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The Elephant in the Pink Room


Did you know that every 69 seconds, someone is diagnosed with breast cancer. Out of those 200,000 people diagnosed with breast cancer, 6-10% are diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer, the terminal diagnosis of the cancer spreading beyond the breasts, and a further 30% of those initial 200,000 will later progress to the metastatic stage. Out of the 40,000 people who die from breast cancer every year, 100% of those deaths are caused by the cancer reaching metastatic stage.

Now you might wonder, why haven’t I heard much about more about this?

Because metastatic breast cancer is an uncomfortable topic for the overly optimistic mood during the Breast Cancer Awareness month. In most cases, metastatic breast cancer patients don’t feel like they fit in. They consider themselves the elephant in the pink room.They don’t have those uplifting stories that breast cancer fundraisers love to show. Jeanne Collins of the IV League, a metastatic support group, points out the awkwardness in phrases like ‘let’s fight cancer in Pink Ribbons Inc the documentary: “Are they suggesting that people who died or didn’t respond to treatment simply didn’t try hard enough?”

Over at Think Dirty we are all for supporting breast cancer. Metastasis researchers believe that if properly researched, metastatic breast cancer could have less of a terminal diagnosis, and be treated more chronically. But lack of funding is holding them back. And we’re confused as to why there isn’t more awareness to this terminal cancer. In the United States, only 2% of research funds go towards researching stage four cancer research. If this is cancer is such a killer, how can we do more to support research?

Don’t get us wrong, we LOVE all the spirit in the runs, but we think it’s not supporting the full spectrum of this complex illness. It’s absolutely inspiring to see people will walk, run, bike, camp and shave their heads all to support awareness of the early stage breast cancer. Now what if we channeled that same amount of energy towards supporting the harsh reality of many toward metastatic breast cancer? 

So ladies and gents, let’s take a step back and look behind the pink ribbon, acknowledge the elephant is indeed in the room. Let us all be more compassionate about the complexity of breast cancer and support these lesser mentioned charities that focus directly on metastatic breast cancer patient support and research. 

Living Beyond Breast Cancer


Metastatic Breast Cancer Network

Chances are, they are likely the organizations that need even more of your support than the more well-known and heavily sponsored pink ribboned charities. To let out some steam of the rage towards pinkwashing, we designed a tee for you, get one to support Think Dirty’s mission to spot pinkwashers!

#TryThisInstead: Pinkwashing Edition Round 2

imageBecause it’s still Pinktober, we’re at it again to let you know the biggest pinkwashing offenders. Not sure what pinkwashing is? Check out our blog post to get the low-down. Don’t get us wrong, we love  supporting breast cancer awareness but products like these not only seldom donate to breast cancer research funds, but usually are only using pinkwashing to help advertise their product!

#1. Susan G. Komen Promise Me Perfume
Kicking off this week’s #TryThisInstead is a perfume from Breast Cancer Awareness giant Susan G. Komen. We were super shocked to find out that not only is this product rated 10 on our dirty scale, it contains Toluene; a potent neurotoxicant banned by the International Fragrance Association! To top it all off they only donate $1.51 of the $59 selling price to  Instead, check out Nourish Organic Rejuvenating Rose Hip and Rosewater Body Oil for an equally delicious scent!


#2 Smashbox Be Legendary Lip Gloss in Promise
Lip gloss is such a confidence booster when you leave your house, but we recommend you put down this rated 9 lip topper! We love that they donate $5 dollars of every gloss to Breast Cancer Research Foundation, but if you want to keep your lips healthy and kissable check out 100% Pure Juicy Lip Gloss!


OPTION: If you want to add a little color to your face, lose the Legendary Lip Gloss for Jane Iredale Bright Futures Compact. Even though it’s rated 4, 100% of the sales from this compact go towards Women Living Beyond Breast Cancer!

#3. Elemis Limited Edition Pink Pro-Collagen Marine Cream
Even though we’re psyched that Elemis is donating 10,000 pounds to Breast Cancer Care, we’re not super psyched about their marine cream rating 10 on the dirty scale! For another wrinkle-reducing cream we recommend Nourish Organic Replenishing Argan Oil Balm, only rated a 1!


