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Naughty or Nice? A yes/no guide to beauty ingredients

Have you heard of Butrospermum parkii? What about Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis?

Or Mentha piperita?

With ingredients now a legal requirement for beauty packaging we’re so much more clued up about what’s in our products. Or are we?

Lots of ingredients are still a mystery to us, and it’s a common misconception that if you can’t pronounce the name of the ingredient or it sounds like a “science term” then it’s not good for you. For those of you who weren’t 100% sure of the names above these are simply the botanical, or Latin, names for Shea Butter, Sweet Almond oil and Peppermint Oil. It’s safe to say that you can’t judge an ingredient by its name, so how do you know what to look for?!

Do not panic, we’re here to help! This post is your guide to a few common nasties to avoid, and a few funky-named naturals that you should learn to love!


Butyrospermum parkii: Shea butter. A wonderful moisturising butter (or fat) extracted from the nut of the African Shea tree. Full of oleic acid, a saturated fatty acid, which is compatible with sebum (the substance produced by hair follicles in the skin) Shea butter melts into skin leaving a long-lasting moisturised and bouncy feeling to your skin.

Argania spinose: Argan oil. Produced from the kernels of the Argan tree, found in Morocco, this oil is deliciously thick and grassy and works wonders on smoothing hair and skin. Argan oil is rich in antioxidants so is ideal for protecting against pollution, cold weather or super dry air.

Rosa rubiginosa: Rosehip oil. Derived from the seeds of the Rosehip plant, this oil is fully of fatty acids and antioxidants that assist cell regeneration and elasticity, particularly in scar tissue. The oil can be applied in small doses directly to skin or, added to face creams for keeping redness at bay.

Prunus armeniaca: Apricot kernel oil. Apricot kernels contain up to 50% fat as they’re what new apricot plants need to grow. Anything containing Apricot Kernel oil gives you a good dose of Omega 6 and Omega 9 which contribute to supple skin.

Coco glucoside: This one sounds a little more dodgy but is actually common in lots of natural soaps and shampoos as it’s a sugary compound found in coconuts which creates that lovely foamy lather we like to wash with.


SLS or sodium lauryl sulphate: SLS is a synthetic compound, which is known for drying out skin, inhibiting the production of your natural oils and has been known to cause acne particularly around the mouth and chin. It’s used in lots of cosmetic and cleaning products for its surfactant qualities which means it disperses easily in water and thus doesn’t cause separation of the product over time.

BHA or Butylated hydroxianisole: Commonly used for its waxy character and preservative properties, this compound has been classified as potentially carcinogenic and has been considered unsafe in fragrance by the European Union. Lesser side effects also cause issues with pigmentation in skin.

Parabens: Parabens are found in SO many cosmetic and hygiene products and are again used for preservation of products giving them that long shelf-life. Parabens have been found to have a negative effect on hormone balance as the make-up of the compound mimics oestrogen. This has given a link to increased chances of breast cancer and reproductive issues, as well as the more likely side effects of skin irritation.

Retinol palmitate: Most common in anti-ageing products, retinol is quite simply Vitamin A so seems pretty harmless. However, in a combined compound like Retinol palmitate the substance can become carcinogenic when exposed to sunlight (so not ideal in a face cream) and environmentally, the acid that forms the palmitate is mostly likely derived from palm oil which is rarely a sustainable source.

It can be pretty confusing trying to work out what’s good and bad in your products, and you certainly aren’t going to be able to remember all the complicated names of these ingredients, so our advice is to go for brands who focus on natural products and avoid chemical preservatives. We’d take a 6 month use by date over an itchy rash any day!

At Conscious House, everything we are creating is 100% natural and 100% good for you, we don’t include anything that has nasty side-effects and provide you with all of the right dosages. We can’t wait to share them with you!


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