Ingredients we won't use
Added Fragrance (Synthetic as well as ‘Natural’)
At Simplicité we don’t add any sort of fragrance to our products, either synthetic or ‘natural’. We just don’t need to do that. It’s because David Lyons, naturopath and herbalist, freshly hand makes his own plant extracts from certified organically grown herbs, plants and flowers. These are medicinal grade, made from the highest activity and quality possible - a much higher quality than just ‘organic’. David makes the strongest possible extracts he can from these herbs, plants and flowers. He also uses large quantities of each in each product. That's why Simplicité products have such a heavenly fragrance.
See also Fragrance.
When used in skin care products alcohol dries the skin. Alcohol in skin care products often has another name (e.g. ‘ethanol’, ‘sugar cane ethanol’, ‘fermented grain extract’, ‘organic grain alcohol’, ‘SD alcohol’ and ‘denatured (denat) alcohol’ ).
And don’t believe the advice from many skin care companies that alcohol used in their products isn’t drying to skin. Alcohol is drying to skin – in whichever form or ‘carefully blended combination’ it is listed. But you'll never hear that from the many, many skin care brands who use alcohol in their products. This from one skin care brand's website:
"Alcohol/SD Alcohol 40-A (Alcohol Denat) - sourced from the fermentation of sugar cane, alcohol ensures that herbal extracts remain in solution within the skincare formulation and provides an essential antimicrobial action to maintain the shelf-life of the product.”
Not mentioned is the fact that: alcohol dries out skin. Even though it's 'natural', being sourced from a plant.
Why do skin care companies use alcohol if it’s so bad for skin? The answer is that this is a lazy way to make herbal extracts. A lot of alcohol for skin care products and other uses is made by bulk manufacturers in China. And these are the ‘organic’ types of alcohol that are manufactured there. Don’t be fooled by the ‘organic’ tag – this alcohol gives skin the same drying outcome as the other types.
Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs) aka Fruit Acids
Includes Glycolic Acid, Lactic Acid, anything listed as ‘Fruit Extract’.
David Lyons, naturopath and formulator of Simplicité products says, “We can’t ever guarantee the results of our products whenever anyone is using Alpha Hydroxy Acids (also Beta Hydroxy Acids). This is even though they’re suppposed to be made from fruit. In fact we believe the ‘made from fruit’ statement to be highly misleading: the source of the AHAs in cosmetics is predominantly synthetic or from bacterial or fungal fermentations.
For example, collagen (also collagen peptides). These are usually sourced from cows but often from pigs and sheep too. But using any sort of collagen/collagen peptide product is a waste of time if you want lasting skin improvement. Only plant extracts contain nutrients in a form that the skin can most easily use.
Animal products have to go through your digestive tract before they are of any use.
Aromatherapy extracts – the lesser quality ones
These contain high levels of impurities and are generally ineffective. Lesser quality aromatherapy extracts are bulk manufactured (one example can be found here: http://www.herb-extracts-china.com/p-Aromatherapy-Essential-Oil-129900/).
Note: Simplicité uses only ‘practitioner’ grade aromatherapy extracts—these are the equivalent standard to medicinal grade herbal extracts.
A synthetic Vitamin C that's been shown to cause skin sensitivity.
Beta Hydroxy Acids
Salicylic acid is a beta hydroxy acid that is commonly used in acne treatments and facial peels. Salicylic acid is also used to dissolve warts - it is the active ingredient in wart treatment lotions, Salicylic acid is extremely harsh and using this on your face may give a temporary improvement because it will dry out pimples and peel off layers of skin. The longer term effects are that it accelerates the skin's ageing process.
This is produced naturally by many plants and is commonly found in fruits and teas. Not that this means much because it exists naturally in only very small amounts. The benzyl alcohol you see in skin care products is the same as what is synthesised industrially for use as a general solvent for inks, paints, lacquers, and it is also used in the preparation of epoxy resin coatings. Are we stating the obvious to say that it’s irritating and causes congestion?
A clear, practically colourless liquid that is used as antifreeze in vehicles, as an industrial cleaner—and in around 10% of all cosmetics and skin care products.
Butylene Glycol is such a popular choice of ingredient in skin care because it is an effective solvent. A solvent is a substance that dissolves another to form a solution.
Because Butylene Glycol is used in high volumes in skin care products (often as the second or third ingredient) it can cause irritation and skin flakiness.
Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter) in face products
Shea Butter is naturally a solid oil - because of this we'll never use Shea Butter in our face products. Facial skin is simply too fine to properly absorb it. This is why face creams that contain Shea Butter (and a great many do) tend to stay on top of the skin.
Where we do use the very highest quality Shea Butter (medicinal grade) is in our Luxurious Mandarin Body Butter. Because our Shea Butter is high quality it does not have a greasy feel. It joins 12 other nutritive plant extracts to give the perfect nourishing body butter.
A thickener for cremes and gels – made by BF Goodrich ‘the tyre people’. It is completely lacking in nutrient or any skin-health benefits. We never use this, preferring the plant based extracts. See also Triethanolamine (TEA).
We don't use Castor Oil in our Face or Body Oils because we don't believe it gives skin any benefit.
