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Chemical nasties in cosmetics - what are the alternatives?

27/07/2015 by Poppy

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With the average woman using a staggering number of different chemicals on her skin every single day, it’s no wonder we lose track of the confusing and potentially harmful web of ingredients found lurking in our personal care and cosmetic products.

In this article we highlight some of the nasties to avoid in high street cosmetics and let you know some of the safe, natural and effective alternatives that go into Green People products.

Parabens & alcohol (ethanol, ethyl alcohol)

Parabens can be found in everything from shampoo, to moisturiser, to makeup and are known to have weak oestrogenic activity, with repeated exposure potentially affecting hormone levels. Their use is restricted in several countries and Denmark has banned parabens in products intended for use on children under 3.

Alcohol (ethanol, ethyl alcohol) is commonly used to preserve many personal care products and to give them a 'light skin feel'. This solvent can dry out the skin, increase sensitivity and can also help transport otherwise inert substances across the skin/blood barrier.

What we use instead – a combination of naturally occurring preservatives found in many fruits, berries, bark and essential oils, all well tolerated on even the most sensitive skin and suitable for use in certified organic cosmetics.

natural ingredients

Sodium lauryl sulphate

natural ingredients

Sodium lauryl sulphate (SLS) is a harsh synthetic foaming agent used in a wide range of shampoos, bubble-baths, liquid soaps and toothpastes. It is a known skin irritant and may cause sensitisation when used over a period of time. The molecular structure of SLS is small enough to allow it to penetrate the skin and can reach the bloodstream.

What we use instead – Sodium coco sulphate is a gentle foaming agent that is naturally derived from Coconut and Corn. This combined with Yucca produces a thick, bubbly lather without irritating your skin.


Triclosan is a synthetic anti-microbial agent used in a huge variety of products including liquid soaps, shampoos, deodorants, toothpastes, mouthwashes, household cleansing products and hand sanitisers. There are concerns that the widespread, low level use of this material may be contributing to the increase of antibiotic resistance in some bacteria, notably MRSA.

What we use instead - plant extracts with a long history of use to control bacteria such as Manuka, Tea Tree and Myrrh.

tea tree


Synthetic fragrances


Together with synthetic colourants these are the most common causes of skin sensitivities and reactions and are found in most personal care products. Some products may contain up to 2,000 chemical components listed under the umbrella term ‘parfum’.

What we use instead - Natural aromas from organic essential oils, not only do these smell amazing, they have proven health and mood-boosting benefits.


Commonly found in mascaras and nail varnishes as plasticisers to keep them flexible. Shockingly phthalates have been shown to affect the normal development of the central nervous system plus having hormone-disruptive activity too.

What we use instead - natural waxes such as Beeswax keep our mascaras flexible and water resistant without the need for chemical additives.




This comprises a huge range of ingredients which are derived from crude oil, including petroleum jelly, paraffin wax, silicones and mineral oils. Petrochemicals have little or no affinity to human skin and in short using them is like wrapping the skin in cling film, preventing it from breathing.

What we use instead – organic nourishing plant oils and waxes such as Jojoba, Sweet Almond and Avocado oils which lock in moisture whilst still allowing your skin to breath.

If you have any questions or concerns about chemicals in cosmetics, please get in touch by commenting below, emailing, or calling our friendly customer care team on 01403 740350.

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