Gift boxes with cosmetics are a cocktail of problematic chemicals

6. dec 2015

Popstars like Britney Spears and One Direction market gift boxes with cosmetics to children. But the boxes contain a number of substances which are suspected to be endocrine disrupting.


Gift boxes with cosmetics contain suspected endocrine disruptors
Photo: Anne Beck Christensen

Suspected endocrine disruptors in gift boxes

A gift box with cosmetics is surely a hit under many Christmas trees this year in homes with children. Especially when stars such as One Direction, Beyoncé and Lady Gaga are pictured on the boxes.

But how about substances with suspected endocrine disrupting effects? These are not likely to be on top of any wish list.

Nevertheless the substances are found in every single gift box with cosmetics that were tested by the Danish Consumer Council THINK Chemicals. The council has examined the ingredient lists on gift boxes which are targeted at children in their marketing.

“It is very unfortunate that all of the gift boxes we found in the stores contain substances which are suspected to be endocrine disrupting. None of the examined cosmetics boxes for children are recommendable to put under the Christmas tree,” says Stine Müller, project manager in the Danish Consumer Council THINK Chemicals.

Hormone disrupting chemicals are suspected to cause several ailments such as declining semen quality in boys and too early puberty in girls.

Britney Spears gift box is a cocktail of unwanted substances

The Danish Consumer Council THINK Chemicals often mention the so-called cocktail effect which regards to the health risk from endocrine disruptors.

The cocktail effect refers to the fact that consumers are exposed to a cocktail of many different unwanted substances from many different sources every day.

In the Britney Spears Fantasy gift box the cream alone is a cocktail.

Four different substances, which individually are suspected to be endocrine disrupting, are mentioned on the ingredient list of the cream. Consequently, the consumer leaves the following substances on his or her skin after use of the cream: methylparaben, propylparaben, cyclopentasiloxane and BHT (butylated hydroxytoluene).

Cyclopentasiloxane is – in addition to being suspected of endocrine disrupting effects – also recently deemed not safe to use in body lotions by the Scientific Committee for Consumer Safety in the EU.

At Elizabeth Arden, who are responsible for the Britney Spears Fantasy gift box, Nordic PR Manager Line Hansen writes that the company’s products and ingredients are in agreement with the cosmetic regulations in the EU and have passed thorough safety tests.

In the Danish Consumer Council THINK Chemicals Stine Müller recommends parents to make their own gift boxes with eco-labelled products if they want to put cosmetics under the Christmas tree.


For more information:

Mrs Stine Müller,, +45 41 94 79 06                                                              

Project Officer, Danish Consumer Council THINK Chemicals