What's Lurking in Your Products is Scarier Than A Horror Movie.
To make reading an ingredient label easier, here is a list of the yucky chemicals that sneak their way into personal care products.
Disclaimer: While there are many ingredients on this list that cause harm to human health, some are ingredients that are considered to be "non-toxic" but are labeled as strong allergens. While not everyone may experience a reaction (or know that they are experiencing a reaction), I still include an array of common & harmful allergens on this list to accommodate the majority. When researching any of these ingredients, it is inevitable that there will be arguments for both the safety and the dangers of each of them. My three years of research has led me to form strong opinions based on what I perceive as truth and real science from trusted professionals and experts. I invite everyone to research these ingredients for themselves and form their own conclusions.
***This list may be altered at any time with changes/additions due to the rapidly changing nature and testing/researching of personal care product ingredients.
The "No, Just No" List
ALS (Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate)
Aluminum Zirconium Tetrachlorohydrexgly
Animal-Derived Ingredients (Except for Honey and Beeswax)
The "They Won't Kill You, But You Should Still Try to Avoid Them" List
Benzyl Alcohol (I only recommend avoiding this is you have extremely sensitive skin)
Dimethyl MEA (DMAE)
EDTAs (Disodium EDTA, Tetrasodium EDTA)
Myristates (only when used on sensitive skin)
Polyquaterniums (I stay away from all numbers (-7, -15, etc) but some are worse than others)
Retinyl Palmitate (just when it's in sunscreen)
Sodium Benzoate (only when used in a product that also contains Vitamin C)
Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate (I only recommend avoiding this is you're a person with extreme allergies)
Sodium Lauroyl Sarcosinate (also categorized as a controversial ingredient)
Sodium Methyl Isethionate (I only recommend avoiding this is you're a person with extreme allergies)
Non-Vegetable Derived Stearates
Vegetable Emulsifying Wax
Ingredients Surrounded by Some Controversy - I may still recommend products with these ingredients in them if I've found that they are safe.
Japanese Honeysuckle Extract
Styrene/Acrylates Copolymer (only recommend it in nailcare products)
*A note on Benzophenone-1: this has been a very controversial ingredient, mainly in nail polish. While there are studies on other derivatives of Benzophenone, like Oxybenzone, this specific derivative lacks much if any evidence linking it to toxicity. However, it is still important to keep in mind that this ingredient may be harmful if used in high concentrations/daily. While I still recommend nail polish with the ingredient on my nailcare page (not in skincare because it would have a higher chance of having a toxic effect), I would still recommend not using products with this ingredient all of the time, and instead use other products without the ingredient in addition to products with it to reduce any chance of high toxicity. As always, this may change with new information and studies, so stay tuned.