How To Identify Toxic Cosmetics with Codecheck + My MakeUp Routine

Today I want to simplify and detoxify your make-up routine by showing you mine and how I achieved a non-toxic repertoire of natural cosmetics.

I don’t know about you but my green beauty journey (that has now become a lifestyle) started with an app. I had no idea what all those names on the back of a product packaging meant and I assumed that, if there is a cucumber shown and mentioned on the packaging, that the main part of the product is: cucumber. But I was wrong. As so many are. We are all easily deceived by brands that try to look healthier that they really are by the look and description of their product, by false promises and unregulated labels. For me this ended when I discovered the app Codecheck (available for free here). A start-up brand that wants to make it easier for consumer like you and me to understand what a product really consists of by encoding the scientific names and numbers of ingredients (INCI). I downloaded the free app and went through all of my products scanning the bar code… and I was shocked!

All of my favourite products like the Maybelline Colossal Volum’ Express mascara had a bad rating and I learned that this mascara I almost daily applied to my eyes (such a sensitive area!) had paraffin in it which is derived from mineral oil. So please try to avoid this by checking the INCI list of your products for: paraffin, ozocerite, petrolatum, paraffinum liquidum. All nearly the same, all bad. After two days of hesitation I threw all of my old products away (some of which were in my drawers for way too long anyway) and went to my usual beauty shopping spot, the drugstore dm – with Codecheck on my smartphone ready to reveal the truth behind every INCI list. At that time, dm already had a small section of natural cosmetics and I found a replacement for every one of my old products there. The time of trial and error to find the best working products for me had begun. With a good conscience and no nasty ingredients.

If you are now going to check your products for their ingredients you might hesitate when it comes to your favourites, too. But I promise, after you coped with the shock you will be glad you finally know the truth. It is hard to ditch the make up routine you established over the years because you finally found the products that work best for you. But after you know what’s inside of them and decide to throw them away you will be welcome in a lovely and generous green beauty world that has so much more to offer. You won’t miss a thing once you find out where you can buy all the good an non-toxic products.

Now, let’s go through my make-up routine together while I also explain how the app works.

The first step every morning after cleansing and moisturizing (article about skin care coming soon) is to use tweezers and get my brows in shape. Not much alteration just cleaning up the outer lines. Then I try to cover my spots with the Alverde coverstick in 01 naturelle. It has tea tree oil in it, therefore it is anti-inflammatory and antibacterial and has a strong scent.

In the picture below you can see the product and the evaluation of the ingredients in a summary on the right. Green shaded ingredients are non-toxic and mostly plant-derived, red coloured ingredients are bad – either for you or the environment (for example palm oil). The deeper red the colour the more toxic the ingredient.

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The coverstick contains talc which is a mineral derived from mines for over 100 years now. Unfortunately, talc has a similar structure to asbestos which is a carcinogen, therefor and due to a lack of certainty regarding the safety of this ingredient Codecheck labelled the ingredient in light red – a sign for you to be alert and to make sure that there isn’t a high amount of talc in your product.

If it is sunny outside I put on my newly discovered Alva bb cream with a spf 20 that also covers up some of my impurities. All ingredients are marked as good (green) while the palm oil in it, which isn’t bad for your body but for the environment due to deforestation and monoculture, makes the circle on the top left show a red slice. So not all products that aren’t labelled with a complete green circle are actually unhealthy for your skin. But you have to find out for yourself if it is okay for you to use products with palm oil. An alternative could be certified organic palm oil which is a little more sustainable. But that is up to you.

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Fortunately, the app also shows you products without palm oil in the picture below on the top right. But take care: not all products without palm oil have better ingredients, some may also be not natural cosmetics at all. The app only shows you one aspect here.

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If I want to go bare-faced and it is sunny, too , I put on the also newly discovered Myrto Summer Day Oil S with its very pure ingredients. Myrto won an award for this product because it is an all plant-based sunscreen and therefore the app has nothing to mark red here.

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As you can see in the INCI list below, the oil needs only 5 ingredients, fully natural AND organic. If you still can’t read the INCI list you can click on every ingredient and a more detailed info box pops up.

