Skip to content

Cart

Your cart is empty

CLEAN BEAUTY

INGREDIENTS WE SAY "NO" TO

Our Clean Beauty Program includes a comprehensive and ever-growing list of offending agents in cosmetics manufacturing that we refrain from using in our clean beauty products.

ACETONE 
What It Is: 
A colorless liquid that is often used as a solvent or denaturant in nail polish, fragrances, skincare formulas and other personal care products 
Concerns: Organ system toxicity, cancer, and irritation of the skin, eyes or lungs
 
ACETONITRILE 
What It Is: 
Characterized as having a sweet taste and odor, Acetonitrile is a colorless liquid that's often used as an organic solvent. It is also commonly used in the development and manufacturing of cosmetics and other personal care products.
Concerns: Poisonous if absorbed into the skin, inhaled, or ingested

*ACRYLAMIDES
Acrylamide, Polyacrylamide
What It Is: Chemicals often used in the formulation of eyeshadow, foundation, concealer, blush, eyeliner, bronzer, moisturizers, anti-aging products, creams, etc. Polyacrylamide is a derivative of acrylamide, and is commonly used in cosmetics and personal care products, too.
Concerns: Cancer, reproductive toxicity, developmental toxicity, or irritation

*ACRYLATES
Butyl methacrylate, Ethyl acrylate, Ethyl methacrylate, Hydroxypropyl methacrylate, Methyl methacrylate, Retinal acrylates, Tetrahydrofurfuryl methacrylate, Trimethylolpropane trimethacrylate
What It Is: Ingredients often used as adhesives for artificial nails and eyelashes
Concerns: Cancer, reproductive toxicity, developmental toxicity, organ system toxicity, cellular and neurological damage, irritation 

ALLERGENS + IRRITANTS 
Benzoisothiazolinone
What It Is: 
A preservative and antimicrobial chemical that’s used in a wide variety of products
Concerns: Irritation, moderate skin sensitizer, wildlife and environmental toxicity

Hydroquinone 
What It Is: 
A chemical often found in skin lighteners, cleansers, creams, moisturizers, and hair care or nail products
Concerns: Cancer, organ system toxicity, respiratory toxicity

Latex
What It Is: 
An ingredient often found in a variety of cosmetic and personal care products. Latex can be found in face and body paints, eyeliners, artificial eyelashes, and more.
Concerns: Allergic reactions can range from skin irritations and rashes, to respiratory problems and anaphylactic shock

Methylene chloride, DCM or Dichloromethane
What It Is: 
An ingredient commonly used in cosmetics and personal care products like hair spray, lotion, conditioners, etc.
Concerns: Irritation, allergies, carcinogen

Petrochemicals
Mineral oil, petroleum jelly, paraffin, paraffin oil, paraffin wax, vaseline, white petrolatum, or petrolatum. USP grade petrolatum or paraffin is considered safe and clean. 
What It Is: Derivatives of petroleum, these ingredients are highly purified materials obtained by refining petroleum. They are clear, odorless liquids that are often used in cosmetic and personal care products to help moisturize or soften the skin.
Concerns: When properly refined, there are no related health concerns. However, when not fully refined, these petrochemicals can be contaminated with polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). A health concern for PAHs is cancer. 

Resorcinol 
What It Is: 
A chemical commonly used in shampoos, lotions, peels, products used to treat acne, eczema, etc., and more
Concerns: Organ system toxicity, possible endocrine disruption, irritation of the skin and eyes 

Retinyl Palmitate 
What It Is: 
Made of palmitic acid and retinol (vitamin A), this ingredient is often used in cosmetic and skincare products to restore suppleness and reduce flaking
Concerns: Possibility of cancer

Synthetic Flavors
What It Is: 
An ingredient, or more commonly a combination of ingredients, used to add flavor or taste to cosmetic products like lipstick, lip gloss, lip oils, lip masks, etc. If products contain less than 1% synthetic flavors, they are considered safe and clean.
Concerns: Irritation, possible allergies

Synthetic Fragrances or Parfum
What It Is: 
An ingredient, or more commonly a combination of ingredients, used to add scent to cosmetic products. Many fragrance formulas contain petrochemicals which are easily contaminated with PAHs. If products contain less than 1% synthetic fragrances, they are considered safe and clean.
Concerns: Irritation. Possibility of contamination. Some health concerns are unknown as many synthetic fragrances have hundreds of ingredients, and there's no way of knowing what's specifically included because the formulas are protected as trade secrets.

