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At Conscious Skincare our philosophy is to make natural and organic skin care with a clean conscience.

‘It started with an essence of an idea, bringing a wealth of texture, aroma, look, feel and colour. Some alchemy to encourage all the elements to engage, interweave, interact, to craft our enriching, soothing, embracing skin care.’

I created the Conscious Skincare range as I suffered with very dry skin as a result of hypothyroidism. Nothing in the marketplace came close to helping. All the products I tried, even organic skincare made using natural ingredients, were simply not rich enough. Talking with family and friends, I discovered many of them had suffered allergic reactions to mainstream skincare.

In more recent years my husband, Quentin developed chemical sensitivity and suffered a severe allergic reaction leading to him being hospitalized.

It really focused our attention on ingredients and the modern toxic world that surrounds us. These events inspired me to create a high quality organic skincare brand. One built with an ethical philosophy, from the sourcing of ingredients to the eco friendly packaging we use.

Over the last 10 years we’ve gained recognition and accreditations by well respected organisations in the natural and organic world. Our products have picked up numerous awards and we have been lucky to work with some amazing organisations!

We developed an exclusive range for The Royal Ballet in London. It was not only a fantastic collaboration, but a great demonstration of the quality and standards we aspire to. It also reflects the design-led ethos we follow, ensuring products look as good on the outside as they are inside.

The National Trust now sells a selection of our products in their gift shops across the UK. It is a great privilege to partner with such an esteemed organisation!

Most of all, our customers who have been of massive importance and enormous support to us on this wonderful journey, with many kind words along the way – so a huge thank you!’

Rebecca, Conscious Skincare founder

Conscious Skincare rebecca_our_philosophy

Ingredients we Avoid

A principle of skincare should be to do no harm.
Unfortunately, there is a whole host of potentially toxic chemicals to avoid which have made their way into many skincare products. Some of these have been shown to cause harm to some people.

Did you know?

Synthetic chemicals are in air, food, water, and in most of the products you use. Many go straight into your body or your child’s body, even before birth.

Until recently, modern science really hadn’t grasped what this exposure could mean for your health. Thankfully that is now changing.

To help our customers navigate their way around some of these ingredients, we have created a list below, showing some of the main culprits and to explain why they are not good for your skin.

Please also consider all the potentially harmful ingredients used in hair products. You can read more about these on our natural hair care page.

Mineral Oil

Mineral oil is a by-product of oil – the black stuff drilled out of the ground and converted into gas or petrol for your car. Other names for it are petrolatum, parafinum liquidum, liquid paraffin or petroleum jelly.

It is used extensively in skincare and medical skincare preparations because it is a very cheap moisturising barrier. Unfortunately, whilst a barrier might help reduce moisture loss or protect skin, mineral oil does not allow your skin to breathe.

Our skin is one of the ways we eliminate toxins. Covering it up with an unbreathable layer may cause skin to start behaving badly because the skin is prevented from doing what it is meant to do naturally – breathe!

Palm Oil

Thankfully Palm Oil (and derivatives of) is getting a lot more press these days. Palm oil or palm kernel oil is sourced from large areas of natural habitat which have been cleared by farmers to grow palm trees. This means a drastic decline in habitat for the orangutan which has now become an endangered species.

Palm oil is used extensively in the cosmetic and food industry (check if your local chip shop uses it) because it is a cheap oil to produce.

The animal and environmental cost of this monoculture is not taken into consideration. Always check for palm oil in skincare products – it’s what sodium lauryl sulphate is made from (see paragraph below on SLS).

Avoid Palm Oil, and Palm Oil related ingredients in food and cosmetics.
We do not use palm oil or palm oil derivatives in any of our products; we never have and we never will. Save The Orangutan work tirelessly to rescue, rehabilitate and release orangutans who fall victim to the expanding mono culture production of palm oil.

SLS

This is an abbreviation of Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, sometimes called SLES (sodium lauryl ether sulphate).

It is made from palm oil and used extensively in skincare products as a foaming agent. There is a lot of evidence which suggests that it can be a skin irritant and can cause cosmetic dermatitis.

Parabens

Parabens occur naturally in certain plants as a protection system for the plant.

In cosmetics, these are used to preserve a product; to prevent bacterial and fungal growth. The ones used in common skincare products are synthetic (man–made from chemicals) as it is a much cheaper way to produce them.

