Ingredients We Say No To

Confused about all the ingredients you canʼt pronounce? Youʼre not alone. Stay informed with this handy list of ingredients we always say no to.

What is it: A compound that’s formed when ethylene oxide is combined with other substances to make them more tolerable.

Where it’s found: Sudsy products such as liquid soap, shampoo and bubble bath as well as hair relaxers. 1,4 Dioxane is not included on ingredient lists because it’s formed when common ingredients react to each other.

Why we avoid it: It’s easily absorbed into the skin, likely causes cancer and is thought  to be toxic to organs. 

What is it: An organic compound with a fruity smell that can be suffocating when highly concentrated.

Where it’s found: Naturally found and broken down in the body, it can also be found in ripe fruit, bread and coffee, and is produced by plants.

Why we avoid it: It can cause cancer and is an eye and respiratory irritant.

What is it: A flammable solvent (a substance that helps dissolve other substances) often used to manufacture plastics.

Where it’s found: Most often seen in nail polish remover but also found in household and cleaning products.

Why we avoid it: Acetone is an eye irritant and prolonged exposure can cause fainting or sickness.

What is it: A very volatile solvent (a substance that helps dissolve other substances), also a skin-conditioning agent (a substance that improves the look and feel of dry or damaged skin). 

Where it’s found: Used to create pharmaceuticals and the manufacturing of photo film. It’s also been used in nail polish remover

Why we avoid it: Extreme exposure can lead to shortness of breath, nausea and respiratory problems.

What is it: Any material derived from the body of an animal such as fat, blood, milk, eggs, etc.

Where it’s found: Typically used in musk fragrances or as colorants (substances that add color), or found in skin-moisturizing agents in beauty products.

Why we avoid it: Although not toxic, we avoid these ingredients to create products that are vegan, cruelty-free and eco-conscious.

What is it: A solvent (a substance that helps dissolve other substances) and an agent that decreases the thickness of fluids. 

Where it’s found: In many household products such as glass cleaners, all-purpose spray cleaners, liquid soaps and ink, as well as latex paints and dry cleaning solutions.

Why we avoid it: Butoxyethanol can be toxic at high levels and may be linked to cancer, allergies and serious endocrine issues.

What is it: A wax-like food additive, used as an antioxidant and preservative to prevent food from going bad. 

Where it’s found: Food such as butter, potato chips, cereal, baked goods, plus wax food packaging, animal feed, lipsticks, moisturizers, rubber and petroleum products.

Why we avoid it: It may be linked to cancer.

What is it: A crystal-shaped food additive similar to BHA, used as an antioxidant and preservative to prevent food from going bad. 

Where it’s found: Food such as butter, potato chips, cereal, baked goods, plus wax food   packaging, animal feed, lipsticks, moisturizers, rubber and petroleum products.

Why we avoid it: It may be linked to cancer, can irritate skin and disrupt hormones.

What are they: Ring-shaped silicone compounds that evaporate quickly.

Where they’re found: Hair conditioners, anti-perspirants, skin-conditioning agents that are emollients (substances that make skin appear soft and smooth by acting as lubricants), and solvents (substances that help dissolve other substances). 

Why we avoid them: They may cause serious endocrine issues and are known to cause bioaccumulation (when chemicals build up in living things).

What are they: Emulsifiers (substances that help create emulsions of other substances) and pH adjusters (substances used to manage the pH of cosmetics products)

Where they’re found: Shampoos, hair conditioners, soaps, cosmetics, lotions, shaving   bcreams, household cleaners, dyes, pharmaceutical ointments and sunscreen.

Why we avoid them: DEA is a carcinogen and can cause liver tumors, while TEA and MEA may be linked to cancer.

What is it: A combination of two proteins in wheat and cereal grains that give elastic properties to dough.

Where it’s found: Grains and starches such as wheat, wheat germ, barley and rye. Can also be found vitamins, toothpaste, some skin care products and lipsticks.

Why we avoid it: We exclude gluten from all of our products to benefit those who are sensitive to gluten or celiac.

What are they: Solvents (substances that help dissolve other substances) and agents that decreases the thickness of fluids. 

Where they’re found: Paints, varnishes, dyes, lacquer for paper and leather, and some nail polishes.

Why we avoid them: They irritate the eyes and can irritate the skin. They can also affect the central nervous system, blood, bone marrow, kidney and liver.

What is it: A solvent (a substance that helps dissolve other substances)

Where it’s found: Used in paint removal, cleaning and degreasing metal, and pharmaceutical manufacturing.

Why we avoid it: It’s a poison that affects the central nervous system and may be a carcinogen.

What are they: Preservatives used in food, cosmetics or pharmaceutical products to prevent the growth of bacteria.

Where they’re found: Food, makeup, hair care products, moisturizers, shaving cream, toothpaste and more.

Why we avoid them: They can cause allergic reactions upon skin contact. Parabens can also accumulate in the environment and in animals as they travel into the sewage systems after being washed out from products people use.

What are they: Plasticizers (substances that increase flexibility and decrease breakability of a material) and solubilizers (substances that help make an ingredient dissolve). 

Where they’re found: Color cosmetics, scented lotions, soaps, body washes, hair care products and nail polish. Can also be found in food packaging and detergents.

Why we avoid them: Phthalates disrupt hormones and most are strongly linked to risk of cancer. Evidence also points to environmental effects on aquatic life.

What are they: Colorants (substances that add color).

Where they’re found: Food and many personal care products such as shampoos, conditioners, toothpastes, face cleansers, cosmetics and more.

Why we avoid them: May cause bioaccumulation (when chemicals build up in living things) and are potentially toxic.