June 20, 2016

Cosmetic Ingredients To Avoid

We exclude more than 200 adverse ingredients from our products and were the first company to develop a 100% fragrance-free range formulated without essential oils. We don’t use unnecessary additives such as colours and dyes and you won’t find soap, sulphates, heavy oils or mineral oil in our products.


Where the total exclusion of particular raw materials would adversely affect the skin’s health or compromise the safety, stability or integrity of our products, these have only been included at minimal concentrations.


Skin is more likely to absorb chemicals and toxins when it is irritated and the functions and integrity of the acid mantle have been compromised. Mir products are designed to restore and protect this vital balance.
Our aim in developing Mir was to formulate a range which was as natural as possible but it was of paramount importance that our products should benefit the skin.


Some of the Ingredients we Avoid:


Essential Oils:


Just because an ingredient is naturally derived does not mean it is good for your skin. For example, your skin perceives essential oils as complex chemical compounds, which can be as irritating as chemical fragrance.

Cosmetic ingredients which smell fine individually can become malodorous in combination, essential oils enable manufacturers to mask unpleasant whiffs – and to label their products as fragrance-free.

Avoid using them on your face – and preferably on your body particularly if your skin is sensitive or you have a condition, such as eczema in which case try Mir Liquid Silk Shower Gel.


Pore-clogging Substances:


Heavy oils such as almond, apricot kernel, avocado, cocoa butter, castor, coconut, corn, linseed, peanut, olive, sesame, sunflower  may sound wholesome but are not necessarily good for the long term health and beauty of your skin. Mineral oil, paraffinum liquidum, petrolatum are from non-sustainable resources and are also reputed to be pore-clogging.

When a product is labelled non-comedogenic this means it was tested on the backs of volunteers, not on pimple-prone faces. It may still have a comedogenic effect.

Some of the natural oils above may be fine when used in lip and body balms, body lotions etc. But if you develop spots check ingredients. Lip balm may be smearing on your pillow at night and getting onto your skin, try Mir Argan Beauty Oil as a lip balm instead. Spots on hairline, jaw line, neck, back and shoulders? Check hair care products and wash skin after rinsing off conditioner.



Anti ageing: irritants, time-wasters and other nonsense:


AHAs, BHAs, retinol* etc irritate and peel the skin thereby accelerating ageing. *Incidentally, retinol is not the same as Retin-A – which has been shown to have anti-ageing effects but is only available on prescription because it is so irritating.

AHAs may be listed as: glycolic acid, lactic acid, malic acid, citric acid, glycolic acid + ammonium glycolate, alpha-hydroxyethanoic acid + ammonium alpha-hydroxyethanoate, alpha-hydroxyoctanoic acid, alpha-hydroxycaprylic acid, hydroxycaprylic acid, mixed fruit acid, tri-alpha hydroxy fruit acids, triple fruit acid, sugar cane extract, alpha hydroxy and botanical complex, L-alpha hydroxy acid, glycomer in crosslinked fatty acids alpha nutrium (three AHAs).

BHAs may be listed as: salicylic acid, salicylate, sodium salicylate and willow extract; beta hydroxybutanoic acid, tropic acid, trethocanic acid.

Collagen and pentapeptides. Some of the claims made about these are incredible! Collagen applied to the skin has no effect. As for pentapeptides, several medical and scientific experts have confirmed there is no evidence whatsoever they are of benefit and some may even be toxic.

Keep your skin naturally supple with Argan Beauty Oil or Skin Silk Lotion.




Ethyl alcohol or ethanol (shown on ingredients lists as alcohol or alcohol denat.) is sometimes used as a preservative in natural and organic “sensitive” skin ranges. – in order to be effective it needs to be used at around 20% which is drying and irritating.

NB This is not the same as benzyl alcohol which is used as a preservative at very low levels, eg a fraction of one per cent.

Men with sensitive skin: be very cautious with aftershave products as they are alcohol based – Skin Refresher is the perfect alternative.

Fatty alcohols, used at certain levels, can produce cumulative irritation – ie irritation that builds up gradually over time. Some examples are stearyl/cetostearyl/cetyl alcohol (see General list below for more) are present in most products, including “100% organic” ranges. (We question whether there is such a thing!) We have avoided them insofar as this is possible. A very low level of Ceteareth-20, a glycol ether which derives from fatty alcohols but is more gentle, is present in both of our moisturisers


Soaps and Sulphates:


These disrupt the skin’s natural balance leading to dryness and blemishes use Cleansing Gel and Gentle Body Wash instead:


Soaps: Avoid on face. Occasional use on body. The alkaline pH of soap can make it irritating and drying. However wonderfully natural, gentle and moisturising the ingredients may sound, however much glycerine has been left in –  it is the manufacturing process that renders soap too alkaline for sensitive skin – whether handmade or mass produced.

Sulphates (or sulfates): E.g. ammonium lauryl sulphate, ammonium laureth sulphate, sodium lauryl sulphate, sodium laureth sulphate are harsh surfactants (surface active agents, also known as detergents) and are commonly found even in the most exclusive and organic ranges. It doesn’t matter whether a substance is naturally derived, the point is that these can irritate and dry your skin and encourage blemishes. Some surfactants are very mild and can even help to calm and soothe the skin. We use a combination of these very mild surfactants in our cleansing products.




Alcohol, alcohol denat., alcohol SD. Benzoyl peroxide (unless in OTC or prescription product), butyl stearate, butylene glycol, cetearyl alcohol, cetostearyl alcohol, cetyl alcohol, cetyl stearyl alcohol (fatty alcohols which used at certain levels in a formulation may cause cumulative irritation, see Alcohol above). Citrus oils, extracts and juices. Cinnamon, clove oil. DHA or dihydroxyacetone (tan enhancing ingredient which can be present in totally natural organic self-tanners. Usually described as being naturally derived – it is still irritating and has to be present in all self-tanning products for them to work). Esostearyl alcohol. Essential oils. Eucalyptus oil. Fragrance (aka parfum). Isocetyl stearate. Isopropyls including: isopropyl isostearate, isopropyl lineate, isopropyl myristate, isopropyl neopententanate, isopropyl palmitate (all pore-clogging). Lanolin and lanolin derivatives (ditto, and it’s sheep sebum). Laureth 4, lauryl alcohol. Myristyls including: myristyl ether propionate, myristyl lactate, myristyl myristate. Octyl palmitate, octyl stearate. Oleic acid. PABA, paraffin, peppermint, phenol, phosphoric acid. Propylene glycol. Witch hazel (natural but 15 to 70% alcohol).


Unnecessary additives:


If it isn’t essential, we leave it out. There is no need for colours, dyes and pearlisers. We could add ingredients to Mir cleansers to make them clear but again it’s unnecessary. (As mentioned above, where an additive is essential to the integrity of the formulation and/or the health and safety of your skin it will only be included at minimal levels.)


And finally…

The ingredients mentioned above form a small part of our banned list.  We can’t disclose all our secrets! These substances might not have an immediate adverse effect on your skin but can eventually cause blemishes or undermine the skin’s health. The result? Cumulative irritation, increased sensitivity, the skin not functioning healthily or looking its best. The difference between OK skin and naturally beautiful skin.

See also: Preservatives in Cosmetics