This cosmetic reference guide gives a brief description of the most common ingredients and terms.
There are a wide range of 'natural' and 'green' toiletries and cosmetics now available, but as always,
check what you are buying. In some countries the word 'natural' can be applied to any product as long as at
least 1% of the ingredients are obtained from nature. Indeed, some cosmetic manufacturers are jumping on
the organic bandwagon and using that term to describe cosmetics that may only contain a very small proportion
of organic ingredients. There are many debates on additives and it is suggested that you examine formulas to
guarantee their safety and suitability.
The average adult uses 9 personal care products daily, exposing them to 126 chemicals each day.
89% of 10,500 ingredients used in personal care products have NOT been evaluated for safety.
Over the last 30 years, only 9 products of the 10,500 used in personal
care products have been banned or restricted!
This guide may help to identify the mysterious names commonly found on labels.
Click on these links to the ingredients pages.
Return to Food Guide
If you wouldn't eat it, don't wear it or use it on your skin.
If you can't pronounce it, it usually isn't good for you!
In-Depth: Ingredients, Companies, and Safety Gaps
Cosmetics and Personal Care Products Can be Cancer Risks
Information for the Community - National Industrial Chemicals Notification and Assessment Scheme (NICNAS)
Cosmetics - Your Online Guide - Australian Government Department of Health and Aging, NICNAS
Cosmetics and Your Health - US Department of Health and Human Services Extract
Cosmetics - Health Canada Extract
Fragrances - FYI
Adverse Fragrance/Cosmetic Reaction? - Inform NICNAS!
Still not sure, got to Material Safety Data Sheets at
http://www.hazard.com/msds or http://ecb.jrc.it/
http://www.chemexper.com/ or http://www.msds.com.au/
Australian Government Department of Health and Aging
Dingle & Brown, Dangerous Beauty
Dingle & Brown, Sick Homes Part 1: Volatile Chemicals
EPA, FDA documents
Epstein & Steinman (1995) A Safe Shopper's Bible - A Consumer's Guide to Non-toxic Household Products, cosmetics & Food.
Immig (2000) The Toxic Playground.
Lynn Dadd (1997) Home Safe Home
National Industrial Chemicals Notification and Assessment Scheme
Statham, B (2003) The Chemical Maze, Australia.
US Department of Health and Human Services
Winter (1999) A Consumer's Dictionary of Cosmetic Ingredients