Russell Organics is the pioneer in the Clean Beauty movement.

Toxin List

Russell Organics is a range of prestige natural skin care products that is dedicated to formulating the purest, toxin-free products in the market. Our philosophy is to use natural botanical based ingredients, waxes, and preservatives. 

So many companies advertise their products using the words 'organic' or 'natural' yet their products are full of toxins. They apparently use the words to try to make their products appear healthier by adding one natural ingredient. Other brands use the words, yet do not disclose the full ingredient list of the product. What are they hiding? 

We fully disclose all ingredients on our labels, website, and product brochures. You will never see the words; 'base' 'blend' 'complex' or any other word where toxin disclosure can be hidden. We have nothing to hide, and are proud of our fantastic formulations. 

To help you in your skin care needs, we have compiled this list of known toxins that are frequently used in the beauty industry. This list continues to grow as we find more toxins in the market. None of the ingredients on this list is ever use in our range of products. Carefully check the labels of products you use. You will be shocked to find that almost every beauty brand in the market uses one or more of these toxins. It stands to reason that the dramatic rise in skin conditions, rashes, and wellness issues can be traced back to these chemicals. 

Avoiding toxins is a personal choice. A wise one. Some of these toxins remain in your body and aggregate. This is called bio-accumulation. Yes, there is a name for it. It happens.

You may wish to avoid these toxins: 

1. Parabens: The four paraben sisters - Methyl, Ethyl, Butyl, and Propyl. Used as preservatives to extend the shelf life of a product. These ingredients contain highly effective anti-microbial properties. For this reason, they are widely used in the beauty industry. Unfortunately, they are also toxic. 

Not much effort is required to uncover the mountains of information regarding the toxicity of these synthetic preservatives. 

2. Tetrasodium EDTA: A preservative made from the known carcinogen - formaldehyde and sodium cyanide. Also used as a 'penetration enhancer' in the beauty industry. This means it actually breaks down the skin's protective barrier, going right into your bloodstream. 

3. Urea (Diazolidinyl and Imidazolidinyl): Another synthetic preservative. As the ingredient starts to break down sitting on the shelf, it releases formaldehyde. Research has shown the ingredient to be a cause of contact dermatitis. Growing evidence of links to other health issues. 

4. Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS): Sodium Laurel Sulfate is a great detergent. It really is. In fact it is so good that it is used in laundry detergent, dishwasher powder, pipe cleaners, car wash liquid, and many other commercial cleansing products. We wonder though, why anyone would use it to clean their skin? It causes eye irritations, skin rashes, hair loss, and allergic reactions, among many other issues.  Beware that some companies try to 'green-wash' their SLS use by saying it is 'coconut derived' and somehow safe. Not true. It is used for one reason, it is inexpensive, and boosts the company's profit-margin. We don't use it because we don't need it, and our customers are worth the extra cost and effort in formulating great products without it. 

5. Fragrance (Parfum): Our current favorite toxin. We enjoy reading about this 'loophole' of a word. You see, legally you can create the most toxic sludge on the planet, label it 'fragrance' and that is it for labeling requirements. One word covers it all. Ever come across a cologne or perfume and suddenly start sneezing, or worse your skin develops a rash? It's because in that scent, there is a toxin that you are reacting to at that moment. Who knows what it is. So when you see the word 'Parfum' on the label, avoid the product. Fragrance secrecy is legal due to a giant loophole in the Federal Fair Packaging and Labeling Act of 1973, which requires companies to list cosmetics ingredients on the product labels but explicitly exempts fragrance. By taking advantage of this loophole, the cosmetics industry has kept the public in the dark about the ingredients in fragrance, even those that present potential health risks or build up in peoples bodies. In fact, a brand can use any of the other toxins listed on the page in their 'fragrance' ingredient and never have to disclose it.

6. Petrolatum: Petrolatum is a mineral oil based jelly. Use often leads to dryness and chapping of skin. This ingredient causes the very problem it claims to treat. Another ingredient used because it is cheap. 

7. Propylene Glycol: A tricky one here. Can actually be made from vegetable glycerine and grain alcohol, but more often than not is a synthetic petrochemical mix. This is used as a penetration enhancer, which accelerates penetration and leads the product directly into your bloodstream. This chemical is commonly used in dishwaher detergent, laundry detergent, garage floor cleaners, and automobile coolant.

