Sephora has partnered with Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) as part of its public chemicals policy initiative to remove toxic chemicals from products and replace them with safer alternatives.

According to Sephora, the ingredients listed as “high-priority” chemicals include 49 different ingredients, including formaldehyde and formaldehyde donors, parabens, phthalates, miscellaneous preservatives, ethanolamine compounds, coal tar compounds, aluminum salts, chemical sunscreen and miscellaneous solvent.

Sephora launched its public chemicals policy in July 2019, with a 50 percent reduction goal of the above chemicals over the next three years.

“Every decision Sephora makes is with its clients’ needs and wants in mind. Sephora looks to offer a large selection of high-quality products, but with that the retailer prioritizes focusing on product safety and sustainability. The potential impact of ingredients on human health and the environment comes with this, which is where the importance of this initiative comes from,” said a Sephora representative.

The initiative applies to all products sold within Sephora, both private label and third-party brands. Most recently, Sephora launched four new products under its private label Sephora Collection, all of which have the Clean at Sephora seal, meaning no product contains any chemicals, and all are priced under $20.

According to Boma Brown-West, Senior Manager of Consumer Health at EDF, “Right now, the products we use every day are filled with toxic chemicals that too often wind up inside our bodies. Exposure to these harmful ingredients pose a serious risk to our health and has been linked to life-threatening diseases and disorders, including cancer, infertility and heart disease. Everyone deserves access to toxic-free products, no matter where they shop. This is especially true for women of color, who face the greatest risks from exposure. But it shouldn’t be up to consumers to find out which products are safe to buy and which aren’t, or to seek out boutique lines in order to feel good about the safety of their purchases. Concerns around exposure to toxic chemicals are at an all-time high. And it’s signaled a sense of urgency for a new marketplace – one where all products on the shelves are safe for our health and the planet. Retailers can use their purchasing power to stimulate demand for safer products throughout the global supply chain and get us closer to a world in which all products are safe.”

Boma added that EDF will make sure that replacement chemicals are safe, because removing harmful chemicals can have enormous impact, but not if the replacement is just as toxic as the original ingredient.

“Additionally, we hope to see more companies, including Sephora, commit to safer products for women and children of color. Products that are marketed to women of color often contain more toxic ingredients, particularly hormone disruptors like parabens and phthalates, than those that are marketed to white women. And because of a difference in the number of personal care products used daily — black women on average purchase nine times more beauty products than white women — the potential harm of these toxic ingredients is multiplied,” added Boma.