10 Most Common Ingredients To Avoid

In hair, skin and make-up products

A lot of people ask us which ingredients to avoid when they choose their hair, skin & make-up products, so we have compiled this list with the top 10 most common ingredients you should definately avoid.

1. Parabens

(methy-, butyl-, ethyl-, propyl-)

What it’s used for: Synthetic Preservative

Where it can be found: Any water based cosmetics or skin care product. After water, parabens are the most common ingredient in cosmetic products.

Why we don’t use it: There is strong body of evidence to suggest that parabens are an endocrine disruptor that mimic Oestrogen in the body. The elevated levels of Oestrogen can lead to certain cancers in women, lower birth weight in male babies, and can cause young girls to enter into puberty early. Methylparaben is the worst of the offenders.

2. Phthalates

(Note: This ingredient doesn’t have to be listed in ingredient deck of a product. It is often hidden under “Fragrance”)

What it’s used for: Fragrance Ingredient, Plasticizer, penetration aid in body lotions

Where it can be found: mascara, nail polish, perfume, body products, hair growth formulations

Why we don’t use it: There is strong body of evidence to suggest that parabens are an endocrine disruptor that mimic Oestrogen in the body. The elevated levels of Oestrogen can cause harm during critical development periods in babies and children. It is known to be a common allergen and irritant.

3. Sulphates

(Sodium Laureth Sulphate and Sodium Lauryl Sulphate)

What it’s used for: Synthetic foaming agent

Where it can be found: Body wash, hand soap, shampoo, bath gel, hair colour, exfoliants

Why we don’t use it: It has been proven to be a harsh skin and eye irritant.

4. Petroleum/PEG

(PEG followed by a number)

What it’s used for: Emmolient, humectant

Where it can be found: various cosmetics and skin care products

Why we don’t use it: Petroleum ingredients have been shown to cause allergies and skin irritation like dermatitis. They are also comedogenic, so they are especially bad for those prone to breakouts.

5. BHT

What it’s used for: Anti-oxidant, fragrance masking agent, preservative

Where it can be found: cosmetics, moisturizers, anti-aging products

Why we don’t use it: BHT is a common skin irritant and there is evidence that it is a potential cancer causing agent.

6. Artificial Colours

(EC followed by a number)

What it’s used for: colouring

Where it can be found: various kinds of cosmetics and skin care products

Why we don’t use it: FD&C and D&C colours are often derived from coal tar and studies have shown these to be potentially carcinogenic. There is strong evidence that use of certain artificial colours and dyes is connected to neurotoxicity. Certain colours (such as Acid Yellow 23 Aluminum Lake and Red No.2) have been banned for use in cosmetics by the FDA.

7. DEA

(Diethanolamine) (lauramide DEA, cocamide DEA)

What it’s used for: emulsifier, foaming agent

Where it can be found: shampoo, conditioner, lotion, cream, bubble bath, exfoliants, scrubs

Why we don’t use it: Studies have been conducted that found a connection between DEA and certain kinds of cancer. It can also be a skin irritant.

8. TEA

(Triethanolamine)

What it’s used for: pH balancer, emulsifier

Where it can be found: Triethanolamine can be found in a wide variety of products i.e. shampoo, lotions, shaving cream etc.

Why we don’t use it: Triethanolamine is a known skin and respiratory intoxicant.

9. Propylene Glycol

What it’s used for: humectant

Where it can be found: deodorant, shampoo, conditioner, lotions, shaving gels

Why we don’t use it: It has been classified as a strong skin irritant and some studies have shown that when mixed with certain ingredients it can be a potential carcinogen.

10. Diazolidinyl Urea

What it’s used for: preservative

Where it can be found: anything water based such as shampoo and conditioners, lotions, gels, anti-aging treatments etc.

Why we don’t use it: Diazolidinyl Urea is a known harsh skin irritant. It also contains formaldehyde which has carcinogenic and skin irritant properties.