CAIA Lipstick Ingredient Check: Unveiling the Truth about harmful Ingredients and Essential Tips for Choosing Safer, Eco-Friendly Lipsticks






When it comes to enhancing our beauty, lipstick is a classic go-to for most of us.

However, have you ever stopped to consider the potentially harmful ingredients lurking in your favorite shade? From silicones to PFAS, parabens, titanium dioxide to phenoxyethanol, endocrine disruptors… (and many other potentially toxic, polluting and controversial ingredients….), the beauty industry has seen its fair share of controversial substances.  In this blog post, we take a closer look at one of CAIA’s makeup product -a Stockholm-based D2C beauty company founded by influencers- currently trending.

Let’s take a closer look at Caia’s product philosophy in general :


« We believe beauty products should be of top quality at accessible prices. The products should be easy for everyone to use and suit most skin types and skin tones. We offer top quality formulations based on carefully selected ingredients. We also have a long list of ingredients we avoid. All products are produced by the biggest well renowned factories in France, Italy and Korea. Our skincare has been developed together with toxicologists, dermatologists and biologists. « 

And if we were to take a closer look at one of Caia’s products; how does the « top quality formulation » of  a lipstick look like, for example ?


What could be Caia’s definition of « carefully selected ingredients » ? First of all, here are the product benefits, – as presented on Caia’s website *:


Purely pigmented lipstick with extreme matte finish. It provides consistency, emollience and water resistance without a draggy application. The lipstick contains Passion Fruit seed oil which offers nourishing and repairing properties. Looks matte, feels smooth. Let’s take the time to check the composition of the product by taking a closer look at the INCI list (the list of ingredients) of Caia’s « Owe You Nothing » Lipstick 

Ingredients/ INCI*:


Ingredient analysis :

As always, it is the first 5-10 ingredients that make up the majority of the product’s overall « profile ». And this basic profile includes already a large number of controversial ingredients, silicone-based ingredients (polluting), synthetic polymers (microplastic), etc. A « product base » which is almost entirely based on synthetic ingredients some of which are very controversial. And the promised «Passion Fruit seed oil»  (in latin/INCI terms = PASSIFLORA EDULIS SEED OIL) went missing along the way. Nowhere to be found.

A long list of controversial substances have also slipped into the formula of Caia’s « Owe You Nothing » Lipstick

  • POLYETHYLENE environmental concern, pollutant (microplastic)
  • HYDROGENATED STYRENE/METHYL STYRENE/INDENE COPOLYMER, a film former. derived from petrochemical ingredients – pollutant.
  • An entire list of Silicones : DIMETHICONE/CETYL DIMETHICONE/C30-45 ALKYL DIMETHICONE/DIMETHICONE/VINYL DIMETHICONE CROSSPOLYMER,  problematic substances for the environnement (not very biodegradable), pollutants
  • TITANIUM DIOXIDE, colorant, problematic in this kind of product (as it will be partially ingested), check out the article for more detailed information
  • Film-forming agents, like HYDROGENATED STYRENE/METHYL STYRENE/INDENE COPOLYMER problematic for the environment, pollutants
  • a list of controversial synthetic dyes RED 7 LAKE (CI 15850)  YELLOW 5 LAKE (CI 19140) YELLOW 6 LAKE (CI 15985),some azo dyes are classified as carcinogens, which is why azo dyes are restricted in the EU

Conclusion for the analysis of Caia’s « Owe You Nothing » Lipstick

A formulation that is far, far from the claim of « carefully selected ingredients » ….The product is made of a list of controversial and polluting ingredients, problematic for the environment (silicones, acrylates, microplastics, mineral oil derivatives etc) and potentially harmful and toxic substances (azo dyes , titanium dioxyde, not recommended in this type of product)- which clashes with the claim of carefully selected ingredients.

And the promised « Passion Fruit seed oil » is just a marketing slogan, it doesn’t show anywhere on the ingredient list.



Title: 5 Clever Tips for Selecting Toxic-Free Lipsticks:

Avoiding Endocrine Disruptors, PFAS, and other toxic, harmful, or polluting ingredients

Lipsticks have always been a go-to makeup item for many individuals, a powerful tool to help us express ourselves. However,  a lot of traditional lipsticks still contain numerous toxic ingredients that can harm both your health and the environment.

Here are a few tips to ensure you choose toxic-free lipsticks that are free from endocrine disruptors, PFAS, pollutants, silicones, controversial synthetic preservatives and any other harmful components.


1. Educate Yourself on Endocrine Disruptors:

Endocrine disruptors are harmful chemicals present in various beauty products. These chemicals can interfere with your hormonal balance and potentially lead to serious health issues. It is never enough to choose lipsticks labeled as « paraben-free » as the products can still contain other endocrine disruptors or harmful ingredients. Certified organic cosmetics however, provide more guarantees, endocrine disruptors are simply not allowed in the formulation process by the different labels. More detailed information also here. If the product is not certified, make sure to check the ingredient list.

2. Stay Away from PFAS (Perfluoroalkyl Substances):

PFAS are a group of chemicals used in many industries, including cosmetics. They have been linked to adverse health effects and are extremely persistent in the environment. This is a tremendous environmental concern, which of course concerns many other industries. Check the ingredient list for PFAS-related compounds like PTFE or perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and educate yourself on the subject as well.

4. Avoid Silicones an mineral-oil derived ingredients (Petrolatum, etc):

Silicones are commonly used in beauty products to create a smooth texture and long-lasting effects. However, they represent a huge toll on the environment, as they are not biodegradable. When selecting lipsticks, choose those with silicone alternatives such as natural waxes or nourishing oils like jojoba, shea, or cocoa butter. These ingredients provide hydration and a comfortable wear without the negative side effects. Again, silicones and mineral oil derived ingredients are not allowed in certified organic cosmetics. If the product is not certified, make sure to check the ingredient list.

5. Be Mindful of certain synthetic Preservatives:

Preservatives are essential to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria and extend the shelf life of cosmetics. However, some synthetic preservatives, such as formaldehyde releasers or phenoxyethanol have been linked to skin irritations and allergies and other more serious health concerns. Others fall into the category of endocrine disruptors (some parabens, triclosan, etc). There are other ways of formulating beauty products, and some pioneers in the organic cosmetics fields like Logocos (brands Logona, Santé)  or Dermatherm  have developed an expertise in this field over the last decades.


Choosing toxic-free lipsticks should be a priority for anyone concerned about their health and the planet. By following these tips, you can effectively avoid endocrine disruptors, PFAS, pollutants, silicones, and controversial preservatives commonly found in traditional lipsticks. Embrace the power of knowledge and make informed choices to adorn your lips with clean and gorgeous colors, without compromising on your well-being.


Cosmetic Truth of the Month: L’Oréal Cell Renew Revitalising Day Cream


Cell Renew Revitalising Day Cream


50 ml



No need to present the L’Oréal group, the biggest multinational in the cosmetics market, a leader both in France and at international level. And like all large groups, the l’Oréal group now displays its « sustainable » commitments « for the future » with huge ladles of marketing campaigns … that certainly represent exorbitant budgets. There is no need to repeat their commitments in terms of sustainability here, they all seem more than « perfect ».And if we were to take a closer look at one of L’Oréal’s products, what about the formulation of the cosmetic products presents on the market?

