By shopping at The Green Beauty Collective you are free from our "Absolute NO's", the most prevalent toxins found in conventional cosmetics.

We have also created a list of "Moderate Ingredients" below. These ingredients are in a select few of our products - we will provide you with the information and give you the option to use avoid these ingredients or use them. These moderate ingredients and products will always be labeled in our shop. 


Absolute NO's

1. BHA and BHT 

aka: Butylated Hydroxyanisole & Butylated Hydroxytoluene

Formulated in: Skincare, makeup products & personal care products.

Synthetic antioxidants used as a preservative to extend shelf life. They are likely carcinogens. May also disrupt hormones, as well as cause liver, thyroid, and kidney problems.

2. DEA:

aka: diethanolamine, Cocamide DEA, and Lauramide DEA

Formulated in: Soaps, cleansers & shampoo (suds) 


aka: diethyl phthalate, dibutyl phthalate

Formulated in: Synthetic fragrance, nail polish, hairspray

A class of plasticizing chemicals used to make products more pliable or to make fragrances stick to skin. Phthalates disrupt the endocrine system and may cause birth defects. They have been linked to damage to the kidneys, lungs, and liver, as well. (see also Synthetic Fragrances)


aka: DMDM Hydantoin, Diazolidinyl Urea, imidazolidinyl urea, methenamine, quaternium-15 and sodium hydroxymethyl glycinate

Formulated in: Nail polish, shampoo, body wash, eyelash glue, and hair products, the Brazilian Blowout and other straightening treatments

You won’t find this listed as “formaldehyde” except perhaps in a few remaining brands of nail polish. It hides behind ingredient names such as quaternium-15, DMDM Hydantoin, imidazolidinyl urea, Diazolidinyl urea, sodium hydroxymethyl glycinate, 2-bromo-2-nitropropane-1,3 diol (Bronopol), glyoxal and oxaldehyde. Recognized by the EPA as a carcinogen, it’s linked to lung cancers, Hodgkin lymphoma and leukemia, and myeloid leukemia. It permeates through inhalation and can also cause eye, nose, and throat irritation; reproductive and developmental toxicity; asthma; neurologic and

Recognized by the EPA as a carcinogen, it’s linked to lung cancers, Hodgkin lymphoma and leukemia, and myeloid leukemia. It permeates through inhalation and can also cause eye, nose, and throat irritation; reproductive and developmental toxicity; asthma; neurologic and behavioral toxicity; and immunological toxicity. It’s banned for use in cosmetics in Sweden and Japan.


aka: Isobutyl paraben, Butylparaben, Methylparaben, Propylparaben

Formulated in: Skincare, Makeup & Personal Care Products.

Parabens are preservatives used to prevent the growth of bacteria and mold.  They have been known to cause skin irritation and contact dermatitis and rosacea in individuals with paraben allergies. On a scarier note, they can mimic hormones, disrupting the endocrine system, which has been shown to play a role in the development of breast cancers. Studies indicate that methylparaben applied on the skin reacts with UVB leading to increased skin aging and DNA damage. Parabens are also known endocrine disruptors and have been linked to fertility problems.


Formulated in: most personal care products, and anything with a scent. 

The synthetic fragrances used in cosmetics can have as many as 200 ingredients. There is no way to know what the chemicals are because formulas are protected under federal law’s classification of trade secrets. On the label, it will simply read “fragrance.” Some problems caused by these chemicals include including hormone disruption, headaches, dizziness, rash, hyperpigmentation, violent coughing, vomiting, skin irritation—the list goes on. Don’t buy a cosmetic that has the word “fragrance” on the ingredients label. Look for labels that say, “phthalate–free”.

7. PEG's

aka: Polyethylene glycols, propylene glycol

Formulated in: cosmetics as thickeners, solvents, softeners, and moisture-carriers. PEGs are commonly used as cosmetic cream bases.

 Depending on manufacturing processes, PEGs may be contaminated with measurable amounts of ethylene oxide and 1,4-dioxane.The International Agency for Research on Cancer classifies ethylene oxide as a known human carcinogen and 1,4-dioxane as a possible human carcinogen. Ethylene oxide can also harm the nervous system ii and the California Environmental Protection Agency has classified it as a developmental toxicant based on evidence that it may interfere with human development. iii 1,4-dioxane is also persistent


aka: Mineral oil, petroleum distillates

Formulated in: baby oil, lip balm, lipstick, lip gloss, mascara, moisturizers, concealer, foundation, face powder, hair gel, body wash, eyeshadow, paraffin treatments, petroleum jelly, and hair conditioner

