How to Read Cosmetic Ingredient Labels XIV

Several weeks ago I told you about my Label Poise experiment, where I was on the hunt for a lotion that met my standards.  Out of about 50 products, I found 1 lotion that was somewhat suitable.  Many of the lotions I expected to have better ingredients, based on brand recognition and marketing, did not.  I was almost surprised.  This is another  lotion I expected to have good, if not great, ingredients.

The Label


The Ingredients

Asterisk (*) indicates certified organic ingredient.

Water (Agua): Safe! Water is the ultimate moisturizer and is a key ingredient in any moisturizing product.

Isopropyl Myristate: Beware! This ingredient is an ester of isopropyl alcohol and myristic acid, which is a saturated fatty acid that can be sourced from plant or animal sources. Isopropyl Myristate is used as a thickener, emollient, and penetration enhancer. It has a sheer feel that decreases the oily feeling of using a natural oil. There is mixed information suggesting it is comedogenic, and should be avoided by those with acne prone or oily skin. It can be an eye irritant, and slight skin and lung irritant in pure form. A patch test found 3 of 244 tested people developed contact dermatitis from this ingredient. It is not known to be toxic, and is not believed to be carcinogenic, mutagenic, teratogenic, or developmentally toxic (data “not available”).  (MSDS)

Glycerin: Safe! Glycerin is a humectant that attracts moisture in the skin. Glycerine can be derived from fats and oils, or synthetically–which is not indicated here.  (MSDS)

Carthamaus Tinctorius (Safflower) Seed Oil:  Safe!  Safflower oil is made from safflower seeds and is high in monounsaturated fatty acids. Safflower oil helps the skin retain moisture and promote elasticity. It may be a slight skin and eye irritant, though it is not known to be carcinogenic, mutagenic, teratogenic, or a developmental toxin.  (MSDS)

Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride:  Safe!  This ingredient is used as an emollient and is typically derived from esters of caprylic acid (coconut oil), capric acid (coconut oil), and glycerin. Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride is used primarily as an emollient and spreading agent. It can penetrate the hair and skin to condition and leaves a lightweight non greasy barrier. It is very stable and is unlikely to oxidize. It may be a slight eye irritant and it is not known to be a skin irritant unless their is prolonged exposure. It is not a carcinogen. (MSDS)

Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Oil: Safe! This ‘oil’ is a liquid wax and has a moderate fatty acid content.

Arachidyl Alcohol: Beware! Arachidyl Alcohol is a straight chain fatty alcohol that is typically plant derived and used as an emollient. Their is very little information available about this ingredient.  (MSDS)

Cetearyl Alcohol: Safe! Typically naturally derived from Coconut and Palm Oils (though it can be derived synthetically), it is a mixture of Cetyl and Stearyl fatty alcohols.  This ingredient acts as a thickener and moisturizer in personal care products.  In pure form,  this ingredient can be a slight skin irritant and permeator, and is toxic to mucous membranes.  The is no data available on human toxicity, carcinogenicity, mutagenicity, developmental toxicity, and teratogenicity.  (MSDS)

Phenoxyethanol: Beware!/Avoid!  This is a preservative.  You will notice it is very high on the list of ingredients.    It is used because it is safer than formaldehyde-releasing preservatives, though the FDA released a warning about how it can impact the central nervous system and induce vomiting in infants.  It is also suspected to be a xenoestrogen (mimics estrogen), a cause of contact dermatitis and skin irritant.  In pure form phenoxyethanol is toxic to kidneys, the nervous system, and liver; it is an extremely hazardous eye irritant and a very hazardous eye irritant, though information on carcinogenicity, mutagenicity, teratogenicity, and developmental toxicity are not available.  It is banned in the EU and Japan in concentrations over 1%.  Therefore, one would assume it is either greater than the EU concentration restraint or it is in accordance, and the remaining ingredients in this product are at very low concentrations.  This ingredient is made from 2 carcinogens (benzene and ethylene oxide), though it itself is not known to be carcinogenic.  People around small children should ‘Avoid!‘ this ingredient, others should ‘Beware!‘.  (MSDS)

Daucus Carota Sativa (Carrot) Juice*:  Safe!/Beware!  Carrot Juice is high in vitamins and minerals such as vitamins A & C, Carotenoids, potassium and antioxidants. Carrot Juice prevents skin dryness, has anti-inflammatory properties, helps to revitalize the skins’ tone by reducing blemishes and scars. It can prevent eczema, dermatitis, and improved skin elasticity which can minimize wrinkles. Benefits are believed to be greater when consumed than applied topically.  It can be used as an emollient and astringent.  There is limited safety information on Carrot Juice on skin.  It is edible and relatively non toxic, so it should be fine in this product, however it is labeled with Safe!/Beware! as a precaution.  No MSDS.