*Talc
What It Is: 
A mineral substance often found in cosmetic and personal care products such as eyeshadow, foundation, lipstick, face masks, blush, etc. Talc is used to absorb moisture, smooth or soften a product, prevent caking, or to make the product more opaque. Sigma Beauty only uses talc that is certified asbestos-free.
Concerns: Irritation, cancer, organ system toxicity

ANIMAL OILS/MUSKS/FATS
What It Is: 
An emollient used to smooth or hydrate skin
Concerns: Products are not cruelty-free and may be tested on animals, not vegan-friendly

*BEESWAX
Source: 
Bees 
What It Is: An ingredient used in cosmetic and personal care products to ensure a smooth application and to prevent products, like eyeliners, from hardening over time. Beeswax is also used to keep an emulsion from separating into its liquid and oil forms, and to increase the thickness or structure of products like lipstick.
Concerns: Not vegan-friendly. It can also trigger allergic reaction if it contains trace amounts of pollen. According to PETA, there are concerns that bees are mishandled and mistreated in large commercial bee farms as well.

BENZENE
What It Is: 
A derivative of coal tar, it is used in the production of plastics, detergents, lotions, conditioners, etc.
Concerns: Carcinogen, cancer, respiratory toxicity, environmental toxicity, endocrine disruption

BENZYL ALCOHOL
What It Is: 
An aromatic alcohol that is often used in cosmetic products as a fragrance, pH-adjuster, viscosity-decreasing agent, solvent or preservative
Concerns: Sensitizer, allergies, irritation

BETA HYDROXY ACID (BHA) 
What It Is: 
An ingredient commonly found in personal care, skincare and cosmetic products. It is considered safe to use if it is formulated to avoid irritation and increased sun sensitivity. BHA is the structural name for salicylic acid, and is unrelated to butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) which is a preservative. 
Concerns: Irritation, sensitizer 

BISPHENOL (BPA)
What It Is: 
A chemical often found in plastic bottles and a wide variety of other products to make them stronger and more resilient, BPA is commonly used in the production of lipstick, face and eye makeup, and more
Concerns: Endocrine disruption, organ system toxicity, developmental toxicity, reproductive toxicity

BUTOXYETHANOL
What It Is: 
A chemical commonly used as a fragrance additive or solvent
Concerns: Irritation, possible carcinogen, reproductive toxicity

BUTYLPHENYL METHYLPROPIONAL (BMHCA, LILIAL)
What It Is:
 A synthetic fragrance ingredient used in many different kinds of cosmetics, hair products, deodorants, perfumes, scented candles, and more.
Concerns: Respiratory and skin irritation 

CASEIN
What It Is: 
A substance derived from milk that is commonly used in cosmetic and skincare products because it has emulsifying properties. It’s also used as a leavening agent, stabilizer, thickener, flavor enhancer, or nutrient.
Concerns: Reproductive toxicity, allergies

CHEMICAL SUNSCREENS
Avobenzone 
What It Is: 
An ingredient often found in cosmetics with SPF such as sunscreens, moisturizers, foundation, lipsticks, etc. Avobenzone is commonly used to replace Oxybenzone.
Concerns: Cancer, developmental toxicity, reproductive toxicity, allergies, immunotoxicity, not coral reef safe

Benzophenone + derivatives 
What It Is: 
A chemical often found in sunscreens, lip balms, nail polish, etc., Benzophenone is used as a fragrance enhancer, or to prevent products from losing their scent or color when exposed to UV rays
Concerns: Human skin toxicant, allergies, not coral reef safe

