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Cosmetic Ingredients That Shouldn’t Be Combined

Why it’s better to avoid synthetic chemicals that could be causing harmful chemical reactions on your skin.

Written by: 100% PURE ®
Chemical Mixing

Have you ever looked up what’s in your makeup or skin care? If you’re any ingredient detective of sorts, you’re probably an experienced decipherer of those lengthy ingredient lists. While you might know which harmful chemicals you should avoid, other ingredients can be seemingly innocent – until they’re found guilty of not playing nicely with others.

Since we’re not all professional label investigators or trained cosmetic formulators, we tend to trust the FDA to make sure our beauty products are safe for our skin and bodies, right? Not quite. Without heavy regulation by the FDA on cosmetic labeling, who’s there to warn you?

Luckily our founder and expert formulator Susie Wang is extremely experienced, and always has your health as her top priority when formulating 100% PURE products. Let’s talk a little science about cosmetic ingredients, and which ones don’t play well when mixed together – plus some beauty do’s and don’ts to avoid harming your skin.

Vitamin C Serum
Choose Stable, High Quality Cosmetic Ingredients

Do you know how our founder Susie Wang first entered the world of cosmetic formulating? When she was in college, she saved up money to purchase a vitamin C serum from a department store. But after opening the bottle, Susie noticed that the once white serum turned into a tarnished brown, meaning that the vitamin C had oxidized.

Once vitamin C starts oxidizing, it not only loses its potency, but also converts into skin-damaging free radicals. Can you imagine hoping to cure your skin care woes with an expensive serum, only to damage it instead? Don’t be scared off by vitamin C yet, because Susie figured out a way to stabilize it so you can enjoy all its benefits without sacrificing your health.

Our Vitamin C Serum is stable and potent enough for day and nighttime skin care routines, but it really comes down to your skin type and sensitivity level. But if you do wear it during the day, you should wear it under a broad-spectrum SPF. Studies have shown that pairing vitamin C with sun protection may actually boost free radical defense!

Our formula includes both vitamin C and antioxidant vitamin E to help heal and rejuvenate skin. It also features alpha lipoic acid to promote cellular regeneration and gently resurface skin, and green apple to boost the vibrance of your complexion.

Can Vitamin C Be Used with Other Ingredients?

Vitamin C is a timeless anti-aging and brightening classic in skin care routines if you know how to properly use this super star ingredient. There are other ways that vitamin C can cause chemical reactions and damage your skin.

This citrus C-elebrity when paired with niacinamide are usually a big NO in cosmetic formulations. That’s because conventional cosmetic companies use vitamin C with a low pH level of around 2 to 3, like ascorbic acid, which isn’t compatible with the more neutral pH of 6 to 7 of niacinamide.

We use a higher quality, more stable version of vitamin C called magnesium ascorbyl phosphate, which has a pH level of 6 to 7 like niacinamide. That means our form of vitamin C can coexist with niacinamide without causing a harmful chemical reaction on your skin, allowing you to reap the benefits of both vitamins in our Multi-Vitamin + Antioxidants Potent PM Serum. This serum is formulated to heal, restore, and renew your skin while you sleep.

Multi Vitamin Serum
Avoid Reactions Between Cosmetic Ingredients

There are so many nuances and properties of cosmetic ingredients that it would be impossible to know all of them and how they interact with each other. That is unless you had more than a decade of experience that our founder Susie Wang has at formulating beauty products.

Another problem with lower quality, less stable forms of vitamin C is that it reacts with sodium benzoate to form benzene, which is a known carcinogenic to humans. That spells major trouble, since sodium benzoate is widely used as a preservative in food, beverages, cosmetics, and other personal care products.

While it may be simple enough to nix any of your skin care products that have both vitamin C and sodium benzoate, we’ve decided it’s easier to just use natural preservatives instead that work synergistically with vitamin C.

Our natural preservative system runs on Japanese honeysuckle, thyme, oregano, goldenseal, rosemary, lavender, as well as a high concentration of vitamins and antioxidants to preserve our formulas. These ingredients are not only safe for your skin in combination with other cosmetic ingredients, but also have soothing benefits for your dermis too.

Honeysuckle Tree
Harmful Cosmetic Ingredients that Release Formaldehyde

You’ve heard us warn you enough about the hundreds of chemicals that should be banned from cosmetics, like formaldehyde, which has been linked to cancer, yet is still being used in nail polishes. We don’t mean to be alarmist, but we wonder if cosmetic companies and the FDA are really cautioning you enough to the risk that cosmetic ingredients can pose to your health.

For example, while your favorite mascara or body wash may not actually contain the word ‘formaldehyde’ on its ingredients label, it can include ingredients that release formaldehyde over time. That’s right, common synthetic preservatives such as DMDM Hydantoin (commonly used in shampoos), bronopol (found in eye makeup), and glyoxal (used in nail polish) are all formaldehyde-releasers.

Rather than risking our health to a carcinogen, we stick to our favorite natural preservatives, such as Japanese honeysuckle known for its soothing and antimicrobial benefits. We also use a vegetable-derived compound of vitamin E or tocopherol, which is a great natural preservative for cosmetics because as an antioxidant, it helps to repair and fortify the skin against environmental damage.

We also use grapefruit seed extract, also sometimes labeled as GSE, as a natural preservative that has been around for decades. High in healthy antioxidants like vitamins E and C, grapefruit seed supports healthy, glowing skin.

Sea Culture Toner
What’s in “Fragrance?”

Do you think everything you need to know about the cosmetic ingredients in your favorite beauty products is on the label? Think again. You might be familiar with seeing the ingredient “fragrance” on one or many of your skin care products. While we do love ourselves a heavenly lotion that smells like vanilla, fragrance is a lot more toxic than it sounds.

The terms fragrance or perfume are actually used as umbrella terms for a mix of cosmetic ingredients in the formula. However, the FDA doesn’t require companies to list the exact ingredients in their fragrance formulas, supposedly to protect “trade secrets.” The FDA even acknowledges that phthalates, which have been linked to endocrine disruption and birth defects, are commonly used in fragrance ingredients. Who knows what other damaging ingredients could be lurking under these terms.

You could be doing your best to avoid formaldehyde-releasing ingredients, only to have them unknowingly appear in your beauty products under the name fragrance or perfume. Who would ever know? We do, and we want you to know, too.

We remain committed to barring these synthetic fragrances from our formulas. We can do better than that (have you heard about our chocolate-scented mascaras that have real cocoa powder in them?) If you haven’t, here’s the chance to discover the healthy and wealth of benefits from natural fruit- and vegetable- pigmented products that we feature in our beauty and skin care lineups.

We’re passionate about natural ingredients because of their positive skin, body, and health benefits. We know that you shouldn’t be an ingredient detective to find your favorite skin care and beauty products. That’s where we come in - naturally sourced and thoughtful formulas that are gentler on both your skin, health, and the planet. That’s a win-win for everyone involved!

We carefully hand-select products based on strict purity standards, and only recommend products we feel meet this criteria. 100% PURE™ may earn a small commission for products purchased through affiliate links.

The information in this article is for educational use, and not intended to substitute professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment and should not be used as such.

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