These are the lawsuits that have rocked the beauty industry: Hundreds of people have sued giant beauty conglomerate, Johnson & Johnson, for asbestos contamination in its beloved baby powder.
Johnson’s Baby White Powder has been a staple in beauty and cleansing regimens for decades. You most likely grew up with it at home or at the very least saw it everywhere in pharmacies. The ingredient in his formula that many people believe caused serious illness is talc.
Talc, a natural mineral composed of magnesium, silicon, oxygen and hydrogen, is found in many cosmetic and personal care products. According to the FDA, talc can be used in cosmetics to absorb moisture, prevent makeup from clumping, make facial makeup opaque, or improve the feel of a product.
But the use of talc in makeup has been debatable since the 1960s when some studies linked its use to cancer. Recent studies, however, dispute these claims and the FDA is constantly investigating whether the links to cancer are conclusive. He was also test talc for asbestos in cosmetics, with questions about possible contamination ongoing since the 1970s.
This all came to a head when in 2018, when Reuters reported that the beauty company knew that its baby powder sometimes tested positive for small amounts of asbestos from 1971 to the early 2000s. Executives as well as doctors, lawyers and scientists did not disclose these findings to the public and continued to sell them. More beauty lovers now know, thanks to HBO Max’s not so pretty docuseries that debuted in April 2022.
After multiple trials, it was then reported by NPR that Johnson & Johnson was ordered to pay $4.7 billion to 22 women (and their families) who claimed the powder contributed to their ovarian cancer. In 2019, NPR also reported that the company had to pay a woman in California $29 million after claiming baby powder caused her mesothelioma. The company has denied any connection and is still facing thousands of other similar lawsuits. In 2021, the company announced that White Baby Powder no longer be made with talc in the United States and Canada. (Although it can still be found in products sold around the world).
If this has given you a break from using talc-containing makeup products, you’re not alone. Many brands have gone the talc-free route to ensure cleaner formulations and safer use. (Although it’s important to note that there are no FDA regulations on “clean” beauty. Most brands conduct their own research and set these cleanliness standards themselves.)
Want to know more about the alternatives? You have come to the right place. See below for 10 talc-free makeup brands.