A great resource: the Skin Deep Cosmetics Database
You know the drill – you're standing at the makeup counter, buying online, considering a purchase wherever – and you find some really mysterious gibberish on the label.
"What the heck is Pentaerythrityl Tetra-di-t-butyl Hydroxyhydrocinnamate?" you ask yourself. "Is that something I really want to put on my skin?"
Great question. And here's a wonderful resource for finding your answer: The Environmental Working Group's Skin Deep database.
Search by ingredient and you'll find what it is, products that use it, and how safe it is on a scale of 1 to 10, based on published scientific studies. The database offers good details about any concerns or use restrictions, and indicated when its conclusions are based on limited data.
For example: Propylparaben is used in some acne-fighting products. It rates a full 10 on the hazard scale.
Search for a product and you'll find a list of all the ingredients, each rated individually for safety, yielding an overall safety profile for the product.
The EWG also offers a mobile app so you can have the database handy at any time!