Octinoxate 
What It Is: 
A UV filter often found in shampoo, lipsticks, skin creams, etc. 
Concerns: Endocrine disruption, reproductive toxicity, developmental toxicity, organ system toxicity

Oxybenzone
What It Is: 
A UV filter often found in nail polish, lip balms, lipsticks, moisturizers, anti-aging creams, conditioners, fragrances, etc.
Concerns: Allergies, immune system toxicity, endocrine disruption

COLORANTS 
Cadmium
What It Is: 
A heavy metal commonly used in cosmetics as a pigment
Concerns: Endocrine disruption

Carbon Black 
What It Is: 
A dark powder often used as a pigment in cosmetics such as eyeliner, mascara, lipsticks, blush, foundation, brow products, nail polish, eyeshadow, etc. 
Concerns: Cancer, organ system toxicity

*Carmine
Source: 
Beetles 
What It Is: A natural, bright red pigment derived from dried female insects called cochineal. It is often used in personal care and cosmetic products like lipstick, eyeshadow, etc. as a colorant. 
Concerns: 
Not vegan-friendly. Possible allergic reaction for those with sensitivities or allergies to insects and/or to their bites.

Coal Tar
What It Is: 
A brown-black material derived from burning coal, it is often found in cosmetic and personal care products like shampoos, soaps, lotions, etc. 
Concerns: Cancer, organ system toxicity. 

CYCLIC SILICONES
Cyclotetrasiloxane or octamethylcyclotetrasiloxane (D4), *Cyclopentasiloxane or decamethylcyclopentasiloxane (D5), Cyclohexasiloxane (D6), Cyclomethicone
What It Is: Silicone-based ingredients often found in cosmetics like foundation, skincare, tinted moisturizers, deodorants, lubricants, soaps, etc. to soften, smooth and moisten products
Concerns: The European Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety (SCCS) deemed D5 safe for use in cosmetics with the exception of hair styling aerosols and sun care sprays where it can be inhaled and deposited into the lungs. The US Cosmetic Ingredient Review Expert Panel concluded that cyclic silicones are safe in present practices of use and concentration. 

ETHANOLAMINE (ETA) COMPOUNDS
DEA-cetyl phosphate, DEA oleth-3 phosphate, Diethanolamine (DEA), Cocamide, Cocamide DEA, Cocamide MEA, Lauramide DEA, Linoleamide MEA, Monoethanolamine (MEA), Myristamide DEA, Oleamide DEA, Stearamide Monoethanolamine (MEA), *Triethanolamine (TEA), TEA-lauryl sulfate
What It Is: Ingredients often found in personal care products that foam such as body wash, cleansers, soaps, etc. ETA compounds can also be found in mascara, foundation, fragrances, etc. 
Concerns: Cancer, bioaccumulation, organ system toxicity

*ETHYLENEDIAMINETETRAACETIC ACID (EDTA)
What It Is: 
An ingredient often found in moisturizers and other cosmetic products to improve stability
Concerns: Possible organ system toxicity

FRAGRANCE + FLAVORS
Acetaldehyde
What It Is: 
An ingredient often used in cosmetic products as a flavor or fragrance additive 
Concerns: Cancer

Stearyl Glycyrrhetinate
What It Is: 
Derived from licorice, this ingredient is often used to enhance appearance of dry or damaged skin by reducing flakiness and restoring suppleness. It’s also used as a flavor ingredient in cosmetic and personal care products.
Concerns: Irritation 

GENETICALLY MODIFIED ORGANISMS (GMO)
What It Is: 
Organisms whose genes have been artificially modified in one way or another. GMOs have been developed specifically for the production of cosmetic ingredients.
Concerns: Allergies, irritation, possible carcinogen. GMOs can disrupt the body’s healthy bacteria, produce pesticides in the body, build resistance to bacteria and clog pores.