#4. La Mer Hand Treatment
Another hand cream we’re taking down this week? La Mer Breast Cancer Awareness Hand Treatment! This hand cream is full of dirty, ingredients: including Retinyl Palmitate, so get this one off your bathroom counter and check out Sumbody Hand It Over Handmade Hand Cream, rated 0!


#5. Ciate Breast Cancer Awareness Paint Pot
Everyone loves an awesome manicure, but is it worth it with a Dirty Meter rating of 10? Luckily, Scotch Natural’s Non-Toxic Nail Polish comes in every colour under the sun so our nails can still look awesome!


#6. Bliss Triple Oxygen Ex-Glow-Sion Moisture Cream
Uh-oh, this 10-rated moisture cream takes the cake with FIVE dirty ingredients in it! Not only that, none of the proceeds go towards a breast cancer foundation of any type, the pink pot is only to ‘raise awareness. ” Don’t worry, Kiss My Face Potent  & Pure Under Age Ultra Hydrating Moisturizer (rated 0) will make sure your face stays ultra moisturized and ultra gorgeous!


#7. Ahava DeadSea Water Mineral Hand Cream
Yikes! Another product rated 10! Even though Ahava donates 10% of sales to the National Breast Cancer Fund, it still contains four dirty ingredients! In it’s place we love Badger Balm for Hard Working Hands, only rated a 1!


#8. Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer
Smashbox’s Photo Finish Foundation Primer is loved by beauty buffs everywhere, but we were shocked to find out that it contains Retinyl Palmitate! If you want a primer that works like a charm and won’t hurt you? Check out the Rated-1 Alima Pure Satin Matte Foundation!

#9. Origins Breast Cancer Awareness Drink Up Hydrating Lip Balm
We were super bummed to find out  that this company that looks so natural rated a 7 on our scale! While this lip balm doesn’t have a full dirty rating, coming from a product that’s supposed to be supporting breast cancer we do not approve! We do approve of  RMS Beauty’s Lip & Skin Balm, and it’s only rated a 3!


At Think Dirty we love makeup just as much as you! As you can see, all these breast cancer awareness products rate at least nine. If you’re looking for a way to support breast cancer, simply download the Think Dirty app, scan the products, and we’ll let you know the dirty rating and just what’s in it! Tweet us @ThinkDirty to submit one of your pinkwashing finds through this blog, and remember, Think Dirty, Shop Clean!

The iPhone 6 comes out in two days (and the much-debated Apple Watch launches early next year). Best of all, they’re all free, so download all you like! Makeup Genius As fun as it is useful, L’Oréal’s makeover app allows you to see how you look in certain products or pre-set looks. Scan a beauty product’s barcode, and Think Dirty will identify any ingredients that may be hazardous to your health. Input your personal beauty products, and the app will keep track of when you’ll run out — plus, it’ll let you know when the items you love are on sale.

The iPhone 6 comes out in two days (and the much-debated Apple Watch launches early next year). Best of all, they’re all free, so download all you like! Makeup Genius As fun as it is useful, L’Oréal’s makeover app allows you to see how you look in certain products or pre-set looks. Scan a beauty product’s barcode, and Think Dirty will identify any ingredients that may be hazardous to your health. Input your personal beauty products, and the app will keep track of when you’ll run out — plus, it’ll let you know when the items you love are on sale.

Source: Yahoo!

#TryThisInstead: Pinkwashing Offenders

This week’s #TryThisInstead recommendations is our Pinktober #NoPinkwashing version. If you don’t know what pinkwashing is, check out our blog post from last week to be caught up-to-date. While we believe that breast cancer awareness is good, the following list disappoints us to see companies profiting from pinkwashed products that could have potential adverse effects on its users. As always, 10 is the highest dirty rating on our Dirty Meter. 

#1. Aveda Hand Relief Lotion

The first product to kick off this week’s #TryThisInstead post is this pinkwashed hand cream from Aveda. While it’s somewhat good that Aveda donates $4 (only 15% of the product’s cost!) to the National Breast Cancer Foundation, this product is one we highly recommend you stay away from. Rated a full 10 out of 10 on the Dirty Meter, it contains seven dirty ingredients - PEG 100 stearate, retinyl palmitate, Butylparaben, Fragrance, Isopropylparaben, Isobutylparaben, and Chlorphenesin. For a product that claims to support breast cancer prevention, this ingredient list makes us go yikes! Instead, use the rated-0 Badger Balm for Hard Working Hands to keep your hands moisturized.