A petrochemical pollutant derived from crude oil, found in an overwhelming number of products. It seals off the skin creating a barrier which feels slick but doesn’t allow the skin to breathe, which is essential for the proper functioning of this organ. Ultimately causes slowing down skin’s function and normal cell development, resulting in premature aging and many other health and skin disorders such as contact dermatitis.



aka: Sodium laureate sulfate, Sodium laurel sulfate

Formulated in: just about anything that foams; shampoo, body wash, face wash, hand soap, toothpaste, bubble bath

A foaming agent used to break down water in grease. It’s so powerful that it’s also used in concrete floor cleaners, engine degreasers, and car wash detergents. A well-known skin irritant, it is rapidly absorbed and retained in the eyes, brain, heart, and liver, which may result in harmful long-term effects. It can slow healing, cause cataracts in adults, and prevent children’s eyes from developing properly, corrode hair follicles and impair the ability to grow hair. These surfactants that can cause skin irritation or trigger allergies. SLES is often contaminated with formaldehyde-releasing 1,4-dioxane, a byproduct of a petrochemical process called ethoxylation.


Formulated in: antibacterial products such as soap, hand sanitizer, deodorants, toothpaste, and cosmetics

Studies have shown that triclosan is an endocrine disruptor and enables bacteria to become antibiotic-resistant. The CDC states that it is found in 75% of the population’s urine. The American Medical Association advises against the use of antibacterial soap at home to prevent the creation of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Antibacterial soap has been found no more effective than regular soap. Antimicrobial pesticides toxic to the aquatic environment; may also impact human reproductive systems.


aka: Thimerosal, Merthiolate

Formulated in: ear and eye drops; may be used in mascara

Metallic element used as a preservative and antiseptic are known to damage brain function.


aka: benzene-1,4-diol, quinol

Formulated in: skin lightening creams

A skin lightening chemical that inhibits the production of melanin and is a linked to cancer, organ toxicity, and skin irritation.


Moderate Ingredients


Phenoxyethanol is used as a preservative in cosmetic products to limit bacterial growth. Many companies turned to Phenoxyethanol as a preservative after they stopped using parabens. Since there have been developing studies about the safety of the ingredient. The European Union approved phenoxyethanol in concentrations up to one percent.

Reformulation of this ingredient is in the works for many cosmetic companies. 


Benzyl alcohol is a naturally occurring and synthetic ingredient used as solvent and preservative; has been associated with contact allergy on the skin. Benzyl Alcohol is used as a preservative and to achieve a lighter, fluid-like texture in lotions and serums.

If you prefer a light texture, your product may contain benzyl alcohol. 


Dimethicone is what the chemists like to call a silicon-based polymer—”polymer”. Manufacturers like it because it makes products easily spreadable, so you get that feeling of the lotion or cream gliding over your skin. Although Silicones and Dimethicone are not unsafe, like petroleum products, silicone oils can actually make dry skin drier over time. Instead of sinking into your skin and nourishing it from the inside out, like healthy ingredients do, it forms a sort of plastic-like barrier on the outside of the skin. Silicones trap everything under the skin, including bacteria, sebum, and impurities which could lead to increased breakouts and blackheads. Dimethicone is a non-biodegradable chemical.

If you love the smooth silky texture in foundation, primers, and lotions, your product may include silicone. 


The most common synthetic colors used in cosmetics and hair dyes are called FD&C colors and they are derived from coal tar, which in turn is a by-product of petroleum. Because some coal tar dyes have been known to cause cancer, they are regulated by the FDA as to the amount of lead or arsenic they contain, limiting these elements to 10 parts per million. The term lake dyes refer to water-insoluble colors. Lake colors can also be derived from coal tar and can trigger allergic reactions. Studies have shown brilliant lake red R to be one of the worst offenders. It should be noted that coal tar is also used as a dandruff therapy in shampoos.

Some lipsticks and eyeshadows have brilliantly bright colors. You may only be able to find certain colors made from Lake Pigments. 


 A type of alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) that, like other ingredients in the category, can act as a water-binding agent and, when properly formulated, as an exfoliant. In its capacity as an exfoliant, it can help shed dead skin to renew skin’s surface, visibly softening the signs of aging, particularly from sun damage. Glycolic acid is one of the most effective and well-researched forms of AHA.

Some find Glycolic Acid to be irritating for their skin.


Also called beta hydroxy acid (BHA), this multifunctional ingredient addresses many of the systemic causes of acne. Its primary benefit is as an exfoliant, helping shed dead skin in a way similar to how skin acts when we are younger. Because it has the ability to penetrate into the pore lining and exfoliate inside the pore as well as on the surface of the skin, it is especially effective for reducing breakouts, including blackheads and whiteheads.

Some find Salicylic Acid to be irritating for their skin.



More Information, and sources at David Suzuki (dot) org