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16/03/13: Perhaps I'll just use water...

Since I first stepped onto the veggie skincare train I've become a little bit obsessed with googling: "clean skin", "vegan natural skincare", "natural simple skincare" and so on.  And I've looked through a lot of different products, ranging from the reasonably priced to the "what!?".

But how does one know which really is the best for skin?

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One of the brands I used to buy was Simple, the UKs best-selling skincare brand.  Obviously in my head Simple + no animal testing/derived ingredients + "no unnecessary ingredients" = perfect!  But wait, isn't that sodium laurel/laureth sulfate on that label?  And that one.  And this one too?
I hadn't really heard about the hoo-hah this ingredient has caused until recently.  This article: here does a good job of breaking it down and answering some of the main questions that I had about SLS/SLES.  In essence, if there's a high chance that continual use of SLS/SLES could cause a variety of problems, as they say, why not look for products not containing it?

One of the other names that kept coming up in my searches was "paraben".  So off I go to have a look at my wonderful Simple products and sadly at the end of the (fairly long) product lists I see "methylparaben".  This is a common preservative used to prolong the life of your beauty products.  But, as this article apparently by a cosmetic beauty scientist states, they can be absorbed readily into your skin and have the potential to build up.  There's a lot of stuff out there about them, but this short article is quite useful for a fairly non-ranty viewpoint: here.  Basically as it's a potential hazard, if I can find an alternative, then I'd feel happier.

Those are just two of the possible nasties that were hiding in my products.  So now I'm thinking... natural = good, no parabens, SLS = good, vegan = doubly good.  However, when I started to look at other skincare brands there were more possibilities to consider.  A lot of skincare brands proudly proclaim that they are free from synthetic fragrance, or mineral oil, plus petrolatum, sulfate detergents, synthetic colours.

Some brands go even further and say that they don't contain: glycols and diglycols (such as propylene glycol), PEG's, PPGs, urea, D.E.A, T.E.A, PABA and other synthetic sunscreens, aliphatic alcohols/hydrocarbons, phthalates, fumarates, amines, alkanolamines, synthetic AHAs/BHAs, polyacrylamide, metacrylate, elastomer, poloxamer, styrene, vinyl, polyquaternium, synthetic chelating agents, nylon, nitriles, nitrates, nitrosamine releasers, bromates, fluor, aluminum and alumina et al.

That's an overwhelming list of products to be on the lookout for, isn't it?  And it seems that some of the brands marketing their products as clean and green often have some ingredients in them that can be just as damaging as the stuff you're trying to get away from.

For example, REN skincare is one brand I was quite excited about.  Their ethos of 'clean skincare' is something quite appealing to me.  But various posts show that although they may not use a whole variety of things (not all of which are agreed irritants) in their products, they do use other potential allergens: REN.

And are all those ingredients above really dangerous skin/body irritants?  The thing is, I don't know.  I don't know how much of this stuff is a ploy to make me dish out scary amounts of money, and how much of it is really because putting those things on your face is bad for you.  So here are some websites I'm making use of in my quest to understand my bathroom a little better..

My resources: - I find this site quite hard to navigate, but there are some interesting posts on cosmetic trickery and labelling - listed by another site as a useful resource - database of products and various ingredients.  Controversial rating system included! - lots of interesting articles about ingredients and scaremongering - interesting posts like the one above, and it's based in the UK - yay!

My checklist:
1. No animal ingredients
2. No animal testing
4. No parabens
5. Reasonably priced
6. Understandable ingredients
7. Nothing with real potential to irritate
8. Fairtrade/Organic would be nice!

Quite a list.  And quite hard to find.

By the end of all this, I'm wondering why I'm even bothering to look for a product that fulfils my checklist.  My main reason for skincare is to remove the make up that I put on it in the first place.  Perhaps I'd be better off starting with cosmetics and then skincare...  but I think that'll have to wait for another post.

Any recommendations or suggestions on brands you like would be welcome!



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