*GLYCERYL STEARATE
Source:
 Animal or plant 
What It Is: A white or cream-colored waxlike substance that is commonly found in cosmetic and personal care products like lotions, creams, powders, cleansers, makeup bases, foundation, eyeshadow, eyeliner, etc. It acts as a lubricant and assists with giving the skin a softer, smoother appearance.
Concerns: Not vegan-friendly depending on the source

*ISOPROPYL MYRISTATE
Source:
 Fatty acids 
What It Is: An ingredient often used as an emollient to help keep skin moisturized. It also acts as a thickening agent and lubricant to soften and smooth dry skin. Isopropyl myristate enhances the penetration of other ingredients which can pose problems of their own.
Concerns: Irritation, allergies

LANOLIN
Source:
 Sheep 
What It Is: An ingredient commonly found in skincare and cosmetic products, like body creams and lotions, as an emollient to lock in moisture
Concerns: Irritation, allergies, not vegan-friendly

LEAD + LEAD ACETATE
What It Is: 
Lead, a bluish-gray heavy metal, and lead acetate have been used as a color additive in hair dyes and other personal care products
Concerns: Cancer, developmental toxicity, reproductive toxicity, organ system toxicity 

LECITHIN
Source:
 Eggs 
What It Is: A naturally occurring mixture of living organisms commonly used as an emollient and water-binding agent
Concerns: Allergies, not vegan-friendly

MERCURY + MERCURY COMPOUNDS (THIMEROSAL)
What It Is: 
A naturally occurring metallic element that can be recognized as a shiny, silver-white liquid. It has been used in cosmetic and personal care products to lighten skin, remove age spots, reduce wrinkles and eliminate blemishes or freckles. It can also be used as a preservative.
Concerns: Developmental toxicity, central nervous system toxicity, immune system toxicity, digestive system toxicity. It can also be fatal and have toxic effects on the lungs, kidneys, skin and eyes. Neurological and behavioral disorders are often observed after inhaling, ingesting or via dermal exposure to mercury or mercury compounds. 

METHYLCELLOSOLVE + METHYLOXYETHANOL
What It Is: 
An ingredient used as a fragrance additive or solvent often found in anti-aging creams and similar products
Concerns: Irritation, possible neurotoxin, developmental toxicity, can cause DNA mutations that could lead to cancer 

NANOMATERIALS OR NANOPARTICLES
Fullerenes, Micronized zinc oxide, Nano zinc oxide (Nano ZnO), Nano titanium oxide (Nano TiO2), Micronized titanium oxide, Micronized quartz silica
What It Is: Ingredients often used as UV filters and preservatives in cosmetics like foundation, pressed powders, anti-aging creams, loose powders, sunscreens, etc. They can alter the properties of cosmetics including color, transparency, solubility and chemical reactivity.
Concerns: Not much is known about the potential health and environmental side effects of nanoparticles or nanomaterials because of gaps in related research

*PALMITIC ACID
Source: 
Animal or plant
What It Is: A fatty acid that has many uses in cosmetic and personal care products. It’s frequently used to increase the opacity of products and reduce its clear or transparent appearance. Palmitic acid is commonly found in products that conceal blemishes.
Concerns: Not vegan-friendly depending on the source

*PANTHENOLSource: Animal or plant
What It Is: An ingredient derived from pantothenic acid, also known as vitamin B-5, panthenol is often found in cosmetic and personal care products like moisturizers, eyeshadow, lipsticks, mascara, etc. It occurs organically, and is commonly used as a lubricant or moisturizer to soften and smooth the skin. However, it is also used as an anti-irritant.
Concerns: Not vegan-friendly depending on the source

PER- AND POLYFLUOROALKYL SUBSTANCES (PFAS)
Perfluorooctanic acid (PFOA), Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), Polyperfluoromethylisopropyl Ether, DEA-C8-18, Perfluoroalkylethyl Phosphate, Teflon
What It Is: A class of substances often found in nonstick cookware, waterproof clothing, stain-resistant carpets, makeup including: foundation, pressed powders, loose powders, bronzers, blush, eyeshadow, mascara, lip balms, anti-aging lotions, and more.
Concerns: Cancer, endocrine disruption, delayed puberty, reproductive toxicity, inflammation, possibility of contamination

