When it comes to beauty products the list of ingredients to avoid is growing longer by the minute and these toxic ingredients aren’t doing our bodies or the planet any favors. Unfortunately, the U.S. is slow to regulate cosmetic products, only restricting 11 ingredients while the European Union has regulated more than 1,300. And for good reason. They are harmful. Especially when used long term. Today there are more than 80,000 chemicals on the market and many don’t have any safety data.
Reading ingredient labels can be overwhelming and it's often difficult to know which are safe. We believe knowledge is power so we have put together a list of a few ingredients you should absolutely avoid. We also promise to never use these ingredients in our products.
A disinfectant used as a preservative and surfactant associated with severe skin, eye, and respiratory irritation and allergies. Found in: sunscreens, moisturizers.
Butylatedhydroxy Anisole and Butylated Hydroxytoluene
Synthetic antioxidants used to extend shelf life. They are likely carcinogens and hormone disruptors and may cause liver damage. Found in: lipsticks, moisturizers, diaper creams, and other cosmetics.
Coal tar hair dyes and other coal tar ingredients
A byproduct of coal processing that is a known carcinogen. It is used as a colorant and an anti-dandruff agent. Found in: hair dye, shampoo.
Ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA)
A chelating (binding) agent added to cosmetics to improve stability. May be toxic to organs. Found in: hair color, moisturizers.
Surfactants and pH adjuster linked to allergies, skin toxicity, hormone disruption, and inhibited fetal brain development. Found in: hair dyes, mascara, foundation, fragrances, sunscreens, dry cleaning solvents, paint, pharmaceuticals.
Used as a preservative in cosmetics. A known carcinogen that is also linked to asthma, neurotoxicity, and developmental toxicity. Present where quaternium-15, DMDM hydantoin, imidazolidinyl urea, diazolidinyl urea, sodium hydroxymethylglycinate, 2-bromo-2-nitropropane-1,3 diol (Bronopol), and several other preservatives are listed. Found in: shampoo, body wash, bubble bath.
A skin-lightening chemical that inhibits the production of melanin and is linked to cancer, organ toxicity, and skin irritation. Found in: skin-lightening creams.
Methylisothiazolinone and methylchloroisothiazolinone
Chemical preservatives that are among the most common irritants, sensitizers, and causes of contact skin allergies. Found in: shampoo, conditioner, body wash.
Sunscreen agent and ultraviolet light absorber linked to irritation, sensitization and allergies, and possible hormone disruption. Found in: sunscreen, moisturizer.
Parabens (methyl-, isobutyl-, propyl- and others)
A class of preservatives commonly used to prevent the growth of bacteria and mold. Parabens are endocrine (or hormone) disruptors, which may alter important hormone mechanisms in our bodies. Found in: shampoo, face cleanser, body wash, body lotion, foundation.
Phthalates (DBP, DEHP, DEP and others)
A class of plasticizing chemicals used to make products more pliable or to make fragrances stick to skin. Phthalates disrupt the endocrine system and may cause birth defects. Found in: synthetic fragrance, nail polish, hairspray, and plastic materials.
Polyethylene glycol (PEG compounds)
PEGs are widely used in cosmetics as thickeners, solvents, softeners, and moisture-carriers. Depending on manufacturing processes, PEGs may be contaminated with measurable amounts of ethylene oxide and 1,4-dioxane, which are both carcinogens. Found in: creams, sunscreen, shampoo.
Retinyl palmitate (Vitamin A Palmitate)
Retinyl palmitate is an ingredient composed of palmitic acid and retinol (Vitamin A). Data from an FDA study indicate that retinyl palmitate, when applied to the skin in the presence of sunlight, may result in adverse health consequences like lesions and photosensitization. FDA, Norwegian and German health agencies have raised a concern that daily skin application of vitamin A creams may contribute to excessive vitamin A intake for pregnant women and other populations.
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate and Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLS and SLES)
SLS and SLES are surfactants that can cause skin irritation or trigger allergies. SLES is often contaminated with 1,4-dioxane, a byproduct of a petrochemical process called ethoxylation, which is used to process other chemicals in order to make them less harsh. Found in: shampoo, body wash, bubble bath.
Synthetic flavor or fragrance
An engineered scent or flavoring agent that may contain any combination of 3,000-plus stock chemical ingredients, including hormone disruptors and allergens. Fragrance formulas are protected under federal law’s classification of trade secrets and therefore can remain undisclosed. Found in: all types of cosmetics.
A volatile petrochemical solvent that is toxic to the immune system and can cause birth defects. Found in: nail polish.
Triclosan and Triclocarban
Antimicrobial pesticides toxic to the aquatic environment; may also impact human reproductive systems. Found in: liquid soap, soap bars, toothpaste.