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Handmade natural skincare and mineral make up made in the UK using top quality ingredients

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Skincare Labels…what do they mean?

It is no wonder that we blindly carry on covering our bodies in potentially toxic chemicals when skincare labels and marketing can be so very deceptive. Even companies that market themselves as natural often include parabens and other nasties.

So…firstly, what are the laws regarding labelling? 

Simple, all products must clearly have the ingredients labelled in order of quantity unless the product is too small to do this! 

How many of your make up and skincare products do not have an ingredient list on? 

The next question is why do these companies break the law in regard to labelling? We’ll leave you that question to think about!

The ingredients list must be labelled with the ingredients' INCI names. This is another reason it is so difficult to understand, as ingredients that are good for you can sound as confusing as those that aren’t. For example Butyrospermum parkii is the INCI name for shea butter. 

There is also very limited information available on the potentially harmful or carcinogenic ingredients found in everyday products

Here are a few nasties to look out for:

Sodium lauryl sulphate  (SLS) – A foaming agent used in most personal care products, a known skin irritant

Sodium laureth sulphate (SLES) – Often found in products that are marketed as SLS free, as less of an irritant than SLS (we still choose not use this in our products)

Mineral oil - Also known as liquidum paraffinum, paraffin oil, petroleum oil, petroleum jelly or paraffin wax . It is a petroleum byproduct and coats the skin like plastic.  It is difficult to absorb and clogs the pores, which slows the skin’s ability to eliminate toxins

Propylene glycol - Called a humectant in cosmetics, it is really "industrial anti-freeze" and the major ingredient in brake and hydraulic fluid. Tests show it can be a strong skin irritant. 

Parabens (methyl, propyl, butyl, and ethyl) - Used as inhibitors of microbial growth and to extend shelf life of products. Widely used even though they are known to be toxic.

 To find out just how nasty these chemicals are google the ingredient MSDS (material safety data sheet) These can be a heavy read, but are very insightful!

Or there are many independent reports such as www.health-report.co.uk (Karma Naturals has no connection with this website)

At the end of the ingredients list are the potential allergens. These are calculated from the amount of fragrance or essential oil used. There are 26 potential allergens that need to be listed of which 16 occur naturally in essential oils. These are Amyl cinnamal, Amyl cinnamal alcohol, Anisyl alcohol, Benzyl alcohol, Cinnamyl alcohol, Citral, Limonene, Linalool, Geraniol, Cinnamal, Iso eugenol, Eugenol, Citronellol, Hydroxycitronellal, Hexyl cinnamal, Benzyl cinnamate, Farnesol, Methyl heptine carbonate, Alpha methyl ionone, Oak moss extract, Tree moss extract, Benzyl benzoate, Courmarin, Liliestralis, Lyral, Benzyl Salicylate. 

Other labeling terms can also be misleading

 “Hypo-allergenic” - This is a term used by manufacturers and there is no regulation on its use, all it actually means is that the manufacturer believes it is less likely to cause allergic reactions than some other products on the market.

“Fragrance free” – Some products use fragrance to mask the natural smell and to make it fragrance free

“Not tested on animals” - Every synthetic chemical has been tested on animals! Companies can claim that they do not test on animals as they have not personally tested their products. This is because someone else has already tested the individual ingredients for them. You can rest assured every single synthetic chemical in your non-animal tested products has actually been tested on animals to determine how toxic the chemicals are for human use.

It is estimated that we absorb up to 70% of what we put on our skin...do you know what is in your skin care products?


  1. Great post! Will put the MSDS and health report links on my blog links. It's great to spread the message :)

  2. Thank you, I find it quite horrific what I used to put on my skin and there is such a lack of good information

  3. This is a link to NHS website. A report stateing that parabens were found in all breast cancer tissue that they sampled! http://www.nhs.uk/news/2012/01January/Pages/parabens-in-breast-cancer-tissue-studied.aspx

  4. Sharing the Love, i've nominated you for the Versatile Blogger Award :)


    1. Wow...Thank you so much! I will have to have a good think about who to nominate next, I have read many great blogs recently :)

  5. Great post! I've become much more aware of ingredients in cosmetics recently, especially ones that clog your pores. I find it really frustrating when brands don't list the ingredients in the products on their website, as I do a lot of my makeup shopping online now. Look forward to future posts! :-)

  6. Thank you, and I agree...the more research I do the more scary stuff I find out about chemicals! I find www.ewg.org/skindeep/ a really good source of information :)
    ps. I'll update the ingredients list on the website...there are quite a few products missing, thanks for the reminder x