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Beauty ingredients are at the base of what helps defining what we consider as clean beauty or not. We've made a succinct list of the most used ones in conventional & within our clean beauty labels such as MADARA, SMPL, Ere Perez etc. We've hi-lighted the potential dangerosity of certain ingredients and their alternatives.

beauty ingredients


Beeswax is made by honey bees to form honeycombs that hold the honey. Beeswax is commonly the byproduct of making honey. In cosmetics it is used for consistency and to create a protective layer on the skin that attracts and retains moisture. It is often present with the latin name cera alba in ingredient lists. Beeswax is not vegan.


Everyone loves good scents in their products but it does not suit everyone. If you have sensitive skin you might want to avoid fragrances in your products. Fragrance, Parfum, Perfume, Aroma, Linalool, Citronellol, Cinnamal, Limonene, Geraniol, Eugenol and all essential oils are fragrances used in skin care and cosmetics.

synthetic colorant

A recent study shows that azo dyes might have mutagenic, genotoxic, and carcinogenic effects.


Up to 100,000 beetles are killed to produce 1 kg of carmine. Obviously, not a vegan-friendly or cruelty-free ingredient


Iron Oxides are very common inorganic pigments that are used to obtain a colour.

plant-derived pigments

Color pigment can also be derived from plants. These colourants are 100% natural,creating extraordinary shades and many of them are powerful antioxidants.


Preservatives are used and needed in all skincare including clean skincare. The role of preservatives is to make the active and helpful ingredients stay that way instead of spoiling. Without preservatives the ingredients do not work as they are meant for as long as they can. This is important especially when the product does not reach the customer immediately after production and so that you can use every last drop of the product safely.

benzyl alcohol

Benzyl alcohol is an organic alcohol that occurs naturally in some fruits (apricots, cranberries) and teas. Its chief function in cosmetics is as a preservative, and it’s among the least sensitizing preservatives in use.


Paraben is a very common preservative. However it is not considered clean because there are concerns about how the might disrupt hormones of the body. Most beauty products at thegreenlabels do not include paraben.

chemical UV filters

Chemical UV filters penetrate the skin and absorb sun rays like a sponge. Studies detect a particular health risk associated with these filters - from accumulation in the body to irritation and potential endocrine disorders. On top they have been found to be harmful to coral reefs. The alternative we favor at thegreenlabels is sunscreen with mineral filters, also known as mechanical or physical filters, are made from mineral zinc oxide and titanium dioxide and work just as well as a chemical sunscreen and is non toxic for you and the planet. Check out SMPL & Madara products for safe sun protection products.

mineral oils

Mineral oil is not readily biodegradable, toxic to the environment, plant, fish, and wildlife.

reef safe sunscreen

No oxybenzone and octinoxate. Must be non-nano zinc oxide or titanium dioxide.

synthetic glitter

Shiny plastic particles, born to dazzle for the duration of an Instagram story. After that, they turn into microplastic debris, often ending up in the environment or the ocean. 


Silicones are a group of synthetic materials, widely used in cosmetics to give beauty products a spreadable texture. They are stable and inert compounds, which make them highly functional and extremely persistent in the environment.


There are thousands of lawsuits as of January 2020 against cosmetic companies who use talc in their products in the USA. Johnson & Johnson, who has produced talc-based baby powder for more than 100 years.


PEGs (polyethylene glycols) are petroleum-based compounds that are widely used in cosmetics as thickeners, solvents, softeners, and moisture-carriers. The main safety concerns of cosmetic use of PEGs are associated with their production process and by-products generated during the manufacturing.

essential oils

Essential oils are plant derived concentrated oils. They are used in cosmetics as natural fragrances. They can have additional properties for your health as well. For example, lavender oil is known to be calming and help you relax. Some essential oils take a lot of resources to produce so they might not be sustainable in everyone’s opinion. For example, to make  a small bottle of rose essential oil, over 200 kilos of rose petals are needed. Roses are a renewable resource but there is an argument to be made about how to best use the land and water resources. We want to present this issue transparently but leave the judgement to your opinion. As essential oils are a high concentrate of a natural ingredient, it can be irritating for some of us.