & after menopause

There are certain chemicals commonly used in makeup that have a direct effect on your hormones.  They confuse your body and make it harder for your body to balance hormones naturally (especially estrogen.)  

And once we hit 50, our bodies need all the help they can get to maximize and optimize hormone levels to reduce symptoms of menopause and signs of aging after menopause. 

My system for deciding which hormone-friendly makeup to use

To me there are three levels of "clean" personal care products.

The first level is simply greenwashing. They're advertising themselves as "green, natural, and healthy" because they avoid one or two of the most toxic chemicals ever used - but they include everything else.  

The second level is pretty good and works for most women. They avoid a whole handful of the most disruptive chemicals - all the really big and well documented ones - like the ones listed in this blog.

This is a decent place to shop because these products are:

  • Relatively easy to find
  • There's a huge selection
  • And you can almost always find something that performs just like what you're used to

The third level is the best - the truly non-toxic products. These are harder to find, the selection is smaller, and you might not always find something that performs as well as a more toxic version of the same thing.


So to sum up...

I recommend always shopping in at least level two. And if you're having trouble getting your hormones or immune system under excellent control - go to level three for a while. You can always go back to level two when you're feeling better.

Here's my list of the most important ingredients to avoid in your makeup products. 

Hormone-disrupting colors

Artificial colorants are derived from coal tar, which in turn is a by-product of petroleum. You want to avoid these because coal tar dyes have been linked with cancer but also were found to affect the neurons which cause allergic reactions.

In 1983, a report requested by the FDA, found Red 3 to have caused thyroid tumours. As a result, Red 3 was banned from cosmetics. Yellow 5, when combined with a benzoate with E numbers (E210-E215) is linked with allergy-like hypersensitivity as well ADHD syndrome (hyperactive) in children, while Yellow 6 could cause adrenal gland and kidney tumours. 

The bottom line is, it's best to avoid all colorants derived from petroleum products.  

To identify these types of artificial colorants, look for FD&C then a color or number OR  the word "lake" in the ingredients list.  

Hormone-disrupting fragrances

I recommend avoiding products with synthetic fragrances, because they so often contain phthlates.

Phthalates have been found to act as a hormone disruptor linked to reproductive defects, insulin resistance, and developmental problems in children.  

And here's the problem - phthalates wont be listed on the label.

So if a product contains anything labeled "fragrance" "parfum" or "perfume" that is not guaranted to be 100% natural or phthalate free, it likely contains phthalates.  And they really are one of the nasties - one that's incredibly common.

Hormone-disrupting preservatives

Oh these are tough ones. They pop up all over the place and really love to target hormones when causing problems.

Here are some of the main ones to avoid


The big one of course is parabens!  These are more commonly known to be problematic as they can be absorbed though the skin and are found in breast cancer tumors.  There is a growing concern that they may give rise to breast cancer.  They are used much less than they used to be - but amazingly - you still have to look out for them all the time!

And now, all the companies avoiding parabens are using newer alternative preservatives many of which don't have much bad press yet, but do seem to be problematic.



This is one you'll see in "antibacterial" products as well as as a preservative. Triclosan  has been shown to work as both a hormone and thyroid disruptor.  It's techincally a pesticide, is terrible for the environment, and may help create superbugs.  I highly reocmmend avoiding it.


This is another new preservative used in things like baby shampoo!  But also in other skin care and cosmetics

And studies have shown that it contains neurotoxic properties that are serious enough we should definitely worry about them. 

In studies with rats, a mere 10 minutes of exposure was enough to cause brain cell damage.

Further studies concluded that low concentrations of during neural development increased the risk of seizures and visual abnormalities.

Furthermore, the Environmental Working Group has classified it as a skin sensitizer and irritant.

Hormone disrupting sunscreens

Many chemical susncreens are significant hormone disruptors! 


The big one here is oxybenzone becase it's so common and linked with skin irritation and allergies, hormone disruption, and low birth weights in baby girls.


This is the most widely used UVB-absorbing agent in sunscreen today, but octinoxate produces estrogen-like activity and may also target thyroid function.

Octinoxate is readily absorbed by the body and has even been detected in human breastmilk.


This is another common UVB-absorbing chemical that acts as an estrogen in the body. 

How to learn more

You can enter any makeup or skincare ingredient in the EWG skin deep database and get information on whether it's considered safe.  

You can find reputable companies and look at their list of ingredients they avoid - in fact you can find whole websites that carry multiple brands - and know that every product on the entire website is free of certain ingredients like this one.

The good news

There are lots of clean beauty products available today that perform well without these hormone-disrupting chemicals.  Stay tuned for more tips and reviews of my favorites!

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This information is being provided to you for educational and informational purposes only. It is being provided to you to educate you about Chinese medicine in your diet, lifestyle, and supplements and as a self-help tool for your own use. It is not personalized health advice. This information is to be used at your own risk based on your own judgment.  For my full Disclaimer, please go to

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