Subtle Green

My Account

Without ...

Harsh chemicals and synthetic compounds

We disagree with the practice of using harsh or controversial compounds for the purpose of preserving creams and lotions for several years.

While it is imperative to protect against microbial and bacterial incursions, there needs to be some balance and thought put into maintaining freshness and quality without the harsh side effects of skin irritating chemicals. After searching at length, we have found this balance through natural botanical options (like Kimchi extract, Grapefruit seed extract, Vitamin C) and packaging (biophotonic violet glass).

On this page we discuss those chemicals that we categorically stand against including in our products.

No Parabens

This controversial and economical preservative has been the focus of many skin care discussions. Some studies have indicated that parabens are quickly absorbed by the body and may disrupt endocrine or estrogen hormone levels. Other studies have indirectly related parabens to being a carcinogen. Yet others have countered that a small amount of paraben in a product is really quite harmless and that the studies could be inconclusive or skewed.
Consider that many products (creams, lotions, body mists, shampoos, conditioners) may contain small amounts of parabens. You may use all these products during the day and so you can face the effects of increased parabens in your bloodstream.
What to look out for in other products: Parabens usually come in many forms such as methyl paraben, benzyl paraben, ethyl paraben or propyl paraben. It is a favorite of many manufacturers as it can preserve their cream for over 2-3 years.

Read more about Parabens in our guide

No synthetic fragrances and dyes

Artificial fragrances and dyes are cheap ingredients used to scent and color cosmetics since essential oils and plant extracts can become expensive. These synthetic compounds are developed from petroleum and coal tar and they often penetrate the skin, leading to allergies or skin irritation among those with sensitive skin.
What to look out for in other products: They are listed as D&C or FD&C with a color and number (for example – FD&C red2).

Read more about Artificial fragrances and dyes in our guide


Contained in many hair products (such as shampoos, conditioners and frizz control), these ingredients have been linked to certain forms of cancer. Even in small quantities, they can cause irritation, dryness or hair-loss and they can negatively affect the epidermis. You should consider products without this unnecessarily risky ingredient.
What to look out for in other products: Sodium Laureth Sulphate and Sodium Lauryl Sulphate are known as SLAs.

Read more about Sulphates in our guide

No Formaldehyde

This substance is a fungicide and is known to adversely affect skin and suspected to also affect DNA.
What to look out for in other products: Normally listed as DMDM or MDM hydantoin.

Read more about Formaldehydes in our guide

No Butylphenyl Methylpropional

A synthetic compound that is often used as a fragrance in skincare and it has been shown to cause irritation and allergic reactions in skin. The International Fragrance Association (IFRA) has restricted its use in fragrances because of potential dermal sensitization, and the European Cosmetics Directive lists this ingredient as an "allergenic" substance.
What to look out for in other products: Butylphenyl Methylpropional is not always disclosed as an ingredient based on whether disclosure is required per the country’s laws.

No Benzene

Considered a carcinogen and often used in skincare.
What to look out for in other products: If below the FDA required percentage for disclosure, it might not be mentioned.

There are other less common ingredients that should really be on an avoidance watch-list. However in general if you see a long chemical name that is difficult to pronounce, it is highly likely a chemical offender that does not belong in natural, healthy skin care.

Choose pure ingredients and do not use chemicals in your creams and lotions