Label Reading: Hidden Ingredients in Skincare


 January 1, 2022

Label Reading: Hidden Ingredients in Skincare

 One of the best methods we have for evaluating natural skincare products is by reading the ingredients listed on the product label. Harsh chemicals and certain synthetic ingredients are almost always a red flag, but what about all the lesser-known ingredients? With new extraction techniques and formulation methods, you would have to be a molecular scientist to understand how the ingredients listed on certain skincare products interact with one another.

With the clean beauty landscape changing all the time, and an abundance of new botanicals introduced each year, it’s impossible for the average beauty consumer to keep up.

If you’ve looked at the product label on certain skincare products and felt overwhelmed by what you saw, you’re not alone. In this article, we’re going through the research to provide you with a look at the hidden ingredients that might be lurking in your skincare products — along with information about the clean beauty alternatives you should be using instead.

How Do Hidden Ingredients Make Their Way Into Skincare Products

Some ingredients found in skincare products are not found in nature; they are created by combining two or more other ingredients. Rather than listing every chemical used in their products, some manufacturers will only include the name of the ingredient derived from those unsavory chemicals or ingredients. One of the best examples of this is emulsifying wax.

Emulsifying wax is a vegetable-based emulsifier. It’s most frequently used to combine oil and water when developing lotions and creams. In order to develop emulsifying wax, manufacturers must emulsify cetearyl alcohol and combine it with Polysorbate 60. Unfortunately, Polysorbate 60 has been shown to absorb into skin, and it is considered a “genotoxic carcinogen” that may cause “carcinogenic responses in the liver across multiple species and routes of exposure.”

Understanding that consumers will not purchase products that list a known carcinogen on the product label, some manufacturers will list emulsifying wax instead of Polysorbate 60 on their product labels. If you see this, it’s important to know that Polysorbate 60 is a hidden ingredient. Just because it’s not listed on the product label does not mean it’s not hiding in your skincare lotions and creams.

Emulsifying wax isn’t the only example of a hidden ingredient. Dozens of hidden ingredients could be luring in your skincare products without your knowledge.

Most Common Hidden Ingredients in Skincare Products

Here are five examples of ingredients found in skincare products that are actually comprised of two or more other ingredients. If you see these ingredients listed on your product label, it’s a good idea to take a closer look at what you’re putting on your skin.

  1. Emulsifying Wax: Composed of Cetearyl Alcohol and Polysorbate 60 or PEG-40 Stearate.
  2. Avocado Butter: Products without the USDA Organic certification may contain soybean or hydrogenated vegetable oil.
  3. Vegetable Glycerine: Can be made from Palm Oil or Palm Kernel Oil.
  4. Milk Ceramides: Includes Chlorhexidine digluconate as a preservative.
  5. Imidazolidinyl Urea: Considered a formaldehyde-releaser because formaldehyde is sitting in the product by the time it reaches the consumer.

At Omya Kinetik, our natural skincare products contain no hidden ingredients. We use high-quality, honest minerals, such as calcium carbonate in toothpaste and green tea extract in anti-aging skincare creams. To learn more about our techniques for sourcing clean, organic ingredients for skincare and cosmetics, contact Omya Kinetik at (732) 335-5775.