Ever since I was a child, I loved to make people feel and look beautiful.

The Transparency in Beauty

I don’t know about you, but I have expressed to y’all how hard it is for me to read beauty product labels & their ingredients. I have a general understanding of a lot of ingredients but most of them are crazy hard to pronounce, you don’t ever hear about them in normal conversations or you recognize the name but have no idea what they do. Good & bad…

Does that resonate with you? Though we’ve written about some of our top suggested ingredients to avoid, it’s important that there is transparency in our beauty ingredient lists.

Recently, when I was shopping on Sephora’s website, I began noticing a green plant emblem on certain products that are highlighting ‘clean beauty products at Sephora’. I looked into it the other day and it says that the seal means: ‘All brands with this seal qualify as Sephora Clean and are free of these ingredients: sulfates SLS and SLES, parabens, formaldehydes, formaldehyde-releasing agents, phthalates, mineral oil, retinyl palmitate, oxybenzone, coal tar, hydroquinone (more on that below….), triclosan, and triclocarban.  All skincare, makeup and hair brands with the Clean seal have less than one percent synthetic fragrances.’ – Sephora

So this got me thinking…. one, do you recognize all of those ingredients and know why there bad and two, are customers looking for more transparency in their products and Sephora is stepping up to the challenge? Among other chains and businesses… Let’s find out!

First, let’s go over why each of those ingredients are considered ‘bad’:

Sulfates SLS and SLES

‘Sodium laureth sulfate (SLES), an accepted contraction of sodium lauryl ether sulfate (SLES), is an anionic detergent and surfactant found in many personal care products (soaps, shampoos, toothpaste etc.).’  In high concentrations this molecule may cause severe irritation to eyes and skin – Wikipedia


Have been widely used in products to prevent bacteria growth since the 1950s. About 85% of cosmetics have them. In the 1990s, parabens were deemed xenoestrogens―agents that mimic estrogen in the body. “Estrogen disruption” has been linked to breast cancer and reproductive issues. – Real Simple


Exactly what you’re thinking, the stuff you used in high school to preserve dead animals. It is a known carcinogen that is also linked to asthma, neurotoxicity, and developmental toxicity.

Phthalates – 

Phthalates group of chemicals used to soften and increase the flexibility of plastics in beauty products. This basically helps products stick to our skin. Phthalates can be especially dangerous to children, but it’s best to avoid them all together as they can be serious endocrine disruptors and even cause birth defects. Congress has actually banned several types of phthalates.

Mineral oil – varying research & opinions on its negative reputation

Mineral oil is not a mineral, but rather an oil based from petrolatum. Mineral oil is a liquid byproduct of petroleum to produce gasoline and other petroleum-based products from crude oil. The ones used in cosmetic products are highly refined. Mineral oil can actually damage the skin barrier and increase water loss. It clogs the pores and suffocates the skin. 

Retinyl palmitate –

Considered to be a gentler, milder form of vitamin A. A combination of retinol and palmitic acid, it has been found in studies to be an effective antioxidant. I’ll spare you the details of the study I read, but basically it causes skin lesions.

Oxybenzone – 

The primary function of oxybenzone is to absorb ultraviolet light, but some research shows oxybenzone can be absorbed through the skin. The Environmental Working Group and other toxicology experts believe that oxybenzone is linked to hormone disruption and potentially to cell damage that may lead to skin cancer. – CNN

Coal tar – 

A popular ingredient found in skincare products that is used to treat dryness or itching. While it has been shown to positively impact the skin of those who suffer from psoriasis, seborrhea, dandruff and eczema, its long-term effects are much more serious than we may realize, such as skin cancer occurrences & negative skin side effects.

Hydroquinone – I do not believe this is a dangerous ingredient.

A Cheeky just shared this video with us and it’s very informative!

Triclosan – 

An antibacterial and antifungal agent found in a large amount of consumer products. This guy is known to irritate the gut and promote the development of colon cancer.  (I’m pretty sure this substance was banned at some point…)

Triclocarban – 

Another effective antibacterial and antifungal agent. This guy can cause abnormal endocrine system/thyroid hormone signaling. Weakening of immune system. Children exposed to antibacterial products at an early age have an increased chance of developing allergies, asthma and eczema. Mightynest

* I am ABSOLUTELY no expert on ingredients and this took me a hell of a long time to make sure I was explaining things correctly. If you have further information about these ingredients, please share with us below in the comment’s section. It’s a skincare community, so sharing is caring 😉 (gag…. lol)

Now secondly, I found a really interesting study that shows how interested consumers are in the transparency of the beauty industry:

‘A proprietary survey discovered that consumers crave communication, accountability, and values brands. Lack of transparency is impeding the consumer path to purchase…

  • 72 percent of consumers want a brand to explain what the ingredients do.
  • 42 percent of respondents feel that they do not get enough information from brands on ingredient safety.
  • 60+ percent of consumers want brands to identify sources for ingredients.
  • 90 percent of respondents believe natural ingredients are better for them; however, only 10 percent of respondents use products made only with natural ingredients.’

2018 FIT Transparency Perception Assessment Survey 

The emergence and growth of the clean beauty movement, like Sephora’s is a symptom of consumers’ growing overall mistrust in the beauty industry! As consumers aim to take better control of their lives by making more informed decisions, beauty companies should watch out because they’re more likely to lose customers if they don’t adapt! What used to be more of a linear purchasing decision journey has transformed into an ever-evolving maze & plenty of opinions. The time has come for transparency. Brands have the opportunity to evolve beauty industry practices, rebuild trust, and reinvent the way consumers view the beauty industry. Let’s keep a lookout!

Leave a Reply