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Find out why we do not use the "Hazardous 8"

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 have our "Hazardous 8" which we like to shine a spotlight on in 2018 as we get 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 formulation. We take a precautionary approach following the European Union's stance on banned items and are ahead of our game in Australia.

our top 8 hazardous chemicals

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.” 

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

If you see these as ingredients-Polyethylene Glycols (PEGS), Polypropylene Glycols (PPGS), Propylene, Butylene, Pentylene, Hexylene, and Caprylyl, then avoid them. They are petroleum-based compounds that serve as texturizer, thickeners, solvents, and moisture-carriers in cosmetics and 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 known as a human carcinogen.

As a texture enhancer and stabiliser, we use natural guar gum in our emulsion formulations.

Tetrasodium EDTA. 

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. Though rate 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.

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.


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.

Sunscreen chemicals 

There are 2 types of sunscreens, physical or chemical. Stay clear of chemical sunscreen as a sunscreen agent, they absorb UV light. Physical sunscreen does the opposite as it deflects the UV rays. They are bad ingredients as they are endocrine disruptors, carcinogenic and are believed to be easily absorbed into the body. Stay clear of benzophenone, PABA, avobenzone, homosalate and ethoxycinnmate.

Instead, 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. There are research out thtere that indicate potentila endocrine ( hormone) disruptors and cause harm to reproductive, immune and nervous system. Better safe than sorry, so look out for ingreidents ending with- cone or -xane eg. Dimethicone, Cyclopentasiloxane, Cyclohexasiloxane, and Phenyl Trimethicone.

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.


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.”

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.

So read your labels

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.