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Why I avoid these 9 controversial ingredients in my personal care products

According to The Guardian (1), the EU has banned (or restricted) 1,300 ingredients found in personal care products. Meanwhile…the US only has banned (or restricted) 11.

How can one group find ingredients so dangerous that they feel compelled to regulate them, while another group lets these ingredients run rampant?


Over the last decade, I fought for Ingredient Transparency in our food and other daily products (like deodorant, cosmetics, etc).

Even though we’ve made tremendous progress…the truth is that big companies just don’t change fast enough.

I believe we deserve to live in a world where our products can be made without weird – and nasty – ingredients.

Is that too much to ask?

Apparently so. Because we are so far away it’s crazy.

So, I decided to take matters into my own hands.

I launched Truvani and we have one main goal: eliminate nasty ingredients from all daily-use products.

We started with supplements. Now we are creating personal care products. If you want to learn about them, click here to learn more.

I know you’ll like them. And when you see the ingredient labels, you’ll LOVE THEM.

But first, let me tell you everything that’s wrong with personal care…

Here Are 9 Controversial Ingredients I Never Want To See In My Personal Care Products

These are the ingredients I avoid in personal care products…because of the controversy that surrounds them.


Ever look at the ingredient label on a traditional deodorant or antiperspirant?

So many companies use aluminum in antiperspirants. This is a problem.

You see, an antiperspirant is an over-the-counter drug that chokes your sweat glands shut and prevents you from sweating. And they use an aluminum compound to do it.

Why is this an issue?

Well, our bodies sweat for a reason. Why would we prevent it from doing what it wants to do?

Even though it’s deemed “generally safe,” the controversy around this in antiperspirants made me switch to organic deodorant… without aluminum.


Carrageenan can be found in most milk substitute products, infant formula, deli meats, cottage cheese… and also in personal care products.

In some cases, these products can even be certified by the USDA and found in organic products.

…but the controversy around carrageenan is concerning.

Some scientists say it’s a carcinogen. Other scientists say it’s safe. I don’t want to risk it, especially after reading the research published by the Cornucopia Institute.

They show the timeline of events, lack of regulation, and down right shadiness that all led up to carrageenan’s approval in organic products. (2)


It’s so controversial and if you’re mad about it in almond milk… you should be mad about it in toothpaste, too. This is why I avoid it in my personal care products.


Parabens is a widely used preservative in cosmetics – and some personal care items. It’s also sometimes used as an ingredient in manufactured “Fragrances.”

On ingredient labels, they’ll often be listed as: Propylparaben, Isopropylparaben, Butylparaben, or Isobutylparaben.

And I avoid them whenever possible.

The controversy around them is too great. Some scientists claim they’re safe. Other scientists claim they’re dangerous. I claim “it’s not worth it.”


When you see the word “Parfum” or “Fragrance” on an ingredient label, I would personally run for the hills. Here’s why:

Parfums or Fragrances are often a complex mixture of different chemicals and ingredients… and companies are not required to disclose these ingredients. “Because the formulas are patented.”

This is not okay. I believe we deserve to know what’s being included in our products and I avoid these every single time.

(I believe the same for Natural Flavors, or flavoring. If companies can’t disclose what’s being used in their flavors…I avoid those products, too).


Ever wonder why soaps and other personal care products “foam?” Some companies use Sodium Laureth Sulfates (SLES).

Now, depending on how people make this ingredient, this can be contaminated with measurable amounts of ethylene oxide.

Again. This is another controversial ingredient and I don’t want them in my personal care products.


Yes, some cosmetics (and personal care) products use formaldehyde releasing preservatives. And I want nothing to do with it.

The reason why there’s so much controversy around them is because the ingredients slowly (and continuously) release small amounts of formaldehyde.

As someone who cares about ingredients that go in or on our bodies…I avoid these like the plague.

#7. NO DEA-related Ingredients

DEA (diethanolamine) and DEA compounds are found in some cosmetic (and personal care) products. It’s often used to make cosmetics more creamy or foamy…

It also can act as a pH adjustor.

What types of products use them? Sometimes you’ll see them in moisturizers… or sunscreens… and others are found in soaps or shampoos.

But I avoid these ingredients, too. If you google it, there’s controversy around whether or not it’s considered “safe.” The main thing that people talk about? Some people suggest it’s a skin and eye irritant.

#8. NO PEGs (petroleum-based compounds)

Petroleum based compounds are often used as thickeners or solvents or softeners or moisture-carriers in cosmetics (and other personal care products).

The big problem? Depending on how people manufacture these compounds, PEGs may be contaminated with ethylene oxide and 1,4-dioxane.

This is why I avoid PEGs. The controversy around it is too great.


What are BHA & BHT? Well, they are the short-form form of butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) and butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT).

These ingredients are found in some cosmetics (and other personal care products) because they are synthetic antioxidants. They are also used as preservatives in lipsticks, moisturizers, and even found in food products, too, as food preservatives.

The European Union prohibits the use of BHA as a fragrance ingredient in cosmetics. In the USA, California requires a warning label on product containing BHA, notifying consumers that this ingredient may cause cancer.

Given the controversy, we don’t want BHA & BHT in our products, either.

There Are Other Controversial Ingredients…this is just a start.

You see, when I launched Truvani, I wanted to eliminate all nasty ingredients from daily-use products. Yes, we started with supplements. And now we’re moving into personal care.

But the mission will continue way past that.

We want great products. Without nasty ingredients. And we will continue making all the products that fit the bill.

Our new personal care product line launches March 15th:

Check it out here.



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4 responses to “Why I avoid these 9 controversial ingredients in my personal care products

  1. Dear Food Babe, Hi, are the Dole mandarin oranges in fruit juice that are made in china safe to eat? I was shocked to find this on the label, that says “Product Of China”. What are the best to eat if you can’t get fresh oranges? Thanks, Mrs. S. Brown

  2. Hi! I’ve seen one phenoxyethelene (spelling?) in literally EVERYTHING! From hand soap to laundry soap to lotions, serums, basically any liquid product you could use, even organic products! I’ve read this is just as bad as pats end but considered “safe”. This is used in place of parabens but may be just as bad? I just threw out everything with that ingredient!

  3. In 1994, I overheard the owner of a local health food store talk to a customer about the dangers surrounding parabens. I have avoided them in all products since. Way before that time, I had been listening to Gary Null on the radio in NY, I bought his books, and in fact I bought his first book about vegetarianism, and that would become my guidebook for eventually becoming vegan. I actually met my husband at a health retreat in Texas in 1992 that was hosted by Gary Null for 2 weeks. You can still listen to Gary on the internet, and he’s only gotten better in his being in the know of all things healthy. He has been talking about the dangers of the toxins and more listed above and it’s great to see more people talking about them and exposing them.

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