How to Read Cosmetic Ingredient Labels XL

You are looking to switch your hair care products to more natural alternatives in 2015.  You see this ‘natural’ gel in your local drugstore and decide to give it a try.  Is this product as natural as it claims to be?  Remember, I am teaching you Label Poise–how to walk the walk, talk the talk, and buy products that meet YOUR standards, whether natural, organic, or safe enough.  For instructions on Label Poise visit our Label Poise page.

The Label
The Ingredients

Aqua/Water/Eau: Safe!   Water is the ultimate moisturizer and is a key ingredient in many moisturizing products.

Sorbitol:  Safe!  Sorbitol is a sugar alcohol which is produced naturally in various fruits, though it can also be produced synthetically from glucose (via corn syrup [GMO?]).  Sorbitol is typically used as a thickener and humectant in personal care products, though it also has various other uses.  Sorbitol is not known to be carcinogenic, mutagenic, or teratogenic. It is not known to bioconcentrate in animals, though it can be a slight irritant upon dermal contact or inhalation in pure form.  (MSDS ; PubChem)

Glyercin: 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)

Dehydroxanthan Gum: Beware!  This ingredient is made via the dehydration of xanthan gum. Dehydroxanthan gum is used as an emulsion stabilizer, film former, hair fixing agent, and viscosity controlling agent. No MSDS Found.

Benzyl Alcohol:  Beware!  This ingredient is made naturally by many plants or can be synthetically derived. It is typically used as a preservative and based on its placement on the list is in low concentration. Benzyl Alcohol is not known to be a carcinogen or teratogen, though it is a mutagen in bacteria and yeast, and may be toxic to the liver and central nervous system in pure form. Benzyl Alcohol can be slightly hazardous with skin contact, but due to its concentration it should be okay. (MSDS)

Lithium Magnesium Sodium Silicate: Beware! This ingredient is a synthetic silicate clay that is used as a bulking agent, viscosity increasing agent (aqueous), and viscosity controlling agent. No MSDS found. Lithium Magnesium Sodium Silicate is considered safe for use in cosmetic products by the Cosmetic Ingredient Review.

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

Limonene:  Safe!  Limonene naturally occurs in the rind of lemon and other citrus fruits.  It is primarily used as a flavor and fragrance though it also has been used for industrial degreasing.  It is not known to cause cancer or gene mutations in humans and can have anti-cancer effects in pure form, though limonene and its oxidation products are suspected skin and respiratory irritants in some cases.  A product that has been sitting on the shelf for an extended period may oxidize, however, ingredients with antioxidant properties, such as Vitamin E (Tocopherol), may alleviate this.  This ingredient must be listed if it exceeds concentrations of 0.01% in rinse off products in the EU.  (MSDS)

Citronellol: Beware! Also known as dihydrogeraniol, Citronellol is a natural acyclic terpenoid and is used as a fragrance agent. Though it is considered Generally Regarded As Safe by the US FDA, it has use restrictions due to Citronellol’s ability to sensitize the skin. This ingredient is a skin and eye irritant, and is toxic to aquatic organisms. Citronellol is not known to be mutagenic or carcinogen. (MSDS; MSDS)

Linalool:  Safe!/Beware!  This ingredient is used as a fragrance and is banned in rinse off products above a concentration of 0.01% (or 0.001% in leave-on products).  It is naturally occurring in various plants and spices, though it may also be made synthetically.  It is considered a skin irritant (causing eczema) and allergen, though pure linalool can have anti-cancer properties.  Given that the concentration is likely quite low it should be fine unless you are allergic to it.

Acacia Senegal/Accacia Senegal Gum:  Safe!  This ingredient is a gum derived from Senegalia senegal, a deciduous tree that is native to sub-Saharan Africa. Also known as acacia gum, it is used as an astringent. Acacia Senegal Gum is not known to be toxic though it can be an eye, skin, and lung irritant in pure form. It is considered safe to use by the Cosmetic Ingredient Review in current use amounts. (MSDS)



Nature’s Pulchritude’s Critique:  While the 98% naturally-derived label cannot be confirmed simply by looking at the ingredients, however, the ingredients in this product are mostly rated Safe!, so feel free to give this a try.


One thought on “How to Read Cosmetic Ingredient Labels XL”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s