Have you ever taken the time to read the ingredients in the tiny print on the back of all those bottles in your bathroom? (Can you even still read them without a magnifying glass or reading glasses???)

Although it probably is not your idea of fun, it is critical to help you and your family avoid harmful ingredients in your personal care products.

The average woman applies over 150 chemicals to their skin on a given day and most of us are not even aware of the impact that these ingredients have on our long-term health and the environment.

Evidence suggests that these toxins can disrupt your hormones, and many may be carcinogenic. The challenge is that it can be difficult to know which skin care products to avoid since many have ingredients that are not on the labels.

There is also a common practice of removing one harmful ingredient while leaving the rest and then bragging that the product is “sulfate free” or “paraben-free” to lure consumers into believing they are safe. Same happens when the few natural ingredients are highlighted on the label to make you believe the product is natural but is still riddled with toxic chemicals.

The reality is that it is up to each of us to look after ourselves and our families. It is time to educate ourselves and become clued-up #bellevers💚 who make their buying choices based on knowledge and not on over-hyped marketing.


1.   1,4-DIOXANE

  • Found in baby products, children’s bath products such as body soaps, baby shampoos and bubble bath, hair relaxers, curl creams, dyes, shampoo, sunless tanners, body lotions, detergents, face creams and anti-ageing products.
  • Ingredients to look for polyethylene, polyethylene glycol (PEG), polyoxyethylene, ethoxylated ingredients, sodium laureate sulfate, polysorbate, -eth – or oxynol-, oleths. It may also be found in Sodium laureth sulfate.
  • What is wrong with it? Considered a probable human carcinogen but you will never find 1,4 Dioxane in ingredients list. No warnings are given either.


  • Found in Shampoos, conditioners, lotions, facial and shower cleansers and scrubs. These are the most widely used preservatives in the cosmetics industry.
  • Ingredients to look for Methyl/ethyl/butyl/isobutyl/propyl paraben, hydroxybenzoic acid, hydroxybenzoate or ester.
  • What’s Wrong With It? Parabens may play a role in cancer and are linked to developmental defects, reproductive toxicity, and endocrine disruption. A 2004 study in the Journal of Applied Toxicology discussed the estrogen-like properties of parabens and found that they were detected in breast cancer. We also know that it can penetrate body tissues. It is believed that it can mimic estrogen.
  • Belleve Botanicals’ Alternative Our chosen natural preservative is palm-free and is obtained from vegetable sources (Sugar cane, Star Anise, soybean and non GM corn). It is actually beneficial for your skin as it also has anti-inflammatory and moisturising properties. Why some (established and expensive cosmetics lines) still use harmful parabens in their products when there are safer alternatives?


  • Found in almost everything! It can be legally hidden because it is regarded as a “trade secret”.
  • Ingredients to Look For Fragrance, Parfume.
  • What’s Wrong With It? Because fragrance is considered a “trade secret” and companies do not have to list the ingredients, around 95% of the fragances used in toiletries and cosmetics are petrochemically based. Fragrance can hide up to 100 different chemicals! Some fragrance ingredients are known neurotoxins, and many can irritate skin, cause headaches, mood swings, depression, and dizziness. Some also make asthma worse.
  • Belleve Botanicals’ alternative: we only scent our products with pure essential oils and floral extracts.


  • Found in shampoos, cleansers, lipsticks. These add colour to most toiletries and cosmetics but add nothing to the effectiveness of some products.
  • Ingredients to Look for All synthetic colours. Exceptions are mineral-based colours.
  • What is wrong with it Many synthetic colours are carcinogenic. Exceptions are mineral-based colours (denoted on the label as CI 75, or CI 77, indicating mineral or other natural derived colours).
  • Belleve Botanical’s alternative We do not use any type of synthetic or mineral colours in our products. Our soaps are beautifully coloured only with natural clays.


  • Found in many different products across the board. It is common to find it in face cleaners and lotions. It can also be used in fragrance. This preservative is an alternative to parabens and has become very popular with companies who try to be greener.
  • Ingredients to Look For Phenoxyethanol, 2-phenoxy, ethanol, 2-hydroxyethyl phenyl ether.
  • Why is Phenoxyethanol among skin care ingredients to avoid? It has been shown to cause both reproductive and developmental toxicity.
  • Belleve Botanicals’ Alternative: We use natural alternatives to preservatives such as Vitamin E, C and Rosemary. Our main preservative is plant derived and also has beneficial properties for your skin. Win, win!


  • Found in These are detergents and foaming agents found in shampoo, bubble bath, soap, body wash, toothpaste, face wash, conditioner, exfoliants.
  • Ingredients to Look For Sodium Lauryl/laureth sulfate, sodium salt sulphuric acid, sodium dodecyl sulfate, mono dodecyl ester, and other variations including sodium sulfate or sodium salt combined with other chemicals and PEG lauryl sulfate and variations.
  • Why are SLES and SLS among skin care ingredients to avoid? SLES and SLS penetrate the scalp quickly and are unable to be metabolized by the liver. Both are considered carcinogens and the biggest concern with SLES is contamination with 1,4-dioxane. They are believed to be endocrine disruptors and are known skin, scalp and eye irritants.
  • Belleve Botanicals’s alternative: Our Foaming Face Cleansers contain Quillaja Saponaria, a natural alternative to synthetic surfactants. Our natural soaps and organic Hand Washes are also free of SLEs and SLS.


