The "Hazardous 8" chemicals and why we don't use them in our cosmetics.

⚠️ The cosmetics industry is not highly regulated and as such there is a broad range of “natural” skincare and cosmetic brands.
The only way for you to be certain is to find a brand that’s honest and open about its ingredients listing. If a brand does not list its ingredients for each product, then that’s a warning sign.
At Coast Sydney Botanicals, we avoid these "Hazardous 8" chemicals. We take a precautionary approach following the European Union's stance on banned items and are ahead of our game in Australia.
We want to shine a spotlight on these hazardous chemicals as science uncovers more information on what's good and what's bad.
Here’s our top 8 harmful and toxic chemicals in cosmetics and bad ingredients for beauty products (which we like to avoid using in our products). 

1. Synthetic Colours: FD&C and Lakes

Look out for FD&C or D&C dyes and aluminium lakes on labels. F stands for food and D&C stands for drug and cosmetics. These letters precede a color and number (e.g., D&C Red 27 or FD&C Red 40).

Synthetic colors, derived from petroleum or coal tar sources, are suspected to be a human carcinogen, a skin irritant and are linked to ADHD in children. The coal tar deposits the toxins from heavy metal salts directly onto skin, causing irritation and sensitivity.

This colourant is banned in the European Union. The EWG Cosmetic Safety Database rates the hazard of the ingredient at a mid “3.” 

ℹ️ At CSB, we use natural colours from plants such as Rosehip oil, Blue tansy oil, alfalfa grass and Red Gromwell extract. These botanicals provide colour and purpose in each drop used and that's what makes our products stand out from the rest.


Glycols: PEGS

Be sure to avoid the following ingredients:

  • Polyethylene Glycols (PEGS),
  • Polypropylene Glycols (PPGS),
  • Propylene,
  • Butylene,
  • Pentylene,
  • Hexylene,
  • Caprylyl,

These are petroleum-based compounds that serve as texturizer, thickener, solvents, and moisture-carriers in cosmetics.

Check your labels carefully as can be found commonly in so called “natural” products.

They are bad for skin as they cause skin irritation and may run the risk of being contaminated with ethylene oxide - a known as a human carcinogen.

ℹ️ At CSB, we use natural guar gum in our emulsion formulations. This is a texture enhancer and stabiliser

Recommended product: Nephelium natural anti-aging serum 🍃

Tetrasodium EDTA

Tetrasodium EDTA is used as a preservative, stabiliser, chelator in the ever popular mask sheets, shampoo, soaps, cleansing products, moisturisers, hair dyes, hair bleaches and many other products.

It is made from formaldehyde and sodium cyanide which is made from the toxic gas hydrogen cyanide.

This compound is also a penetration enhancer which could intensify harmful effects of other ingredients in the formula.

Even though it is rated as “safe” by the EWG Cosmetic Safety Database rates the hazard of the ingredient at a low “2,” with a low overall health hazard, we would just like to be mindful of its origin from formaldehyde.

We take a precautionary approach in choosing our ingredients.

ℹ️ At CSB we use natural preservatives in the form of p-anisic acid from basil, in combination with Natural Plantaserv N Preservatives.

We also use Sodium Levulinate Anisate. All of these are approved by COSMOS and Ecocert for organic formulations.

Recommended product: Nephelium natural anti-aging serum 🍃


This is a synthetic ether alcohol and a petrochemical preservative which can cause contact dermatitis, and damage reproductive, immune, and nervous systems.

This ingredient has been banned for use in certified organic skin care products by COSMOS, Ecocert, and the new EU organic certification standard.

We play it safe at CSB, avoiding these preservatives as there are safer options.

Recommended product: Nephelium natural anti-aging serum 🍃

Sunscreen chemicals 

There are 2 types of sunscreens: physical or chemical.

Physical sunscreen actually deflects the UV rays, which is good.

Stay clear of chemical sunscreen as a sunscreen agent, they absorb UV light.  They often contain bad ingredients as they are endocrine disruptors, carcinogenic and are believed to be easily absorbed into the body.

Avoid the following ingredients in your sunscreen:

  • benzophenone,
  • PABA,
  • avobenzone,
  • homosalate
  • ethoxycinnmate.

ℹ️  We recommend the use of physical sunblocks using zinc oxide (first choice) or titanium dioxide, with NO nanoparticles.

It is noted that Titanium dioxide in its powder form is highly harzadous when inhaled. So only use Titanium dioxide in liquid form.


Do you love that silky feel to your skin when applied?

Well that’s probably due to this chemical which is used as texturizers.

It is bad in our books as they are mostly derived from petroleum that clogs skin pores and cause acne.

Scientific research indicates potential endocrine (hormone) disruptors that may cause harm to reproductive, immune and nervous system.

Better safe than sorry, so look out for ingredients ending with -cone or -xane. For example:

  • Dimethicone,
  • Cyclopentasiloxane,
  • Cyclohexasiloxane,
  • Phenyl Trimethicone

ℹ️ A natural alternative that we use here is a light plant oil. Isoamyl Laurate is a light-weight oily ester that absorbs quickly into the skin leaving a dry, silicone-like feeling.


Phthalates are commonly used to increase the flexibility and softness of plastics...

So why would you want to use it in cosmetics?

Its main purpose in cosmetics is as a binder and it is found as dibutyl phthalate in nail polish.

It acts as a solvent dissolver in fragrance oils in the form of diethyl phthalate in perfumes and lotions, and dimethyl phthalate in hair spray.

At times, they are undisclosed in products as they are added to fragrances. So avoid brands that list ingredients with a generic “fragrance” item.

The health risks are that they are known to be endocrine disruptors, linked to increased risk of breast cancer, and reproductive birth defects in males and females.

This chemical is also banned in European Union only. The EWG Cosmetic Safety Database rates the hazard of the ingredient at a mid “3.”

ℹ️ We use natural plant derived fragrances from essential oils and Contains Aromatic Components Derived Solely From Natural, Raw Botanical Sources which are Ecocert approved for organic formulation.


Parabens are widely used preservatives that prevent the growth of bacteria, mold and yeast in cosmetic products.

Sounds good, right? Not so fast, they do more than that.

Parabens possess estrogen-mimicking properties that are associated with increased risk of breast cancer.

These chemicals are absorbed through the skin and have been identified in biopsy samples from breast tumors. They can be found in makeup, body washes, deodorants, shampoos and facial cleansers. You can also find them in food and pharmaceutical products.



The best way is to be independent and educate yourself with some basic knowledge of what’s good and what’s bad. We hope this article has armed you with some more up to date information on healthy skincare for long term benefits.

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  • Time to throw one item from my routine away.
    Better safe than sorry, thanks!

    Herjan on
  • Great information & useful as I have sensitive skin. I do read labels but find natural fragrance free products hard to find & can be very expensive.

    Bridget on
  • I will read the fine print with my magnifying glass!

    Carlene Clarke on
  • I truly enjoyed this would like to know if you have a book that explains a lot of this so I know really what to look for

    Joanne Guadagni on
  • Very informative,is there any way a list of cosmetics that have these in them be printed?

    Rosemary McGavin on

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