In 2015, Johnson & Johnson made headlines as its beloved baby powder was linked to asbestos contamination. Some 38,000 lawsuits later, many claiming that trace amounts of asbestos in the talcum powder caused ovarian cancer and mesothelioma in users, the beauty industry is wary of the commonly used ingredient. HBO Max’s Not So Pretty docuseries, released in April of 2022, also spotlights its dangers. Today, the company announced a global discontinuation of its talc-based products and a plan to transition to cornstarch.
While talc itself is a natural mineral, often used to absorb moisture and prevent the caking of makeup products, according to the FDA, the ingredient is often contaminated with traces of asbestos. Asbestos has been classified as a known human carcinogen and per the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), there is sufficient evidence that asbestos causes mesothelioma and cancers of the lung, larynx, and ovary.
Talc is usually listed as a top ingredient in powder makeup products, but is also found in formulas like foundation, concealers and lipsticks. As such, more and more beauty lovers are making the switch to talc-free products. While there are no “clean” regulations on beauty put forth by the FDA, many beauty brands are conducting their own research and making their own standards when it comes to which ingredients they refuse to formulate with. If you’re looking for makeup products that are free of talc, try these brands.
1 / 7
Along with other potentially harmful ingredients like GMO’s and phthalates, this minimalistic beauty brand promises to never use talc in their formulas. For a second-skin tinted moisturizer that also offers SPF 36, try their Slip Tint. For a brightening, hydrating concealer option, newly released Hydrabeam is making waves.
2 / 7
Pegged as makeup for skin-care freaks, this skin-loving lineup is totally free of talc and 2,700 other harmful ingredients. Social media can’t get enough of the newly launched Revealer Skin-Improving Foundation, and their silky Cloud Set Powder can’t be beat for setting makeup or blurring pores.
4 / 7
For skin-nourishing, multi-purpose makeup sticks, this pared-back makeup brand is the way to go. We love the balmy Aura Multi Stick for use on the lips, lids and cheeks, and the Highlight Stick is a must on the cupid’s bow, cheekbones and inner corner of the eyes.
5 / 7
Along with parabens, sulfates, BHA, BPA, plastic microbeads and others, talc is on Milk Makeup’s will-never-use list. The hydrating yet anchoring Hydro Grip Primer is a must-try for humid summer months, and the new RISE Mascara keeps lashes lifted and lengthened all night.
6 / 7
Made famous for its creamy, potted uncoverup Concealer ($36) and Lip2Cheek ($36) products, the clean brand also offers foundation, primers, oils, blush and everything in between. Not only free of talc, the entire line is free of parabens, gluten, synthetic fragrances, GMOs, sulfates and pthalates.
7 / 7
You know this brand for its innovative, customizable palettes ($10–$12)—choose from Shadows ($12) to Bronzer ($23)—and earth-first packaging, but its formulations are also top notch. Free of hazards including carbon black, talc, gluten and parabens, this makeup brand is one to feel good about.
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