Cosmetic Ingredients

Cosmetic Ingredients

Science behind products


What's in my cosmetics

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HomeCosmetic Ingredients

All ingredients in cosmetics and personal care products undergo many studies, run by both industry expert scientists and independent scientists reporting to authorities across the world, before being introduced to the market.  Also, every single cosmetic product must be approved by a safety expert before being sold.  This safety assessment looks at the wealth of science behind the ingredients, who uses the products, how they are used and how often over a lifetime.  Once in the marketplace, companies continue to monitor consumers’ use of their products and any new science that becomes available to affirm a product’s ongoing safety.  Cosmetic products in the UK must pass these strict assessments which are governed by the UK Cosmetics Regulation, a mandatory system which is a gold standard for safety.

Many claims are made online, via apps and other sources questioning the ingredients in our favourite products.  These rumours do not take into account the vast amount of science and expertise behind every cosmetic ingredient and product.  Misinformation is spread very easily, and sensational headlines can also cause fear.  However, decisions over safety must be based on facts and data, on the evidence itself, and not on rumours or myths - no matter how often reported.

No matter what the scare stories, cosmetic products in the UK are safe to use, and will always be safe to use, and we can all feel confident about using the products we love every day.


Aluminium is the third most naturally abundant element in the environment, found in food, water and pharmaceuticals as well as a wide range of consumer products. Antiperspirants contain ingredients called aluminium salts that dissolve in sweat and leave a thin coating of gel over the sweat glands. There is no safety data that suggests that aluminium presents a health threat when included in antiperspirants.

Endocrine Disruptors

'Endocrine disruptor' is the term given to certain chemicals which allegedly act as, or interfere with, human hormones in the body and lead to harmful effects.

Remember, just because something has the potential to mimic a hormone does not mean it will disrupt your endocrine system.

Nanomaterials and Nanotechnology

Public debate on nanotechnology has raised questions about the potential hazards to the environment and human health. It is claimed that as the particles of a material get smaller, their characteristics and properties might begin to differ from the larger particles of the same material.


Plastic microbeads

‘Microplastic’ refers to the tiny pieces of plastic of all kinds present in the marine environment.

Plastic microbeads were present in some rinse-off cosmetics for their cleansing and exfoliating properties, but these have been voluntarily phased-out across Europe and also have now been banned in several countries, including the UK.


Parabens are a family of both naturally-occurring and man-made substances.  Parabens and their derivatives can be found in plants such as blueberries, or even in green tea.

 They are among the most widely used of preservatives, having been in use for more than fifty years with an excellent safety record.

Preservatives and storage of cosmetic products

Preservatives are ingredients designed to protect products from the growth of bugs during storage and use. They keep our products safe and effective and protect us from any unwanted effects of using contaminated products. 


Talc, or talcum, is a naturally occurring mineral; it is one of the hydrated magnesium silicates. Cosmetic talc, which has been safely used for over 120 years, is not the same as industrial talc.

No causal link has been shown between cosmetic talc and cancer, despite unjustified claims that are frequently circulated on the Internet.