GUIDE ON HOW TO READ YOUR SKINCARE INGREDIENTS: PART 2 (MOISTURIZERS)
Hello and welcome back to our Skincare Ingredient series! If you haven’t read Part 1 yet, you can do that here.
- The cosmetic industry is not regulated. Just because it is on the shelf doesn’t mean it is safe. There is no required testing on skincare in the US and there are many ingredients used in skincare formulas in the US and those same ingredients are banned in Europe due to the toxins that cause health related issues.
- It is required by law to label ingredients in the order of highest to lowest concentration. (Keep this in mind for the upcoming scenario!)
- There are great resources that will help guide you if you don’t know what an ingredient is (all mentioned in the Part 1 guide). Also, since my last post, I was recently introduced to the Think Dirty application for Android and iPhone users. Um…where has this been ALL of my life?? This is VERY helpful – especially when you are cruising through the store. I think you will be VERY surprised with what supermarket moisturizers are ranked on here.
- Dermatologist-tested and Hypoallergenic are NOT regulated terms – there is no standard testing across the board on these. So, they can be very deceiving.
As mentioned before, I do want to preface that this blog series, by no means, is not to bash other companies, it is meant to be an educational tool that I wish I had given to me a long time ago.
PART 2 OF OUR 3 PART SERIES: SCENARIO 2
I heard Olive Oil, Shea Butter, and Almond Oil are great for the skin – do I really need to look at all of the ingredients if the key ingredient is on the front of the packaging?
- The BIG shock to me when looking at ingredients was the marketing hype. Many moisturizers (and I will go into examples below) say they are infused with some amazing oils and butters (i.e. olive oil, shea butter, almond oil, and the list can go on); however, after digging deeper into many products they appeared to be at a VERY low concentration in the product (often even LESS than the amount of fragrance!). With my formulation experience, I am almost 99% sure that the benefits of these ‘infused’ oils or butters are very minimal to none.
- There are many moisturizers that are made with Petroleum Oil or Mineral Oil. Why you should be avoiding them: They are refined from crude oil (non-renewable source), certain components of mineral oil are toxic and they can’t metabolize in our bodies – they just sit there (a study has even shown this in breast milk!), they can be carcinogenic with chemical impurities linked to cancer and other health concerns, and they don’t nourish your skin with antioxidants or nutrients – they just sit on the top of your skin. You can read the full article here on 5 reasons to avoid them.
- Many moisturizers list fragrances as an ingredient. What is in a fragrance? It can be many synthetic ingredients and they do not need to be disclosed. Most of these fragrances are not of high-quality and often contain phthalates. You can read more about phthalates in a recent blog post, but these are not something you want lurking around on your skin or breathing in, especially for your kiddos or if you are pregnant. They are banned in Europe and are on the California Proposition 65 because they are known to cause cancer.
I have picked some top selling moisturizers on the market from companies that we all know. I have used each brand before at some point in my lifetime, but not after learning about how healthy ingredients are needed for your skin too!
- Their ‘Ultra Shea’ Body Cream sounds like it would be full of moisturizing shea butter, but when you look at the ingredient label, shea butter is listed as the 11th ingredient and the fragrance (which has phthalates unless otherwise stated) is listed as the 5th From my formulation experience, you aren’t getting enough of the actual shea nutrients. It is just a marketing hype.
- They don’t use phthalate-free fragrances. Fragrance is listed as the 5th ingredient and it is not recommended by some doctors to be using phthalates especially if you are pregnant or trying to conceive.
- They still use parabens as a preservative, as opposed to other alternatives. Parabens are banned in Europe because they have been known to be hormone disrupters and some experts have said to avoid if you are trying to get pregnant.
Ok, I get that Bath and Body doesn’t use the best ingredients, but the Body Shop is known for being healthy. And they now have Nourshing Body Oil made with olive oil
Their olive nourishing oil is barely made with actual olive oil. Fragrance is listed as the 3rd ingredient (which is not listed as phthalate-free) and olive oil is listed as the 5th Again, marketing hype. Based on my formulation experience there is not much olive oil at all in here to reap the benefits that their website focuses on.
