Cover of Que Choisir consumer magazine March 2016
Life in Paris & France,  Shopping

Que Choisir Tests Beauty Ingredients

Cover of Que Choisir consumer magazine March 2016News in France spreads like wild fire! Whether it is word of mouth or the morning news on Télématin, I have found either all of the white vinegar is gone because of its cleaning properties, my hair color disappears because of a sale or the beauty products we use may have nasty ingredients. My father-in-law bought the latest Que Choisir. Its article on hygiène et beauté (hygiene and beauty) was soon all over the news.

Que Choisir is a consumer magazine in France, similar to Consumer Reports in the United States (no advertising, expert opinions and independent). They recently tested products and substances in beauty, baby and hygiene products. The links to the article and associated products and their effects are shown later in this story.

Their March 2016 issue uncovered all of the undesirable ingredients in “Pistez les ingrédients indésirables”. Inside was a pull-out card that listed the substances that effect the endocrine glands (endocrine glands include the pineal gland, pituitary gland, pancreas, ovaries, testes, thyroid gland, parathyroid gland, hypothalamus, gastrointestinal tract and adrenal glands); on the other side were the allergens present in perfumes and preservatives. As with all warnings, Que Choisir writes that it is not necessary to throw everything on the allergy list away. If your products haven’t bothered you already, think of the planet and your budget. They do suggest eliminating the endocrine disruptors completely.

In their article, Que Choisir writers took the mystery out of the scientific names such as Methylisothiazolione (the new paraben) and Sodium lauryl sulfate (foaming agent) (not laureth) by explaining the ingredient, visually showing the product and rating the risk with rinsing and not rinsing. The good news/bad news for me is my l’Oréal hair color, which contains p-Phenylenediamine, which may cause may cause severe dermatitis, eye irritation and tearing, asthma, gastritis, renal failure, vertigo, tremors, convulsions, and coma in humans! So far so good; I haven’t experienced any of these.

All the information is available on line and can be read using Google Translate.

185 products with toxic substances in cosmetics

Download the pocket-size card with allergens and endocrine disruptors

What to do with products already purchased (almost – I have written to Que Choisir’s forum to ask how to get rid of the toxic products)

Description of allergens with a rating their effect babies, children and adults.


This Web site and and its blog articles are for travelers to Paris who are looking for advice from someone who lives in Paris. These tips are "for Parisians at heart". Many people would like to visit, some can and some cannot - so I will help you enjoy a glimpse of the city and its surroundings. This project has been ongoing since 2002. Prior to living in Paris (since 1992) my European history began in the early 70s with three years in Wiesbaden, Germany. My next foray onto the Continent was in the mid-80s after graduation from the University of Florida (where I met Erik): traveling around Europe and UK with my friend, Margie, hitchhiking around and working in Ireland. After living and working as a journalist in Sweden for four years, traveling on boats, the Trans-Siberian Railway, local trains and planes took Erik and I around the world. I began working as a flight attendant in 1990 for American Airlines, based in Chicago. We moved to Paris, France in 1992 where I commuted between Paris and Chicago for my flight attendant/stewardess job. Finally my inner voice said "Stop!" and I left American Airlines six weeks shy of 20 years January 1, 2010. Now that is over and I am back working as a journalist and photographer full time on - My videos are posted on YouTube on the colleensparis youtube channel. and I am active in Toastmasters 75. Enjoy!