QUESTION: Not all natural ingredients are good, and not all synthetics are bad. Outline your thoughts on the following ingredients that clean-beauty products are allegedly free from, and nominate any viable alternatives:

  • Parabens
  • Sodium lauryl sulfate
  • Phthalates
  • Mineral oil
  • Petrolatum
  • Formaldehyde

LEARNING: WE NEED TO LEAN ON THE EXPERTS TO BE ABLE TO CUT THROUGH THE ‘GREEN-WASHING’ AND GIVE US THE FACTS ON INGREDIENTS AS THEY STAND TODAY. THOSE FACTS WILL, HOWEVER, KEEP CHANGING.

Michelle Reeve said to need to question ‘how hardworking are these ingredients?’

“If it’s synthetic and it’s just there to take up space, or if it’s an active ingredient that has been synthetically manufactured to be the safer form of an ingredient?”

Shellie Pearson said some natural ingredients are not as efficient and that not all natural ingredients are good and the other ones are bad or that synthetic are bad.

“If you’re making something synthetically, but it’s identical to the natural, then it can be really good and perhaps have a higher benefit in the skin.”

Beth Charlton questioned why sodium lauryl sulphate is still hanging around in over-the-counter and high-end cosmeceutical products.

“We know the detrimental effects on the skin microbiome, the acid mantle and what it actually does at stripping back out epidermal lipids.”

Lisa Zwart said that it comes down to consumers being knowledgeable about these ingredients and questioning brands.

“There are alternatives and so it’s really about keeping up the research and finding suitable alternatives. Not all of them are bad for you… it’s a balance.”

Jodi Ayre wondered what we do with ingredient innovations to take them to the next level?

“There’s a lot of opportunity for brands to explain more about what we’re formulating with and how we’re formulating, and the natural and synthetic pairing is where we’re going to see those outstanding results.”

Shellie Pearson thinks people still believe that if they see ‘natural’ on a bottle, they’ll think it’s natural.

“I think it’s important that therapists are explaining [ingredients] to the client and allowing them to make an informed choice on what it is that they decide to use.”