The most common parabens are methylparaben and propylparaben and there is a great deal of research which suggests a link between synthetic parabens and health issues.

For those reasons we keep our products paraben free and choose Soil Association and Ecocert approved preservatives when we need to use them.

Permitted Colours

There are a number of permitted colourants that can be added to products, but we let our ingredients dictate the colour of a product. Adding a colour to a product has no positive benefit for your skin. We do not add any artificial colour to our formulations.

Parfum

This is generic term given to fragrance added to a product. It is widely used in the skincare industry, and is often used to ‘hide’ any number of synthetic ingredients. The word often appears alone with no indication of what the fragrance is made from. There are many irritants to be found in these fragrance mixes so again we leave it to our natural ingredients to dictate the aroma of a product. We also offer a Pure range of fragrance free products.

Phthalate

A substance added to plastic to increase its flexibility. Phthalates can be found in a vast range of products from furnishings to liquid soap and there is a great deal of concern about exposure to this chemical and its links to asthma, endochrine disruption and cancer. Again, this substance is not used in any of our products.

Preservatives

Our products are mainly anhydrous (made without water), or the pH of the formulation means that no preservative is required.

The preservatives used in our products are ones approved by the Soil Association or Ecocert. You can read more about our approach to preservatives.

We do not use preservatives such as;

Methylisothiazolinone – a chemical preservative added to products to prevent unwanted growth of bacteria and yeasts. However, there have been many cases of allergic reactions to products containing this chemical.You can read more in these articles from BBC Watchdog and The Daily Telegraph.

The BBC Watchdog article also lists a number of products from face creams to baby wipes that contain this potential irritant.

Triclosan – this is frequently added to handwashes, detergent, wipes, deodorants and many more products as an antibacterial agent. Evidence shows that it can penetrate your skin and is suspected of interfering with hormone function. It also has long term consequences for the environment – so much is used it ends up being washed out into the ocean. This causes pH imbalances for fish and mammals.

PEGS

PEGs (polyethylene glycols) are petroleum-based compounds that are widely used in cosmetics as thickeners, solvents, softeners, and moisture-carriers.

PEGs are commonly used as cosmetic cream bases and are also used in pharmaceuticals as laxatives.

Depending on how they are made, PEGs may be contaminated with measurable amounts of ethylene oxide, classified as a known human carcinogen and 1,4-dioxane which has also been classified as a possible human carcinogen.

Ethylene oxide can also potentially harm your nervous system. The California Environmental Protection Agency has classified it as a developmental toxicant based on evidence that it may interfere with human development.

1,4-dioxane doesn’t easily degrade and can remain in the environment for a long period after it is rinsed down the drain. It can be removed from cosmetics during the manufacturing process by vacuum stripping, but there is no easy way for consumers to know whether products containing PEGs have undergone this process.

‘In a study of personal care products marketed as “natural” or “organic” (uncertified), U.S. researchers found 1,4-dioxane as a contaminant in 46 of 100 products tested.’

Potential cancer causing contaminants are always the primary concern, but PEG compounds themselves also show some evidence of genotoxicity. If PEGS are used on broken skin, they can cause irritation and potential systemic toxicity.

The industry panel that reviews the safety of cosmetics ingredients concluded that some PEG compounds are not safe for use on damaged skin (although the assessment generally approved of the use of these chemicals in cosmetics).

Unfortunately, PEG functions as a “penetration enhancer,” which means it increases the permeability of your skin.

It therefore will allow greater absorption of the product — including harmful ingredients! Definitely one to avoid!

Siloxanes

You need to look out for ‘Cyclomethicone’ and ingredients ending in “siloxane” e.g., cyclotetrasiloxane.

These silicone-based compounds are used in cosmetics to soften, smooth, and moisten. They make hair products dry more quickly and deodorant creams slide on more easily. They are also used extensively in moisturizers and facial treatments.

Siloxanes can also be found in medical implants, water-repelling windshield coatings, building sealants and lubricants.

Environment Canada assessments concluded that cyclotetrasiloxane and cylcopentasiloxane — also known as D4 and D5 are toxic, persistent, and have the potential to bioaccumulate in aquatic organisms.

The European Union classifies D4 as a endocrine disruptor, based on evidence that it interferes with human hormone function and a possible reproductive toxicant that may impair human fertility.

This is by no means a complete list as there are so many potentially harmful ingredients used the skincare industry. Hopefully it gives you an idea of some of the main ones to watch out for!

