AVOID | Product Ingredients


If you are purchasing personal care products in the United States, it is important to become educated about ingredients.  Label Literacy is taking ownership of your health.

The FDA does little to protect you and merely enforces the laws that Congress set.  You may be surprised to find that the FDA only has 11 ingredients on their banned or restricted list.  Compare that to over 1300 ingredients the European Union regulation, called Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemical (REACH), has restricted for use in consumer personal care and cosmetics.

  • California passed a law in 2005 that requires manufacturers to list ingredients, but does not specifically ban or regulate them.
  • In 2015, Senators Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., and Susan Collins, R-Maine, introduced a bill called the Personal Care Products Safety Act.  It requires that the FDA research 5 new ingredients a year and restrict them as necessary.  Even if it does get passed, it would take the FDA 260+ years to catch up with European regulation.
  • Grocery stores like Natural Grocers and Whole Foods Market put skin care standards in place where none existed.  They have committed to not carry products, that have ingredients listed as one of their unacceptable ingredients


Our goal is help you learn about what you put on your body in your daily grooming routine.  We recommend that you look for and avoid these common ingredients when possible:


Aluminum or alcloxa

Aluminium chloride

Aluminium Chlorohydrate


Aluminium Zirconium Tetrachlorohydrex Gly

Artificial colors



Artificial fragrances


BHA (Butylated hydroxyanisole)


Ceteareth 2 – 100

Ceteareth 5 – 20

Coal tar


   Cocamide DEA

   Cocamide DIPA

   Cocamide MEA

   Cocamide MIPA

DEET (diethyl-meta-toluamide)

Formaldehyde & dormaldehyde donors

   Diazolidinyl urea

   DMDM hydantoin

   Imidazolidinyl urea

   Quaternium 15





Hydrogenated/partially hydrogenated oils


Isopropyl alcohol

PEG/Polyethylene Glycol

   PEG-10 Sunflower Glycerides

   PEG-100 stearate

   PEG-100 stearate


   PEG-120 Methyl Glucose Dioleate


   PEG-150 distearate

   PEG-150 Pentaerythrityl Tetrastearate

   PEG-20 glyceryl triisostearate

   PEG-20 stearate

   PEG-35 castor oil

   PEG-40 hydrogenated castor oil

   PEG-55 Propylene Glycol Oleate

   PEG-6 Caprylic/Capric glycerides

   PEG-7 Glyceryl Cocoate

   PEG-7 olivate

   PEG/PPG-120/10 Trimethylolpropane Trioleate

   PEG/PPG-20/15 dimethicone


   Mineral oil


   Liquid paraffin

   Ethylene glycol

   Propylene glycol

   Butylene glycol









   DBP (Dibutyl phthalate)



   Phthalate Esters

   Phthalic Acid(s) see artificial fragrances)


   Sodium lauryl

   Sodium laureth

   Ammonium laureth

   Sodium myreth-sulfate


Testosterone cream



Vote with your pocketbook every time you make a purchase and tell manufacturers what you want in your products.  Companies look at purchasing trends, if you buy it they will make more if it — for good or for bad.  Send them a message they will hear, your money spent on products you believe in.


California Safe Cosmetics Program:

The primary purpose of the California Safe Cosmetics Program (CSCP) is to collect information on hazardous and potentially hazardous ingredients in cosmetic products sold in California and to make this information available to the public.

  • Background:  Many different chemicals are used in making cosmetics.  Consumer and worker advocacy groups are concerned because some cosmetic products contain chemicals known or suspected to cause cancer, or developmental birth defects, or damage to the reproductive system. Those who work with cosmetics – including barbers, hair stylists, and skin care, body care and nail salon workers – may be more vulnerable to the adverse health effects posed by these products because they handle greater quantities of cosmetics with greater frequency.
  • The Law: The California Safe Cosmetics Act (PDF)Opens in a new browser window  (“the Act”) was signed into law in 2005.  For all cosmetic products sold in California, the Act requires the manufacturer, packer, and/or distributor named on the product label to provide to the CSCP a list of all cosmetic products that contain any ingredients known or suspected to cause cancer or developmental or other reproductive harm.

Learn about a few of the top ingredients and contaminants to avoid, based on the science linking each to adverse health impacts, and the types of products they’re found in. To learn more about how chemicals impact your health and where they come from, check out the Health & Science section.  A growing body of hazard-based evidence suggests connections to long-term health concerns like cancer and reproductive problems – Chemicals of Concern

Environmental Working Group – SKIN DEEP:

Smarter Choices, Healthier Living is their credo.  They are working tirelessly to expose the hazards of all ingredients known to be used in beauty, grooming and skin care.  Download their mobile app to become educated in the ingredients that make up your daily grooming ritual – Skin Deep