Personal Care Product Ingredients
The Good, The Bad, and The Plain, Ugly Truth!
Clean ingredients that you Will find in Valley Green Naturals products include:
- Certified organic oils, such as jojoba, coconut and olive oils, along with certified organic aloe vera.
These oils, when combined with water and potassium hydroxide (lye), make up the rich emollient base for our organic shampoos, conditioners, facial cleansers and body washes.
- Botanical extracts, such as goji berry, hibiscus, ginger root, calendula, green tea, and radish root ferment.
Our organic botanical extracts each have their own anti-aging, anti-inflammatory, skin-soothing and natural preservative properties. Every one of our ingredients is carefully researched for its effectiveness and beneficial micronutrients. These wonders of nature are thoughtfully hand-blended into each of our respective products. Find more details about our botanicals and unique natural ingredients listed below.
- Cold-pressed and steam-distilled natural oils, such as rose hip seed, pomegranate seed, rice bran, sweet almond, and hempseed oils – as well as our essential oils used for scenting products.
The natural oils used in our products always have been extracted without the use of chemicals. Cold-pressing is not only a natural process that’s better for the environment, but it also helps to preserve the inherent nutritional and healing properties of each oil.
Made from tree and flower bud resins, propolis is produced by honeybees to clean and disinfect the bee hive. Often taken as a nutritional supplement, this highly studied ingredient has strong antimicrobial and antioxidant properties. Propolis has been shown to contain flavanoids and numerous other micronutrients, and we find it to be a beneficial natural ingredient in skin care.
Dead Sea Salt contains 21 different minerals reported to benefit the body with skin-nourishing and anti-aging properties. Important minerals such as magnesium, bromide, sulfur, potassium, calcium, sodium and zinc are just a few of the minerals that folks seek out when visiting the Dead Sea to help relieve itchy, flaky or scaly skin problems. We incorporate Dead Sea Salt into our DermaSens® Skin Repair Moisturizer as a soothing ingredient for problem skin.
Raw honey is reported to have strong antioxidant and antimicrobial properties. It is known as one of nature’s super foods for the body. Our honey is sourced locally from Virginia’s Piedmont, and it’s a key ingredient in our Cool Clarity!® Facial Cleanser, lip balms and Honey-Glycerin soap. Purchase of products containing raw honey helps to support beekeeping and hive management efforts within the Piedmont.
Vegetable glycerin is a humectant, added to products for its emollient and “water-holding” properties. We use food-grade vegetable glycerin in all of our products.
Willow Bark Extract - enhances skin cell turnover by promoting exfoliation, resulting in a general improvement in skin’s appearance and feel.
Olive Leaf Extract – offers strong antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties.
Organic Virgin Argan Oil – one of the rarest oils in the world and rich in essential fatty acids, tocopherols, phytosterols and triterpenes.
Lemon Peel Bioferment – offers natural skin-brightening properties to lend a more beautiful, even skin tone.
Licorice Root Extract - Licorice root has been used extensively in traditional Chinese medicine as an herbal healing agent. It is a multi-functional botanical containing glycosides which induce skin brightening, lending a more even skin tone.
Green Tea Extract – offers strong antioxidant properties and UVB protection. Rich in polyphenols, green tea extract is reported to help nourish skin to maintain collagen.
Organic Hibiscus Extract – strong antioxidant that helps to nourish skin and maintain moisture levels and elasticity.
Organic Goji Berry Extract - an energizing and stimulating ingredient, providing nourishment to cells to perform their metabolic functions. Rich in polysaccharides, amino acids and vitamins, goji is a super-food for the body with the superb ability to capture superoxide radicals.
Organic Ginger Root Extract - one of the best known botanicals since ancient times, ginger root has excellent anti-aging properties due to its ability to nourish skin and help to maintain healthy collagen levels.
Date Seed Extract – extracted from the date-palm kernel, offers free-radical scavenging properties. Its unique complex of 7 natural compounds work synergistically to provide nourishment to mature skin and lend a smooth and youthful glow.
- Emulsifying Wax NF, Stearic Acid.
Lotions and creams made with water must also contain an emulsifier and stabilizer which bond the oil and water molecules to give the lotions their creamy consistency. Our emulsifying wax and stearic acid are both vegetable-derived.