#2. EOS Limited Edition Breast Cancer Awareness Berry Blossom Hand Lotion

This next product is another bummer to write about. This package is a limited edition pink-coloured EOS product that contains two lip balms and a hand cream. While the lip balms are relatively clean (rated 3 and 4), the hand cream puts us on high alert. Rated 10 out of 10, it contains the dirty ingredients Retinyl Palmitate and BHT. In it’s place, use the rated-1 product Deep Steep Hand Cream Honeydew Spearmint.


#3. Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair

This product may be Estee Lauder’s #1 repair serum, but their breast cancer awareness falls quite short on our terms. It’s a positive thing that they’re donating 20% of each sale to The Breast Cancer Research Foundation, but simply selling this product with a pink ribbon keychain included in the packaging to raise awareness? It’s a no from us. Plus, the product is rated 10 - the highest dirty rating! - as it uses the ingredients PEG-75, Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate, BHT, and Bis-PEG-18 Methyl ether dimethyl silane. Chuck this product, and try the rated-3 Devita Devita-C Accelerator instead.


#4. Philosophy Shower For The Cure

We’re confused at how the act of showering helps fight breast cancer, but we’re even more confused at this product’s 10 rating. Using the ingredients methylisothiazolinon and Fragrance, this is obviously not a shower gel that really helps breast cancer patients. If you want a gel that’s great for your body and doesn’t use breast cancer as a selling point, the rated-0 Nourish - Organic Body Wash Almond Vanilla is an awesome alternative!


#5. Sephora Beauty of Giving Back Blush Palette

Beauty of giving back… More like beauty of giving you exposure to polyethylene, BHT, Talc, Phenoxyethanol, and magnesium stearate. Following the general disappointing trend of these featured pinkwashed products, this blush palette is  rated - you guessed it - a full 10 out of 10. In it’s stead, use the rated-0 100% Pure Color Cheek Tint.


#6. Bumble & Bumble Prêt-à-Powder for Breast Cancer Awareness

The first product on today’s #TryThisInstead to have not a full dirty rating of 10, this dry shampoo is still dirty, dirty, dirty. It is rated 9 by the Dirty Meter because of its usage of butylphenyl methylpropional and fragrance. You already know the drill - lose the Prêt-à-Powder for Acure Organics Dry Shampoo, which is only rated 0.


#7. CLINIQUE Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion+

Another product rated 9! While this lotion contains only one dirty ingredient (propylparaben), we suggest you switch to SanRe Organic Skinfood Supple Sunshine day cream, which is only rated 0. Like the Estee Lauder’s repair serum, this product also includes a pink-themed keychain in the product.


#8. Avon Anew Vitale Day Cream Broad Spectrum

Good on Avon for donating $5 per product to the Avon Foundation Breast Cancer Crusade, but does it justify their 10 dirty rating on this product? This day cream is alarming because it contains three dirty ingredients: Octinoxate, PEG-8, and Fragrance. In its place, you can use the DeVita Solar Protective Moisturizer SPF 30.


#9. Clinique Chubby Stick Moisturizing Lip Colour Balm

Nearing the end of today’s pinkwashing list, this lip balm proves no different than the rest of the batch. You guessed it - this product is dirty with a rating of 8. Even with only one dirty ingredient (polyethylene), we still recommend you switch to RMS Beauty Lip & Skin Balm for your moisturizing needs. 


And that concludes our organic takedown of this week’s pinkwashing offenders! This post was especially shocking for us, because none of the products were rated less than an 8 - meaning that every single product is dirty. Furthermore, these products were selling under the guise of breast cancer prevention, yet every single one of them contained ingredients that could possibly be negative for its user. As always, be sure to use the Think Dirty app to scan your health and beauty products before buying them, and submit any pinkwashing offenders to us on our FacebookTwitterTumblr, and email. Remember to Think Dirty, Shop Clean!

Pinktober = #Pinkwashing ≠ Cancer Prevention


Pinktober is like Movember, except we ladies have been hypnotized by the sea of pinkness for much longer. Today kicks off the beginning of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, a cause we hold near to our heart. As consumers, our exposure to breast cancer awareness this month will grow exponentially because of advertisements and products featuring the pink ribbon – a sign of solidarity for breast cancer survivors. If you are interested to know more the original “pink” ribbon, it was actually peach-coloured by Charlotte Haley.

