11 Cosmetic Ingredients To Avoid

by Nathalie Allard May 27, 2015

Dangerous cosmetic ingredients.

Living a more natural and organic lifestyle doesn’t have to be about growing your own food and raising chickens for eggs. You don’t need to go that far to live a healthier lifestyle.

One of the reasons I chose to go natural is that I started to question the safety of the chemicals contained in the beauty products that I used every day. 

I also trained my nose to instantly tell the difference between natural and synthetic scents, I can no longer use certain cosmetic and household products because the artificial fragrance that they contain make me nauseous.

You can start taking charge of your own health today by ditching the beauty products that contain ingredients that are toxic to your health.

Don’t judge by brand names, many prestigious companies use toxic ingredients and you’d be surprised because even certain brands that claim to be natural are doing it too. So read the labels.


If it contains ethoxycinnamate, oxybenzone, avobenzone, PABA chuck it in the bin. These ingredients are linked to endocrine disruption, skin allergies and irritations. It’s best to use a mineral sunscreen such as Green People Scent Free Sun Lotion as long as the minerals are coated with inert chemicals to reduce photosensitivity.


The top ingredient found in most deodorant is aluminium which manufacturers use to block the sweat from escaping through the pores. Aluminium is a metal and has been linked to breast cancer and to an increased risk in Alzheimer's disease. You can use a natural deodorant such as Weleda Citrus Deodorant which inhibits unpleasant body odours without suppressing the natural functions of the skin.

Nail Varnish

Toluene, formaldehyde, dibutyl phthalate are the toxic three when it comes to nail polish. According to American scientist Valetti Lang, Toluene and dibutyl phthalate can cause birth defects in children of pregnant women who have had extended exposure, and formaldehyde is a carcinogen. I use Zoya nail varnish which is free of toluene, formaldehyde, DBP (phthalates) and camphor. They have a wide choice of colours and at around £10.50 they’re pretty good value for money.

Toothpaste And Antibacterial Soap

Triclosan is used in many products as an antibacterial. It’s a chlorephenol, can cause skin irritations and is suspected to cause cancer in humans. It is usually found in antimicrobial hand wash but can also lurk in toothpaste and many other cosmetic and household products. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has registered it as a pesticide. You can use natural alternatives to hand wash. I make my own hand wash by mixing up to 2% tea tree oil, a natural antibacterial, with a shower gel base free from Sodium Lauryl Sulphate or Amonium Laureth Sulphate.


Your regular shampoo is having its bubble burst if it contains sodium laureth sulfate (SLS). SLS is used to create a lather but is a skin irritant, some reports even link it to Cancer but there is no scientific evidence at this point in time.

You might want to try Essential Care Gentle Herb shampoo, and if you need a little push read Sugarpuffish’s review.

Body Lotion

You don't really need to have added water, the ones I make don’t, but parabens are widely used preservatives to prevent mold and yeast in creams and lotions as a result of adding water. Parabens mimic oestrogens and are linked to increased risk of breast cancer. In 2004, Dr Philippa Darbre published a small but pioneering study that showed significant amounts of paraben in 20 women’s breast tumors.

Need to remember what these ingredients are? Copy and paste the list below into your favourite note app, handy when you're out shopping:

  • Ethoxycinnamate
  • Oxybenzone
  • Avobenzone
  • PABA
  • Aluminium
  • Toluene
  • Formaldehyde
  • Dibutyl phthalate
  • Parabens
  • Triclosan
  • Sodium laureth sulfate

Have you already taken the natural plunge or considering going natural?

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Nathalie Allard
Nathalie Allard


Nathalie Allard is an Artisan Perfumer and the founder of Petits Rituels. She’s known for creating beautiful room-transforming 100% natural fragrances with real therapeutic benefits.

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