Spring Clean Your Skincare Routine

With spring here, you’re probably thinking about giving your space a deep clean for the season ahead. But what about your skincare routine? You may not know it, but hundreds of harmful ingredients can lurk in your makeup bag, causing everything from allergic reactions to environmental damage. As a brand dedicated to careful curation and vetting, we’re sharing five common skincare ingredients we recommend removing from your daily rituals this spring and replacing with clean, effective alternatives.


What are they? Derived from silica (a common mineral found in the Earth’s crust), silicones are a group of semi-liquid substances. 

Why are they used? Given their silky feel, silicones are often used in skincare products like cleansers, moisturizers, and primers to give a soft, smooth finish. They can also help heal damaged skin and lock in hydration.

Why should I avoid them? Some types of silicone, including a siloxane called cyclotetrasiloxane (D4), may be endocrine disrupters and possible reproductive toxins. D4 and other siloxanes can also accumulate in the environment, where they harm aquatic life.

What should I use instead? The Costa Brazil Óleo De Limpeza Para a Face - Hydrating Face Cleanser draws on clean ingredients to offer similar benefits. For example, vegan squalane (a moisturizing agent derived from sustainably-sourced Brazilian sugarcane) helps lock in hydration, copaiba oil from the copaiba tree works to soothe irritated skin, and urucum oil (a vitamin E-rich plant extract) can make skin look smoother and firmer. 


What are they? Sulfates are a group of mineral salts that can be natural or man-made. In consumer products, sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) and sodium laureth sulfate (SLES) are two of the most common sulfate compounds. These are derived from fatty alcohols made from palm kernel oil or petroleum oil.

Why are they used? Sulfates are cleansing agents and are often found in shampoos, cleansers, and exfoliators to bind with dirt and oil to make them easier to wash away.

Why should I avoid them? Both SLS and SLES can irritate the skin, eyes, and lungs, and many products that contain these sulfates are tested on animals to measure the level of irritation. Additionally, if derived from palm oil, these sulfates may be contributing to rainforest destruction. They can also be toxic to marine animals when washed down the drain. 

What should I use instead? There are plenty of clean cleansing options available! For example, the Fleur De Rose Cream Cleanser from African Botanics uses antioxidant-rich botanical oils to gently and effectively draw out dirt, oil, and other impurities.


What are they? Parabens are a family of chemicals, including methylparaben, propylparaben, butylparaben, and ethylparaben.

Why are they used? Parabens are used in beauty products as preservatives to prevent harmful bacteria and mold from growing.

Why should I avoid them? Parabens can cause allergic reactions upon skin contact and, like the sulfates mentioned above, can accumulate in the environment when washed down the drain.

What should I use instead? Clean, multitasking ingredients and exfoliating salicylic acid (also found in the Fleur De Rose Cream Cleanser), which can act as a preservative.


What is it? A chemical compound that’s often found in sunscreens.

Why is it used? Oxybenzone is highly effective at protecting skin against the sun’s harmful UVA and UVB rays by slowing absorption.

Why should I avoid it? While we advocate the use of any sunscreen every day of the year, we’ve chosen not to include sunscreens that contain oxybenzone in our curation because they are banned in destinations like Hawaii, Key West, and the US Virgin Islands due to the damage they cause to coral reefs. 

What should I use instead? We love mineral sunscreens that have zinc oxide as their active ingredient, like the Erbaviva Sunscreen. Zinc oxide can help shield skin from UV rays, has been “generally recognized as safe and effective” (GRASE) by the FDA, and can have anti-inflammatory benefits for skin.


What is it? Also called crude oil, petroleum is a naturally occurring liquid found beneath the Earth.

Why is it used? Petroleum jelly, or petrolatum, can be found in products that moisturize skin and heal chapped lips. It can also be refined into fuel. 

Why should I avoid it? Petroleum can be contaminated with harmful hydrocarbons and, as a fossil fuel, its combustion contributes to polluting greenhouse gasses like carbon dioxide.

What should I use instead? We love the nourishing ingredients in the natureofthings Reparative Facial Moisturizer, like squalane, hemp seed oil, moringa seed oil, and rose flower water.

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Fleur De Rose Cream Cleanser