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Beware of brands that greenwash!

Lots of brands are using misleading marketing. With consumers becoming more aware of chemicals used in skin care a record number of brands are now claiming to be organic and natural. Unfortunately many brands are greenwashing their products in order to make those extra sales.

Here is a list of harmful ingredients I've spotted in so called natural products! So you can make the right choices for your skin. Always read the label!!


PEGs (polyethylene glycols) are petroleum based compounds used in a wide range of skincare. They work as thickeners, solvents and emollients (to help soften the skin).

The reason PEGs can be a problem is they are known to enhance skin penetration. This is worrying if you have damaged skin or if there are other undesirable ingredients in the products ingredient list. Then it is possible for them to cause irritation and skin sensitivity.


Phenoxyethanol is a preservative used in a lot of natural cosmetics. Also known as Ethylene Glycol Monophenyl Ether. It's a synthetic ether alcohol and a petrochemical preservative.

It became a widely used alternative to parabens because it is one of the few preservatives that does not release formaldehyde. Unfortunately recent studies have shown it can be an extreme irritant to eyes and skin. It can cause contact dermatitis and damage the immune and nervous systems. It has recently been removed from the eco cert and soil association approved ingredients meaning it should not be found in any natural products.


Tetrasodium EDTA Primarily used in cosmetics as a preservative, chelator and stabiliser. It's made from ethylenediamine, sodium cyanide and formaldehyde which is already a known carcinogen. It is used in products to protect the appearance and prevent rancidity but it also works as a metal chelator meaning it binds the minerals in water and softens hard water.

Although this ingredient is not well absorbed by skin it has been shown to enhance absorption of other harmful ingredients. They are also not easily biodegradable making them harmful for the environment and therefore should not be found in any eco friendly brand.


Also known as Borax is widely used as a natural insecticide and laundry detergent. It's a naturally occurring mineral in the form of a white powder. In skincare borax is used as an emulsifier and preservative.

Although there are many conflicting studies about borax the main concern is that it causes skin irritation especially if used repeatedly for long periods of time. This is mainly due to its high PH level of 9-11. It should definitely not be used on damaged skin.

When it comes to Aura Organics products we do not take any risks with your skin. So although not the worst offender I believe we have better alternatives and we will keep this one for the cleaning products.


I hope by now we have all been educated about parabens which is why I am extremely surprised to keep seeing them in so many natural brands!

Parabens are a group of chemical preservatives used to prevent growth of harmful bacteria in products.

The reason there is so much controversy around them is due to a 2004 study that linked parabens in deodorant to breast cancer. Parabens mimic human estrogen and it is known this can stimulate cancer. Infact parabens were actually discovered in the breast tissue of women suffering from cancer.

Although this study was discredited (although who do we really trust when big money is involved) there is still a high incidence of cross reaction when more than one paraben is combined into a product. If you check out the labels you will see many cosmetics contain up to five different parabens.

All this aside another reason to avoid parabens is they are not environmentally friendly. They have been discovered in streams, rivers and drinking water.

Look out for our follow up blogs where I will talk about the natural alternatives used in Aura Organics products.

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