L’Oréal Age Perfect Day Cream product benefits, – as presented on the brand’s website (UK version)*:


« Discover millions of new skin cells with this revitalising SPF day cream that promotes cell renewal. Formulated with a powerful antioxidant recovery complex, the cream enhances radiance leaving skin feeling toned with a luminous looking glow.
Cell Renew Revitalising Day Cream SPF30 is formulated with:

Antioxidant Recovery Complex:

• Neohesperidin: powerful antioxidant known to support cell regeneration

• Vitamin E: antioxidant known to boosts skins natural defence against free radicals like pollution


• Protects skin against the harmful effects of UV rays


The claims

As is often the case in the cosmetics sector, L’Oréal highlights two active ingredients (black truffle and black tea kombucha) which are supposed to account for the global effectiveness of the formula: « two active ingredients rich in polyphenols and vitamin B (…) to accelerate cell regeneration and prolong the vitality of the skin. » (as specified on the french version of l’Oréal’s website. This is a very common marketing technique, not only in the conventional cosmetics sector by the way*. And the fundamental aspect of the base of the formula, the so-called « excipient », is very often forgotten, and is of paramount importance.According to K.P. Witten, Head of Development at Beiersdorf, « 80% of the desired performance can be achieved with a quality excipient. The active ingredients, however extraordinary, only account for the remaining 20%.

* (However, there is one important difference: the quality of the excipient is generally much better in certified natural and organic cosmetics, as it is based entirely vegetable oils and waxes, as mineral oil/silicone components are simply not allowed)

More information can be found in the video on this topic (in french, however).

Let’s have a closer look at the ingredients list

If we get back to the example of L’Oréal’s day cream, it’s the truffle extract and black tea that are highlighted as main ingredients with exceptional qualities. But when we take a closer look at the INCI list, we see that these components are found in 17th and 22nd position; in very small quantities and therefore with extremely limited benefits.The main ingredients are always to be found at the top of the list, which makes it easy to identify those present in the highest concentration. Finally, everything at the very end of the list is present in extremely small quantities.On the other hand, -once again- it is interesting to look more closely at the whole formulation of the product and to compare it with the brand’s product description.So if we take a closer look water is in first position, closely followed by glycerin and somewhere in the middle the two highlighted active ingredients. What would be interesting now would be to know what lies in between these two ingredients….


Let’s take the time to check the composition of the product by taking a closer look at the list of ingredients, the INCI list of L’Oréal’s Cell Renew Revitalising Day Cream


Ingredient analysis :


Ingredient’s list analyzed with the website’s INCI Search tool

As always, it is the first 5-10 ingredients that make up the majority of the product’s overall « profile ».

Following water and glycerin, we go straight to the « problematic synthetic components » list with a host of controversial sunscreens and different ingredients derived from petrochemicals (mineral oils) or silicones. A « product base » that is almost entirely based on synthetic ingredients (except the glycerine), some of which are highly controversial.

A long list of controversial substances have also slipped into the formula of L’Oréal’s Cell Renew Revitalising Day Cream:


  • HOMOSALATE a chemical UV filter/sunscreen,  suspected endocrine disruptor*.
  • OCTOCRYLENE a chemical UV filter/sunscreen, suspected endocrine disruptor*.
  • ETHYLHEXYL SALICYLATE (Octisalate) a chemical UV filter/sunscreen, suspected endocrine disruptor*.
  • Butyl Methoxydibenzoylmethane (Avobenzone) a chemical UV filter/sunscreen, a suspected endocrine disruptor
  • Several Silicones : DIMETHICONE, DIMETHICONOL environmentally problematic substances (not very biodegradable), pollutants
  • Hydrogenated Polyisobutene, derived from mineral oil, problematic for the environment
  • A series of PEGs (@BIS-PEG-18 METHYLETHER DIMETHYL SILANE, PEG-100 STEARATE – PEG-20), these are ethoxylated materials. These are obtained from highly reactive and toxic gases, and are the result of a chemical process that requires the strictest safety measures. PEGs can also make the skin’s barrier more permeable to other substances and are not very biodegradable and therefore also polluting.
  • Phenoxyethanol, a controversial synthetic preservative, with proven toxic potential (harmful to the liver, in particular)
  • Film-forming agents, like Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, and Ammonium Acryloyldimethyltaurate/VP Copolymer problematic for the environment, pollutants
  • The « Fragrance »/ Perfume listed in the INCI list can also sometimes be a problem: since it is a non-certified product (in natural and organic cosmetics), there is a good chance that it is a synthetic fragrance, which very often also contains phthalates, also classified as endocrine disruptors. To avoid the presence of phthalates, the only certainty would be to opt for a certified product, as synthetic perfumes are simply not authorised by the various specifications in natural and organic cosmetics.


Verdict for the analysis of L’Oréal Cell Renew Revitalising Day Cream:

A formulation that is far, far from being… flawless. A very unspectacular base/excipient (mainly glycerin and silicones), surrounded by very problematic and controversial ingredients (problematic synthetic preservatives, synthetic UV filters/sunscreens, endocrine disruptors, silicones, etc…)

No less than 5 very problematic synthetic sunscreens, for a simple day cream… what else? On top of that, there is a whole list of controversial and polluting ingredients, problematic for the environment (silicones, acrylates, Peg, mineral oil derivatives etc) – which is just perfect for consolidating  and putting into action these « sustainable commitments for the future »…only kidding.

It is always worth taking a closer look at the formulation of certain randomly chosen products. Very often we come to the conclusion that the commitments touted by multi-nationals like l’Oréal are still far from being reflected in reality.Why then invest huge sums in advertising this new vision of « For the Future » when the product formulation of a randomly choses product… just stands for the absolute opposite?





Cosmetic Truth of the Month: GARNIER Ambre Solaire Kids Water Resistant

Garnier Ambre Solaire, cosmetic truth of the month


Ambre Solaire Kids Water Resistant

Sun Cream Spray SPF50+

12,90 €

Garnier is one of those ancient, traditional brands, which are widely available in supermarkets or pharmacies. The brand (as well as Garnier’s various other sub-brands) belongs to the L’Oréal group. As is the case with all multi-nationals in the cosmetics industry, brands are now almost all duty-bound to re-invent themselves with more sustainable versions, whether by conviction or simple opportunistic marketing.  The FRENCH homepage of Garnier’s website details this concept with a new slogan « towards even more sustainable beauty”:

« Discover the next chapter in our commitment to Green Beauty, an educational campaign to share expert knowledge and practical tips for more sustainable consumption. This campaign is the first step in a new commitment by the brand to encourage 250 million people to live more responsibly by 2025 (…). Garnier’s new commitment is part of a series of ambitious goals to reduce the brand’s environmental impact at all stages of its value chain. Garnier is determined to continue its bold sustainable transformation and is committed to sharing expert knowledge and practical advice with millions of consumers to empower them to take action.”

A little further down on the “Our Heritage” page (still on the French version of the website), Garnier claims that its Ultra Gentle shampoos are “plant-based” and that the Olia colour is “based on the power of vegetal oil”. They forget to mention the rest of the less glamorous formulation which includes a slew of controversial chemical ingredients. « The first range of ultra-soft plant-based shampoos designed for all hair types. The first four formulas are made with wheat germ, lime leaf, chamomile and saw palmetto » (…) OLIA, THE POWER OF OIL .Based on the power of oil, Olia offers exceptional colour and improved hair quality: the hair is three times shinier than before colouring with Olia. And all this without ammonia. »


So to sum up: Garnier, which until now has not been noted for its commitment to ecology, or for its irreproachable formulations, whether in terms of ecology or in terms of its formulations based on extremely controversial ingredients, is about to explain to us how to « live more responsibly ». Sounds like a real programme. We don’t quite yet understand the concept of “even more sustainable » beauty, and we are still not quite sure if the Garnier group and its various brands (Fructis, Ultra Doux, Olia, Belle Color etc.) has had anything to do with sustainable beauty since its creation. And to check whether these proudly stated commitments are reflected in the formulation of their products, all you have to do is take a random product, a sun spray for children for example, and take a closer look at the composition.