Daucus Carota Sativa (Carrot) Seed Oil*:  Safe!  Carrot seed oil is used as an emollient and skin conditioning agent.  It is high in omega 3 fatty acids, antioxidants, and nutrients such as Beta Carotene, vitamin A and Stigmasterol.  It is not known to be toxic, an irritant, or sensitizer.  (MSDS ; MSDS)

Cucurbita Pepo (Pumpkin) Juice:  Safe!/Beware!   Pumpkin Juice is high in antixoidants, vitamins B1, B2, B6, C, E; betacarotene; phosphorus, calcium, magnesium, iron and potassium.  It is used to combat wrinkles, and used as a skin hydrator.  There is no MSDS, but this ingredient is unlikely to be toxic.

Silt (Dead Sea Mud):  Safe!  This ingredient is mud from the Dead Sea in the Middle East.  This mud is highly regarded for its believed therapeutic and healing properties from minerals such as magnesium oxide, calcium oxide, iron oxide and silicone oxide. There are limited studies on its toxicity, but it is very unlikely to be toxic. (MSDSMSDS)

Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice:  Safe! This ingredient is used for its nutrient content and moisturizing properties.  (MSDS)

Ipomoea Batatas (Sweet potatoe) Extract:  Avoid!  This ingredient is made from white or purple sweet potatoes grown in Japan.  Sweet potatoes are very high in beta carotene, it is believed the nutrient quantity will translate to skin benefits. Very limited information available; no MSDS.

Beeswax: Safe! This ingredient is derived from worker honeybees within a bee hive.  It is used as a thickener and skin barrier.

Microcyrstalline Cellulose: Safe!  This ingredient is refined wood pulp that is used as an emulsifier, anti-caking agent, and texturizer.  It is not known to be a skin irritant, nor does it have any known toxicity in humans.  It is not listed as a carcinogen.  (MSDS)

Polyglyceryl-3 Methylglucose Distearate:  Beware!/Avoid!  This ingredient is used as an emulsifier.  It is a diester of Stearic acid, the condensation product of Methylglucose and Polyglycerin-3.  There is very limited information on the safety of this ingredient.  No MSDS.

Arachidyl Glucoside:  Safe!/Beware!  This ingredient is used as a surfactant and emulsifying agent.  There is limited information regarding this ingredient but it is considered safe by the CIR when used between the concentrations of 0.08-0.6%.  No MSDS.

Cetearyl Glucoside:  Safe!/Beware!  This ingredient is a blend of cetearyl alcohol and glucose.  It can be derived naturally from corn (potentially GMO) or coconut oil, or it can be derived synthetically.  It is used as an emulsifier and surfactant.  It is typically used in concentrations of 0.03-3% of the formula.  It is considered safe for use within the aforementioned concentrations, however, there is limited data on this ingredient.  It two components are both safe, but its safety is dependent on how it is manufactured.  No MSDS

Cellulose Gum:  Beware!   Also known as carboxymethyl cellulose, this ingredient is derived from cellulose.  It is primarily used as a thickening agent.  It is not a skin irritant and is generally considered safe as it is a common food additive, however, there is no information available regarding its toxicity.  (MSDS)

Behenyl Alcohol:  Beware!   Also known as docosanol, behenyl alcohol is a saturated fatty alcohol.  It is used as a thickener and stabilizer, and also has antiviral properties.  It can be used up to 25% in a formulation.  It is a slight skin and eye irritant in pure form.  There is limited information on carcinogenicity, mutagenicity, teratogenicity, and developmental toxicity.  It can be an allergen that results in moderate health issues (headaches, fainting, dizziness, facial swelling and hives) when used topically.  (MSDS; MSDS)

Fragrance (Parfum):  Beware!   Fragrances are often synthetic. Though they are low in concentration in the product, here is still a small chance of having an allergic reaction.

Nature’s Pulchritude’s Verdict:  Given the reputation of the brand that makes this moisturizer, I expected for it to have great ingredients.  Though it does have many natural or naturally derived ingredients, it does have several synthetic ingredients.  Though this lotion is technically better than those typically found in stores, it still leaves a lot to be desired for a ‘natural’ company.  Of the first 5 ingredients, Isopropyl Myristate is the only concern as it is a filler similar to mineral oil in that respect.  There were several ingredients in the product that had yet to be covered in Label Poise.  Many also had limited information on toxicity available.  Phenoxyethanol is also considerably high on the list, which is limited to 1% in the EU and Japan.  I’m curious to know what percentage of phenoxyethanol is in this lotion because it indicates the quantities of the other ingredients.  Phenoxyethanol is too high on the list for my preference.  I would not purchase this product.

Would you purchase this product?


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