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After that, I am always always going in with a concealer. I think this is the most important part for bright eyes and a happy appearance in general. I am using the Ilia vivid concealer in C1 right now, which might still be a little too dark for me in the lightest shade they have. All ingredients are non-toxic but as so often, we face the palm oil issue here as well.

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In this case, palm oil can be found under or be a part of glyceryl stearate and cetyl alcohol. One important thing to look at is what kind of main ingredient the brand uses (as the ingredients are listed downward regarding concentration in the end product you have to look at the first ingredient to appear in the INCI). Ilia uses aloe barbadensis leaf extract which is aloe vera. This is what a good foundation for a product formulation looks like. Other brands use water to get a high amount of product but with no advantage for your skin. What you can also see at the bottom of the picture below is that the product is showing certain labels like the Leaping Bunny label and a vegan and gluten-free sign.

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A few years ago I would have used the following foundation daily. It is from a drugstore brand. As the product does not contain palm oil (that could have been responsible for the red parts of the circle), the red section means that there are toxic ingredients in it. The amount of red in comparison to the green does not look like it could have a big impact but is has, trust me. A closer look shows that we have to deal with mineral oils, aluminum and dimethicone here to name just a few (and note how all these bad ingredients are at the beginning of the INCI list, therefor highly concentrated).

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If you click on those ingredients, the box shows detail on where it is usually used, where it comes from and what effects it can have. As an example dimethicone is a silicone oil from chemical origin and not suited for natural cosmetics. It is persistent in the environment and in natural cosmetics oils like avocado and almond are used as natural alternatives.

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Now on to the eyes.

Wait. The brows. Important step.

I am using a limited edition eyeliner from Dr. Hauschka to fill in my brows as this taupe colour isn’t too black or too brown. But the product does also look good when used for what it was made for, contouring your eyes 😉 So or so, this eyeliner is fine to be used around your eyes and anywhere else as it is non-toxic and filled with natural and organic ingredients.

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Now the eyes. I already told you about the Maybelline mascara with its toxic ingredients. I bet you know that one. Nearly everyone I know loved this mascara as well. Here you can have a look at the evaluation yourself. Do you spot our old “friends” paraffin, palm oil and similar? Bad, bad product…

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Another advantage of the app Codecheck is that other consumer and users can write down pros and cons about the product. As you can’t always trust the opinion of one single individuum other users can tick yes or no if they find the user is right about what he/she said as you can see in the box on the bottom right.

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Nowadays for my daily not too dramatic lashes I use the Alverde false lashes mascara with way better ingredients and a Natrue certification so I know it is 100% natural and to a good amount organic. For the more dramatic look I use my new healthy favourite from 100%Pure called maracuja oil mascara black tea. Fully green circle here = no worries.

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My favourite lip saving product is the Alverde lip balm with calendula and no nasties inside. It really gives my lips a long-lasting protective coat that smells and tastes unobtrusive and does not harm you when ingested.

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Other drugstore products I like to use are the Alverde blush and Alterra bronzer but I think I am going to get rid of them as they have talc as their main ingredient.

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To top the look off and prevent my skin from being shiny I use a powder from Zao cosmetics that at the end of the INCI list has some ingredients I am not that happy about (Ci numbers in red). I really like the product but I am going to find out more about the ingredients in red by using pages like or

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Fortunately Codecheck also provides you with a list of products that have a better rating as you can see below. So once you (code-)checked your old products it is easy to find healthier new ones.

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Of course you still have to elaborate yourself which ingredients are to be banned completely from your stash and which aren’t, which are falsely accused of being toxic and which are underestimated and where other users use their voice to manipulate ratings. Also, some products appear twice but with a different rating. That can be confusing and needs to be fixed. But Codecheck is still a start-up and lives from your participation so I would highly recommend using the app as it is, in my opinion, the best one for an overall impression of the toxicity of  a product. For me, it paved the way to a healthier life as  I also extended my newly achieved wisdom about ingredients to other parts of my life like nutrition. By the way, the app also contains some international product ratings but way more European products are listed, so keep up the listing and checking of new ones!

Below you can see most of the products mentioned above on my face. This is usually my daytime look. I hope you enjoyed reading my article and I hope that you’ve learned something from it even more 🙂




This is a sponsored post – nevertheless, this article represents my own and unaltered opinion.


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