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.
Along with its iconic millennial-pink branding and minimalistic approach to beauty, Glossier—it recently launched in Sephora—offers an impressive lineup of pigmented complexion, lip and lid products—all free of talc.
Gaga fans rejoice: the singer-actress’ viral makeup brand doesn’t just look picture perfect, it’s made without more than 2,700 questionable ingredients, talc included.
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.
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.
You know this brand for its innovative, customizable palettes —choose from Shadows to Bronzer—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.
It makes sense that a beauty brand designed for sensitive skin would ban talc from its ingredient list, but that’s just the beginning. Tower 28’s“no-no list” is extensive, and includes everything from harmful allergens to common irritants.
For a lengthened, fanned-out lash, try the brand’s newly launched MakeWaves Lengthening + Curling Mascara. For a sunscreen that rivals your favorite foundation, SunnyDays SPF 30 Tinted Sunscreen is a winner.