The other reason we won't use Castor Oil is because of the significant health danger to workers involved in harvesting and processing castor beans. Allergenic compounds found on the plant surface can cause permanent nerve damage, Also, they're paid a pittance.
Cetyl Ricinoleate is a fatty acid made from Castor Oil – this is also known as its trade name of Naturechem CR.
This is a prime example of something proudly declared to be a plant extract. Really though, this is just a cheap, easy way of making a smooth emollient cream that gives no nutritive value to skin.
This colourless, odourless ingredient is widely used in skin care. Lauded as 'having a unique fluidity that makes it easily spreadable' by one of the brands that uses it as a main ingredient, Cyclopentasiloxane's point is merely to give a slippery feel to the creme or lotion. Products containing this silicone can feel softer after use but there’s no lasting value. In fact, the silicone creates a barrier over the skin. See also Silicones.
Another ingredient that’s just there to bind the others together. It does nothing whatsoever for skin.
A preservative which has been found to be irritating to skin.
It’s synthetic – what more can we say? Synthetic substances irritate and dry the skin.
‘Natural’ fragrances (i.e. geraniol, linalool, citronellol etc) – are ‘bits’ taken from plants which have been grown and processed in Chinese/Indian factories. We believe that to add any sort of fragrance means that a) the product doesn’t naturally smell good, and b) the plant ingredients it contains must be weak i.e. ineffective because these aren’t concentrated or used in enough quantity to have their own natural fragrance.
Grape seed extract, grapefruit seed extract
Used as preservatives in many ‘organic’ and ‘natural’ ranges. We believe Grape seed and Grapefruit seed extracts can irritate the skin and cause sensitivity because these have to be used in large amounts to be effective.
But why are they used if they are ineffective? It’s because they give ‘label cred’ for natural skin care and organic skin care ranges. But always, another preservative must be added to effectively preserve the products.
Or, this happens: Reports published in respected international journals have discovered that five out of six of commercially available Grapefruit Seed extracts sold as ‘preservatives’ had been laced with Benzethonium Chloride (a quartenary ammonium compound). Additionally, three out of those five Grapefruit Seed preservatives had also been laced with two synthetic preservatives – Triclosan (a chloro-phenyl ether used in Dettol cream), and Methyl Paraben.
Grapefruit seed extract has a very low anti-microbial activity and is a useless preservative. That’s what the literature says.
Also known as Sodium Hyaluronate. This is a by-product of the Chinese abattoir industry (think roosters' combs, animal eyeballs). We don't use Hyaluronic Acid because we believe it is a waste of space in skin care products, at best contributing nothing at all to improve skin, or at worst encouraging flaky skin and even skin cancers – quite opposite to the skin hydrator it’s promoted as being.
There are a couple of ‘natural’ versions of Hyaluronic Acid which are just as unsuitable for skin – one is made from bacteria commonly found in bowel and respiratory infections in horses, the other is obtained through bacterial fermentation. Read more about why we won;t use Hyaluronic Acid
These are one step away from becoming margarine. They lack nutrients and introduce products of oxidation into the skin – which ages it. Hydrogenated oils also get caught in the pores and so cause congestion.
Hydroxypropyl Starch Phosphate
Used to bulk out and thicken skin care products. No nutrient value whatsoever fo the skin.
Used to give products a silky, smooth feel. No nutritive value for skin.
Wool fat from sheep or goats. Do we really have to say more? This is a heavyweight animal fat which weighs down the skin and sits on the top. It is best used to prevent nuts and bolts rusting in a marine environment.
Low Grade Plant Extracts
Low grade quality plant extracts are those used commercially in manufacturing skin care. These are the direct opposite of Simplicité’s freshly made extracts using medicinal grade herbs and flowers.
Methylchloroisothiazolinone / methylisothiazolinone
A preservative combination. “The use of moist wipes containing methylchloroisothiazolinone/methylisothiazolinone (MCI/MI) has been associated with allergic contact dermatitis.
Mineral Oil (Paraffinum Liquidum)
This is light engine oil, which is completely lacking in nutrient. Mineral oil is a liquid by-product of the distillation of petroleum to produce gasoline and other petroleum-based products from crude oil. A mineral oil in this sense is transparent, colourless oil, related to petroleum jelly (also known as “white petrolatum”). As a component of crude oil it is carcinogenic when applied to the skin over a long period of time. It also leaches nutrients from the skin.
The worst sunscreen agent we can think of. It should have been outlawed years ago.
Preservatives that when used in large amounts can cause irritation. There are so many better alternatives available now.
Slightly yellowish odourless liquid which is used to improve the feel of skin care products. Absolutely no nutrient value to skin.
Petrolatum (aka Petroleum Jelly or Vaseline)
Is derived from crude oil. It has no nutritive value, merely acting as a skin sealant which can prevent moisture loss. Regular use of petrolatum dries the skin and introduces ageing elements into it.
A preservative used in combination with the grape-seed and grapefruit seed extract preservatives in the ‘organic’ and ‘natural’ ranges. We believe this colourless, oily liquid irritates the skin and causes sensitivity.