On the brand page* (UK page) presenting GARNIER Ambre Solaire Sunscreen Spray, you can read a relatively brief description:

Our Ambre Solaire Kids Sensitive Advanced Sun Lotion Spray SPF50+ immediately protects your kids from both short and long-term sun-induced damage. Our innovative Netlock TechnologyTM and maximum 5 Star UVA protection has been especially developed for kids’ sensitive and sun intolerant skin and is hypoallergenic. The kind-to-skin formula can be used on body and face. Our formula conforms 100% to European recommendations for protection against the harmful effects of UVA and UVB rays.

credit : Pichara Bann_Unsplash

Let’s take the time to check the composition of the product by taking a closer look at the list of ingredients, on the INCI list of GARNIER Ambre Solaire Spray:

Ingredients analysis:

As always, it is the first 5-8 ingredients that constitute the majority of the product’s « profile ». And among these first ingredients there is already an entire list of chemical UV filters, a real cocktail of 6 synthetic UV filters over the whole formula, (some of which are considered really problematic, notably endocrine disruptors), some secondary substances and controversial and/or polluting components. The tone of the formulation is set.  We are not quite sure just how much this approach is really about « more sustainable beauty ».

Some controversial substances have crept into the formula:

  • ETHYLHEXYL SALICYLATE (Octisalate), synthetic UV filter (chemical), suspected endocrine disruptor
  • BUTYL METHOXYDIBENZOYLMETHANE, synthetic UV filter (chemical), suspected endocrine disruptor
  • ETHYLHEXYL TRIAZONE synthetic UV filter (chemical), environmental problem (pollutant)
  • DROMETRIZOLE TRISILOXANE synthetic UV filter (chemical), environmental concern (pollutant)
  • TRIETHANOLAMINE an ingredient that is used either as a buffer substance, emulsifier or surfactant, which can form nitrosamines, which are carcinogenic
  • SODIUM POLYACRYLATES, gelling agent, absorbent, environmental problem
  • Trisodium Ethylenediamine Disuccinate, chelating agent (see EDTA), derived from petrochemical components, pollutant
  • ACRYLATES/C10-30 ALKYL ACRYLATE CROSSPOLYMER environmental problem (microplastic)

Ingredient’s list analyzed with the website’s INCI Search tool

The formulation also contains suspected endocrine disruptors, which is a real problem, especially in a product intended for children.Pregnant women and children are particularly vulnerable to the effects of endocrine disruptors. Of course, cosmetic products are not the only sources of endocrine disruption, but they are part of it, and overexposure to multiple sources of endocrine disruptors on a daily basis is really problematic.

More information about endocrine disruptors (in French, soon to be available in English)


A formula that will certainly protect against UV rays, but which contains a whole series of chemical UV filters, some of which are very controversial (suspected endocrine disruptors). The multiplication of problematic and controversial ingredients also refers to the cocktail effect: chemical substances that, taken on their own, are harmless, but which can become harmful when mixed together.  In addition are a few polluting ingredients to help improve the future of our children, the state of the planet and pollute the oceans…I’m joking, well not entirely. A product for children that does not really respect the environment will not respect its future, it’s as simple as that…. So we are quite far from the concept of « even more sustainable beauty ».

All too often, we rely solely on the protection provided by sun creams (which only provide partial protection), without taking into account the context (phototype/place of exposure/time/background, etc.).

The following article also provides more explanations on this subject. (in French, soon to be available in English)


We are not the only ones to note that the formulations of sunscreen products are still often problematic.

The June 2020 edition of the German consumer magazine Ökotest, for example, also contained a product test on « sun creams for children ».

The test included a total of 21 products, both « conventional » and certified organic cosmetic brands. The products, analysed on the basis of their formulations, were downgraded because of the following ingredients:                                                                                                   

☀︎  Synthetic UV filters, such as Octorylene and Homosalate, suspected endocrine disruptors

☀︎ Polluting ingredients based on silicones or acrylates

☀︎ Lack of declaration of nanoparticles

☀︎ PEGs, pollutant ingredients, which can make the skin more permeable to other substances

☀︎ Mineral oil-based ingredients (paraffin type) environmental problem


You can find similar articles  and product tests on the website

Cosmetic Truth of the Month: FILORGA Optim-Eyes Makeup Remover Serum

Eye Serum Makeup Remover
110 ml,  24,90 €

Filorga presents itself as the “the medi-cosmetic revolution” (=THE MEDI-COSMETIQUE REVOLUTION) highlighting “high performance anti-aging solutions (hyaluronic acid injections, anti-aging mesotherapy, peelings) used by leading aesthetic medical practitioners and surgeons in over 60 countries.” Filorga, therefore considers itself to be a brand directly “inspired by aesthetic medicine (….) with innovative preparations and high-tech agents developed in its Laboratory.

So, by interpreting the marketing message and schematizing it slightly, we could imagine that Filorga possesses “formula secrets” which other bands don’t have and therefore their cosmetic treatments could be more “effective”, closer to the results obtained by cosmetic surgery, all this, of course, without having to pass by the operating theatre.  Great! It will save us some money!

So what about if we take a look behind the scenes to see which components Filorga works with?

Here is the manufacturer’s presentation of the product, Filorga Optim Eyes Serum*:




/ Dark circles: A (matrikines + chrysin) complex fosters the elimination of pigmented residue to reduce the colour of dark circles./ Puffiness: Powerful peptides act on microcirculation to decrease the volume of under-eye bags.Wrinkles: A trio of smoothing active ingredients containing hesperidin to remove creases from the eye area. Fresh, melting and moisturizing texture – can be refrigerated. 15ml. Filorga’s product is therefore a make-up remover that acts both as a serum for the eyes, “strengthening the eyelashes” and “revitalising the eyes”, thanks, most especially to the famous “oleo-clean” complex… A complete programme…

Let’s take a moment to check the composition of the product by analysing the list of components, in the INCI list more closely:

Ingredients/ INCI:


Component analysis:


Ingredient’s list analyzed with the website’s INCI Search tool


As always, it is the first 8-10 components that make up the majority of the product’s “profile”. The first component being present in the highest quantity with the following components presented in a descending order.

And the beginning of the list is composed of a series of components derived from petro chemistry (mineral oils) and silicones, Paraffinum Liquidum (2nd), Dimethicone (3rd), (silicone), Isohexadecane (4th) etc. These are the more “basic” moisturizing components, not very interesting in terms of beauty treatment properties, – apart from their moisturising powers (and their cost, which is much lower than vegetable oils, for example).To this are added some plant extracts and active beauty treatment ingredients. But in the end, the famous “oleo-clean complex” announced by Filorga, is far from being the basic foundation of the formulation, which consists of water, followed by a majority of components from petro chemistry. 

Some controversial substances have slipped into the formula of Filorga’s make-up remover:

  • DIMETHICONE, part of the silicones, an environmentally problematic substance (non-biodegradable), polluting.
  • Components based on mineral oils  Paraffinum Liquidum, Isohexadecane, etc.
  • PEG-8 CAPRYLIC/CAPRIC GLYCERIDES. Part of the ethoxylated substances. Obtained from extremely reactive and toxic gases resulting from a chemical process which imposes the most stringent of safety measures. PEGs are also likely to make the skin barrier more permeable to other substances and are not very biodegradable, therefore polluting.
  • The complexing agent Disodium EDTA, which is not very biodegradable and polluting.
  • There is a question mark regarding the “Perfume”, as it is impossible to ascertain, with the simple INCI designation, whether these are natural fragrances (based on essential oils/fragrances) or conventional fragrances which may contain very controversial substances: phthalates or musk compounds, Lilial, etc.