Conscious Skincare lists in full all ingredients used during manufacturing on our product listing pages so you can read what each product contains.

Awards & Accreditations

We’re proud to be accredited by a number of well recognised and trusted organisations. You can also view all the wonderful awards we have received by viewing our product pages.

In our modern age of ‘greenwash’ consumers find it increasingly difficult to find brands that are genuine. Words like ‘natural’, ‘organic’ and ‘ethical’ are often overstated and misleading.

So we were thrilled to be approached by Ethical Consumer who then audited what we do and our all our products.

We passed with flying colours and achieved Ethical Consumer ‘Best Buy’ status for our skincare range. Many of our products were awarded some of the highest scores in each category!

Ethical Consumer has helped consumers make informed choices for over 25 years and challenge companies globally to improve their business models and supply chains.

Following a thorough and independent audit, we ranked higher than all other companies in most product categories. See how our products performed and see how ethical consumer tests health and beauty at Ethical Consumer. You may be surprised to see how other well known brands performed!

EWG is a US consumer organisation designed to help consumers navigate their way through household, cosmetic and other products so that they can avoid those which may cause health issues.

Our products have been reviewed and their ingredients ranked by EWG. Furthermore, we are delighted to further our existing accreditation with EWG through the EWG VERIFIED™ programme.

What do these accreditations mean? Skin Deep® is an educational tool for consumers which rates ingredients in personal care products. All our products have been independently rated with Skin Deep® (please see EWG Skin Deep information further down the page).

Our first EWG VERIFIED™ products include our organic hair care and Rejuvenate Day Moisturizer

EWG VERIFIED™ delves deep into ingredient labels and offers the EWG VERIFIED™ mark for those products who meet their strict criteria. The mark is a quick and easy tool to help consumers to identify products that meet these rigorous criteria.

EWG VERIFIED™ symbol on a product means the product is free from EWG’S ingredients of concern, that the brand is committed to full transparency and operates under Good Manufacturing Practices.

So a product has to:

• meet EWG’s strictest criteria for transparency and health.
• avoids ingredients that authoritative health bodies have flagged for potential health concern
• has labelling that fully discloses its ingredients
• uses adequate preservatives
• is free of contaminants
• the brand is a manufacturer that follows good manufacturing practices.

Visit EWG to learn more about EWG VERIFIED™ and to see Conscious Skincare ratings.

We’re Vegan Approved and Vegetarian Approved!

All of our products are fully approved by the Vegetarian Society to give you complete confidence and trust in the sourcing and nature of our ingredients.
We are also delighted to recently have our range given the ‘Vegan approved’ accreditations by the Vegetarian Society too so all our products are suitable for Vegans.

The Vegetarian Society Seedling Symbol trademark is now proudly displayed on a diverse range of over 5000 product lines available in the UK and abroad. Millions of people have come to rely upon the symbol’s unique positioning. This trademark gives consumers reassurance and they know they can rely on The Vegetarian Society.

Our entire range is fully approved by Cruelty Free International. and our products carry the well known Leaping Bunny symbol

The Leaping Bunny Program provides the best assurance that no animal testing is used in any phase of product development by the company, its laboratories, or suppliers.

‘We are delighted to receive Leaping Bunny approval! Although we know we would never test on animals and we check that our supply chain has the same principles, we wanted to let everyone else know exactly where we stand. Gaining third party recognition from such a well-respected organisation as Cruelty Free International will therefore enable us to do just that.’ Rebecca, founder – Conscious Skincare

We’re also very proud to be approved as part of PETA’s (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) Beauty Without Bunnies program. This is the ultimate resource for conscientious shoppers. It makes the quest for cruelty-free products as easy as (vegan) pie, especially as our entire range is now Vegan approved

You can also visit their online database and search by company name or product type to learn which products are cruelty-free. And when you’re out shopping, look for PETA’s cruelty-free bunny logos (pictured above). Products which display this logo are cruelty-free, meaning that they are produced without testing on animals.

Conscious Skincare Accreditations

Naturewatch Foundation is a registered charity, working hard to improve the lives of animals. Their goal is to end animal cruelty and advance animal welfare standards around the world.

We feature in their fantastic Compassionate Shopping Guide which will guide and help you in using your purchasing power to only support companies that are committed to using cruelty-free ingredients.

We were invited to write a guest blog for them too!

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