What Ingredients To Avoid In Beauty Products

Emma’s top tips for checking the ingredients in the beauty aisle…

1. One natural ingredient in a product doesn’t make it all natural – Ingredient order on a label is an indication of the quantity of that ingredient. Look and see what percentage of the product is actually made up of natural ingredients.

2. Understand the difference between ‘organic’ and ‘natural’ – a product labeled ‘organic’ only needs to contain as little as 70% organic ingredients. That means up to 30% of the ingredients could be anything but organic or even natural – and could include the very ingredients the consumer was hoping to avoid by buying organic in the first place. Trust products that back up their organic claim with certification from a reputable body.

3. Be wary of trade-marked or brand names using ‘natural’ in the name – having natural in the name doesn’t guarantee the product will contain natural ingredients.

4. Be aware of the language – Just because an ingredient has a long or scientific sounding name doesn’t mean it’s a chemical. Find out more about the ingredients if you aren’t sure.

5. Watch out for phrases like ‘nature inspired’ or ‘made with’ natural or organic ingredients – This kind of language allows manufacturers to position their products as natural or organic without having to include high levels of natural or organic ingredients.

6. There are certain ingredients that should NEVER be used in a product labeled natural – Watch out for these:

  • Parabens
  • Glycols
  • Sulphates (sodium lauryl/laureth sulphate etc – and no, ammonium lauryl sulphate isn’t better, in fact, it can be even more irritating than SLS)
  • Petrochemicals (petrolatum/mineral oil/ paraffin)
  • Phthalates
  • Chemicals in sunscreens (oxybenzone/avobenzone)


About Romy Grbic

Romy Grbic is Trespass Magazine's Auckland-based Beauty and Style Editor, and was always the kid with the ‘wacky’ parents. This used to be slightly embarrassing when bringing friends home from school, but has turned out to be a blessing in disguise. The 24-year old writer/beauty therapist, living in a house with optimal feng-shui, seems to be following in the footsteps of her slightly alternative parents and carving a road uniquely her own. One leading to self-sustainable living on a large farm with a big organic vegetable garden, and a very large makeup kit and wardrobe. With a diploma in beauty therapy and a degree in sociology, Romy has taken her passion for learning, pretty things and writing and combined them into one, by creating her own website (www.onefabulousday.wordpress.com) on which she blogs optimistically, in the hopes of making the world a better place, both aesthetically and environmentally.