Regarding Mineral oils

The German BFR recently published a reassuring conclusion regarding the application on the skin of cosmetic products based on mineral oils which do not pose health problems. This does not remove the issue of the occlusive effect in high concentration, nor the “inert” quality of the raw material, making it less interesting than mineral oils, or the environmental problem.


So this  famous “Two-phase make-up remover”: enriched with oleo-clean complex” highly praised by Filorga, is in fact an “ultra-classic formulation”, almost dated, whose basic components are derived from mineral oils or silicones, as well as other components which are problematic for the environment. All this distributed below in the list of the few interesting beauty care substances and plant extracts. Perhaps the “innovative formulas and high-tech ingredients” promoted by the brand are all hidden in other Filorga products?  A simple look at the formulations of creams or sunscreens on the site confirms the presence of many other controversial components (PHENOXYETHANOL, CHLORPHENESIN, SYNTHETIC FLUORPHLOGOPITE, HOMOSALATE, ETHYLHEXYL METHOXYCINNAMATE, BHT, etc., etc.…)“Innovative formulas” or perhaps not as innovative as all that (see product formulation) … boosted by controversial components… Thanks, we’ll come by another time.And we’ll also try to find other alternatives to cosmetic surgery, by the way.

As seen in other articles, there is often a gap between the product’s marketing claims… and the reality shown in the ingredient’s list.


Note; this article is from 2020

Product formulations can change, even an entire product line can change from year to year and the brand can choose to remove or add certain ingredients or even entirely remove products, for example. No consumer site or magazine constantly updates these changes, it would be a gigantic job, to do continuously. And the articles are not removed at the simple request of the brands who would explain that the formulas have changed since the test was published. The product test reflects « the exact image of the moment »,  and the tests are clearly dated.

Cosmetic Truth of the month : BRUT Antiperspirant Stick

50 ml, 3€


Some cosmetic products have no explanations or presentations, as is the case with BRUT Antiperspirant deodorant, where the manufacturer, Unilever, simply presents the composition of the product on its website.And if we continue along the lines of the brand’s advertising strategy, « Brut » is a raw, no frills, product which cuts to the chase. It’s a deodorant. It’s for guys. And that’s it.

So let’s get down to business: The list of components, BRUT Antiperspirant :

Ingredients/ INCI : Cyclomethicone, Aluminum Zirconium Tetrachlorohydrex GLY, PPG-14 Butyl Ether, Stearyl Alcohol, Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Talc, PEG-8 distearate, Parfum, BHT, Amyl Cinnamal, Benzyl Benzoate, Benzyl Salicylate, Citral, Citronellol, Coumarin, Eugenol, Geraniol, Hydroxycitronellal, Limonene, Linalool


Ingredient’s list analyzed with the website’s INCI Search tool

And more information concerning fragrances like Citral, Geraniol, Limonene, etc  can be found on the website, too.


Component Analysis BRUT Antiperspirant :

The formula starts off powerfully with Cyclopentasiloxane in first position, a silicone based substance, suspected of being an endocrine disruptor. Next is an aluminium salt, Aluminum Zirconium Tetrachlorohydrex GLY, which is particularly problematic.

What’s the problem with aluminium salts in cosmetics?

Aluminum salts are reactive components, partially soluble, that can penetrate the body’s tissues. For some time now aluminium salts have been singled out in various studies, but the two most recent studies have once again revived the debate on the connection between aluminium salts in deodorants and the development of cancer. A 2016 Swiss study* « International Journal of Cancer”, Geneva, considered the implications of aluminium in the development of breast cancer. The study, by André-Pascal Sappino and Stefano Mandriota showed that deodorants containing aluminium salts cause tumours in guinea pigs.

And another study carried out last summer, Innsbruck Austria (July, 2017)*, published in EBioMedicine, particularly linked certain aluminium salts to the risk of developing breast cancer. The findings of this study: For those who, from an early age, have been using an antiperspirant containing aluminium salts several times a day on shaved underarms, the risk of developing breast cancer is doubled. As is often the case, the authorities’ response ( ANSES in France)* which is intended to reassure, proposes concentration restrictions (0.6%) which are not always respected.

« The data analysis proposed a restriction of aluminium concentration to 0.6% in antiperspirant or deodorant products.

It should be noted that this restriction doesn’t apply to damaged skin being exposed to it, such as after shaving or micro cuts.

Therefore, the Afssaps (French Health Products Safety Agency) recommends not to use antiperspirants containing aluminium on damaged skin.”

But the restriction recommendation remains only a suggestion.

According to information from the BfR* (German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment) « amounts of 20% are quite common in antiperspirants ». This would correspond to an aluminium content of about 5%.  The German Federation of Cosmetics and Cleaning Products Professionals’ newsletter (Industrieverbandes Körperpflege- und Waschmittel e.V. (IKW) reports concentrations of aluminium hydrochlorides of up to 30%, in antiperspirant creams for example. (IKW, 2012).

And there are other issues:

Aluminium salts block the sweat glands

Aluminum hydrochlorides and sulphates used in many conventional deodorants prevent sweat from beading on the surface of the skin, so they clog pores. This can lead to itching and skin irritation.

A distinction must be made with regard to aluminium-based components:

However, not all components that are called, or whose names begin, in INCI terms with « Aluminum » or « Alumina », are « aluminium salts ».

It is important to distinguish between aluminium hydrochlorides* and aluminium oxides, hydroxides and silicates** (which are also part of the composition of clays, for example, see « bauxite » or « corundum », naturally present in the earth).

*Aluminium chlorohydrates (among others)

  • Aliminium Chloride
  • Aluminium Chlorhydrate
  • Aluminium Chlorhydrex
  • Aluminium Chlorhydrex PG
  • Aluminium Distearate
  • Aluminium Sesquichlorohydrate
  • Aluminium Starch Octenylsuccinnate
  • Aluminum Zirconium Tetrachlorohydrex GLY

**Aluminium oxides/Hydroxides (among others)

+ Alumina (= aluminiumhydroxyde)

+ Aluminium/Magnesium Hyroxide Stearate

+ Aluminium Starch Otenylsuccinate

+ Aluminium Silicate

Aluminium oxides, silicates and hydroxides are chemically inert aluminas, i.e. they are not chemically reactive as they stand.

Aluminum oxides and hydroxides do not release aluminum, but this may be the case with aluminum hydrochlorides, which are considered soluble.

(By the way, avoid cooking food in foil with lemon… it is a sure way to increase aluminium content in food and therefore to absorb it)

And now back to our product, the BRUT Antiperspirant stick :

Analysis of components BRUT Antiperspirant :

 Controversial substances which have crept into the formula:

* Cyclopentasiloxane in first position. A silicone based substance, suspected to be an endocrine disruptor.

  • Aluminum Zirconium Tetrachlorohydrex GLY, which is part of the aluminium salts, see issue explained above, restrictions of use (20%) in 2nd position, therefore present in large quantities.
  • PEGs in 3rd and 7th position, PPG-14 Butyl Ether/PEG-8 distearate, are ethoxylated substances. Obtained from extremely reactive and toxic gases, resulting from a chemical process which demands the most stringent safety measures. PEGs are also likely to make the skin barrier more permeable to other substances and are not very biodegradable, therefore polluting.
  •  BHT , studied as an endocrine disruptor and classified as a real problem (possibly carcinogenic) in some countries.

Conclusion BRUT Antiperspirant :

A completely « brute rough and ready » imitation which doesn’t even pretend…. An « impressive amalgam » of controversial and problematic components, not very commendable.


