March 26, 2018

Cosmetic Ingredients To Avoid

We exclude more than 200 adverse ingredients from Mir and were the first and still the only company to develop 100% fragrance-free face and body products without essential oils.


We don’t use unnecessary additives such as colours and dyes and you won’t find harsh chemicals, soap, sulphates, heavy pore-clogging oils or mineral oil in our products.


Where the total exclusion of certain 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.


The skin is more likely to absorb harsh 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 is of paramount importance that our products should benefit the skin.


Some of the Ingredients we Avoid:


The ingredients mentioned below form a small part of our banned list.  We can’t disclose all our secrets! They might not have an immediate adverse effect on your skin but could cause cumulative irritation,  increased sensitivity, redness or  blemishes. The difference between OK skin and naturally beautiful Mir skin.




First, a quick word about CHEMICALS…


There is absolutely no such thing as a chemical-free cosmetic. All matter is made up of chemicals – absolutely everything you can see, touch, ingest, breathe. Air, water, plants, organic cosmetics, food, clothing, bricks..

Our bodies are made up of chemicals.




Often marketed as having miraculous beneficial properties, “essential” oils  contain the chemicals that give a plant its essence (odour, flavour).  These complex chemical compounds can be as irritating as chemical fragrance.


The only “essential” thing is that you should avoid using face and body products containing them.


Cosmetic ingredients which smell fine individually can become malodorous in combination. Essential oils enable manufacturers to mask unpleasant whiffs whilst claiming their products are fragrance-free.


Widely used in organic ranges to pad out the ingredients list and make the product sound more natural.




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.

Just because an ingredient is edible doesn’t mean it’s good for your skin. Your skin is not your stomach.


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


Retin-A has been shown to have anti-ageing effects but is only available on prescription because it is so irritating.

Retinol sounds similar so is widely used in skin creams to tout their anti ageing benefits. Apart from also being irritating, it is not the same thing.

AHAs and BHAs irritate and peel the skin thereby accelerating ageing. See also Exfoliation below.

Examples of AHAs: glycolic acid, lactic acid, malic 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).

Examples of BHAs: 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, 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 Mir Argan Beauty Oil or Mir Skin Silk Lotion.




Some people think grainy exfoliating products are irritating and only chemical exfoliants (AHAs etc. see above) should be used.  With a grainy product you are in full control of the degree of exfoliation and provided you keep pressure to a minimum, moving the product around without scrubbing, this is beneficial.


A chemical exfoliant may feel smoother but you have no control over the damage that can be done by its harsh skin-stripping ingredients.




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

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 should avoid aftershave products as they are alcohol based – Mir Skin Refresher is the perfect alternative.


Fatty alcohols used at certain levels can produce cumulative irritation  (irritation that builds up gradually over time).

Stearyl/cetostearyl/cetyl alcohol (see also Miscellaneous below) are present in most products, including so-called “100% organic” ranges. 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.




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


Soaps: The alkaline pH of soap can make it irritating and drying. However 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 help to calm and soothe the skin – we use a combination of these in our cleansing products.


Avoid harsh chemicals and toxins in body care products – a larger area of skin has greater potential to absorb them.





(Includes those already mentioned.)

AHAs. Alcohol, alcohol denat., alcohol SD. Benzoyl peroxide (unless in OTC or prescription product). BHAs. 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 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. Retinol. Soap and sulphates. Vitamin A. Witch hazel (natural but usually 15 to 70% alcohol).




If it isn’t essential, we leave it out.

Colours, dyes and pearlisers: there is no need for these and some may be harmful.

We could add ingredients to Mir cleansers to make them clear but again it’s unnecessary.

Thickeners: Moisturisers don’t need to be thick to be moisturising.

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.





Ignore what it says on the front of the bottle (manufacturer’s claims and product descriptions) and read the ingredients list. Some of the miracle products touted in beauty magazines contain dreadful ingredients One of the most expensive moisturisers on the market contains 16 of our banned ingredients and has a mineral oil base.


Just because you’ve read about a celebrity using something doesn’t mean it’s good either. Celebrities are often paid to endorse products.


Updated 13 Jan 2019


See also: Preservatives in Cosmetics