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Did you know that nearly 80% of products we use on a daily basis contain at least one of the “Dirty Dozen” ingredients, and over half contain multiple offenders? Here’s a peek at the top 12 ingredients we avoid at all costs, and how they can harm your body:
Sodium Laureth Sulfate
Common in cleaners, shampoos, and bubble bath, sodium laureth sulfate is a foaming agent that may be contaminated with 1,4-dioxane, which can cause cancer.
The bad boys of the ingredient world, parabens are the most widely used preservative in personal care products. Because they are able to easily penetrate the skin, parabens are especially dangerous as hormone disruptors and estrogen imitators. One particular paraben, methylparaben, is associated with DNA damage and increased skin aging.
Triclosan is an antibacterial agent and preservative common in cosmetics, cleansers, sanitizers, and deodorants. In addition to acting as a possible endocrine disruptor, triclosan may contribute to antibiotic resistance by wiping out beneficial bacteria.
Parfum (a.k.a. fragrance)
More than 3,000 chemicals are used as fragrances in personal care products, but you’ll be hard pressed to figure out which ones, since companies aren’t required to list exact fragrance ingredients. These chemicals can cause everything from migraines and allergies to asthma. As an alternative we use a unique blend of pure essential oils for our subtle, natural scents in our clean hair and bodycare products.
(DMDM hydantoin, diazolidinyl urea, imidazolidinyl urea, methenamine, quaternium-15, and sodium hydroxymethylglycinate)
These preservatives, which appear in a wide variety of cosmetics and personal care products, slowly release formaldehyde, which is a known cause of cancer.
DEA (cocamide DEA and lauramide DEA)
DEA compounds are used in shampoos, moisturizers, sunscreens, and soaps to make products creamy and foamy. High doses can lead to precancerous skin changes and even liver cancer.
Siloxanes (ending in -siloxane or -methicone)
These silicone-based compounds—used in personal care products to smooth, soften, and moisten—are endocrine disruptors, and may harm the reproductive system.
BHA and BHT
These preservatives are generally used in moisturizers and makeup. BHA (butylated hydroxyanisole) can interfere with hormone function and may cause cancer, and BHT (butylated hydroxytoluene) can mimic estrogen and may cause liver, thyroid, and kidney issues.
Coal Tar Dyes
(p-phenylenediamine and colors listed as "CI" followed by a five digit number)
Seems odd right? But used in cosmetics and hair dyes, coal tar dyes may be contaminated with heavy metals and are recognized as human carcinogens.
Dibutyl Phthalate (DBP)
Mostly used in nail products and as a fragrance ingredient, DBP is a suspected endocrine disruptor, can lead to genetic mutations, can impair fertility, and may cause harm to unborn children.
PEG (polyethylene glycols)
Petroleum-based PEGs are often used as cream bases in cosmetics, and can be contaminated with 1,4-dioxane, a possible carcinogen.
Frequently used as a moisture barrier in moisturizers and in hair products to promote shine, petrolatum may be contaminated with polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), which can cause cancer.
Why are all these ingredients in personal care products? Great question!
Unfortunately, U.S. regulations aren’t very strict with ingredients in personal care products. This is in stark contrast to the European Union (EU), which bans 150 times more beauty product ingredients than the U.S. (EU law prohibits the use of 1,328 chemicals, while the U.S. restricts just 11 chemicals.).
The Dirty Dozen are just a few of the thousands of dangerous and unhealthy chemicals present in hair and skincare products. When going through product design and creation for our formulas, we crafted our products following the most rigorous of EU standards. We also cross-referenced every ingredient we selected + sourced with over 5 additional databases (there were lots of spreadsheets!). The top ones are below:
- The U.S. FDA prohibited ingredient list
- The EU prohibited ingredient list
- Environmental Working Group Ingredient Database
- Credo Clean Approved Ingredient List
- Made Safe Restricted List
You can also read more about our product promise here.