5 Common Chemicals in Personal Care

5 Common Chemicals in Personal Care

There are thousands of different cosmetic products on the market, all with different combinations of ingredients. Cosmetics and personal care items contain a combination of at least some of the following core ingredients: water, emulsifiers preservatives, thickeners, emollients, color, fragrance, and pH stabilizers.

Here are 5 commonly used chemicals in cosmetics and personal care which are known to cause issues:

1. Steroids

Typically, steroid creams are used to reduce skin inflammation, especially in treating diagnosed skin conditions. They are effective in controlling skin flare-ups and relieving symptoms such as itching and irritation.

However, with prolonged use, they are known to 'thin the skin', and you may develop stretch marks, bruising, and discoloration. Steroids may also trigger or worsen other skin disorders such as acne, rosacea and contact dermatitis. As such, we avoid to use of steroids and focus on removing common allergens and creating milder formulas instead.

2. Parabens

Parabens are a group of chemicals widely used as artificial preservatives in cosmetic and body care products.

The concern with Parabens is that studies suggest they can disrupt hormones in the body and harm fertility and reproductive organs, affect birth outcomes, and increase the risk of cancer. They can also cause skin irritation. For a long time, natural preservatives have been used to maintain product lifespans, and although more difficult to work with, we use these instead of Parabens to avoid these possible long-term effects.

3. Silicones

Silicone-based ingredients are loved in hair products because they create a fantastic-looking, soft and smooth result immediately after use. As emulsifiers, they also help to combine substances into a stable formula.

The problem with Silicones is that they accumulate in the hair over time, leaving it lank and heavy. Some silicones are not water-based, and thus hard to wash off. As inert substances that 'coat the hair', they do not genuinely nourish the hair, and can block benefits from nourishing ingredients like plant oils when they build up over time. We've committed to removing Silicone from all our hair products as we believe it is important to 'open up the hair to receive the active ingredients contained in our formulas. Whilst the immediate 'glossy effect' is lost, we believe it is worthwhile for the long term benefit of healthy, nourished hair


SLS stands for Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, also known as SDS, Sodium Dodecyl Sulfate. SLES stands for Sodium Laureth Sulfate, sometimes written as Sodium Lauryl Ether Sulfate. It is widely used because it is both cheap and effective as a surfactant and foaming agent.

However, SLS and SLES can irritate eyes, skin, and lungs, especially with long-term use. SLES may also be contaminated with a substance called 1,4-dioxane, which has known to link to cancer in tests. Instead, we use naturally-derived surfactants in our products. The trade-off is that our products are slightly less foamy than others, but to us, it is a minor compromise for avoiding irritation.

5. Hydroquinone

Hydroquinone is most commonly used as a skin lightener, in a market where all brands are promoting whitening skincare. Unfortunately, we have seen studies linking it to cancer and organ-system toxicity.

Hydroquinone works by decreasing the production and increasing the degradation of melanin pigments in the skin. This increases the skin’s exposure to UVA and UVB rays, increasing the risk of skin cancer.

Whilst we accept that Thai beauty ideals involve lighter and brighter-looking skin, we avoid the use of this potentially harmful ingredient. Instead, we look for natural actives that boost skin renewal, such as Natural AHA from Tamarind.

Beyond these five ingredients, we continue to review results from studies on other commonly used chemicals as part of our mission to deliver natural products that are effective, but completely worry-free.