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Personal Care & Health

Personal Care

Hair dye

Safer, lead-free hair dyes

Covering the gray feels great, but if you use the wrong DIY product you can leave lead residue behind, on your hair, hands, and bathroom fixtures and appliances. Go natural, or find safer hair dyes in EWG’s Skin Deep cosmetic database.

Don't Use
Grecian Formula
Youthair hair coloring products

With everything we know about how toxic lead is, it’s hard to believe some companies still use it in DIY hair dye (look for "lead acetate" on the ingredient list). Residues left in your bathroom can end up on your family’s hands. Lead can cause permanent deficits in learning and behavior when exposures happen during pregnancy and early life. It’s not worth the risk.

Lotion, shampoo, makeup, and other body care products

Fragrance free

You'll find "fragrance" listed on the label of 40 percent of personal care products on the market. Added fragrances are proprietary mixtures of up to 200 chemicals. They can include chemicals like phthalates that are potentially toxic during pregnancy and early life. If your lotion or shampoo or makeup lists "fragrance" on the label, choose a different brand.

Don't Use
"Fragrance" on the ingredient list

Choose products without added fragrance (check the product's ingredient list) to avoid hidden chemicals that might not be good for you or your baby.

Skin lighteners

Skin lighteners without mercury

Some imported skin lightening creams and antiseptic soaps contain mercury, not always listed on the ingredient label. FDA prohibits the use of mercury in cosmetics, but illegally imported soaps and creams sold in stores and online sometimes contain it anyway. See safer skin lighteners in EWG’s Skin Deep Cosmetic Database.

Don't Use
Imported skin lightening creams and antiseptic soap

If you want to lighten your skin, don’t do it with an imported skin cream or antiseptic soap. Many women use these products to lighten skin, even though companies don’t advertise them for this. You won’t find mercury on the label, but it’s often the hidden, active ingredient. Mercury passes through the skin and the placenta, and it’s toxic to a baby’s developing brain. Also avoid hydroquinone in skin lighteners, an alternative to mercury that’s linked to cancer.