ourDirtyList

The first step to clean beauty often involves understanding which ingredients to avoid. All of our brand partners align with our goals and standards by NOT including the following ingredients in their products.


1. Aluminum Powder

Aluminum is the most abundant metal in the earth’s crust which is found combined with other elements. These chemical compounds are most commonly found in soil, rocks, minerals, and clay. In consumer products such as cosmetics, antiperspirants, 

2. Animal Derived Ingredients 

Any ingredients derived from animals are prohibited. This includes musks and fats.                                                                                                                             

3. BHA (Butylated Hydroxyanisole)

A synthetic antioxidant and preservative found in cosmetic products such as eye shadow and lipstick. It is widely considered to be a carcinogen and has also been linked to skin irritation and hormone imbalances.

4. BHT (Butylated Hydroxytoluene)

Closely related to BHA, BHT is also a synthetic antioxidant and preservative found in many cosmetic products such as lipsticks and moisturizers. It has been linked to hormone interference and skin irritation.

5. Carmine

Carmine is a vibrant red pigment with a main source of its color being derived from female cochineal bugs. Therefore, it is not considered a vegan ingredient. If an individual is allergic to the substance, it can be very dangerous.

6. Benzophenone

This chemical can be found in sunscreens and moisturizers. It is considered to be a possible human carcinogen and has been found to be an endocrine disruptor and possibly toxic to organ systems.

7. Cyclic Silicones

Cyclotetrasiloxane (D4), Cyclopentasiloxane (D5), Cyclohexasiloxane (D6), and Cyclomethicone all fall under this category. Evidence has shown that these chemical compounds have the potential to be endocrine disruptors as well as reproductive and developmental toxicity concerns.

8. EDTA

While EDTA has not been linked to human health concerns, they have the potential to negatively impact the environment. These compounds have been discovered in waterways and can pose a risk to aquatic life.

9. Ethanolamines

Ingredients including DEA/TEA/MEA/ETA can be contaminated by toxic chemicals like Nitrosamines which is a known carcinogen. 

10. Ethoxylated Ingredients

These are synthetically produced from Ethylene Oxide which is a carcinogen. Some of its related ingredients are the following:

    • PEGS
    • Polysorbate-20

11. Formaldehyde

This will usually not be shown on labels, so it is important to look for ingredients that release Formaldehyde such as DMDM Hydantoin, Diazolidinyl Urea, and Quaternium-15.

12. Hydroquinone

Usually used for its skin brightening properties in cosmetics, it is a metabolite of the carcinogen Benzene.

13. Methyl Cellosolve or 2-Methoxyethanol

Banned in the EU, this ingredient is a solvent and additive that can cause skin irritation and be toxic for the central nervous system as well as many organ systems.

14. Methylchloroisothiazolinone and Methylisothiazolinone

In the EU, these preservatives are banned for use in leave-on products and limited for rinse-off products. Evidence has shown that they are skin irritants and allergens that also have the potential to be toxic to the nervous system.

15. Nitromusks

These synthetic musks can harm the environment and human health by causing endocrine disruption.

16. Octinoxate

This ingredient is found in many chemical sunscreens as it protects from UV-B rays. Health concerns include it being an endocrine disruptor, toxic to developmental and reproductive health, and toxic to organ systems.

17. Oxybenzone

As one of the most common ingredients in chemical sunscreens in the US it is surprising more attention hasn’t been given to its potential harmful effects. Currently it is being looked at more closely in relation to it being an endocrine disruptor, toxic to developmental and reproductive health and toxic to organ systems.

18. Parabens

Many parabens have been linked to hormone disruption, so out of caution all are avoided.

19. Perfluorinated compound (PFASs or PFCs)

Highly fluorinated compounds are harmful both to the environment and to humans. Research has shown their relationship to health concerns like cancer, hormone disruption, liver toxicity, and obesity.

20. Petrolatum and Paraffin

The major concern with these ingredients has to do with unsustainable sourcing and PAH (Polyaromatic Hydrocarbons) contamination which is linked to cancer. Certain certifications are available to prove ingredients are not contaminated. 

21. Phthalates

These are plasticizing chemicals that can be hidden under the term “fragrance” on labels. As a result of some Phthalates being linked to hormone disruption it is best to avoid them altogether.

22. Polycyclic Musks

Just like Nitromusks, they are harmful to the environment and endocrine system.

23. Resorcinol

This ingredient is restricted in all types of cosmetics in Japan and is limited by the EU because of its potential to be a skin irritant, toxic to organ systems, and an endocrine disruptor. Read labels and avoid products that contain resorcinol, 1,3-benzenediol, resorcin, 1,3- dihydroxybenzene (m-hydroxybenze, m-dihydroxyphenol). 

24. Retinyl Palmitate

This ingredient is a synthetic alternative for Retinyl Acetate, a natural form of Vitamin A. Concerns around increased tumor formation when exposed to sunlight as well as developmental and reproductive toxicity

25. Talc

Used in many cosmetic products, the main concerns have to do with asbestos contamination and the risk of small particles entering the body through uses of talc-based body powder. If a brand uses this ingredient they must be able to prove that the talc they purchase is free of asbestos.

26. Toluene

Toluene is restricted in the EU and has been found unsafe for use in cosmetics by the International Fragrance Association Codes and Standards. The health concerns associated with this ingredient are developmental and reproductive toxicity, organ system toxicity, and irritation. 

27. Triclosan and Triclocarban

Triclosan and Triclocarban are antimicrobial agents used in many soaps and detergents but also in certain cosmetics. They are known to be endocrine disruptors as well as be environmentally toxic through bioaccumulation.