These 24 Beauty Ingredients Will Soon Be Illegal in California

On September 30, California signed into law the Toxic-Free Cosmetics Act, A.B. 2762, an historic ban of  twenty-four previously unregulated beauty and personal care ingredients.

“Congress has been asleep at the wheel for 82 years when it comes to cosmetic safety, which is why we so appreciate the important leadership Gov. Newsom took today when he signed the Toxic-Free Cosmetics Act into law,” said Janet Nudelman, director of program and policy at Breast Cancer Prevention Partners, one of the bill sponsors, to the EWG.

Until now, one of the most compelling stats for those new to the idea of switching to clean, non-toxic personal care products is that many of beauty’s “worst offenders” are already banned around the world in places like Europe and Japan, but not in the U.S. Read 6 Shocking Truths About American Beauty Products. In fact, the U.S. has not passed federal legislation regarding personal care product ingredients since 1938. Just imagine the limited array of ingredients used at the time compared to today.

California’s ground-breaking ingredient ban goes into effect January 2025 and will prohibit the “manufacturing, selling, delivering, holding or offering for sale” of cosmetic products with the following notable ingredients plus twelve others:

+ Some, but not all, parabens, including isobutyl and isopropyl parabens which disrupt hormones and harm the reproductive system.

+ Formaldehyde, a known carcinogen that harms the skin, lungs, and respiratory system, as well as the immune system.
Quaternium-15, which releases formaldehyde, and can cause allergic contact dermatitis.

+ Mercury, a potent neurotoxicant especially harmful to children.

+ Some phthalates, including dibutyl and diethyl hexyl phthalates, which disrupt hormones and harm the reproductive system.

+ PFAS, which have been linked to cancer, hormonal disruption, harm to the reproductive system and suppressed immune activity.

+ M- and o-phenylenediamine, used in hair dyes, which irritate and sensitize the skin, damage DNA and can cause cancer.

Despite packaging and price points, whether you shop for beauty products at the drugstore or a luxury online retailer, more than 80,000 chemicals have gone unregulated across the board in beauty and personal care products of all kinds.

All this said, it is consumer interest and education about clean beauty products that has skyrocketed over the last decade and we’ve been so proud to be a part of that — and so should you. Over the past few years, our TCM readers have given us great feedback on our clean beauty content, events and collaborations and have invested in products made by some of the best new clean brands around.. That buying behavior has helped those brands to grow and to capture the attention of major retailers and mainstream publishers.

Many retailers have been listening to the growing consumer demand for safer products and have restricted the use of sale of certain ingredients in their own corporate policies. Here are the ingredient restrictions of four major national retailers: Target, Rite AidWhole Foods, Sephora.

Time will tell how California’s new bill will effect the beauty industry across the nation, but with growing pressure from consumers, retailers and, now state government, brands would be wise to take a deep look at their formulations and face the inevitable trend toward cleaner, safer products.

What are your thoughts about California’s new bill? As a clean beauty consumer, do you feel your buying behaviors are making a difference?

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