At first glance, the pink idea seems super cute and fab. You get to buy limited edition pink versions of your favourite items (such as shoes, alcohol, and chocolate) and donate to a great cause at the same time!

But not so fast. As you start seeing perfumes, toilet paper, even handguns sold in the name of breast cancer awareness, you know something might be up. Is this a marketing campaign for companies to increase their sales, or are they actually trying to help of breast cancer patients? (See our Pinktober Pinterest for the full specimens of pinkness.)

In fact, something is up, and its name is pinkwashing – the act of using breast cancer awareness to help sell products… when some products may contain possible carcinogens in the first place. Not so fab now.

At Think Dirty, we take our commitment to organic and healthy living seriously. Companies that use marketing to increase their own sales in the name of breast cancer awareness, instead of in cancer prevention, truly concern us. The documentary Pink Ribbons Inc. bookoutlines these topics in more detail. Through researching pinkwashing, we learned that Yoplait Yogurt used a pink ribbon on their products to support breast cancer awareness when their yogurt actually contained the cancer-linked synthetic growth hormone, rBGH. Research suggests that rGBH is associated with a number of health concerns, including breast cancer, through the consumption of dairy products from cows treated with the hormone.

Before you indulge on another pink ribbon themed lipstick, consider some well-known makeup brands such as Estée Lauder, the creator of the Pink Ribbon. As they sell pink-themed lipsticks for breast cancer research, which might contains questionable ingredients such as PEG and Fragrances. Plus, as part of a coalition of with other manufacturers, they had opposed a California bill that requires makeup companies to reveal possible ingredients linked to cancer or birth defects. 

Even Susan G. Komen for the Cure, a non-profit organization that serves to fund breast cancer research, sold Promise Me perfume to increase research funds - to help find a cure for breast cancer. As most savvy Dirty Thinkers might already know, synthetic fragrance contains phthalates, an ingredient in the Promise Me perfume that could potentially cause cancer. Want to support an organization that works in the heart of cancer prevention instead? Donate to Breast Cancer Fund.

The list of pinkwashing offenders goes on and on. Now that you know what pinkwashing is, check back to our blog next week to see a full list of household pinkwashing offenders.

Any last comments or questions? Message us on Facebook and Twitter - we’d love to hear your thoughts on this hot topic!

In the meantime, be mindful of which pink-ribboned products you’re buying in the month of October by scanning them with the Think Dirty app first. If you come across a pinkwashing offender, please submit it to us and we would love to look up the ingredients for you and our users. Remember to @thinkdirty, #shopclean!

 and tag us on Instagram 

This week’s #TryThisInstead

Just in time for the month of Pinktober, the Think Dirty SWAT team performs this month’s first Clean or Dirty analysis on 10 beauty products. Remember, the higher the Dirty Meter™ rating, the more ‘dirty’ the product. If your product is one that falls into the dirty category, be sure to check out our alternative recommendations and #TryThisInstead! 

#1. Aveeno Intense Relief Therapy Lip Conditioner

Winter is coming, and with it the temperature conditions to dry out your skin. While Aveeno is known for their natural and organic products, this lip conditioner actually received a 7 in the Think Dirty app’s Dirty Meter™. In it’s place, you can use EOS Lip Balm Vanilla Bean - this product is only a 0! 


#2. La Roche-Posay Cleansing Milk

Milk might be your mother’s favourite natural way to cleanse and moisturize her face, but this cleansing milk is way more problematic than it seems. Containing the ingredient paraffinum liquidum, this product was rated a full 10 on the Dirty Meter, which is as dirty as it gets! Instead, try the rated 0 iLike Rose Petal Cleansing Milk


#3. St. Ives Revitalizing Pear & Soy Body Wash

A body wash fan-favourite, this product was also categorized as dirty. By using the ingredients ammonium chloride, methylisothiazolinone, and parfum, St. Ives received a dirty rating of 9. Organic Bath Co. Zesty Morning Organic Body Wash is a great alternative to use - it contains ingredients that are all rated 0! 