Let’s take a look at a few more examples:
- Suave Almond and Shea Butter Lotion: On the front of the bottle it states ‘Made with 100% Almond Oil and Shea Butter extracts’ – When you flip over the bottle to read the ingredients – these are actually listed LAST! This was a HUGE shock to me. Their marketing department has done well (I sure was fooled), but this formula BARELY contains any of those natural extracts mentioned. There is more fragrance and other ingredients known to be toxic in this formula than the actual natural ingredients. This has a 9 (10 being the worst) on the Think Dirty App.
- Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Oil: The classic baby oil (which people have told me they often use for themselves). Why on earth they put fragrance in a baby product is beyond me (it is definitely not phthalate-free and under the EU regulations you can’t formulate a product with fragrance or essential oils if it is recommended for children under 3 months). Mineral Oil is made from refined crude oil and studies have shown toxic contaminants still exist, it can clog pores, it gives you no benefits to your skin – no nutrients, just its on the top of your skin to create a barrier that doesn’t allow your skin to breathe. This has a 9 (10 being the worst) on the Think Dirty App.
- Neutrogena Sesame Oil – Although, there is a low number of ingredients, sesame is 2nd in this list over ISOPROPYL MYRISTATE – it is a natural occurring fatty acid (derived from animal or vegetables) and is used to thicken a product – it contains no nutrients. The remainder of the ingredients are synthetic.
- Nivea: I saw this on a commercial the other night, so I decided to check this out. The almond ‘oil infused’ lotion where almond Oil is actually the 9th ingredient listed. Another tip – the majority of the product ingredients are usually in the first 5 ingredients. Although, they did go paraben free – their fragrances still most likely contain phthalates.
- Dove Shea Butter Lotion: I totally got caught up in the ‘Dove has been around for years and I love their beauty commercials – they really care about women’ – FABOLOUS MAREKTING, but when I looked at the actual ingredients of this lotion, shea butter is the 9th ingredient – listed AFTER Petrolatum. They are still using parabens (banned in Europe) as a preservative and I don’t see anywhere stated they use phthalate-free fragrances. https://www.dove.com/us/en/skin-care/body-lotion/cream-oil-shea-butter-body-lotion.html
Ok…so tell me how Vilia Soap moisturizers are different?
- We use Extra Virgin (cold pressed) Greek Olive Oil and other pure plant-based cold pressed oils, we don’t use synthetic ingredients or petroleum-based ingredients. All olive oils are not created equal. There are different grades. Extra Virgin is the best for eating and for your skin because of all of the antioxidants and vitamins. Our olive oil comes straight from one family in Sparta, Greece and we have a great relationship with them. We actually use it on our food! So many oils on the market are adulterated and are not pure – often coming from Italy.
- Our body balms and body oils are scented with essential oils and phthalate-free essential oils. Not all scents can be created with essential oils, so we like to blend unique fragrances to create our Greek-inspired blends. It was important for us to use phthalate-free because phthalates are banned in Europe and have been proven over and over again in multiple studies to be toxic. Our fragrances not on the CA Prop 65 list of toxic chemicals.
- Glycerin is a BIG ingredient in the lotions. Yes, it is great, but it is actually a natural by-product of the soap making process. So, it is already in our natural soaps. Large companies take this out of this soap to then put in their moisturizers – which is usually why commercial bars tend to be drying (especially mixed in with the detergents in soap bars).
- We started this company based in Europe and continue to follow the Europe guidelines on formulations. We will never use ingredients in our products that are banned in Europe. We also want to ensure you have a SAFE formula, so we work with a chemist in the UK to ensure the usage of essential oils and fragrances are safe.
- We will never use petroleum-based or mineral oils in our ingredients. Although, they are cheap, they don’t nourish your skin with nutrients like our plant-based oils and there are so many studies showing cancer causing toxins are often found in even the most refined products.
As someone who creates skincare products under the guidance of the EU regulations and as I look at these products I was in complete shock – more so because of all the marketing done around these to make them appear to be healthy and made with infused oils which really they appear to be lacking according to the ingredient label. Are you in the process to switching to natural products, but feel overwhelmed, and don’t want to spend a fortune to throwing out all your products right away? Start with products that cover the biggest surface area of your body which would be soaps and moisturizers.
I tried to keep it short and sweet and I hope that was helpful for you! Anything that shocked you?? Stay tuned for Part 3 – We will be diving into the details of belly and stretch mark moisturizers marketed to pregnant mommas!