For a long time, the beauty industry has been pulling the wool over our eyes when it comes to skincare ingredients. Until now, most of us had no idea what sulfates or parabens were – only that they probably sounded like they belonged in our cosmetics.
Thanks to our evolving industry, most of are us are now growing more aware of what’s inside our skincare products. We’re wising up to what those chemicals on the backs of our products really mean and choosing to go with brands that prioritize clean beauty over cheap beauty.
Understandably, it’s not that easy to know what to look out for when you shop for beauty products. To help you out, we’ve decoded the top skincare ingredients to avoid in your cosmetics.
You may have heard of them, but perhaps you don’t know just how awful they are – for your health and for the environment.
“Parabens are a type of preservative, first introduced in the 1950s,” Michelle Scott-Lynch, founder of paraben-free haircare brand Bouclème explains. “They’re used to prolong shelf life in many health and beauty products by preventing the growth of mould and bacteria within them.”
Besides being toxic for the environment, parabens can disrupt hormone function by mimicking estrogen, increasing your risk of breast cancer.
Watch out for common parabens like butylparaben, methylparaben, and propylparaben.
Glycerin is a natural, eco and body-friendly preservative commonly found in beauty products. You’ll find it in many of Truly’s products, including our Mary Jane Glow Mask.
Swap: Mineral Oil
You probably know it as the ingredient that clogs pores. But that’s not its only downside.
“I highly recommend staying away from mineral oil,” says Beverly Hills aesthetician Sonya Dakar. “It’s derived from petroleum and does not absorb into the skin—its molecular size is simply too big. As a result, mineral oil remains on the surface of skin, making it a reflector of the sun, which can lead to more sun damage and discoloration.”
It’s better to look for a natural oil with moisturizing properties that does sink into the skin.
For: Hemp Oil
Hemp oil is loaded with omega acids 3, 6, and 9, which boosts hydration and reduces inflammation in the skin. It’s a wonderful, natural ingredient that won’t suffocate the pores. Dermatologists say it can actually balance out oily skin and prevent breakouts.
Try Truly’s Hemp Oil Facial Serum to keep your complexion soft and dewy.
Formaldehyde is everywhere – and it’s toxic.
“While formaldehyde has become a well-known toxic ingredient to avoid in beauty products, many don’t know about the lesser known ingredients that release formaldehyde which are formulated in cosmetics today,” says green cosmetic chemist Yashi Shrestha.
In other words, you need to be really careful what you’re buying because it could be hiding under another name.
Phenoxyethanol is a preservative often used in cosmetics, perfumes, and toiletries. It’s generally considered safe.
In addition to prolonging product shelf life, phenoxyethanol prevents the growth of bacteria, fungi, and yeast in formulas.
It’s a much safer, much gentler alternative to formaldehyde and one that’s making its way into more and more cosmetics.
Truly products utilize this natural preservative for most of our products. For instance, you’ll find it in our Hemp Jelly Anti-Blemish Facial Cleanser.
Phthalates are a group of chemicals frequently used in cosmetics like nail polishes and hair sprays – and even skin products – to keep products pliable.
Some studies suggest that phthalates are hormone disruptors and can actually cause damage to the reproductive system.
For: Soybean Oil
Soybean oil is a natural plasticizer for cosmetics and a far safer alternative. Look for it in your beauty products. Rich in vitamins and nutrients, soybean oil can be highly beneficial for the skin.
You’ll find it in Truly’s Coco Rose Fudge Whipped Body Butter.
Swap: Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS)
Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) is a cleaning agent created synthetically and often found in a range of beauty products, including creams, serums, and cleansers. But don’t get it mixed up with sodium laureth sulfate (SLES), a gentler surfactant used in cosmetics.
In skincare, SLS is primarily used for its ability to create a lather when it comes in contact with water. It can also be used as an emulsifier.
While it’s effective in serving its purpose, prolonged use of this ingredient can increase skin sensitivity, and potentially cause certain cancers.
“Sulfates can often dry out the skin, and some people find they may lead to more acne when their skin is in frequent contact with sodium lauryl sulfate,” explains dermatologist David Lortscher, M.D. “This is typically less of a problem with body skin [versus face skin], so most people tolerate sodium lauryl sulfate in body washes.”
For: Sodium Lauryl Sulfoacetate
To get your foam without fears of damaging your health, look for sodium lauryl sulfoacetate in your skincare products instead.
This offers the same cleansing and lathering that sulfate does, but without the harmful side effects.
Many of Truly’s products contain it, including our Vegan Collagen Facial Cleanser.
Swap: Synthetic Fragrances
Something you should know about “synthetic fragrances” – it’s basically an umbrella term for hundreds of chemicals, some safe other potentially hazardous.
It’s better to choose a product that contains natural fragrances to prevent jeopardizing your skin and health.
For: Natural Fragrances
Think rose, lavender, coconut and all that good stuff that smells amazing.
Truly’s Unicorn Fruit Whipped Body Butter combines rosewater with acai and matcha for a delicious candy-like scent. No superficial fragrances needed!
The next time you purchase beauty products, be sure to look out for the above ingredients that may be harming both your skin and your health.
Fortunately, there are some great alternatives you can use instead that work just as well without the horrible side effects.
All of Truly’s products contain natural, clean, vegan ingredients. We also pride ourselves in being transparent with what we put in our products. Because we believe consumers deserve to know what they’re buying.