Don’t think about the ingredients or the brands you buy from when choosing beauty products? Well, here’s why you should:

Our lipsticks, shampoos, skin lotions and other personal care products are full of harmful chemicals linked to health problems including tumors, cell mutation, allergies, reproductive complications, endocrine disruption and cancer. In fact, cosmetics are among the least-regulated products on the market, even though they are so widely used, and the FDA doesn’t regulate ingredients in cosmetics to ensure safety but leaves it up to the companies to do so.

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Even though some states and organizations are taking action to prevent the use of toxins or at least allow consumers to see what is lurking in their beauty products, companies continue to find ways to hide harmful ingredients.

Toxic chemicals found in nearly 1,500 cosmetic products

In the latest news uncovered by the nonprofit Women’s Voices for the Earth, more than 20 cosmetic companies in California, including the brands Dial, Tresemme, Nexxus, Selsun Blue and even CHI Organics, are attempting to use a loophole to avoid disclosing their full ingredient list in the state’s new database (which was created by California’s Safe Cosmetics Act and is the nation’s most comprehensive program for identifying and reformulating consumer products containing hazardous chemicals).

Companies in the state are now required to report ingredients that are considered carcinogens or reproductive toxins. But 22 cosmetic companies are filing for trade secret status for some of their ingredients.

“It’s just plain wrong that companies are hiding chemicals linked to cancer and birth defects under the pretense of trade secrets,” said Janet Nudelman, Director of Program and Policy and Co-founder of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics. “Consumers want and deserve full ingredient disclosure.”

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Companies and states take action against toxins in products

Yes, this news is about California, but consumers in all states should be concerned because companies are using the same harmful ingredients in all their products, and if they are attempting to hide things from us, why would you buy from these companies at all?

Some good news: Companies, including Walmart and Target, are taking action against toxins in products. And in 2014, at least 33 states are considering policies addressing untested and toxic chemicals in everyday products.

What can you do?

If this news makes you say WTF!, take action for yourself and to protect others:

  • Call the 1-800 number listed on products made by these companies and ask them what ingredients they are hiding from customers.

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  • Tweet the companies using the hashtag #nosecrets or tag the companies in Facebook posts.

  • See if you own any products made by the 22 companies and make plans to get safer products.

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  • Find safer products using the Skin Deep database, which ranks more than 60,000 personal care products.

  • Educate yourself. Read about the top 10 toxins in cosmetics.

  • Us the “Think Dirty” app, which scans you cosmetics for toxins.

  • Get involved in The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics.

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In addition to the actions above, be sure to share this story and spread the word so that others can get informed informed about the safety of their personal care products.

 Image Source: Franceso Rachello/Flickr