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Photo by Brigitte Sire


What’s Up With Petroleum in Beauty Products?

This week, we’re sharing seven of our favorite pieces of intel from our new book, GOOP CLEAN BEAUTY. Day five is about the shockingly unregulated beauty and personal care industry, and how the products we often think of for self-care are actually loaded with hidden toxins, and why goop as a brand (and as a bunch of living breathing people) is so devoted to clean, non-toxic beauty: Karen Behnke, founder of the brilliant and totally non-toxic Juice Beauty, walks us through the health dangers of petroleum in products.

Day one was our all-time favorite detox recipe; day two was anti-aging secrets from a top yogi ; day three, cardio queen Tracy Anderson on skin; and the good-hair diet for day four. You can also get the book for more, and tag your #goodcleangoop moments on Instagram (@goop will be regramming).

Day 5: A Q&A with Karen Behnke

Q

How pervasive is petroleum in beauty products, and why is it problematic? What’s the work-around for Juice Beauty?

A

Petrochemicals are incredibly pervasive in beauty products; so many common ingredients are derived from them. A huge health concern with petroleum products is that they can generate 1,4-dioxane, a substance known to potentially contribute to some cancers. It’s also a kidney toxin, neurotoxin, and a respiratory toxin, not to mention a leading groundwater contaminant. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) found that an alarming 22 percent of all conventional personal care products contain unsafe levels of 1,4-dioxane. EWG also found that “these trace contaminants in petroleum-based ingredients often readily penetrate the skin…and their presence in products is not restricted by government safety standards.”

Some of the common ingredients in beauty products that are petrochemical-derived include:

  • Parafin wax

  • Mineral oil

  • Toluene

  • Benzene

  • Anything with PEG (polyethylene glycol)

  • Anything with DEA (diethanolamine) or MEA (ethanolamine)

  • Butanol and any word with butyl: butyl alcohol, butylparaben, butylene glycol

  • EDTA (ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid)

  • Any word with propyl—isopropyl alcohol, propylene glycol, propyl alcohol, cocamidopropyl betaine

  • Parfum or fragrance—95 percent of chemicals used in fragrance are from petroleum. This one word can contain many, many chemicals that don’t need to be listed and are likely endocrine disrupters.

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