Sodium laureth sulphate ✘
This commonly used surfactant is a skin and eye irritant and endocrine disruptor. It goes through the process of ethoxylation during manufacturing, which means it is processed using ethylene dioxide, a known carcinogen. Another by-product of ethoxylation is 1,4-dioxane, also carcinogenic.
Acrylates copolymer ✘
A type of plastic that acts as a stabilizer or as a viscosity increasing agent in cosmetics. It’s a skin and eye irritant.
Peg-80 sorbitan laurate ✘
Human skin toxicant that is not safe to use on damaged or broken skin. As it is an exothylated compound it may contain 1,4-dioxane.
Di-PPG-2 Myreth-10 Adipate ✘
A ‘skin conditioner’ produced through ethoxylation, so it may contain 1,4-dioxane, a known carcinogen.
A surfactant, foaming agent, conditioner and emulsifier derived from coconut oil and fruit sugar. It has been listed as having a low irritation score.
Glyceryl Oleate ✔
The ester of glycerin and oleic acid, this is an emulsifier derived from naturally occurring oils and fats. It has been deemed safe to use in cosmetics.
Can be from a natural source or synthetic. It is a lubricant and humectant. Helps to hydrate the skin and is considered safe).
Soyamidopropyl Betaine ✔
A naturally derived foaming agent and viscosity builder. Currently deemed safe.
DMDM Hydantoin ✘
An antimicrobial formaldehyde releaser* preservative. Formaldehyde is a carcinogen. DMDM Hydantoin is a known human immune system toxicant, a human skin toxicant, eye irritant, restricted for use in some cosmetics in Japan.
Lauryl Methyl Gluceth-10 ✘
A conditioning humectant. According to the Environmental Working Group it has not been assessed for safety by an industry panel.
Sodium Hydroxide ✘
A highly caustic and reactive inorganic base, this is a pH balancer that is considered a strong irritant. Also known as lye, caustic soda, soda lye or sodium hydrate. Can irritate eyes, skin, mucous membranes and cause temporary loss of hair. The Cosmetics Database reports cancer concerns and says it is “expected to be toxic or harmful”.
An antifungal and a preservative. It is an endocrine disruptor, a human skin toxicant, interferes with gene expression. Parabens have been linked to breast cancer and mimic estrogen in the body. Read more about parabens here.
Tetrasodium EDTA ✘
This is a chelating agent. Classified as ‘expected to be toxic or harmful’ by the Cosmetics Database.
A mineral used in cosmetics for its shimmering appearance. Considered safe.
Titanium Dioxide ✘
A naturally occuring mineral, used as a whitening agent and UV blocker. A photosensitiser that can be absorbed by skin, resulting in increased production of free radicals. Has been classed as possibly carcinogenic to humans.
An antistatic agent, moisturiser and film forming agent. Classed as a low hazard ingredient.
This is an absorbing agent, also known as silicon dioxide. Its safety depends on the type of silica used. Amorphous silica is considered safe in cosmetics. Crystalline silica is linked to a variety of health concerns, including cancer, allergies and organ system toxicity.
PEG-16 Soy Sterol ✘
A surfactant and emulsifying agent, it is not safe to use on damaged or broken skin.
Butylene Glycol ✘
A solvent and thickness decreasing agent, a fragrance ingredient and skin conditioning agent. Strong evidence suggests it’s an irritant to eyes and skin.
Glycine Soja (soybean) ✔
Derived from soybean amino acids. Generally considered safe however it may block formation of new blood vessels, and some people have soy allergies.
*In the U.S., approximately 20% of cosmetics and personal care products contain a formaldehyde-releaser and the frequency of contact allergy to these ingredients is much higher among Americans compared to studies in Europe. Source: EWG