To answer this question, let’s start out with a list of ingredients in a popular body butter from a well-known and recognized store there is a very good chance you’ve visited and may even be a regular shopper at. As I read the label, I’d like to draw your attention to a few pop outs which I’ve highlighted. Some ingredients in this product you’ll recognize.
Aqua/Water/Eau, Butyrospermum Parkii Butter/Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Cetearyl Alcohol, Theobroma Cacao Seed Butter/Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Seed Butter, Glycerin, Cetearyl Glucoside, Triethyl Citrate, Orbignya Oleifera Seed Oil, Cocos Nucifera Oil/Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Oryza Sativa Bran Wax/Oryza Sativa (Rice) Bran Wax, Dimethicone, Phenoxyethanol, Sodium Stearoyl Glutamate, Parfum/Fragrance, Caprylyl Glycol, Xanthan Gum, Tocopherol, Citric Acid, Benzyl Benzoate, Coumarin, Caramel.
First, the ingredient listed first on a label is the ingredient found in the greatest amount. In this product, we see water is listed first. Are you buying a butter or water? Quality body butters offer deep hydration and penetration and use quality oils not water. This is one reason the benefits of rich body butter surpasses that of a lotion, often formulated with water.
Second, Parfum/Fragrance is a catch-all category for whatever the manufacturer wants to scent the product with. This is a dumping ground with no specifications or restrictions meaning anything can be added into the product under this term and it doesn’t need to be disclosed. This should be scarey to you! What is it that you’re smelling? Is it a pure natural oil or manufactured synthetic fragrance or something else? As a brand owner, I want buyers to know about the exceptional ingredients I use and furthermore, I want customers to know every detail of every ingredient in my products. Quality brands do not attempt to hide anything.
Third, two ingredients you may be less familiar with are “Phenoxyethanol and Benzyl Benzoate. Wonder what these ingredients are? You have a go-to place to quickly check them out on EWG Skin Deep Data Base. Here ingredients are rated 1 to 10, the lower the number the safer it is. You will find out things like if an ingredient is an immune system toxicant or allergen, environmental toxin, a respiratory irritation, tends to exacerbate asthma or has been shown to cause cancer. Your health is worth a few minutes of your time!
When you see an unknown term, usually a long word that you can’t pronounce, don’t just accept it, find out what it is. For instance, it may surprise you to learn that Phenoxyethanl is a restricted ingredient in Japan and can have adverse effects on the central and peripheral nervous systems according to the National Library of Medicine HazMap database. http://hazmap.nlm.nih.gov/category-details?id=19
What about Benzyl Benzoate? Japan also restricts this ingredient. European cosmetic formulating standards are very strict where the USA has few restrictions which means most anything goes. This is why it’s so important you choose brands that are transparent, who you can trust to disclose every ingredient used in a product. One final word, when you see “benzoate” on a label, question its safety immediately!
Fourth, What about color additives? You’ll find them listed at the end of the ingredient panel. In this label we see caramel listed as the final ingredient. Other times you’ll see additives like yellow 5 or D&C Violet No. 2 have been added. Caution! Studies show that dyes can cause endocrine reactions and there is even evidence they can be cancer causing.
Fifth, Do you see anything listed as organic in the above label? Of course not. Ethically sourced, quality and organic ingredients are expensive! In the beauty world, price is a good indicator of quality. When you buy cheap, you’re getting what you pay for, an inferior product with the possibility of harmful ingredients. It is in your best interest to invest in a better body butter from a brand you can trust.
In contrast to the label I’ve addressed above, look at My Alchemy Skin Care’s Sunset Citrus Body Butter label below. You should observe a noticeable difference. You’ll notice right off our first ingredient isn’t water!
Ingredients: Mangifera Indica (Mango) Seed Butter*, Prunus Armeniaca (Apricot) Kernel Oil*, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil*, Punica Granatum (Pomegranate) Seed Oil*, Vitamin E Tocopherols, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract*, Euphorbia Cerifera (candelilla) wax, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Peel Oil*, Citrus Paradisi (Grapefruit) Oil*.
Our ultimate body butter needs only a few top quality ingredients to get results. Do you see any water in our butter? Nope, we use plant oils that penetrate deep into the skin beginning with the beautiful Mango Butter.. Do you see any colors or dyes? No way. Do you see the term perfume/fragrance? Never! Our scent comes from the pure natural citrus fruit. The orange scent you smell is from organic orange peel. Do you see any dangerous ingredients listed? Not a chance. For these reasons and more, we are proud to be a Clean Beauty Brand.
Written by Rebecca
CEO, Co-founder, Cancer Survivor, Certified Essential Oil Coach