Anything you put on your skin absorbs into your body so don’t you want to make sure you’re putting on the best? Even some sustainable beauty products labelled “natural” aren’t as natural as they advertise. The list is long (sadly) but here are some of the most common questionable ingredients which often make their way into beauty products. If you see any of these, put that bottle back on the shelf and walk away!
Phthalates are all too commonly seen in beauty products yet should be avoided at all costs. Studies have shown some correlation between phthalates and endocrine disorders which can possibly lead to certain cancers.
Unfortunately, some manufacturers disguise their use of phthalates by using the term “fragrance”. Make sure the products you’re buying have transparent ingredient lists so you know exactly what’s in them and what that “fragrance” really is. Which brings us to our next sneaky ingredient…
As we’ve just told you, “fragrance” can be an evil term. Some products smell amazing and that’s because of the natural herbs or essential oils added. However, other products smell amazing due to chemicals like phthalates being added.
Once you use products that have a true natural scent, you’ll start to notice the difference. Until then, watch for “added fragrance” and other indecipherable names on chemical labels. Fragrance can also be an irritant so also try buying fragrance-free.
Alcohol is added to a lot of skin care products because it makes your skin feel cool and fresh temporarily. But after just a few uses, alcohol can lead to irritation and excess sensitivity of the skin.
Watch out for alcohol-based ingredients, and look for terms like methanol, isopropyl and ethanol. These are scientific names for different types of alcohol.
Other than to make it look fun, there’s no reason to add dyes or colours to any product. Colours listed with numbers such as “Red 3” and “Yellow 5” are especially dangerous and can lead to behavioural issues in kids, as well as skin irritation.
OK, so BPA (or Bisphenol-A) won’t actually be on the product’s ingredient list but it’s quite likely to be in the packaging. Even if you’re buying sustainable beauty products with only organic ingredients, if it’s packaged in plastic containing BPA, it may cause you problems anyway as the packaging can leech into the liquids.
BPA is linked to hormonal imbalances, not to mention the damage it can do to the earth. Look for earth-friendly packaging on everything you buy.
Luckily, many cosmetic companies are coming around and taking unnatural, dangerous ingredients out of their products, including the sneaky ones. It may take a little research but look for transparent companies, ones who are open about what’s on their ingredient list and what those unrecognizable terms on their labels really mean.