PHTHALATESDBP, DEHP, DEP
What It Is: A class of plasticizing chemicals commonly used in cosmetic and personal care products to make them more pliable. They also help make the scent last longer and stick to the skin.
Concerns: Endocrine disruption, developmental toxicity, reproductive toxicity, cancer 

*POLYETHYLENE
What It Is: 
An ingredient often found in cosmetic and personal care products like eyeliners, mascara, eyeshadow, eyebrow pencils, lipstick, blush, face powders, foundation, etc. It’s used to hold together ingredients of a compressed cake, increase thickness, or keep an emulsion from separating into its liquid and oil forms.
Concerns: Possible environmental toxicity 

POLYETHYLENE GLYCOL (PEG) + PEG COMPOUNDS
*All PEGS, 1,4 Dioxane
What It Is: Chemicals often found in cosmetic products, cleansers, creams, sunscreens, etc., and are used as thickeners, solvents, softeners, moisture carriers, etc.
Concerns: Organ system toxicity, respiratory toxicity, skin irritation. It can also leave the immune system vulnerable to infection because it strips the skin of its natural oils. PEGs can be contaminated with ethylene oxide and 1,4 dioxide which are both known carcinogens. 

POLYPROPYLENE GLYCOL (PPG)
What It Is: 
An ingredient often used as a humectant and delivery agent in cosmetics
Concerns: Skin sensitizer 

PRESERVATIVES 
Butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA)
What It Is: 
Commonly used as a preservative, BHA is a synthetic antioxidant often found in cosmetic and personal care products like eyeshadow, lipsticks, moisturizers, etc.
Concerns: Endocrine disruption, organ system toxicity, developmental toxicity, reproductive toxicity, cancer, irritation

*Butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT)
What It Is: 
Commonly used as a preservative, BHT is a synthetic antioxidant and toluene-based ingredient that is often found in cosmetic and personal care products like lipsticks, moisturizers, creams, etc.
Concerns: Endocrine disruption, organ system toxicity, developmental toxicity, reproductive toxicity, cancer, irritation

Formaldehyde, formaldehyde donors, or formaldehyde-releasing agents
What It Is: 
Preservatives used to prevent bacterial growth and extend the life of a product. Formaldehydes can be added directly to a product formula, or more often, released from preservatives such as Quaternium-15, DMDM hydantoin, Imidazolidinyl urea, Sodium hydroxymethylglycinate, Bromopol, Glyoxal. These chemicals can be found in a variety of products such as nail polish, artificial lash glue, body wash, lotion, moisturizer, makeup remover, eyeshadow, blush, sunscreen, shampoo, etc.
Concerns: Cancer, irritation

Methylchloroisothiazolinone or methylisothiazolinone 
What It Is: 
A chemical preservative often found in cleansers, shampoos, body washes, etc. 
Concerns: Irritation, sensitizer, possible allergies

Parabens
Isobutylparaben, butylparaben, methylparaben, propylparaben
What It Is: Preservatives found in almost every type of personal care product, parabens are used to prevent mold and bacterial growth
Concerns: Endocrine disruption, irritation, possible allergies. Parabens have also been linked to breast cancer, fertility problems, increased aging of the skin and DNA damage.

*Phenoxyethanol 
What It Is: 
An ingredient used as a preservative often found in cosmetics to prevent bacterial growth. It’s also used as a stabilizer in perfumes and soaps. If formulas contain less than 1% of Phenoxyethanol, they are considered safe and clean. 
Concerns: Allergies. May have nervous system effects in infants.