Note; this article is from 2019

Product compositions can change, even an entire product line can change from year to year and choose to remove or add certain ingredients or even remove products, for example. No consumer site or magazine constantly updates these changes, it would be a gigantic job, to do continuously. And the articles are not removed at the simple request of the manufacturers who would explain that the formulas have changed since the test was published. On the other hand, the product test reflects « the exact image of the moment », the tests are clearly dated.

Cosmetic Truth of the month : NUXE Fondant Shower Gel

Fondant Shower Gel
With almond and orange flower petals
Fine soap-free foam
400 ml , 8,80 €


NUXE is one of the brands which offers both certified organic ranges (the “Nuxe Organic Beauty” range) and products which are not certified. Sometimes this can cause confusion to customers who tend to believe that the entire brand is formulated in the same way. An analysis of the component list can be useful for products which are not certified.  The Fondant Shower gel selected here is not part of the certified range.

Here is the description of the product on the brand’s website:

“With almond and orange flower petals, this soap free Fondant Shower Gel gently cleanses the skin. An essential part of your daily routine, you’ll love its smooth foam and delicate fragrance.Ingredients of natural origin almond and orange flower petals … Paraben-free.”Contains at least 96 % of natural origin ingredients


Component analysis:

Ingredient’s list analyzed with the website’s INCI Search tool

As always, it is the first 5-8 components that make up the majority of the product’s “profile”. 

Generally speaking, a shampoo is made up of about 70% water, (or more). Then come washing bases (about 20%) and the rest, ancillary components (additives, plant extracts, etc.).As far as shampoos, (or even shower gels, for example), are concerned, what is essential is the choice of washing bases (also known as surfactants) which can either be very gentle, well tolerated by the skin, or irritating and/or problematic for the environment. The formulation here consists of a mixture of a irritating surfactant Sodium Lauryl Sulphate (2nd position), present in large quantities, combined and softened by softer surfactants such as Caprylyl/Capryl Glucosideine (4th) and Sodium Cocoamphoacetate and Lauryl Glucoside much lower.

We are still quite far from a « washing base of vegetal origin ».

The advantage of this type of formulation for manufacturers is that the main surfactant, Sodium Lauryl Sulphate, considered to be the most irritating surfactant, is also among the cheapest of the surfactants. The most gentle, skin-friendly sugar-based washing bases, « acylglutamates », are also the most expensive. This is why there are very few products formulated exclusively with these very gentle washing bases.

But other problematic and controversial substances have also crept into the formula:

  • Phenoxyethanol,  a controversial synthetic preservative, with a proven toxic potential (harmful to the liver, in particular).
  • In addition to environmentally problematic raw materials, the film-forming agent Sodium Acrylates/C10-30 Alkylacrylate Crosspolymer, for ex.
  • and Tetrasodium EDTA, polluting substances.

One might think that cosmetic components classified as « pollutants » would generally be « less problematic » than the controversial components classified as toxic to health. Except that everything is connected…

For example, plastic micro beads* that pollute lakes and oceans are ingested by fish. The fish that, later on, we eat.

This video shows a very graphic description of this:

  • In France, the marketing of products containing plastic microbeads in rinsed cosmetics, products that are rinsed with water, have been banned as of 1 January 2018.  But the oceans and lakes are already heavily polluted by these substances. Plastic microbeads also come from other everyday products: laundry, clothing, etc.

But where have the « ingredients of natural origin » displayed in the description gone?

The « almond and orange flowers » praised in the product description have been relegated to the last three components in 20th and 21st position, so they are present in infinitesimal quantities.


In the category « problematic and controversial substances » we find: irritating surfactants, a dubious synthetic preservative and polluting components. And the percentage of natural ingredients displayed no longer makes much sense either. Not so great on the whole…. and quite far removed from the « vegetal promises », of the flower petals.


Note; this article is from 2019

Product formulations can change, even an entire product line can change from year to year and the brand can choose to remove or add certain ingredients or even entirely remove products, for example. No consumer site or magazine constantly updates these changes, it would be a gigantic job, to do continuously.

And the articles are not removed at the simple request of the brands who would explain that the formulas have changed since the test was published. The product test reflects « the exact image of the moment »,  and the tests are clearly dated.

Cosmetic Truth of the Month: DIOR Forever Undercover Foundation

Forever Undercover
24 Hour Full-Coverage Foundation
30 ml, 45,50 €

(price per litre: 1 517 €/l)


Product description and features – as presented on the DIOR website:


« Dior Laboratories, experts in both finish and wear, reinvent extreme correction with Diorskin Forever Undercover. This fluid, 24-hour* full coverage foundation combines maximum complexion control with a natural matte finish for a result that is «  »Kiss-Proof. Touch-Proof. Life-Proof. All Night. All Day. » » Peter Philips, Creative and Image Director for Dior Makeup, describes his view of this neo-camouflage: “Incorporated in a very fluid texture, the high concentration of pigments ensures perfect blemish correction. (…) « Diorskin Forever Undercover contains the highest level
of pigments in the range; almost twice as many as in the original Diorskin Forever fluid foundation, for a perfect camouflage. The water-based formula creates an ultra-fine, highly pigmented and weightless mesh on the skin, providing an imperceptible matte finish for 24 hours.*

In a similar previous article and product test (L’ORÉAL Accord Parfait Highlight Iluminateur August 2017) we also noticed that in make-up products the ingredients that play a major role are mineral ingredients, colour pigments, etc., supplemented by “more or less” natural substances for the hydration or texture part of the formula (fluid, matt, coverage etc.…) for example.

Absence of vegetal ingredients

Just as for the L’Oréal product, the presentation of the DIOR product doesn’t mention any natural or vegetal substances… which could imply that natural substances play a major role in this make-up product. For the simple reason that there is ABSOLUTELY NO authentic vegetal substance whatsoever in this product…
Not a drop of plant-based oil, natural wax, plant-based extract, or natural essential oil… The brand mentions a “water based” fluid, but as we are dealing with a foundation and not a floral water here, it is likely that water plays a minor role in the product’s features. In any case a “water-based” foundation or make-up product has not been invented yet. Of course there are also other « moisturising substances” such as glycerine, which can on the other hand, come from different sources: plant-based (vegetal oils), animal or synthetic. It is difficult to identify the exact sources of the glycerine used, by looking at the INCI list.
Natural & certified organic cosmetics on the other hand, basically do not allow plant-based glycerine, for other producers and brands, the question remains open.

INCI*/ Ingredients:

Cyclopentasiloxane (D5), Aqua (Water), Alcohol, Trimethylsiloxysilicate, Phenyl Trimethicone, PEG -, Glycerine, Silica, Vinyl Dimethicone/Methicone Silsesquioxane Crosspolymer, Disteardimonium Hectorite, Sodium Myristoyl Glutamate, Butylene Glycol, Glyceryl Undecyl Dimethicone, Phenoxyethanol, Propylene Carbonate, VP/VA Copolymer, Parfum (Fragrance), Tetrasodium EDTA, Aluminum Hydroxide, Rosa Multiflora Fruit Extract, Linalool, Limonene, Citronellol, BHT
[+/- May contain: CI19140, CI42090, CI77007, CI77163, CI77491, CI77492, CI77499, CI77891)

Ingredients Analysis:

Ingredient’s list analyzed with the website’s INCI Search tool

But what jumps out at us, when we look at the overall formula, is that it is based entirely on synthetic ingredients, mainly silicones, for texture or moisturising, synthetic preservatives for conservation and synthetic solvents, etc.
As always, it’s the first 5-8 components, that make up the majority of the product’s overall “profile”. And the formula does not get off to a very good start, since the very first component, present in very great quantities, is a silicone-based component: Cyclopentasiloxane (D5) a suspected endocrine disruptor.

