The Dirty Dozen vs Clean Cosmetic Ingredients


 November 15, 2019

The Dirty Dozen vs Clean Cosmetic Ingredients: Part 3

Everyday beauty products can contain a multitude of harmful substances that often go unnoticed. In fact, U.S. researchers have identified thousands of industrial chemicals used as cosmetic ingredients, including carcinogens, pesticides, reproductive toxins, endocrine disruptors, plasticizers, degreasers and surfactants. While it’s not feasible to address them all in this blog, we are highlighting “the dirty dozen” chemicals in cosmetics and their alternative clean cosmetic ingredients.

4 Toxic Chemicals and Alternative Clean Cosmetic Ingredients

In this three-part series, we review twelve common, yet potentially toxic ingredients found in beauty products that many consumers want to avoid. Part one, found here, discussed the dangers of dimethicone, ethanolamines, formaldehyde, and 1,4 dioxane. Part two, found here, covered harmful ingredients such as heavy metals, parabens, methylisothiazolinone and petrochemical-derived Ingredients. In the final part of our series, we review the last four ingredients and how to achieve a healthier alternative through clean cosmetic ingredients. 

9. PEG Compounds

Used in some cosmetic cream bases, makeup and baby care products, these petroleum-based chemicals are used to help products retain moisture. Due to the possibility that PEG compounds are considered penetration enhancers, they allow other chemicals, such as 1,4 dioxane, to become absorbed through the skin. One study shows PEG compounds can cause skin irritation and system toxicity, especially when used on broken skin.

Clean Cosmetic Ingredients

Alternative clean cosmetic ingredients would be aloe vera, honey or other natural humectants that deliver thickening properties, without the dangerous side effects. Linseed Extract from GfN, for example, has a broad range of applications in clean skin care and cosmetic products, especially those which are intended to care and repair stressed and damaged skin. 

10. Phthalates 

Phthalates are suspected endocrine disruptors and the National Toxicology Program and the EPA deem some phthalates as probable carcinogens. Even with such dangers, this ingredient is widely used as a plasticizer to create a substance that adheres to a surface, such as hairspray and lipstick.

Clean Cosmetic Ingredients

Unfortunately, due to trade secret loopholes, phthalates are often not listed on product listings; instead, they often hide under the term, “fragrance.” Clean beauty brands will often list “from essential oils” or “natural sources” on cosmetic labels and highlight “free-from” on the ingredients list. 

11. Petroleum-Derived Colorants

Used to artificially color cosmetics and other skin care products, these synthetic ingredients contain potential carcinogenic properties and are also known to cause skin irritation, acne and allergic reactions. Many also contain heavy metals.

Clean Cosmetic Ingredients

Plant-derived dyes can be used in clean cosmetic formulations as an alternative colorant. GLB Standards Açai Phytosterols 20 from Green Line Botanicals, for example, can be used as a natural colorant and also serve as an anti-aging ingredient at the same time.

12. Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) / Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES)

The final offender on our Dirty Dozen list of toxic cosmetic ingredients includes SLS and SLES penetration enhancers. These surfactants are commonly used to create a foam texture in makeup removers, body wash, baby bath and toothpaste. But they can strip natural oils from the skin leading to exposure to other chemicals.

Clean Cosmetic Ingredients

Safer surfactants can be just as effective and a much cleaner ingredient to consider and can act as effective antimicrobial and chelating agents suitable for natural beauty product concepts.

Formulation Makeover at Kinetik

Kinetik is a leading curator of high-quality, clean cosmetic ingredients from around the globe. Develop newer, cleaner beauty product formulations for your brand, with all the consultative support and resources you need to stay ahead of the competition.

Contact us at (732) 335-5775 for more information. We are headquartered in the USA, but we work with clients and represent suppliers worldwide.