#4. Covergirl & Olay Tonerehab 2-in-1 Foundation

This foundation is endorsed by celebrities, but nothing can hide it’s 10 out of 10 dirty rating. The product uses three ingredients that are all rated 9 and one ingredient that is rated 10, so we would avoid this foundation is possible! In its stead, use lower-rated Lily Lolo Foundation


#5. Cover FX Cream Concealer

This concealer is known to help cover your dark circles, but it’s 10 rating makes it a big no-no to us. Instead of buying a concealer that uses retinyl palmitate and polyethylene, check out the 100% Pure Fruit Pigmented Brightening Concealer


#6. John Freida Precision Foam Colour

Lathering your hair with toxic chemicals to change its natural colour is an obvious no-brainer - this product is DIRTY. So dirty it’s made up of four ingredients that are rated 8, 9, and 10. While we won’t bore you with the possible toxic effects of toluene 2, parfum, propylparaben, resorcinol, and methylisothiazolinone, take some time to switch to the organic Light Mountain Natural Hair Colour (rated 0!) for your hair dye needs.


#7. NYX Round Case Lipstick Lip Cream

NYX products are known for being notoriously affordable, but this product should instead be known for its full dirty rating of 10. Containing the ingredient BHA, this lipstick is one we wouldn’t put in our bags for everyday use. Instead, use Emani Hydrating Lip Color (rated 3) for a lip look that’s both colourful and safe! 


#8. Neutrogena Oil-Free Eye Make-Up Remover

Just like last week, it seems that most mainstream makeup and health products follow the same trend: dirty! This product is no different — rated a 10 because of it’s usage of benzalkonium chloride solution, an ingredient that is possibly mutagenic. A much cleaner (and rated 0) alternative to use is Dr. Alkaitis Organic Mascara & Eye Make-Up Remover for your remover needs.


#9. Pond’s Dry Skin Cream

This hand cream has been loved by its users for decades, so it came to a shock to us to see that the product is actually rated a 10. Known for its great moisturizing properties, this hand cream contains five dirty ingredients! While it is disappointing to see this rating, the Egyptian Magic All Purpose Skin Cream Facial Treatment is a much-loved alternative that will do the job just as good - if not better! 


#10. Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil

The last product for today’s #TryThisInstead feature is this award-winning eyeliner from Urban Decay. While not as dirty as the last product, the product still rates a 7 for its use of phenoxyethanol, ferric ferrocyanide, chromium oxide greens, and cyclopentasiloxane. Still, a 7 is not as clean as a 1 from the 100% Pure Creamy Liquid Eye Liner


Conclusion: Every product featured on today’s #TryThisInstead post were all rated between 7 - 10 – all within the realm of being dirtyThe next time you shop for new products, make sure to do your own assessment of how dirty or clean your items are. Simply download the Think Dirty app and scan the barcode of your product for a full ingredient list and a dirty rating! Tweet us @thinkdirty or submit a clean fave through this blog, and let us know if any of these alternative organic products end up being a favourite of yours. If you have any products in particular you want us to review, tell us! Remember to Think Dirty, Shop Clean!

How Dirty Is Your Favourite Makeup?


Here at Think Dirty, we know makeup is part of our everyday lives (like wearing pants)! That’s why this week we’re putting the Top 10 most-loved makeup products to the test: how clean or (gasp!) dirty are your favourites? Don’t worry – if you use these products, we provide better rated alternatives as well.

#1. Philosophy Purity Made Simple Facial Cleanser


Considered a “holy grail” in the beauty and makeup world, this cleanser is rated a full 10 in Think Dirty app’s Dirty Meter™! With ingredients such as PEG-120 methyl glucose dioleate, propylparaben, and imidazolidinyl urea, this cleanser doesn’t seem so holy after all. In it’s place, you can use 100% Pure’s Seafoam Facial Cleanser in Organic Lavender – a product rated only 0! 

#2. Macadamia Natural Oil Deep Repair Masque


A hair fan-favourite, this deep repair masque actually ranks a hefty 9 on the Dirty Meter™ because it contains the ingredients chlorphenesin and butylphenyl methylpropional. As an alternative, SheaMoisture’s much-loved Organic Raw Shea Butter Deep Treatment Hair Masque is only a 0.

#3. Origins Clear Improvement Active Charcoal Mask


Everyone likes to treat themselves to a cleansing facial mask from time to time, but is it worth it with a Dirty Meter rating of 7? Even though 7 is not considered dirty in the Dirty Meter, this so-so score can be easily replaced by a 0 from Dr. Jart’s V7 VitaLaser Skin Perfecting Revitalizer.