The Bad… (and the plain, ugly truth)
Ingredients NOT FOUND in our products, and here’s why:
- Sodium Lauryl/Laureth Sulfate (SLS/SLES).
Sodium Lauryl or Laureth Sulfate is a harsh chemical surfactant used to make products foam. Because of the bombardment of this chemical in nearly all personal care and cleansing products, we have come to believe that if a product does not have “suds,” it’s not cleansing. Think about the number of items in your home that “foam” — shampoos, soaps, mouthwash, toothpaste, dish washing liquid, laundry detergent… products that we use every day, sometimes multiple times a day. If it were only the SLS/SLES that we had to worry about, it might not matter as much. But what makes these ingredients hazardous is a byproduct called 1,4 Dioxane. It’s a contaminant byproduct often found in sodium laureth sulfate and is a known human carcinogen. You won’t find it on any labels, because as a “byproduct,” this ingredient is not required by the FDA to be listed on any label.
- Parabens (Methyl, Propyl, Butyl and Ethyl).
Found in thousands of products, parabens are used as preservatives to inhibit microbial growth and extend a product’s shelf life. Parabens can cause allergic reactions and skin rashes and have also been found in breast tumors. Although the cosmetics industry has maintained that parabens are safe for use in personal care products, these ingredients, reported to penetrate the skin and enter the bloodstream, have caused enough concern in the population for many to opt to buy paraben-free products.
Phthalates are used primarily in plastics to give the product flexibility. In personal care products, phthalates are often found in fragrances. They are believed to cause early puberty in girls, premature delivery if used during pregnancy, sperm damage in men, genital defects and reduced testosterone in boys, and testicular cancer. See www.environmentcalifornia.org for more information. At Valley Green Naturals, we offer fragrance choices of both steam-distilled pure essential oils or phthalate-free fragrance oils.
As mentioned above under Sodium Laureth Sulfate, this ingredient will not likely be found on any personal care labels. It is a byproduct of a chemical process called ethoxylation, in which cosmetic ingredients, such as sodium lauryl/laureth sulfate, is processed with ethylene oxide, a known carcinogen. 1,4 Dioxane is used in solvents and can be found in automative coolants. It may contaminate foaming products such as mouthwash, toothpaste, shampoos and soaps as a byproduct of SLES. It is reported to cause damage to the central nervous system, liver and kidneys.
- Diethanolamine (DEA), Triethanolamine (TEA).
Often used in cosmetics as emulsifiers or foaming agents, these ingredients can cause allergic reactions and eye irritation. DEA and TEA are “amines” (ammonia compounds) and can form cancer-causing nitrosamines when they come in contact with nitrates. They become toxic if absorbed into the body over a long period of time.
The International Agency for Research on Carcinogens has classified formaldehyde as “carcinogenic to humans.” This carcinogenic impurity can be found in cosmetic preservatives like diazolidinyl urea, imidazolidinyl urea, and quaternium-15. According to reviews by the Cosmetic Ingredient Review panel, these ingredients can release formaldehyde at levels as high as one-tenth that of the original ingredient.
This common petrochemical mix has been reported to cause allergic reactions, eczema and hives. Look for and avoid similar ingredients labeled with “PEG” or “PPG” (polyethylene glycol and polypropylene glycol). Instead, look for natural-derived humectants, such as vegetable glycerin.
For years, consumers have used petroleum jelly to soothe chapped and dry skin. Derived from mineral oil, petrolatum has been found to possibly interfere with the body’s own oil production and moisturizing system. Mineral oil and petroleum jelly are low-cost ingredients, which is why they are commonly found in many cosmetic emollient products.
Polysorbates are used in cosmetic products as emulsifying agents. Not all polysorbates are hazardous. But polysorbates -20, -40, -60, and -80 don’t pass muster with us for being safe ingredients. In fact, they are listed right alongside Sodium Laureth Sulfate as common carriers of 1,4-dioxane and ethylene oxide, known carcinogens.
- More information, along with body-hazard ratings on thousands of ingredients may be found on the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Database.
- For a comprehensive list of ingredients suspected to be contaminated with 1,4 Dioxane or Ethylene Oxide, click here. The top name in each category is the name most commonly found on product labels.