harmful ingredients in cosmetics

How To Identify harmful ingredients in Cosmetics and beauty products? You have probably already noticed, it is not easy to decipher the list of ingredients of a cosmetic product. Often, we understand that the product logically contains water … And that’s it!

Cosmetics: watch out for labels!

We, therefore, tend to rely on the words written on the product, on the neat packaging, on the promotional arguments which want the product as ”  resulting from scientific research  ” or ”  natural ” … And yet, we are often deceived!

Beyond the “scientific” and “naturalness” messages, always check the labels

One piece of advice: always identify which are the first 5 ingredients on the INCI list and check that there is not one of the ingredients below:

Fatty alcohols and solvents

They stabilize and emulsify cosmetics. These synthetic ingredients can be irritating and pollute the environment. They also have more or less the same characteristics as mineral oils ( Methyl / Propyl / Caprylyl -alcohol, Cetyl alcohol, Stearic alcohol, etc. ).

Mineral oils

Made inexpensively from petroleum, these oils are inert fatty substances that have the advantage of not interacting with the skin but preventing it from breathing. They form an occlusive film on the skin which prevents water from evaporating.

Unfortunately, their ecological impact is very negative. They can cause allergic reactions, dry skin, and clogged pores. Look for Paraffinum liquidum, Cera microcrystalline, Mineral Oil, and Petrolatum.


They are well tolerated by the skin, and silicones provide additional softness and “  glide  ” to cosmetics. But beware, silicones do not nourish the skin and above all, they take hundreds of years to degrade.

How To Identify Harmful Ingredients In Cosmetics


They have roughly the same characteristics as silicones, providing a touch of softness. They can also serve as an emulsifier. They are obtained from heavy and very polluting chemistry, with the use of toxic gases. Locate the large letters: PEG, PPG but also -cellulose, cross polymer, polypropylene …

Aluminum salts

Antiperspirant agents and subject to controversy (carcinogens?), Even the AFSSAPS invited measurements and asked for additional studies on them. They are also suspected of having an impact on the nervous system in the long term. ( Prefix and Termination with Aluminum )


Emulsifiers and surfactants (detergents) are ingredients that produce foam and are found in soaps, shampoos, shower gels, and toothpaste They are irritating and drying for the skin and attack the body. ( Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (irritant); Sodium Laureth Sulfate).


Whether natural or chemical, they are necessary to keep cosmetic products containing water in order to avoid contamination and the development of bacteria and mold.


They are preservatives suspected of being carcinogenic. Parabens are often used because they are stable and easy to use. (parabens, watch out for labels!…)


It can be of natural origin and be authorized as “organic”. But its origins of production can be multiple and in conventional products, we will be wary of the ingredient “alcohol denat” ( prefix or ending in -alcohol )


Ethylene diamine is a preservative and antioxidant but also a very toxic pollutant that is used in the photo industry or paper. It also serves as an anti-tartar. It ends up in treatment plants at the end of the water treatment chain, not damaged.

Formaldehyde liberators

Formaldehyde is a carcinogenic and allergenic ingredient, so should we question the effectiveness of the ingredients that release formaldehyde in contact with water? (which is almost always the case because cosmetics are mainly composed of water) ( Quaternium 15, Quaternium 18, Polyquaternium 10, DMDM ​​Hydantoin, Chlorphenesin, Diazolidinyl urea, Methylisothiazolinone… )

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