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Why you should avoid these ingredients found in most skincare products

Why you should avoid these ingredients found in most skincare products

If you’re already acquainted with hempathy, you probably know that each of our natural products is infused with nourishing, organic hemp seed oil. Our line is inspired by one of the world’s longest cultivated crops and all of its benefits, but what’s just as important to us is what we don’t use to make our products. 


You’ve probably heard of parabens but may not be sure what they are, exactly. Parabens are mostly used as preservatives in cosmetic and beauty products.

Preservatives definitely have a time and place, and when formulated properly, they can sometimes be beneficial in helping to keep natural ingredients shelf-stable for longer. The reason we choose not to use parabens is that some studies, including a 2004 study conducted in Britain, have shown that our bodies absorb parabens and they can remain in our tissue. It’s also believed that parabens mimic estrogen, thus having the potential to throw off our hormonal balance.

The final verdict on parabens is still out. It turns out that regulations on cosmetics, beauty products, and skincare in the U.S. haven’t been updated in the past 60 years! In the meantime, we’re taking the safe route and choosing not to use them at all.


Phthalates are often added to cosmetics as product softeners, and they are most commonly found in things like nail polish and hairspray. Like parabens, there are concerns that phthalates may also be endocrine disruptors, and decades of study have found that this ingredient is also absorbed into our bodies.

Right now in the U.S., the type and amount of phthalates used in all kinds of personal care products are being regulated, but we prefer to omit them altogether.

Synthetic Fragrance, Colorants and Dyes

Fragrance is a bit of a hot topic in the world of skincare. For people with sensitive skin, high amounts of fragrance in a formula can cause redness, sensitivity, itching, and more. Even if you don’t have sensitive skin, using products with a high percentage of fragrance can cause your skin to become irritated over time. This is because common ingredients in synthetic fragrance, like linalool and limonene, are known to cause irritation. And according to the American Academy of Dermatology, fragrance is the biggest known cause of contact dermatitis, a type of skin irritation.

Another reason to avoid synthetic fragrance? Scent is often a signature of a brand and something that customers identify strongly with their experience. Because of that, there’s no law that requires brands to list what components their “fragrance” contains, meaning it’s often a secret cocktail. It’s an umbrella term that can encompass 200 or more chemical compounds, which makes it harder to know exactly what’s in your products. And how about all of the colorful products we see on Instagram?

Thankfully in the U.S., the types of synthetic colors used in products are regulated, and for good reason. The most common colorants (think Blue No. 1 and Red No. 7) are often derived from coal tar, which comes from petroleum. Even though these are under watch to make sure they’re not potentially harmful, you won’t find synthetic colors or synthetic fragrance in hempathy products. But we think they’re shelfie-ready just as they are!


GMO, or genetically-modified organism, is a term you’ve likely heard before when talking about the food we eat. GMOs are organisms whose genetic structure have been modified, often with the end goal of increasing production and availability.

But did you know that they might be in your skincare products, too? Plant-derived GMOs are used in skincare to keep the cost down for you, the consumer. Sounds great, right? Well, not if you have allergies. GMO soybean oil, for example, was shown to have seven times the amount of soy allergen compared to its natural counterpart, meaning that product could incite a reaction in someone with an otherwise minimal allergy.

Several animal studies by the American Academy of Environmental Medicine also found health risks associated with GMO-heavy diets. While we’re not ingesting our skin care, our bodies are absorbing it, and remember that your skin is your body’s largest organ. For this reason, we like to keep GMOs off of our ingredient lists and stick to natural ingredients instead.

Cruelty Free & Leaping Bunny Certified

Not only is hempathy a cruelty-free brand, but we’re also Leaping Bunny Certified.

Any brand can claim to be cruelty-free by not testing their final formulations on animals. But in order to get Leaping Bunny certification, every source, factory and lab involved in the making of our products were vetted to confirm that there was no animal testing used at any point. This process can take months, and we’re so proud to be certified!

So, what does natural beauty mean to us? It means continuing to make products with American-farmed hemp that are cruelty-free, non-GMO, and free of parabens, synthetic fragrances, phthalates, colorants and dyes.

We hope you love them as much as we do!

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