3 Cosmetic ingredients we avoid in natural skincare
Most conventional skincare on the market uses ingredients that are said to be “neutral” meaning, they do not offer apparent benefits for the skin, but are not harmful to the skin or the environment. On the other hand, there are many ingredients that are controversial and suspected of being harmful. This list is not exhaustive but here are a few ingredients that natural skincare brands don’t typically use:
- 1) Mineral oils: It is a clear, lightweight inexpensive oil that is odorless and tasteless. Mineral oils are not harmful to the skin, they are actually safe and used in many products to moisturize skin. However, cosmetic mineral oil is refined and devoid of all the nutrients and antioxidants that you find naturally in plant oils. Mineral oil is often used as a foundation ingredient in cosmetics. Because it’s cheap and widely available, it reduces cost in cosmetics maximizing profits at the same time. If you are creating or seeking an organic range, then mineral oil may not offer essential nutrients and nourishing benefits like plant oils. When I develop a new formula, I aim to use ingredients of high quality (rich in nutrients) that have a purpose or can answer a problem. Even better if they actually offer some benefits to the skin.
- Alternatives to consider: Plant oils. Plant oils are actually beneficial for your skin. They contain similar lipids (oils) as those found on your skin and your skin recognizes and can metabolize them more easily. They are also made of essential nutrients (such as vitamins, fatty acids, phytosterols) which can benefit your skin.
- 2) Silicones: Silicones are used to give you a pleasant skin feel. Silicones are almost like rubber and/or plastic. They are great at enhancing your experience of a product but do not offer apparent benefits or nourishing properties. They can usually be recognized by names ending in ‘cone.’ such as cyclomethicone, dimethicone, methicone-
- Alternative to consider: Naturally sourced silicones such as Isoamyl Laurate. Plant based silicones such as the red algae chondrus crispus. Brocolli oil is used in skincare and hair care to provide silicone like effects.
- 3) Fragrance and parfum: According to David Suzuki, “fragrance” or “parfum” on a cosmetic ingredient list usually represents a complex mixture of dozens of unlisted chemicals (ingredients) that have not been tested for toxicity, alone or in combination. And unfortunately, even products marketed as “fragrance-free” or “unscented” may in fact contain fragrance along with a masking agent that prevents the brain from perceiving odour. Plus, many of these unlisted ingredients found in fragrance and parfum are irritants and are suspected to trigger allergies, migraines, and asthma symptoms.
- Alternatives to consider: Low dose therapeutic grade essential oils.