#4. Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion


Uh-oh – looks like we have another 10 on our hands. You know the drill. This product has four dirty ingredients in it such as peg-40 stearate, peg-10 dimethicone, peg-10 rapeseed sterol, and polyethylene. But have no fear — the Alima Pure Balancing Primer Powder (rated 3) will make sure your eyeshadows will still look great and stay great.

#5. Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer


Less dirty than the previous eyeshadow primer, this tinted moisturizer still has a score of 9 from it’s use of propylparaben. As a replacement, you can use the SPF 30 Tinted Mineral Moisturizer from Juice Beauty, which has the cleanest score of 0.

#6. Lancôme Hypnôse Mascara


Another staple in many people’s makeup bags, this mascara pulled a rating of 7 on the Dirty Meter. As popular as it is in mainstream culture, it’s use of triethanolamine, methylparaben, and dimethicone makes it unpopular to us. Instead, try Physician’s Formula Organic Wear Mascara — it only has a rating of 3!

#7. Buxom Full-Bodied Lip Gloss 


It’s easy to throw on some lip gloss when you’re in a rush, especially this lip-plumper from Buxom. But, as we’ve seen from the trend here, this item also has a rating of 7. While not considered dirty by Dirty Meter standards, the product is still so-so. Consider using Vapour Organic Beauty Elixir Lip Plumping Gloss rating of 1 instead for a plumping look that’s both beautiful and safe!

#8. Maybelline Fit Me! Liquid Foundation


We’ve covered mascara, lip gloss, and tinted moisturizer in this makeup takedown — so what about foundation? This Maybelline foundation seems to be a hit in the drugstore category, but is it dirty or clean? Unfortunately, the foundation follows the general trend in mainstream makeup. You guessed it: dirty! With a full dirty rating of 10 from the Think Dirty app, this foundation contains eleven dirty ingredients — yikes! Definitely chuck this one from your makeup bag and try using BareMinerals Original SPF Foundation, which only has a rating of 3. 

 #9. Maybelline DreamLumi Touch Highlighting Concealer


Our second Maybelline product in a row, this rating is equally as disappointing as their foundation. Another full 10, the product only contains one dirty ingredient, butylparaben, but still try to avoid it if you can. You might just fall in love with Aveda Inner Light Concealer rating of 3!

 #10. Tarte Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Blush


Last but not least, we know how much you love having a rosy glow on your cheeks. That’s why we chose this much-loved blush to rate last! And sadly, this product is rated a 10 - the full dirty rating. While we were disappointed to see three dirty ingredients in the ingredients list, we weren’t disappointed by the Mineral Blush produced by Inika rating of 3.

So there you have it! The ten most popular makeup and beauty products and our takedown of how safe and healthy they are. As you can see, no product rated lower than a 7. In fact, five out of these ten products were all rated the full 10 out of 10. The next time you shop for new products, make sure to do your own assessment of how dirty or clean your items are. Simply download the Think Dirty app and scan the barcode of your product for a full ingredient list and a dirty rating! Tweet us @thinkdirty or submit a clean fave through this blog, and let us know if any of these alternative organic products end up being a favourite of yours. Remember to Think Dirty, Shop Clean!

Back-to-School: Face the Makeup


September is here and it’s back-to-school time! Whether you’re in high school or university, you’ve probably seen all kinds of promotional beauty and cosmetic advertisements by now. You might even want to try some makeup for the first time to help add a sparkle to your eye or a burst of colour to your lips. But before you do, read this blog post. It will provide to you a list of ingredients to avoid in the 3 most-used makeup items. We want you to look your best and feel your best for your education, so steer clear of the following ingredients!

#1. Concealer

The easiest item to just “grab and go” on a busy day, you might just want to think twice before using. Many drugstore concealers contain a potentially harmful ingredient called propylparaben, an ingredient you should definitely avoid! With a Dirty Meter rating of 9, propylparaben is a preservative and fragrance that disrupts endocrine functions — it has been found in breast cancer tumours and is linked to decreased male reproduction functions.

In the European Union, propylparaben is a Category 1 substance, a substance “for which endocrine activity have been documented in at least one study of a living organism” and is given the “highest priority for further studies.” Propylparaben is banned in Denmark. Yikes! When reading your ingredient label, make sure to avoid any products with this ingredient.

