Preservatives: The Good, The Bad and The Hazardous.

Having knowledge about the chemicals you put in and on your body isn’t a bad thing. In fact, it’s imperative. One ingredient that has recently come under scrutiny are parabens, which may have you wondering: How bad are parabens really?

Are Parabens Dangerous?

If you’ve heard of parabens, you either avoid them like the plague or you shrug off the negative hype. If it’s the second, we suggest taking a second look. So, why are parabens bad? The truth may be somewhere in the middle of these two stances, but that’s not clean enough for Au Naturale Cosmetics.

Let’s begin with a little science. What are parabens? They are a group of compounds used as a preservative in the cosmetic, food and pharmaceutical industries to extend the shelf life of products by reducing the growth of bacteria, mold and yeast. Sounds like a great innovation, but there’s a downside. It turns out many varieties of parabens cause questionable side effects, and some are downright dangerous. And this element might be lurking in your makeup.

But are parabens bad for your skin? Well, there isn’t simple answer. It honestly depends on the type of paraben that is used in your cosmetics.

When you search the word “paraben”, you see a list of parabens that are known to be toxic and cause cancer to parabens that have not been linked to health issues. For instance, Butylparaben is a known cancer-causing agent and endocrine disrupter, while Sodium Paraben has not been identified as a harmful ingredient.

Makeup with No Parabens

At Au Naturale Cosmetics, we believe that every consumer has the right to make their own choices when it comes to the type of makeup they wear — whether it contains parabens or not. However, as a producer, we want to empower people to think about what they are putting on their skin. 

We also believe that cosmetic producers have a responsibility to do their research and look for alternatives when the safety of a formula is in question, and that includes developing makeup without parabens and phthalates.

As a company, Au Naturale Cosmetics takes an approach similar to that of the European Union, which requires substances to be proven safe before allowing them to be included as ingredients in any product. This is in contrast to the U.S., where a company can use a substance until (and sometimes after) it is proven to present “unreasonable risk.” We believe companies should “ask first” rather than “apologize later.”

For us this means that rather than risk using a paraben-based preservative that we think is safe, we use only preservatives that we know are safe.

In fact, Au Naturale Cosmetics started out using no preservatives at all, which was a non-issue as our makeup offerings began as mostly loose, raw minerals that were inorganic rocks that couldn’t grow bacteria! 

As the line grew to incorporate cremes, glosses and lipsticks, we began to introduce natural solutions, like Tocopherol (Vitamin E) and Organic Lavender Oil, for preservation. Though essential oils like Tea Tree and Lemon can also be used as preservatives, we so far have only utilized tocopherol and lavender at the Au Naturale lab.

When all is said and done, are preservatives bad for you? Some are, but we go out of our way to only use preservatives that have been proven safe.

Your Health is Our Concern

Perhaps the most innovative natural preservative discovery at Au Naturale Cosmetics came in 2018 when we were able to start formulating with the first organic preservative debuting in the beauty market: Xylityl Cocoate. Working with Xylityl Cocoate allowed our team to develop our first mascara, which we first offered in early 2019.

As the natural beauty market continues to trend upward, we know there will be more natural and organic preservative solutions. We are excited to see how the industry evolves, but we plan to stay the course on our approach. Until we are confident something is safe, we won’t use it!

Therefore, if you find yourself wondering if parabens are dangerous and debating whether you should avoid them or not, you won’t have to stress about it when using our products. Check out our paraben-free makeup options that are sure to make you look and feel incredible! 

1 comment

I have dry eye syndrome and I’m looking for a line that won’t irritate my eyes. I’m in need of eye shadow, mascara and under eye concealer. Do your products have fruits extracts and minerals in them? If yes, could these be irritating to the eye?

Melissa Klein December 11, 2019

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