‘Dead’ vs Bioactive Ingredients


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We want to help you how to spot them on a label so you are empowered to make an informed decision on your purchase.

Ingredients that are either ‘dead’ or not-sustainable. To us, the below list is a ‘living’ list that keeps evolving and growing.

So keep re-visiting this page.

Alcohol denat (or ‘denaturised alcohol’) is used as a preservative and fragrance fixer, and this kind of alcohol can dry out and irritate sensitive skin. Unfortunately even organic alcohol has the same effect on the skin, so we choose to avoid it altogether.

Traditionally used to protect the “trade secrets” of the perfumery industry, the word ‘fragrance’ can be used to cover over 200 different chemicals – including preservatives.
If you use a product with ‘artificial fragrance’ on the ingredients list – you can’t be sure what you’re putting on your skin.
True fragrance sensitivity can cause everything from headaches to skin rashes and it can be hard to pin down which fragrance compounds or additives you are sensitive to – it even gives our founder Sarah a headache!

As concerns over the safety of parabens built momentum, non-paraben preservatives, such as Methylisothiazolinone (MI) and Sodium Hydroxylmethylglycinate became more popular. Unfortunately, these alternatives can be highly irritating and we don’t use them in Naya products.

 How do you spot them on the label: Methylisothiazolinone or Methylchloroisothiazolinone

Essential oils have a world of benefits, both in aromatherapy and on the skin when used in low dilutions – but it’s a delicate balance!

High levels of essential oils have been known to irritate already damaged, broken or delicate skin and most essential oils are not safe to put straight on your delicate skin. Make sure that essential oils are listed in the last part of the INCI list of a product.
Parabens are a common form of preservative used in many cosmetic and pharmaceutical products. There’s been a lot of controversy over the safety of them in recent years, so we take a precautionary approach and avoid them altogether. This includes so called ‘natural parabens’, such as Japanese Honeysuckle. These ingredients contain parahydroxy benzoic acid, a natural compound on which parabens are based. They’re listed under their INCI plant name (Lonicera Japonica) and sometimes feature in ‘paraben-free’ products.
How to you spot them on the label: propylparaben, heptylparaben, ethylparaben, methylparaben, butylparaben, isobutylparaben, benzylparaben, and anything ‘-paraben’ referenced.

Petrochemicals are ingredients derived from petroleum. The beauty industry uses over one hundred of these chemicals, often as preservatives, bases for synthetic fragrances, emollients and to keep products moist for longer – think of a pack of facial wipes!  Some common petrochemicals, like Propylene Glycol, can cause skin irritation and have been linked to inflammatory conditions such as Eczema. Petrochemicals also require the use of finite resources, which is bad news for our planet. We’ve found plenty of effective, plant-based and renewable alternatives in nature.

According to a report in the NCIB, impurities found in various PEG compounds include ethylene oxide; 1,4-dioxane; polycyclic aromatic compounds; and heavy metals such as lead, iron, cobalt, nickel, cadmium, and arsenic. Many of these impurities are linked to cancer.

  • Ethylene oxide (found in PEG-4, PEG-7, PEG4-dilaurate, and PEG 100) is highly toxic—even in small doses.
  • 1,4-dioxane (found in PEG-6, PEG-8, PEG-32, PEG-75, PEG-150, PEG-14M, and PEG-20M), which, on top of being a known carcinogen, may also combine with atmospheric oxygen to form explosive peroxides—not exactly something you want to use on your face.

How do you spot them on the label: PEG (typically followed by a number indicating its average molecular weight), Propandiol.

Silicones are never used in our products. Silicones are often used in the beauty industry to achieve a superficial silky feeling when applied to the skin but they do this by creating a plastic-like film. This doesn’t allow the skin to breath naturally and any other pure bioactive ingredients to follow, won’t be able to sink into the skin. As a result, it alters the skin’s ability to process toxins and can mean irritants are trapped on the skin’s surface, beautiful pure green ingredients cannot sink into the skin leading to blocked pores. They are also non-biodegradable! So make sure to avoid them. There is no benefit in having a silky feel if it doesn’t do your skin any good.

How do you spot them on the label: cyclopentasiloxane, dimethicone and dimethicone copolyol.

We avoid all sulfates, including sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) and sodium laureth sulphate (SLES).
The same ingredients that leave your dishes squeaky clean, and creates a lot of foam and bubbles. These detergents can strip away the skin’s natural protective oils and increase pH levels, leaving sensitive skin imbalanced and exposed to irritation. There are kinder and natural alternatives – maybe don’t create so many bubbles to play with but safer for your skin and overall well-being. SLS and SLES also have been found to dry out your skin, leading to an itchy scalp.
How do you spot them on the label: Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) and Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES)

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We have our own Category: Committed Beauty. It defines our code of conduct, code of ethics, code of principles and code of behaviour. Head over to our Committed Beauty page to learn more about our initiatives to re-connect you back to nature and our commitment to give back to nature. Click here to learn more.