#2. Mascara

It might be compelling to give your eyelashes a boost, but try to avoid that temptation if the ingredients contain mercury.A known neurotoxin, mercury is used as an anti-bacterial agent and preservative in cosmetic products. In 2013, the Minamata Convention on Mercury was held in Geneva. A global treaty to limit the usage of mercury, the convention banned mercury in lightbulbs, batteries, and other devices … but not in mascara. What?!

Passed in 2013, the treaty exempts mascara from the mercury ban because “no effective safe substitute alternatives are available.” However, Stacy Malkan, co-founder of Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, contests this decision. According to Scientific American, she says there is no reason mercury should exist in mascara "because most companies already have found alternatives."

#3. Lipstick

You know the old trick — if you’re tired and not looking your best, throw on some lipstick and no one will even notice your dark circles. But is this really the best advice if your lipstick has enough toxins to harm you? 

Turns out the fear about lead is true. In 2007, the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics independently tested 33 popular lipstick brands for lead — and more than half of them contained it. Brands such as L’Oreal, Cover Girl, even Dior. The kicker? None of these brands listed lead in their ingredients list, but the amount of lead their products contained were as much as ten times higher than the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) limit in candy. When the FDA conducted their own study, they found that hundreds of lipsticks contained lead, and Maybelline Colour Sensation contained the highest amount. With the daily application and touch-ups of lipstick, no amount of lead is safe for the body as lead accumulates in our bodies over time.

So there you have it!

The 3 most popular makeup products and their harmful ingredients. You know which drugstore ingredients to avoid — now which healthier alternatives to use? We’ll make picking your alternative products easier by choosing them for you. Here are our favourite recommendations for concealer, mascara, and lipstick. 

100% Pure Fruit Pigmented Brightening Concealer With SPF 20

Dirty Meter™ Rating: 0


Juice Beauty Lash Defining Mascara

Dirty Meter™ Rating: 0


Ecco Bella FlowerColor Lipstick

Dirty Meter™ Rating: 0


New App Feature: Buy Now from Amazon!

You asked we listened. The latest update on iTunes app store allows you to shop directly on Amazon for products that pique your interest. 

Women’s Equality Day: Dr. Emily Stowe

Happy #WomensEqualityDay! Despite the gender inequalities that still exist in today’s society, we are happy to highlight the intellectual and capable women that inspire us. One of which is Dr. Emily Stowe, Canada’s first female doctor and a tireless fighter for women’s rights.

Born in 1831, Emily Stowe (born Emily Jennings) was raised in Ontario. Her mother, an American-educated woman, was so unhappy with the quality of education for girls that she decided to take matters into her own hands - she taught all of her children herself. At 15, Emily followed in her mother’s teaching footsteps and taught in a one-room house for seven years. 

When Emily was 22, she applied for admission to Victoria College and was rejected simply because she was female. It was this incident that sparked her passion to strive for equal rights. Despite her rejection to Victoria College, Emily was accepted to Toronto’s Normal School for Upper Canada - one of the few schools open to women then. Here she thrived, graduating with first-class honours two years later. 

In 1856, she married her husband John Stowe and gave birth to three children over the course of the next seven years. After the birth of her third child, John contracted the respiratory disease tuberculosis. Thus began Emily’s interest in homeopathic medicine, an area of medicine her mother had also studied. Combined with her belief that women doctors were needed immensely, Emily decided to become a physician. Go Emily! 

At 34, Emily decided once again to apply for admission, this time at the Toronto School of Medicine. Once again, Emily had to relive the same fate she received when she applied at 22 - rejection. The reason? "The doors of the University are not open to women", said by the school’s vice-president. 

Rightfully enraged, Emily did not let this stop her from pursuing her dream of becoming a physician. Instead, she went to the New York Medical College for Women in the United States and obtained her degree in 1867. Once her degree was completed, Emily came back to Canada and set up a practice in Toronto - becoming Canada’s first practising female physician in the process. 

Dr. Emily Stowe’s story is one of grit, perseverance, and passion. She inspires the Think Dirty team to never give up on our dreams, no matter the obstacle. Happy Women’s Equality Day to all the great women in the world. Please take a moment to thank all of the great women who have paved the way for equal opportunities today.