Other problematic components which have crept into the formula:

  • Phenoxyethanol, a controversial synthetic preservative, proven to have toxic potential (particularly harmful for the liver)
  • A whole bunch of environmentally problematic silicone-based ingredients, (non-biodegradable) polluting): Trimethylsiloxysilicate (4th), Phenyl Trimethicone (5th), Vinyl Dimethicone/Methicone Silsesquioxane Crosspolymer, (9th) Glyceryl Undecyl Dimethicone (13th)
  • Tetra sodium EDTA, a problematic ingredient for the environment, polluting
  • BHT, a chemical antioxidant (classified as an endocrine disruptor)
  • PEGs, ethoxylated substances. Obtained from extremely reactive toxic gasses, resulting from a chemical process which imposes the most strict security measures. PEGs are also likely to make the skin barrier more permeable to other substances and are not very biodegradable, therefore polluting.
  • CI19140 synthetic yellow dye (azo dye). Azo dyes (synthetic pigments) can trigger allergic reactions. Some azo dyes are classified “possible carcinogens”.

Therefore, to sum up, apart from water, alcohol and some covering pigments, the product is mainly based on synthetic ingredients, silicones, synthetic solvents and other controversial substances (synthetic preservatives classified as endocrine disruptors or other environmentally problematic substances)…


Forever Undercover… The name is just perfect, with a formulation of this kind, the brand’s foundation, considered very high-end, has every reason to remain undercover and keep a low profile…


As seen in other articles, there is often a gap between the product’s marketing claims… and the reality shown in the ingredient’s list.


Note; this article is from 2019

Product formulations can change, even an entire product line can change from year to year and the brand can choose to remove or add certain ingredients or even entirely remove products, for example. No consumer site or magazine constantly updates these changes, it would be a gigantic job, to do continuously. And the articles are not removed at the simple request of the brands who would explain that the formulas have changed since the test was published. The product test reflects « the exact image of the moment »,  and the tests are clearly dated.

Do cosmetics containing essential oil components have bad press, especially in France?

There are many warnings in the press regarding essential oils. Some are justified and some are so exaggerated that the slightest trace of essential oil diluted in the composition of a formula becomes as suspicious as a component in a proven toxic, endocrine disruptor, or becomes controversial at another level.

Of course, essential oils are very powerful substances (which is also what makes them effective). They are active concentrates that are used within the framework of specific protocols and which can become problematic if used incorrectly, in too high a concentration or undiluted, for example. Some essential oils, used pure, can be photosensitizing or cause discomfort if the dosage is not respected.

The advantage of these substances is that they have been used in traditional pharmacopoeia for centuries and their use, function, warnings and of course also their multiple advantages, even in interaction with other herbal substances, have been studied and documented for a long time. 


This is not the case for a large number of chemical substances, whose interaction with other chemical substances and the effects of their daily use have not yet been studied in the long term, or even in the medium term, for that matter.  

This is a reference to the famous « cocktail effect » that can result from combining these chemical substances and which of course does not essentially concern the problem of cosmetics.

Many users, who are increasingly better informed, are now turning to certified natural and organic cosmetics to avoid the range of controversial components found in conventional cosmetics. 

Here, once again, we come across warnings about the famous « allergens » derived from essential oils. The prevailing distrust towards essential oils in France seems to be generally established in the minds of consumers and the press. 


So is this distrust justified or not?

For years consumer tests in France have tended to systematically downgrade natural and organic cosmetics containing components, fractions of essential oils, classified as potentially allergenic (such as Linalool and Geraniol*). 

*The leading German consumer magazine ÖKOTEST does not work in the same way.

In cosmetics, essential oils are used both for their intrinsic care properties (soothing, astringent, purifying, etc.) and/or as perfuming substances, for example. Depending on the context of the formulation, they can also contribute to product preservation.

For example, certified natural and organic cosmetics products are exclusively perfumed with essential oils. Synthetic perfumes (just like synthetic preservatives, etc.) are not authorised by the demanding, much stricter specifications recommended in the « conventional » cosmetics industry. 

Of course there are also certified organic cosmetics ranges that are « fragrance-free », but in general, essential oils are among the components widely used in natural and organic cosmetics. 

So would users also be willing to give up the pleasure of perfumes in their cosmetic products? 

If we wanted at all costs to avoid the use of essential oils, or components derived from essential oils, we would be obliged « by default » to use products that contain synthetic perfumes instead, in fact most « conventional » products are perfumed with synthetic perfumes, grouped under the generic term « perfume/fragrance ».  

And among these synthetic perfumes, we also find the famous phthalates, classified as endocrine disruptors or other equally controversial substances, or musk compounds, which are also very problematic, and can stick to tissues. Some chemical fragrance substances are often also potentially allergenic and are added to the impressive cocktail of problematic synthetic substances that can be found in a conventional cosmetic product.

So is there any real justification in putting components from essential oils that are potentially allergenic for some people, on the same level as proven, reprotoxic, controversial, toxic and polluting components?

What exactly are the perfuming substances which are considered to be potentially “allergenic”?

In the list of substances identified by the CSSC (Chemical Safety and Surveillance Committee) as potentially allergenic, some fragrances may be more or less problematic or controversial. Among the substances that must be reported « separately » on the INCI list, i.e. outside the generic term « perfume » or « fragrance » usually used, (if they exceed a certain concentration threshold), both natural and chemical substances are to be found.

And among this list of components there are also components derived from essential oils (Citral, Limonene, Geraniol etc.). 

These components are isolated parts (fractions) of essential oils used for example in natural and organic cosmetics as perfume and partly also for preservation. This also means that they are present in very small quantities, usually listed at the end of the INCI list. It is therefore these isolated components, these fractions of essential oils (and not the essential oil as a whole) that need to be declared at the end of the list.

What are the differences between these categories of potentially allergenic substances?

The allergenic potential for all these substances is not identical, and the in-depth studies and research work carried out by the German Federation for Information in Dermatology Clinics (IVDK, Informationsverbund Dermatologischer Kliniken*) has made it possible to assess and differentiate the risk of the various substances. 

The principle is simple: if a substance is used frequently and is rarely found to be allergenic, the allergenic potential should be considered low.

If, on the other hand, a substance is rarely used, but triggers frequent allergies in tests, its allergenic potential is considered high.


Most of these substances fall into the category of « less problematic » substances, only a few substances really stand out for their higher allergenic potential.

High allergenic potential:

Oak Moos Evernia Prunastri Extract

Tree Moos Evernia Furfuracea Extract



Methylheptincarbonate (Methyl 2-octynoate)

Intermediary allergenic potential:

Cinnamyl Alcohol

Hydroxycitronellal, Hydroxyisohexyl 3-Cyclohexene Carboxaldehyde (trade name: Lyral)

The least problematic:

Alpha-Isomethyl Ionone

Amyl Cinnamal

Amylcinnamyl Alcohol

Anise Alcohol
Benzyl Alcohol

Benzyl Benzoate

Benzyl Cinnamate

Benzyl Salicylate

Butylphenyl methylpropional (Lilial).  (However concern as possible endocrine disruptor)



Coumarin (study by the BFR which nevertheless advises against intensive use in food/ and cosmetics)




Hexyl Cinnamal 



Methyl 2-Octynoate.

Should all products containing, for example, Citral, Geraniol, or Linalool, be systematically avoided?  

What are the alternatives?

All substances derived from essential oils can of course also cause allergic reactions in some people. There is not a single substance, even natural, which is 100% guaranteed of not causing a reaction, obviously.

