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The Forbidden Ingredients

Ingredients that are not tolerated in our product

The Top 12 Ingredients To Avoid In Your Skincare:

1. Parabens

Preserve other ingredients and extend a product’s shelf life–but these antimicrobial chemicals also have hormone-disrupting effects.

2. Ureas

Preservatives that have the potential to release formaldehyde in very small amounts and are a primary cause of contact dermatitis.

3. 1,4-dioxane

A chemical carcinogen created when ingredients are processed with petroleum-derived ethylene oxide. Common ethoxylated compounds include sodium laureth sulfate and polyethylene glycol (often listed as PEG). To avoid it, skip any product with the following ingredients: myreth, oleth, laureth, ceteareth (or any other -eth), PEG, polyethylene, polyethylene glycol, polyoxyethylene, or oxynol.

4. Petrochemicals

Derived from crude oil. Petroleum-based ingredients such as petrolatum, mineral oil, and paraffin (derived from nonrenewable sources) form a barrier when applied to the skin that does not allow it to breathe and can clog pores.


They are “amines” (ammonia compounds) and can form harmful nitrosamines when they come in contact with nitrates. Used as foaming agents, synthetic stabilizers, and to adjust the pH of cosmetics, they can cause allergic reactions, eye irritation, and dryness of the hair and skin.

6. Petroleum based Sulfates

Such as sodium lauryl, are harsh detergents that give cleansers, soaps, and shampoos their latherability.  Sulfates can cause eye irritation and skin rashes.

7. Chemical sunscreens

Such as oxybenzone and octyl methoxycinnamate, have been shown to disrupt endocrine activity. Titanium dioxide and zinc oxide are safer alternatives.

8. Quats

Such as benzalkonium chloride, steardimonium chloride, cetrimonium bromide, and cetrimonium chloride, give a positive charge to conditioners in order to prevent static. They are necessary for conditioners, but we have allowed only the mildest quats in our Beauty With a Conscience standard: guar hydroxypropyltrimonium chloride, hydroxypropyltrimonium oligosaccharide, and SugaQuats.

9. Antibacterial compounds

Such as triclosan and chlorphenesin, do not break down in the environment and may contribute to bacterial resistance.

10. Synthetic fragrances containing phthalates

Synthetic chemicals have been commonly used to stabilize fragrances and make plastic more pliable. However, studies have shown these endocrine disruptors can mimic hormones and may alter development.  We understand that many customers prefer the complex and rich scents that can only be derived by using synthetic fragrances or natural oil blends (which are becoming more available, but at a significantly higher cost) than you get with the single notes of an essential oil.  All of our suppliers are quickly moving to reformulate all synthetic fragrances to be phthalate-free. Just ask us for suggestions on the best fragrances to use to avoid phthalates.

11. Synthetic colors are made from coal tar.

They contain heavy metal salts that may deposit toxins onto the skin, causing skin sensitivity and irritation. Animal studies have shown almost all of them to be carcinogenic. They will be labeled as FD&C or D&C, followed by a color and a number.

12. Chelators

Such as disodium EDTA and tetrasodium EDTA, are used in personal care products to remove impurities from low-quality raw materials. They do not readily biode-grade in the environment.