Discover Toxic Ingredients

Urban Farm Lifestyle

  Healthy-Sustainable-Regenerative Lifestyle 

Think Dirty

I found an App that allows you to scan the barcodes on products like cosmetics and find out if they are clean, not harmful or dirty, having possible harmful ingredients.

David Proctor


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Think Dirty App

by David Proctor

 January 20, 2022

Urban Farm Lifestyle Magazine    Published Weekly

I scanned my can of Barbasol Shaving Cream and it came up, on a scale of 1-10, a 9.  I thought what can be so bad about shaving cream?  

I have used this brand for a lot of years. 

I clicked on ingredients within the app and found that the worst thing in the product that made it rate a 9 was fragrance.


Think Dirty App

Think Dirty App Ratings


The name fragrance, also known as almond fragrance, aroma, or aromatic oils.

Many things can go into a fragrance, but the list of health impacts are hormone disruptors and allergies.

This has to make you think about what is being put in products that we use on a daily basis, to make them appealing, so that we will buy them.

This app doesn’t scan food items that are ingested but does scan products that we use external like shampoos, cosmetics, even mouthwash, and toothpaste.


Think Dirty App

Think Dirty App Scan


Think of how many products are made for skincare and cosmetics.  

To give you an example, I scanned a jar of Pond’s Dry Skin Cream to see how it was rated.  

That product has been in my house for years.  

We have used it as a skincare product, and I think even my mom used it.  

When scanned it came up a 10!


Under ingredients, the one rated 10 is DMDM Hydantoin, and number 9 is Fragrance, number 7 is Methylparaben, number 5 is Petrolatum and Laureth 23, and number 4 is Iodopropynyl.  

What are these ingredients?

DMDM Hydantoin
Also Known As:
DMDM Hydantoin is also known as 4-methylenedioxyaniline HCL, DMDM Hydantoin Formaldehyde releasing agents.

The usage for formaldehyde-releasing agents is used for preservatives in a wide range of cosmetics.  

Formaldehyde is considered a Group 1 Carcinogenic to humans by IARC (International Agency for Research on Cancer).

Health Impacts:
May trigger eczema, known human carcinogen, allergies, carcinogen.

Formaldehyde is voted as “Allergen of the Year” of 2015 by The Dermatologist Journal (The Dermatologist).  

In many cases, this ingredient is not listed on the labels.  

Studies show that via liquid chromatography analysis some products that list 82% ethanol and water as ingredients, in fact, contain an undisclosed ingredient (Friis et al).

Fragrance is number 9, which was discussed before with the Barbosal example.  The next items is number 7, Methylparaben.

Also known as:
4-Hydroxyenzoic Acid, Methyl Ester 4-Hydroxbenzoic Acid, Methyl Ester, Potassium Salt; Benzoic Acid, 4-Hydroxy- Methyl Ester, 4-Hydroxy-Methyl Ester Benzoic Acid

Fragrance ingredients, preservatives, mimic estrogen and can act as potential hormone (endocrine) system disruptors.  

Parabens are a group of compounds widely used as an antifungal agent, preservative, and antimicrobial in creams, lotions, ointments, and other cosmetics, including underarm deodorants.  

In 2011, a study showed that methyl parabens may cause healthy cells to grow and survive like cancer cells grow and survive, and like cancer cells, can interfere with the effectiveness of anti-cancer drugs.

Health Impacts:
Some studies of breast tumors show a buildup of methyl parabens in the breast tissue.

I will not go over the number 5’s and below.  

They are not considered as harmful as the top 10’s.  

As you can see, even if you read the label, you may not fully understand what is being used in the product and the effect that compound can have on your body.





A few more examples are:

  • Redken Extreme Shampoo Fortifier For Distressed Hair has (Butylparaben, Parfum/Fragrance) = 10 & 9
  • Pure Silk Moisturizing Shave Cream For Women (Fragrance) = 9
  • Listerine Cool Mint Mouthwash (Poloxamer 407)= 8
  • Crest Baking Soda With Tartar Protection Fresh Mint (DMDM Hydantoin & Fragrance) = 10 & 9
  • Revlon Colorsilk Natural Hair Color 3Rb Dark Mahogany (P-Phenylenediamine) = 10
  • Revlon Scented Parfume Nail Enamel (Parfum) = 9
  • Estee Lauder Pure Color Crystal Lipstick (Fragrance & Polyethylene) = 9 & 7
  • Estee Lauder Gentle Eye Make Up Remover (Butyparaben & Methylparaben)= 10 & 7

You can find products that are rated from 5 to 0. 

This app gives suggestions, which I wouldn’t be surprised if they didn’t make money each time you clicked and purchased from the app, but at least you know where to start. 

For example:

  • Estelle & Thild Night Cream Frangrance Free = 0
  • Dr. Bronner’s Lavender Bar Soap = 2
  • Pacifica Stellar Gaze = 4
  • Pacifica Natural Skincare Sea Foam Complete Face Wash = 0

The main thing to remember is to not assume that what you have been using on your body for a few days or most of your life is necessarily safe and without harmful side effects. 

Just being informed about what is in the products we buy can help us decide if we should look for alternatives. 

Shop informed.



I am not saying that you should download this app, I just want to bring attention, to the ones that care, that apps like this are out there. 

Apps that can be used to scan products or to research by typing the product name in, to see if you want to take the risk, that it states that you may be taking, in using the product.



“Think Dirty® is a project born out of a personal journey to understand the truths in the beauty industry. Due to family history of cancer, I decided to research into the many causes behind breast cancer, including ‘toxic’ ingredients in cosmetic and personal care products.

I never realized the environmental impact cosmetics had on our health, until I watched Annie Leonard’s “Story of Cosmetics”, which examined the pervasive use of toxic chemicals in our everyday personal care products.

There are hormone disruptor chemicals in many products that have been possibly linked to breast cancer. I was shocked the cosmetics industry was not regulated like the food and drug sectors. And like most women, my lipgloss and shampoo are products I would never think to describe as “toxic” or could contain cancer-causing chemicals.

Finding safer alternatives for myself was a huge challenge. Although many products are labeled “all-natural” or “organic”, there is little transparency in labeling cosmetics. There was also no real tool out there for consumers to find information easily. With my background in design and marketing, I wanted to develop and create something not only for myself but for others as well, and that’s how Think Dirty® was founded.

Think Dirty® empowers and educates the consumer on the cosmetics industry by allowing them to make an informed decision on what products to purchase. In 2012, Think Dirty® won the It’s a Start Competition Grand Prize by Digifest Toronto. The mobile app launched in Summer 2013 with more than 68,300 products listed.

As someone who has been touched by cancer in my family, I was a huge supporter of several pink ribbon-related events and fundraising efforts. I really wanted Think Dirty® to be a champion of non-partisan breast cancer awareness initiatives. This September, we partnered with the Breast Cancer Fund and their Campaign for Safe Cosmetics to promote safer cosmetics and personal products through daily habits.

However, Think Dirty® is more than just a mobile app – it’s a consumer revolution for safer cosmetics by learning one ingredient at a time, changing to cleaner options, one product at a time.

Join me to take back our power to vote for products that are safe, clean, and not “Dirty”. The time is now.”

To a healthier and safer future,

Lily Tse

Founder and CEO

We want you to Think Dirty. from Think Dirty on Vimeo.

Check It Out!

LET’S THINK DIRTY. (app) 6:15
Sarah Tran

Quick Tip




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