An acrylic thickener – a ‘film-former’ which as the name suggests leaves a film on the skin. This gives the sensation of skin ‘tightening’ - gives the feeling that skin has been tightened by applying the product. This is purely a temporary sensation - when the product wears off or is washed off the feeling of tighter, firmer skin disappears. There is no improvement to skin.
Another nothing ingredient for skin that is simply used to give a silky feel. Also see Silicones.
A liquid alcohol which is used as a solvent, in antifreeze – and as a lubricant in many skin care products to make them glide on more easily. It irritates the skin and causes flakiness.
Even if it’s not shown in an ingredient list propylene glycol will often be present. When plant/herb extracts aren’t freshly prepared but are instead purchased from one of the big suppliers, these are often preserved in a propylene glycol base. Because it is an ‘excipient’, the propylene glycol base is not required to be shown on product ingredient lists.
Retin A (Tretinoin)
No nutrient value for skin, harsh, contributes to thinning the skin and makes skin sensitive to sun exposure.
A cheap, simple moisturiser. Also see Sunflower Oil.
Sd Alcohol 40-A (Alcohol Denat)
Shea Butter (Butyrospermum Parkii) in face products
Shea Butter is not suitable to be used in facial products. It is too thick for the finer skin on the face to properly absorb. Just because a face cream is thick doesn't mean that it has any nutritive or anti-aging value.
Simplicité only uses Shea Butter (medicinal grade) in this body product: Luxurious Mandarin Body Butter. The very high quality Shea Butter is used to give a thicker feeling creme—and 12 other active ingredients give high nutritive value for skin. This is a rich, nutritive and non-greasy body cream.
Any word ending in -cone, including Cyclopentasiloxane, Simethicone, Polymethylsilsesquioxane.
Silicones are colourless, odourless slippery-feeling substances used in a great many skin and hair care products to give what is known as 'skin feel' aka that slippery feel a lot of skin care and hair care products have.
Silicone is not derived from silica. Like any plastic polymer, silicones are synthetic and include a mix of chemical additives derived from fossil fuels.
Silicones do not give any nutritive benefit to skin or hair. However, silicones are ideal furniture and floor polishes and do an outstanding job of making your car's dashboard and tyres look polished and shiny.
Silicones feature prominently in many skin care ranges, from expensive to cheap brands.
Silicones are commonly used in ‘natural’ and 'organic' skin care products but these are greenwashed. These are derived from 'natural' sources but they're still the same sort of nutrient-lacking substances that are used to make skin and hair products feel slippery.
A synthetic polymer used in cosmetics and personal care products in part because of its ability to absorb as much as 200 to 300 times its mass in water. This substance is the white crystals used as absorbers in baby nappies. It’s primarily used as a thickener, also as emulsion stabilizer, film former, emollient, and viscosity increasing agent in skin care products. Nutrient content? Nil.
A thickening agent, also used to create the ‘slippery’ feel. No nutrient value whatsoever for skin.
Squalane is the hydrogenated form of squalene. (Think margarine instead of butter.)
The squalene that's used in most skin care products is a colourless, odourless ingredient that used to be primarily made from shark livers.
Apart from the horrible thought of using shark liver extract on your skin, the practice is cruel and endangers sharks. And using this form of squalene doesn’t even benefit the skin in any way because skin cannot absorb animal extracts.
Note: Squalene in Simplicité products is from medicinal grade wheatgerm sourced in Australia. This quality and source of squalene has been shown to protect against skin cancer cell growth.
Squalene is a natural 30-carbon organic compound. It occurs in many seeds/grains; amaranth seed, rice bran, wheatgerm, and olives to name a few. In fact, all plants and animals produce squalene to some degree as a biochemical intermediate.
Sunflower oil widely used in skin care products because it’s one of the cheapest emollients available. It has no value for skin because it is not a concentrated nutrient.
Sometimes, skin care brands refer to sunflower oil as 'helianthus annuus essential oil'. There isn't any 'concentrated' version of sunflower oil - it's just a cheap ingredient that's best avoided.
Sunflower is produced primarily as a cooking oil - but even so we don’t believe it’s the best choice. We’re sceptical of the whole ‘vegetable oil’ premise – really, what sort of ‘vegetable’ is a sunflower? It's best to cook with the best and freshest light olive oil you can find – even for deep frying. Use the stronger flavour olive oil for salads.
But, don’t put olive oil on your face either - it's too thick for skin to absorb and it it will congest the pores.
Added to cleansers to improve foaming. No nutrient value for skin.
Anti-bacterial, preservative used in skin and oral care.
A significant negative when using carbomers is having to also use Triethanolamine (TEA) to ‘rebalance’ the pH of the carbomer-based creams and gels. Triethanolamine (TEA) irritates the skin. See also Carbomers.
Urea is a waste product. It’s the main nitrogen-containing substance found in the urine of all mammals.
At no time can we support the use of urea in skin care products, especially in the treatment of skin cancers.These products generally have a 10% urea content. This represents an approach used at least 40 years ago.
1. The source of the AHAs in cosmetics is predominantly synthetic or from bacterial or fungal fermentations.