  • Found in nail products, shampoos, hair dyes, antiperspirant, makeup, bubble bath, liquid baby soap, bath lotions, keratin hair treatments and other hair growing products. Used as a preservative to prevent bacteria from growing in water-based products.
  • Ingredients to Look For MDM Hydantoin,2-bromo-2nitropropane-1,3 diol; Diazolidinyl urea; imidazolidinyl urea; quaternium -15, Cormalin, formic aldehyde, sodium hydroxymethyl glycinate, methenamine, bronopol.
  • What’s Wrong With It? These artificial preservatives are used to help prolong the shelf life of products and cosmetics. In small doses, these preservatives can cause eye and skin irritations and can trigger allergies. In larger doses, fomalhehyde fumes are carcinogenic.
  • Belleve Botanical’s Alternative: You guessed it! These are big no-nos for us.


  • Found in wetting agents and emulsifiers in products such as facial cleansers, shampoos, hair colours, hair relaxers and body wash.
  • Ingredients to Look For Triethanolamine, TEA lauryl sulfate, cocamide DEA, Cocamide MEA, DEA-CETYL, phosphate, DEA oleth-3 phosphate, lauramide DEA, lin oleamide MEA, myristamide, DEA, Oleamide DEA, steramide MEA. (This list is not comprehensive.)
  • What’s Wrong With It? If these products also have nitrous in them, a chemical reaction may occur that leads to the formation of carcinogenic nitrosamines that are readily absorbed into the body.


  • Found in these combinations of synthetic petrochemicals are found in moisturisers, deodorants, fragrances, shampoo, baby washes, lotions makeup, foundation and soaps to keep the product moist and drive other ingredients deeper into the skin.
  • Ingredients to look For The names listed above, 1-2 propanediol (not to be confused with plant-derived Zemea propanediol), variations on 1,2-dihydroxypropane and variations on methyl ethylene glycol.
  • What’s Wrong With It? Studies have linked these to allergic reactions, hives and eczema. Propylene Glycol can be derived from natural sources. PEG compounds may be contaminated with the carcinogen 1, 4-dioxane.
  • Belleve Botanicals’ alternative: Propylene glycol can be derived from natural sources such as vegetable glycerine, lecithin, panthenol (pro-Vitamin B5). Zemea Propaniedol and xanthan gum can be used as natural emulsifiers. Our organic Face Serums contain plant-derived propylene glycol, which is rather new to the market. Although more expensive than its petrochemical counterpart, we love the fact that is made from plants.


  • Found in face creams, make up, body lotions. Parafinnun Liquidum is a cheap and abundant ingredient that makes the product easy to apply and forms a film on the skin to prevent water loss. Petrolatum (petroleum jelly) is a mineral-oil derivative used for is film forming properties. It is found in lipsticks and lip balms, hair care products, moisturisers, deodorants.
  • Ingredients to look for: Parafinnun liquidum, Petrolatum (Petroleum jelly)
  • Why to avoid? Research suggests that it can interfere with the body’s own natural moisturising mechanism, which over time leads to dryness and chapping.
  • Belleve Botanicals' alternative: We never include Parafinnum or Petroleum Jelly on our products. Our natural lip balms are made with only plant oils and butters such as Shea Butter, Coconut, Avocado and Rosehip.


  • Found in hair products, facial treatments, deodorants and moisturisers. These silicon-based compounds are used to make products feel better on your skin. The siloxanes make products easy to apply and form a film that temporarily makes the skin feel smoother.
  • Ingredients to Look For Cyclomethicone and ingredients ending in “siloxane”.
  • Why are Siloxanes among skin care ingredients to avoid? Some siloxanes can be endocrine disruptors, which mean they are potential carcinogens as well as reproductive toxins.
  • Belleve Botanicals’ alternative: Plant oils and butters such as Jojoba, Coconut oil, Almond, Avocado, Rosehip and Shea Butter.


  • Found in soaps, acne treatments, antiperspirants, toothpaste, and lipstick. Triclosan is an antibacterial agent that absorbs easily into the skin.
  • Ingredients to Look For chloro and dichloro phenoxy – there is a long and confusing list of how it can be listed.
  • Why is it among skin care ingredients to avoid? A known endocrine disruptor. It is also implicated in causing resistance to commonly used antibiotics.
  • Belleve Botanicals’s alternative: Grapefruit seed extract and Bitter Orange extract.


  • Found in skin lighteners, sunscreens, nail treatments and anti-ageing creams.
  • Ingredients to Look For Hydroquinone, variations of dihydroxybenzene or 1,4-benzene or variations of hydroxyphenyl.
  • Why is it among skin care ingredients to avoid? Some evidence suggests that it is linked to cancer in lab animals. Severe reactions can occur with ingestion in even small amounts and death as low as 5 grams.


  • Found in: A harsh antibacterial agent used mainly in products to treat oily skin and acne.
  • Ingredients to Look For Benzoil Peroxide
  • Why is it among skin care ingredients to avoid? This chemical can dry the skin and cause redness, itching and swelling. In sensitive individuals it can cause blistering.
  • Belleve Botanicals’ Alternative: Grapefruit essential oil or Lemongrass essential oil as in our GLOW Foaming Face Cleanser, Toner and Serum, all suitable for acne-prone skin. 

 Some of our favourite websites to check for ingredients are:

Environmental Working Group (EWG) Skin Deep Database


Education is power! Join the Natural Revolution and become one of our #bellevers💚 for a beautiful and healthier you.