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A guide to cosmetic ingredients for the perplexed

Do you ever wonder about all those cosmetic ingredients you slather on your body everyday? Here’s a resource that you’ll find very helpful.


Fellow cosmetic scientist and friend of the Brains, Colin Sanders, has just released “A Guide to Cosmetic Ingredients for the Perplexed.” Colin calls this a “mini-book” but it covers nearly 50 different ingredients in as many pages so it’s packed with useful information. Vitamins, oils, waxes, anti-aging ingredients are all touched on here.

If you want to be more educated about the beauty products you buy check it out!

If you’re in the U.S., buy A Guide To Cosmetic Ingredients For The Perplexed here.

If you’re one of those U.K. blokes (is that the right term?) you should go here.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Randy Schueller March 20, 2015, 2:24 pm

    In case you’ve been following this post…

    A reader left a comment about the company Beauty Counter. I responded to her saying that the best science to date doesn’t see a problem with the ingredients banned by Beauty Counter and that a lot of companies are trying to scare people into buying their own “safer” products. East Village Siren also responded as you can see.

    Afterwards, the original commenter changed her mind and asked me to delete her comment. We don’t censor comments but since the request came from the original author, I complied.

    • Libby March 20, 2015, 5:09 pm

      Hi Randy, would you agree that more safety data needs to be gathered on many of the ingredients?

      • Randy Schueller March 20, 2015, 5:47 pm

        Science should ALWAYS be looking for the latest information. If there are gaps in the safety record then, yes, more data should be gathered.

  • eastvillagesiren March 20, 2015, 5:02 pm

    Randy makes an excellent point. The “1,500 banned” ingredients trope has been hanging around the interwebs like past-its-prime beef for years. First off, the EU indeed banned thousands of ingredients (http://ec.europa.eu/consumers/cosmetics/cosing/index.cfm?fuseaction=search.results&annex_v2=II&search). Beautycounter and pretty much every “natural,” “non-toxic,” “organic” and “chemical-free” brand use this trope to frighten trusting consumers into buying their products and clicking on their sites. In reality, these banned ingredients weren’t used in personal care products in the EU, and aren’t used in personal care products in the U.S. (Unless the Beauty Brains know something I don’t.)

    Beautycounter “bans” ingredients like parabens and petroleum that are not banned in the EU. They believe parabens are bad because they “can lock on to our cell’s own estrogen receptors and mess with important natural signals.” That sounds like an opinion to me, not scientific, proven fact. And if Beautycounter wants safety data on the tens of thousands of ingredients they cite, they might want to contact the Beauty Brains. Or the EU. They also claim their ingredient selection process is the strictest in “the industry,” which is a bit boastful at best, considering the caliber of cosmetic chemists working at most major personal care product companies and independent formulators. It’s also insulting to these chemists and their staffs.

    I regularly use naturally derived products, essential oils and “organic” ingredients because they’re safe and they work. I also use products with paraben preservatives because they’re safe and they work. Why, oh why can’t “chemicals” and “organic” ingredients just get along?

  • Grace March 30, 2015, 11:26 am

    I bought this book and it is fantastic – funny and informative.

    • Randy Schueller March 30, 2015, 3:15 pm

      Thanks Grace. I’m sure Colin appreciates it!