Generally speaking, all natural substances can also sometimes trigger allergic reactions. Some people, for example, have grass allergies, others are allergic to strawberries or citrus fruits. 

Usually the people concerned know what triggers their allergies and simply avoid these substances on a daily basis. 

The same logic applies to components derived from essential oils. If peeling an orange or approaching a bouquet of roses causes an allergic reaction, it is best to simply avoid products containing essential oils derived from citrus fruits (Citral, Limonene etc.) or rose (Geraniol), etc.

A BDIH study carried out in 2010 on Geraniol also confirms the need to distinguish between « Geraniol »… and « Geraniol », i.e. Geraniol as an essential oil component and chemically isolated Geraniol. 

In this study on 50 people, none showed an allergic reaction to essential oils, which contained Geraniol as a natural component. On the other hand, 20% of the participants reacted to the synthetic molecule, isolated Geraniol. 

These distinctions are important, just as important as the distinctions in the IVDK study, which provide a differentiated ranking of the subject.

Systematically avoiding any product that contains fractions of essential oils that are potentially allergenic for some people seems an excessive and illogical approach. 

In particular because the alternatives proposed, from conventional products to synthetic perfumes, often contain a wide range of components that are proven to be toxic, problematic or polluting.

And to systematically warn against products containing components based on essential oils, and treat them as being potentially equally problematic as mainstream conventional products, without moderating the context, surely contributes nothing to making progress on the debate.

The Cosmetic « Match » : comparing two shampoos for curly and frizzy hair

 Two shampoos for curly and frizzy hair confronting each other in a cosmetic « match ».

« Dark N Lovely » against « Noire O Naturel »

In this chapter we will regularly be presenting two comparable products from two different brands, very often one from the « conventional » sector and the other from a certified, organic brand. The products, shampoos curly & frizzy hair, will be facing each other on the same ground : the ingredients list comparaison. The commentator will remain at your side during the entire game and will also be explaining the basic rules, when they’re not completely clear or understandable.

Let the game begin : may the best team win ! For this month’s match, we have selected two hair care products : two different shampoos – curly and frizzy hair.

In the following product comparaison, both brands are aiming at the same goal :  specific products for washing hair your properly and hair care in general for curly and fuzzy hair. But on one side, the product uses mainly chemical ingredients, -with some controversial ingredients that slipped in between the lines-, whereas the other side plays the game of «natural ingredients only ».

Match opening, team presentation :

Dark N Lovely «Au Naturale»

Moisture – Replenishing Shampoo

with Mango Oil & Bamboo Milk

250 ml, price : 9,49 €

« Recipe for rich, natural hair.»


This brand belongs to the l’Oréal group and the product obviously targets an international consumer market (the product in itself is both in french and english).

Here’s how the brand itself presents the product :

«Our Moisture Replenishing Shampoo cleanses and provides a rich, quick lather that brings moisture for hair and scalp » Another claim, meant to be reassuring  :

« No mineral Oil, No parabens, NO Petrolum »

Well, well, well…

Let’s take the time to check the entire ingredient list and to analyse this INCI list in detail :

Ingredients / INCI : Aqua, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Cocamide MEA, Sodium Chloride, Parfum (Fragrance), Phenoxyethanol, Polyquaternium-7, Polysorbate 20, Potassium Sorbate, Glycol Stearate, Mangifera Indica Seed Oil, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Polyquaternium-10, Citric Acid, Sodium PCA, Disodium EDTA, Sodium Benzoate, Benzyl Salicylate, Linalool, Benzyl Alcohol, Bambusa Vulgaris, CI19140, CI47000, CI17200, CI42090





As always, it’s the 5-8 (approx.) first ingredients in a cosmetic product, that define the product’s overall « profile ».

In general, products like shampoos (or shower gels, for instance, too) are made of around 70% water, followed by surfactants (approx. 20%) and other remaining secondary ingredients. When it comes to shampoos, (shower gels, etc) the most essential part remains the choice of appropriate surfactants.  These surfactants can be either very soft, -very well tolerated by the skin-, or more or less irritating, some can also be problematic for the environnement. In this specific product, there is a mixture of an irritating surfactant, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, associated with a softer surfactant, Cocamidopropyl Betaine. But the rest of the formulation can also be considered as problematic, as it includes some controversial synthetic preservatives, other ingredients that are problematic for the environment (polluting substances), and even some controversial azo dyes.

Here’s the detail of what could be considered as problematic in the product’s formulation,

  • Phenoxyethanol; a controversial synthetic preservative, concern of organ system toxicity (liver) and classified as irritant.
  • Polyquaternium-7 and Polyquaternium-10 which are quats, substances that are not very well biodegradable and considered slightly irritating.
  • The Polysorbate belongs to the PEG category, which are ethoxylated ingredients. Ethoxylated ingredients on their own are of low concern, however, the process of ethoxylation is a a complex chemical procedure requiring extreme safety mesures (toxic and reactive gas). PEGs are also suspected to make the skin more permeable, enabling therefore the accumulation of more problematic ingredients. PEGs are also not very well biodegradable and therefore polluting.
  • Other ingredients that are problematic for the environnement, as Disodium EDTA, for ex.
  • The CI19140 and CI17200 colorants ; they belong to the group of azo dyes, coal-tar chemicals that are sometimes allergenic and linked to other toxicological concerns.
  • The « Fragrance » in the INCI listing can also sometimes be considered as problematic :as this product is not a certified organic product, it probably contains some synthetic fragrance. Synthetic fragrances very often also contain phtalates, classified as endocrine disruptors.

Of course there is also the Mango Oil (11th position) and the Bamboo Milk (21th position), but they can be considered as mere, -nearly insignificant-, « natural hints »  as they don’t play any major role in the product’s formulation. They are basically just there to give the product a « greener » outlook, but not as active, relevant cosmetic ingredients. Another surprising element ; the bottle in itself really looks like a beverage bottle, an orange juice bottle to be more precise.

This product should therefore not be left unattended in the kitchen, if you have small children around, for instance.

This is therefore a perfect «greenwashing example » ; using one or two main natural ingredients, like the ‘Mango Oil and Bamboo Milk’ as major sales argument. But these natural ingredient play in fact no significant, major role in this product.The global formulation is mainly based on chemical ingredients, some of which are highly controversial and problematic for the environnement..

Sentence: « No mineral Oil, No parabens, NO Petrolum », so far so good !… BUT «with» Phenoxyethanol, EDTA, azo dyes and a whole range of other controversial or problematic ingredients. A product that could benefit from improvements, on every possible level…


Noire Ô Naturel

Crème de Shampooing

Aloe Vera, Mongogo, Sesame

Curly to frizzy hair

200 ml , price : 16,50 €

Here’s how the brand itself presents the product :

« Inspired from african beauty rituals, our cream of shampoo is made of plant butters ( shea, mango) and organic aloe vers juice known for their hair care benefits. Its very soft and SLS free formulation gives it its creamy texture without foam for a softly shampoo care. An enriches formula with organic oils (sesame, coconut) and mongongo soothes and nourishes your hair from roots to tips. »

Let’s take the time to check the entire ingredient list and to analyse this INCI list in detail :

Ingredients / INCI : Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice*,Aqua (Water), Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Beeswax *, Cetearyl Alcohol, Lauryl Glucoside, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter*, Inulin, Arachidyl Alcohol, Yogurt Powder, Betaine, Decyl Glucoside, Glycerin, Mangifera Indica (Mango) Seed Butter, Coco-Glucoside, Schinziophyton Rautanenii Kernel Oil, Sesamum Indicum (Sesame) Seed Oil*, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil*, Cananga Odorata Flower Oil, Aniba Rosaeodora (Rosewood) Wood Oil, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Oil,  Behenyl Alcohol, Tocopherol, Coco-Glucoside, Glyceryl Oleate, Arachidyl Glucoside, Dehydroacetic Acid, Sodium Hydroxide, Citric Acid, Benzyl Alcohol, Linalool.