Quaternium-15, benzalkonium chloride, benzethonium chloride
What It Is: 
A formaldehyde-releasing preservative used to prevent bacterial growth and often found in the formulation of creams, lotions, cleansers, eye makeup, skincare products, etc. 
Concerns: Irritation, sensitizer

Triclosan (TSC), triclocarban (TCC)
What It Is: 
Antimicrobial ingredients often used in cosmetic and personal care products as preservatives to prevent bacterial growth and reduce or eliminate bad odors
Concerns: Endocrine disruption, enables bacteria to become resistant to antibiotics, possible environmental toxicity, possible reproductive toxicity

*PROPYLENE GLYCOL + DERIVATIVES
What It Is: 
An ingredient often found in cosmetics and personal care products like lotion, cleansers, etc. and used as a solvent
Concerns: Allergies, irritation, damage to the central nervous system, liver and heart

SQUALANE 
Source: 
Whales/sharks
What It Is: A byproduct of squalene more commonly used in eye makeup, lipstick, foundation, sunscreen, moisturizers, anti-aging creams, skincare products, etc. because it’s odorless and longer-lasting than squalene
Concerns: Squalane and squalene are made of shark liver oil which mimics the body’s natural oil and easily absorbs into the skin. The market for these ingredients is not highly regulated and opens the door for ecosystem disruption because it makes sharks a prime target for hunters and puts them at risk of extinction. 

SQUALENE
Source: 
Whales/sharks
What It Is: An ingredient often found in eye makeup, lipstick, foundation, sunscreen, moisturizers, anti-aging creams, skincare products, etc. 
Concerns: Squalane and squalene are made of shark liver oil which mimics the body’s natural oil and easily absorbs into the skin. The market for these ingredients is not highly regulated and opens the door for ecosystem disruption because it makes sharks a prime target for hunters and puts them at risk of extinction. 

*STEARIC ACID 
What It Is: 
An ingredient obtained from animal or vegetable fats and oils, it is commonly found in cosmetic and personal care products to protect the surface of the skin from losing moisture. It also helps restore the skin’s protective barrier.
Concerns: Not vegan-friendly depending on the source

STYRENES
Bromostyrene, *DEA-styrene/acrylates/divinylbenzene copolymer, *Sodium styrene/divinylbenzene copolymer, Styrene, Styrene Oxide
What It Is: Chemicals often found in nail polish, moisturizers with SPF, sunscreens, body washes, cleansers, shampoos, eyeliner, etc. 
Concerns: Cancer, endocrine disruption, irritation, central nervous system toxicity, possibility of contamination

SULFATES + SULFATE-BASED DETERGENTS 
Ammonium Laureth Sulfate 
What It Is: 
Derived from coconut, this chemical is often found in bath products, face makeup, deodorants, perfumes, etc.
Concerns: Irritation

Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate
What It Is: 
Derived from coconut, this chemical is often found in bath products, face makeup, deodorants, perfumes, etc.
Concerns: Organ system toxicity

Selenium Sulfide
What It Is: 
An inorganic salt consisting of selenium and sulfur that is often used to enhance feel, shine and suppleness 
Concerns: Respiratory toxicity, organ system toxicity, possible carcinogen, wildlife and environmental toxicity

Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES)
What It Is: 
A chemical used as a foaming agent to remove oil stains and residue, SLES is not commonly found in cleansers, face washes, shampoos, etc., but also in creams and lotions. It is gentler on the skin than SLS. 
Concerns: Irritation. Many foaming agents have been or are still tested on animals - something we, at Sigma Beauty, do not believe in or condone.

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS)
What It Is: 
Also known as Sodium dodecyl sulfate, SLS is used as a foaming agent to remove oil stains and residue. it is often found in face washes, shampoos, cleansers, lotions, creams, etc.
Concerns: Irritation. Many foaming agents have been or are still tested on animals - something we, at Sigma Beauty, do not believe in or condone. 

TOLUENE
What It Is: 
A chemical commonly found in nail products, hair dyes, adhesives, etc. It is naturally found in crude oil and the tolu tree.
Concerns: Organ system toxicity, developmental toxicity, reproductive toxicity, irritation. It is restricted for use in cosmetics in the EU. 

*Currently being phased out