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TOP 8 dangerous ingredients to avoid in your cosmetics

You’ve probably heard, read or maybe even experienced, that some components of your regular cosmetics could be really harmful to you.

Claims on the labels ‘green’, ‘phthalate free’, ‘natural’ can be very misleading and not always true.. (and nobody will put a claim on a product ‘loaded with carcinogens’ obviously..). So the only way to find out if a product is made of good ingredients is TO READ AND STUDY THE INGREDIENT LIST. Which is not so easy to understand everytime.. We get it. That is why we’ve chose the top most popular and most harmful ingredients that are recommended to avoid in your cosmetics and personal hygiene products. Simply check before buying! (Or buy in responsible special shops/brands that you trust, that has same values as you do).

And remember, that today there are plenty of REALLY GREAT organic and natural products, that work perfectly and are friendly to you, animals and environment. Just like it should be! If you are a beginner of reading labels, this information might be useful to you, if you are advanced – share it with your beginners friends!


These are definately one of the most harmful yet super popular ingredients in cosmetics. Widely used as preservatives in cosmetics and personal care products. You may find some claims that parabens are safe in small amounts but 1) if you use more than 1 product daily (and we could bet you do! Just think of your shampoo , body wash, moisturizer and many more – they’re literally everywhere!) – then it is not that small quantity anymore. 2) most products contain several types of parabens at once. So the claim about their safety does not make any sense here. One of the main reasons to avoid them is that parabens mimic estrogen in the body, disrupt hormons, may lead to impaired fertility or fetal development. Their use is linked to breast and skin cancer as well as decreased sperm count. They’re also super easily absorbed ( these endocrine-disrupting chemicals can be absorbed through skin, blood and the digestive system) so all of those harmful properties are soaking right in. They are quite difficult to avoid, but possible, if you know what to look for in the ingredients list.

How they look on product labels: alkyl parahydroxybenzoate, butylparaben, methylparaben, ethylparaben, propylparaben, isobutylparabens.

Healthier alternatives:  Vitamin E, certain essential oils, grapefruit seed extract, and antioxidants are all healthier natural preservative options.


Two more ingredients you are probably familiar with are these surfactants. Commonly used in conventional products to create foam, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) and Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES) are penetration enhancers, allowing other chemicals to more easily enter the system. These harsh cleansing ingredients strip natural oils from skin and hair, causing dryness, allergic reaction, and irritation. Unfortunatelly, they are also commonly contaminated with 1,4 dioxane (human carcinogen).

How they look on product labels: sodium laureth sulfate, sodium lauryl sulfate, sodium lauryl ether sulfate, anhydrous sodium lauryl sulfate, and irium.

Healthier alternatives: Castile soap and soapwort are natural surfactants, and decyl and coco glucoside are much safer than ethanolamines.

3. 1,4 DIOXANE

This chemical by-product of ethoxylation (an ingredient processing method used to make petro-ingredients less irritating to skin) is determined to be a likely human carcinogen. It is also a suspected cardiovascular and blood toxicant, gastrointestinal toxicant, immunotoxicant, kidney toxicant, neurotoxicant, respiratory toxicant, skin toxicant.

How they look on product labels: You won’t find it listed on ingredient listings, because 1,4 dioxane is a contaminant produced during manufacturing. Look for ingredients commonly contaminated with 1,4 dioxane — sodium laureth sulfate, PEG compounds, and ingredients that include “xynol”, “ceteareth”, and “oleth”.

Healthier alternatives: Organic standards prohibit the ethoxylation process, so products that are 100% Organic are free from 1,4 dioxane. Using cosmetic products made with natural foaming agents is another way to avoid the contaminant.


Widely used as plasticizers to make a substance more flexible and adhere to a surface, as in nail polish and hair spray. They are also commonly used as carriers for synthetic fragrance to get the product, like perfume, to stick to skin. Some phthalates are considered to be carcinogens, endocrine disruptors, and can also negatively affect fertility and fetal development. Despite its ban in the E.U., phthalates are still commonly used in the United States. Here’s another tricky part with phthalates – they are a common compound of fragrance ingredient, so phthalates can still legally appear in any product without being listed at all!

How they look on product labels: DEP, DBP, DEHP and fragrance.

Healthier alternatives:  The only way to avoid them is to choose clean beauty products made without the ingredients listed above. If a product ingredient listing includes the term “fragrance” and there is no natural source pointed (like fragrance from natural essential oils), then you are on a high risk to get an assorti of hidden phthalates and many other dangerous guys! Read more about FRAGRANCE.


When a company lists “fragrance” as one of the ingredients, they aren’t required to disclose the actual chemicals that make up that fragrance. This means that any number of irritating chemicals can make their way in and you’d never know it. Some of these chemicals are linked to asthma, allergies (fragrance is one of the top 5 allergens in the world!) and hormone disruption. Keep it simple and avoid fragrance altogether. Read more about FRAGRANCE.


Petroleum jelly and mineral oil are commonly used emollients and lubricants. But these ingredients are often contaminated with impurities linked to cancer, and can cause skin irritation and acne.

How they look on product labels: Petrolatum, petroleum jelly, mineral oil, paraffin wax.

Healthier alternatives: Cocoa, shea, and mango butters are all healthy natural emollients. 


An antimicrobial chemical that can be found in everything from hand soap to toothpaste. It’s linked to thyroid issues and has also contributed to the rise in antibiotic-resistant superbugs. Potentially contaminated with chloroform and dioxins, and has links to endocrine disruption, organ toxicity, allergic reaction, skin, eye, and lung irritation, and bioaccumulation.

Triclosan is pretty easy to spot – just look for it by name listed as an active ingredient. It’s likely to be found in products touting their cleanliness or labeled as “antimicrobial.” 


Dimethicone is a silicone-based polymer found in a wide range of cosmetics and personal care products. It is used to create a soft, smooth feel on skin and hair. Think hair conditioners and facial serums. This ingredient blocks pores from drawing moisture from the air and releasing toxins, and often leads to acne and irritation (and it is still used in anti acne products…)

How it looks on labels: dimethicone, methicone, phenyl trimethicone, cyclomethicone, dimethiconol, and dimethicone copolyol.

Healthier alternatives: Cocoa, shea, and mango butters are all natural occlusive ingredients. Jojoba oil offers skin softening and smoothing effects without clogging pores or irritation.

Please note, that CLEAN BEAUTY is not some kind of luxury. It is the true right way, because beauty should be GOOD to you. Animals. Environment. It’s green way – or no way!

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