* ingrédients issus de l’agriculture biologique 98% of the ingredients (total) are of natural origin 53% of the ingredients (total) are organic certified Without SLS or ALS, paraben, silicon, GMO,  artificial  colorants or perfumes.

« Cosmétique Ecologique » certified by ECOCERT Greenlife according to ECOCERT guidelines, more details to be found here 




As always, it’s the 5-8 (approx.) first ingredients in a cosmetic product, that define the product’s overall « profile ».

In general, products like shampoos are made of around 70% water, followed by surfactants (approx. 20%) and other secondary ingredients, then.When it comes to shampoos, (or shower gels, for instance, too), the most essential part remains the choice of the proper surfactants. These surfactants can be either very soft, very well tolerated by the skin, or more or less irritating and as well problematic for the environnement.This formulation is based on a mixture of sugar-based surfactants (acylgutamates) Lauryl Glucoside and Decyl Glucoside, and  Coco-Glucoside (a bit further down the line).

These are the softest surfactants available, the ones that are also best tolerated by the skin. But these substances are also the most expensive ones, these surfactants are therefore very rarely used as primary, (main) surfactants in one product, like for example here. The product is presented as a « crème de shampooing », -a creamy shampoo-, («a creamy, non-foamy texture»), which explains the high number of authentic vegetal oils and waxes, right from the ingredient’s list start.And among the very first ingredients, there’s a vegetal sunflower oil, some organic beeswax, organic sheabutter and other natural ingredients that are particularly hydrating and offer specific skin and hair care like inulin (sugar), yogurt and vegetal glycerin.

Besides the fact that this product does not include any harmful, problematic or controversial ingredient, there is a whole list of entirely natural ingredients and authentic vegetal oils, with their precious intrinsic vegetal substances, like for example :

  • Organic Aloe Vera gel : soothing, hydrating, nourishing and regenerating
  • Mango butter :  emulsifying, skin softening and nourishing properties
  • Mongogo Oil : restructuring, hydrating and regenerating
  • Organic Coco Oil : protecting, skin softening and emulsifying properties, shining hair
  • Organic Sesame Oil : nourishing, softening,  contains precious essential fatty acids

And of course this richness and large quantity of authentic natural ingredients, -mainly organic-, also has an impact on the price, this product is twice as expensive as the previous one, but it also contains twice as many natural high quality ingredients…

Sentence : This « crème de shampooing » presents itself with an exemplary formulation ; without any controversial and harmful ingredient whatsoever, this product derives its strength essentially from « mother nature » and precious natural ingredients, carefully selected for their intrinsic benefits. A prefect hair care product and shampoo for curly to frizzy hair.

Visit the website and the free INCI (cosmetic ingredients) search engine to evaluate your own cosmetic products.






Other products tests:


Note; this article is from 2018

Product formulations can change, even an entire product line can change from year to year. And the brand can choose to remove or add certain ingredients or even entirely remove products, for example. No consumer site or magazine constantly updates these changes, it would be a gigantic job, to do continuously. And the articles are not removed at the simple request of the brands who would explain that the formulas have changed since the test was published.

The product test reflects « the exact image of the moment »,  and the tests are clearly dated.

Pick of the month : claim and… reality. Biolane wipes closely scrutinized

Pocket Wipes
Face & Hands
50g, 1,42 €


Cosmetic wipes are, -as such-, not considered as cosmetics, but belong to the category  called «frontier» cosmetic products (including for instance : lice treatments, mouthwash, dental floss, etc). These products can sometimes be classified in different legal definitions : the European Commission therefore defines them as cosmetic « frontier » products. But as cosmetic wipes, -especially those for babies and children-, are common products, present in most of our bathrooms today, this product test made sense. Over the last couple of years, consumer reports and test magazines have also picked up the subject of cosmetic wipes and revealed that they contained a number of problematic and potentially toxic ingredients.

It’s always interesting to first check the brand’s product presentation, in order to then compare the description with the actual ingredient list.

Product description, taken from the Biolane* website :  


•Their formula, with high skin and ocular tolerance, is used to clean and refresh baby’s hands and face at any time and provide long-lasting moisturization*.

•The ultra-soft and resistant texture respects the fragility of baby’s skin and guarantees very delicate cleansing.

•Mildly scented, they leaves your baby’s skin soft, supple and perfectly protected

Tested under dermatological control.

 Fibres 100% biodegradable.

 Formulated at Physiological pH.

 Alcohol-free, soap-free, paraben-free, phenoxyethanol-free and phthalate-free.

– Can be used at any time of day on baby’s hands and face.
– Does not require rinsing.
– Can also be used for nappy changing.

As this product is meant for babies and children, the brands is highlighting the «formulation’s security  aspect» which makes perfect sense.


But let’s now have a closer look at the exact ingredients lists.

Ingredients /INCI:


And here comes a bit of a surprise….!

We can confirm the absence of parabens, alcohol and phenoxyethanol, but the entire ingredient list is far from «irreproachable» :

Instead of using artificial preservatives like parabens, or phenoxyethanol, for instance, the ingredient list contains another artificial preservative CHLORHEXIDINE DIGLUCONATE, just as problematic, but with a trickier name to remember.

Other problematic ingredients can be found in the product:

  • CHLORHEXIDINE DIGLUCONATE : an artificial preservative, part of organohalogen compounds. These organohalogen compounds have a strong allergic potential, and are reactive elements, which can be accumulated in the tissues as, when penetrating. They also represent an environmental problem, as they are polluting.
  • The preservative/emulsifier CETRIMONIUM CHLORIDE, belongs to the category of quaternary ammonium compounds, irritating allergens, that are also not very biodegradable.
  • The  «Perfume» or Fragrance indication in the ingredient list can sometimes also be considered as problematic : as this is not a certified product (in the sense of certified organic), chances are high that we are dealing here with a synthetic perfume, that can be problematic if this fragrance included for instance phthalates (=endocrine disruptors). Diethyl phthalate can often be found in fragrances as a «fixing agent» (enabling fragrances to last longer and and remain less volatils). Meaning also that this ingredient could be added to fragrances in this case without disclosure to consumers.
  • In order to systematically avoid phthalates in your products, choosing natural and organic cosmetic products that are certified would be the best option. Artificial, synthetic perfumes and fragrances are simply not allowed by the different labels of natural and organic certified cosmetics.

Summary :

On one side the brand claims the absence of certain artificial preservatives, insists on «high skin tolerance», states that the fibers are «100% biodegradable» and on the other side we can identify another controversial synthetic preservative, and some problematic, controversial and polluting ingredients.Just as the product test of baby products from last year (article in french), this exemple, -randomly chosen-, leaves us with a number of questions. Baby and children products should be presenting themselves with «exemplary» formulations and ingredient lists, without any controversial, potentially allergen, toxic, polluting or problematic ingredient in any other respect.


As seen in other articles, there is often a gap between the product’s marketing claims… and the reality shown in the ingredient’s list.


Note; this article is from 2017

Product formulations can change, even an entire product line can change from year to year. And the brand can choose to remove or add certain ingredients or even entirely remove products, for example. No consumer site or magazine constantly updates these changes, it would be a gigantic job, to do continuously.

And the articles are not removed at the simple request of the brands who would explain that the formulas have changed since the test was published. The product test reflects « the exact image of the moment »,  and the tests are clearly dated.