Beauty, Skin

Synthetics to Avoid: Breaking it All Down

chemical wash

With all the talk of natural, chemical and synthetic ingredients, I wanted to break everything down. As you know from highschool chemistry, chemicals can be found in nature. They also can be created in a lab. So…what’s the official definition when it comes to ingredients in cosmetics and personal care products? Are all chemicals to be avoided?

Natural chemicals are chemicals that occur regularly in nature without human interference. The definition of a synthetic is “a substance which has been formulated or manufactured by a chemical process, and has chemically altered a substance which was derived from a naturally occurring plant, mineral or animal source.”

True natural ingredients come from nature in their original condition. Synthetic ingredients are created from synthetics through a complex series of chemical reactions and have no connection to nature any longer. {source}


I keep reminding you to read your labels and know whats in your personal care products. How can you do that if you are not familiar with their names? Here are some synthetics you will  want to stay away from.

1. imidazolidinyl Urea and Diazolidinyl Urea —These are preservatives used in place of  parabens.

2. Methyl and Propyl and Butyl and Ethyl Paraben — Used to prevent microbes from growing, extends shelf life of product.  *Highly toxic.

3. Petroleum —A mineral oil jelly, that causes problems when used on the skin, interferes with the bodys natural moisturizing process. Often used because its super cheap. Used often to help with chapped lips or skin- the reality is this product dries out skin, then you put more on and it dries it out again.

4. Propylene Glycol — A synthetic petrochemical mix used to keep moisture in a product. Cause allergic and toxic reactions.

5. PVP/VA Copolymer — A petroleum-derived chemical used in hairsprays and cosmetics. It can be considered toxic, since particles may contribute to foreign bodies in the lungs of sensitive persons.

6. Sodium Lauryl Sulfate — Used in shampoos for detergent and foam-building abilities. Causes eye irritations, skin rashes, hair loss, scalp problems, and allergic reactions. It is frequently disguised in pseudo-natural cosmetics with the parenthetic explanation “comes from coconut.”


7. Stearalkonium Chloride —Used in hair conditioners and creams, causes allergic reactions. Stearalkonium chloride was developed by the fabric industry as a fabric softener, and is a lot cheaper and easier to use in hair conditioning formulas than proteins or herbals, which do help hair health. **Toxic.

8. Synthetic Colors — The synthetic colors used to supposedly make a cosmetic “pretty” should be avoided at all costs, along with hair dyes. They will be labeled as FD&C or D&C, followed by a color and a number. Example: FD&C Red No. 6 / D&C Green No. 6. Synthetic colors are believed to be cancer-causing agents. If a cosmetic contains them, don’t use it.

9. Synthetic Fragrances — The synthetic fragrances used in cosmetics can have as many as 200 ingredients yet the label it will only read “Fragrance.” Causes headaches, dizziness, rash, hyperpigmentation, violent coughing, vomiting, skin irritation.  

10. Triethanolamine —A base for  cleanser. TEA causes allergic reactions including eye problems, dryness of hair and skin, and could be toxic if absorbed into the body over a long period of time.  {source}

 Now you can cut and paste the list  into a word document, print it off and bring it into your bathroom. Check your labels and see if any other those synthetic ingredients can be found in your products. If they are, you might want to rethink your use. Or limit use.  Take a step in decreasing the amount of toxins you apply to your face, body and hair.

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