Makeup and Bugs - What are those ingredients in cosmetics and how to check them using databases.

Makeup and Bugs - What are those ingredients in cosmetics and how to check them using databases.

A lip and cheek stain I used to love had the perfect shade of red, and when applied to your lips or cheeks it gave me the perfect "natural" pink that looked as though I was gifted with gorgeous. When I finally took the time to read the ingredients on the back as I became mildly interested in cosmetics safety I saw Carmine - I had to take a deep breath, I knew this ingredient from a investigative fast food book I read back in 2001. 'Fast Food Nation' by Eric Schlosser

What is Carmine? It could be considered's produced from the scales of a red berry feeding cochineal bug. A BUG. Yum. This ingredient is commonly used in cosmetics and food as well as paints. 

 When we find a new cosmetic, wether it be makeup or hairspray and we want to know if the ingredients are safe or not, what do we do? Memorizing 15,000+ commonly used ingredients in personal care isn't very expeditious even for those with Dr. by their name. There is a huge book called 'Don't go to the Cosmetics Counter Without Me' by Paula Begoun that I could carry around Whole Foods and search it's pages while choosing my product, and it wouldn't be seen as strange by other whole foods shoppers however I have a five year old who wouldn't appreciate the sentiment of what mommy is doing. So once again, we turn to our super power the smart phone and it's many apps. This is one of the few times parents get a pass for being on their phone and ignoring their children while in the store because there are two apps we can use that have extensive databases and have compiled the information in order to rate hundreds of thousands of products all with the simple scan with the camera on your phone, or a quick query using either the Think Dirty app, mostly accessible on i-phones, and EWG's Skin Deep database only accessible through your web browser. They both have ratings and ingredient information. But their ratings scale and products vary. So I review both below.


Think Dirty Shop Clean is a Canadian based data app designed by Lily Tse. The ratings are from 0-10 and color coded to make it crazy easy, or fun to look at.  0 CLEAN and 10 DIRTY are broken down into three color coded categories. 0-3 CLEAN, 4-6 So So, 7-10 DIRTY. When you click on the product, it gets better, the entire ingredients list is listed with color coding for each ingredient, if the ingredient is clicked on the viewer gets more information on the ingredient. The app also has suggestions for better options or just favorites in the category. You can download it HERE

EWG's Skin Deep  -  a US organization that is under the Environmental Working Group Umbrella of safe consumer guides. With a large database, and a downloadable cosmetics guide with a donation of $5. They also have a color coded rating system similar to Think Dirty however the Think Dirty app ratings seem to be a bit harder on manufactures than Skin Deep, and it is not accessible via a quick app. This is where I started when I began researching cosmetics, before I started our store. 

I ultimately choose the Think Dirty app with it's ratings for our online store because of it being quick and user friendly. 


A major reason for starting Be Pure Beauty, was to allow for transparency in the products we buy and carry. Only the best lowest rated Clean products made in the USA. 


0-3 Good | 4-7 So So |  8-10 Dirty

For example, in our store we carry everything under a 5 rating. Here are a few of the products and their ratings on our site and in our brick and mortar storefront.

100% Pure Eye ShadowRating 0  

100% Pure Long Lasting Concealer - Rating 1 

Yarok Feed Your Roots Mousse - Rating 2 

Schmidt's Deodorant - Rating 3 

We place ratings next to our products in store and online to make it even more simplified for our customers! The Think Dirty app makes it easy to scan or manually enter the products to check for their ratings. Granted not every product is in their database yet, but they came up with a way to solve that issue, by allowing the user to enter the product and even upload photos of it, so it goes on their radar.

So next time you go shopping for a new personal care product, toothpaste sure to use the super simple databases to get a better understanding of what you are buying. The extra plus in using these databases is it helps you begin to identify potentially dirty ingredients, just like we do with our food. 

What products have you scanned and were surprised the ingredients? Were they clean or dirty?