Beauty Buzzwords Decoded

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When it comes to body and haircare products, we often say it’s what’s inside that counts, choosing to focus on high quality ingredients over flashy packaging. But who truly understands the benefits behind all of the buzzwords? Here, I wanted to address frequently asked questions about common ingredients and environmental terms, so you can feel confident in choosing the best beauty products for your lifestyle.



What is the difference between perfume oils and essential oils?

Perfume oils are generally synthetic and have been created to smell like a specific plant, fruit, or other aroma. Essential oils are obtained directly from the plant, and offer many medicinal and aromatherapy properties that when breathed in, may uplift, relax, or balance the mood. The use of essential oils can replace the need to use harsh chemicals, mineral oils and artificial fragrances commonly found in other personal care products.



How about parabens versus preservatives?

Preservatives are a necessary part of all personal care products; without preservatives, liquids, creams and gels would breed bacteria. Parabens are a commonly known and used preservative in body and skincare products, but have been linked to cancer, toxicities and skin irritations. While a direct link has not been proven, many companies have chosen to eliminate parabens from their products, and use a gentler and more natural preservative system to ensure stability and safety.



And vegan versus cruelty-free?

Vegan refers to products, food, or a lifestyle devoid of animal-derived proteins and substances, including animal derivatives such as milk, eggs and honey. People following a vegan lifestyle rely on only plant- and earth-based substances and avoid using products that have been tested on animals (also known as cruelty-free). To determine if a product is vegan, it should not contain ingredients in the following categories:

Bee-derived, such as honey, beeswax, royal jelly, or propolis

Milk-derived, such as lactic acid or milk proteins

Marine-derived collagen or oils

Carmine (coloring from beetles)



What are UREA, DEA, TEA, Propylene and Phthalates?

Widely used in body and skincare products, many people choose to avoid these chemically-derived ingredients:

UREA is chemically derived ingredient found in many body and skincare products. It’s used as a preservative and conditioning agent which can release formaldehyde, a known carcinogenic.

DEA is a synthetic surfactant that aids in foaming, and has been linked to development and reproductive toxicity at high doses ranging from birth defects to development delays in children to infertility to reproductive organ cancers.

TEA is a fragrance ingredient, pH adjuster, surfactant and emulsifying agent. The Cosmetic Ingredient Review has placed restrictions on this ingredient regarding the concentration amounts. There is evidence showing this ingredient to be an immune and respiratory toxicant meaning there are health problems ranging from allergic reactions to an incapacity to fight disease and repair damaged tissue in the body.

Phthalates work as softeners in personal care products such as cosmetics and shampoo and have been tied to cancer and as being carcinogenic.



What is PCR?

PCR is Post-Consumer Recycled content or material in the form of papers, plastics, aluminum, etc. Collections made with PCR materials are able to be recycled again, further extending the environmental benefits.



What is the benefit of vegetable ink?

Soy-based inks are used on paper and carton printing as they are naturally low in volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Soy beans are a clean renewable and sustainable resource, unlike the alternative petroleum or chemicals found in traditional inks. Soy ink is also easier to remove from paper during the recycling process than oil-based ink.


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