How I Check Beauty Products Ingredients

A while back I shared how I find out which beauty products are cruelty free, a hugely important aspect for me when it comes to beauty products. Today in continuation I’m sharing how I find out if the ingredients are good or bad.

I prefer natural, clean beauty products and I’m learning what’s clean doesn’t necessarily meaning it’s not derived from petrochemicals. Vegan products are a bonus. As many of you know I’m on a mission to reduce the amount of plastic I consume. This too includes what’s in beauty products. The packaging I try to opt for less plastic however I’ve always said beauty products are one of my biggest plastic areas. 

Many times looking on online an ingredient says it’s synthetic and has a low rating on for toxicity meaning they’re clean and safe. However I prefer not to put petrochemicals on my skin anymore. is a great place to start looking at the toxicity rating of products. 0 being least hazardous, 10 being the highest. A few natural ingredients might have a rating of 3-5 based on the allergic reaction but I prefer them over synthetic. I’m no angel some nasty ingredients sip through, I’m okay this time or some I know the brand has sourced the best option of it. I also understand that what is natural can also be processed. On the whole I try to avoid the nasty ones. It’s easier with skincare products than makeup. Makeup I try to opt for the lesser badder ingredients.

The main ingredients for concern are: Sulphates, parabens, synthetic fragrance, synthetic colours, T.E.A, D.E.A, silicones, PEGs. ethoxylates, formaldehydes, phthalates, synthetic preservatives, synthetic glycols. These can all individually cause anything from hormone disrupters, skin rashes to I’m sure polluting the environment. In addition I try to avoid palm oil and it’s derivatives as I prefer orangutans. This can be more tricky as like coconut oil (the ‘good’ oil but still has its problems enviromentally) it’s derivatives are used mixed with other ingredients or are the petrochemical equivalent. I also like to think that by avoiding petrochemical ingredients I’m also helping out the environment by less demand from not using in products and when it’s washed off into the water system or my body absorbing and flushing out.

Petroleum goes through multi stages of distillation and these get distilled further mixed in with other distilled ingredients, it gets a bit of a nightmare. So here’s how I find out what’s petrochemical derived. I call them 3rd, 4th, 5th generation ingredients.

Firstly I look up the ingredient that isn’t obviously natural (thank goodness for mobile date out. I must drive shop assistants crazy looking everything up). Various sites will come up saying what’s a good ingredient, what to look out for, what to avoid. This helps, but I want to know the what it’s made from, not just avoid it.

I search X source or X made from. This can get tedious with sites. The scientific, the wholesaler ingredients sites don’t help. I don’t speak science and you have to know what you’re looking at. 

Wikipedia helps most of the time. Usually it’ll say X is organic compound. If it starts with or includes a poly, trig, hydro, cetearyl, phen, plth, paraben, phen, oxy, gly, acetate, acid, ethy, peg, ylyl, alcohol, ceryl, butyl, sls, fate, diol, cone, ioxide, stearate, EDTA to name a few I’m looking it up! Some poly’s are natural. After while you begin to recognise the key parts of the words that differentiate between natural and petrochemical. 

Searches that come saying the ingredient’s an organic compound or origin I know for sure is petrochemical. Petroleum’s organic; fossilised plankton, the process isn’t. It’ll usually say this is made for Y and Z. Clicking on Y and Z will then lead me on a hunt to find what I’m looking for: petroleum. It might take several layers of clicking either Y and Z’s to reveal this. Other sites that help no end are:, cosmeticsinfo, beautycounter , thedermareview, beautytap, paulaschoice, truthinaging. It’s usually it’s a mix of all, cross referencing to find the source! 

Most natural ingredients are straight up what they are when you check them out. No hiding behind ‘an organic origin or compound’. After a while you get to recognise those which are good and those which aren’t. I still double check if I’m I really want to try this or am unsure. For example ethylhexylglycerin gets me every time. While it’s natural it has been processed. The name throws me as does betaine. Some sulphates depending on the spelling are also the good ones. Kora Organics and Freshly Cosmetics own glossary of natural ingredients helps while listing the ingredients benefits. 

A few of my current favourite cruelty free, natural, clean brands in no particular order (please note, clean can mean they use petrochemical derivites. Those products I put back):

Kora Organics 

Freshly Cosmetics

Frank Body

Urang (EU Miin Cosmetics)

Honest Beauty

The Ordinary (not all products natural)

The Organic Shop

Dr Roebucks

Badger Balm



Are you concerned about the products you slather, pat, tap, lather on or not bothered? What’s you take on beauty products? Clean, natural, scientific, a mix of everything or wash and go?! Please share in the comments below!


Me after checking everything out!

All gifs: Giphy


  1. says:

    I’m not as careful or thorough as you but I’m trying to change to natural alternatives when they are an option. For example, I’m now using pure coconut oil as a body moisturiser (and it comes in a glass jar! yay!) and rosehip oil for my face. I don’t really use makeup except BB cream as a sunscreen and lipstick once every year… hahaha.

    1. says:

      I love BB cream! I’ve just found out that has quiet a few natural, clean BB creams. Only 1 Nat!

      I’d love to use coconut oil as a body moisturiser, but my hair is so fine any external greasy like coconut oil or shea butter will make the ends lanky and greasy whether it’s wet or dry. I have found on eco verde pure cocoa butter so I will see how that goes!

      Lipstick I don’t even bother with. Makes mine look small and then I look like my Mum! I’m a lip balm girl. When I’ve used up my stash I’m hoping to DIY my own. SPF lip balms I might have to buy, but I’m looking forward to concocting them!

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