8. Stearalkonium Chloride: A chemical often used in hair conditioners and creams. Stearakonium Chloride was originally developed by the chemical industry as a fabric softener. It can cause rash and allergic reactions. 

9. Color/Colorants: The truth about colorants. There are very few natural colorants that are available for use in beauty products. And those that are available are not the bright, vibrant colors you see on the shelf. They tend to be earthy type colors of brown and green shades. So, where do the pretty colors come from? They are synthetic, often petrochemical toxins. Look for FD&C or D&C followed by a number. For example - FD&C Blue No. 8. Avoid any product with these toxins. 

10. Triethanolamine (TEA): A long list of reactions can occur from exposure to this chemical. Often used to balance out the pH of a product, sort of a short cut ingredient. Look for it mainly in skin cleansers. 

11. Phenoxyethanol: A chemical preservative. We were actually told by a factory that Phenoxyethanol has been used for decades and is a safe ingredient. When we replied that the tobacco industry used the exact same argument in favor of cigarettes, the conversation ended abruptly. This is a widely used preservative in the beauty industry. Also known under the brand names; Dowanol, Arosol, Emery 6705, Phenoxetol, Rose ether, Phenoxyethanol alcohol, and Glycol Monophenyl Ether. It is a toxin. But don't take our word for it. The FDA itself has warned against the ingredient as being potentially harmful to infants. Here is a quote directly from the FDA website: "Phenoxyethanol is a preservative that is primarily used in cosmetics and medications. It also can depress the central nervous system and may cause vomiting and diarrhea, which can lead to dehydration in infants."  

12. Petrochemical Ingredients: We have singled out some of the worst offenders, but clearly all petrochemicals should be avoided. Petrochemical distillates are banned in Europe. They are cheap to make and use and are often irritating to the skin and in some cases toxic. 

13. Phthalates (Diethyl Phthalate): Commonly found in fragrance, nail polish, deodorant, and body lotions. Industrial chemical. Research has linked to potential birth defects in male reproductive system. This chemical is used inside and outside of the beauty industry. This chemical has been found in urine samples and remains in the bloodstream and tissue. Avoid whenever possible. This chemical is estimated to be in the body of 97% of Americans. 

14. Cyclopentasiloxane: A silicon based cyclic compound, may be associated with environmental toxicity. Commonly used in hair care products as a hair conditioning agent, and in skin care products as a skin conditioning agent. Concerns for this toxin include bioaccumulation and organ system toxicity. 

15. Dimethicone: Also called polymethylsiloxane. A silicon based polymer. Used as a commercial lubricant and conditioning agent in many industrial applications. Also used in hair care products. Suspected as an environmental toxin and bioaccumulative. 

16. Cyclomethicone: A silicon based cyclic compound used as a conditioning lubricant in hair care products. Ingredient is persistent, and bioaccumulative in wildlife. Toxicity concerns for humans. Skin irritant, and organ toxicity. 

17. Butylphenyl Methyl Propional: Also known as Lilial, is a synthetic scent ingredient, used in hair care and skin care products. Associated with allergies and contact dermatitis. Banned and/or restricted for use in the EU as a possible human immune system intoxicant. 

18. Coumarin: A scent chemical used for fragrance enhancement. Associated with allergies and contact dermatitis. Known human immune system toxicant. Prohibited for use in food by the FDA. A chemical to avoid. 

19. Benzyl Benzoate: Used as a solvent and a preservative. Associated with allergies and contact dermatitis. Possible human system intoxicant and on the EU Banned and restricted list. Associated with endocrine disruption. Wildlife and environmental toxicity. 

20. Alpha-Isomethyl Lonone: Lonones are a group of synthetically produced chemicals, used in perfume as a scent enhancer. Associated with human system intoxication. Suspected to be an environmental toxin. 

21. Sodium Tallowate: Rendered beef fat. If the thought of rubbing fat scrapped from the back of an animal hide onto your skin appeals to you, this is a product to consider. For most though, avoid. 

22. 1,4-dioxane: Effects of over exposure 1,4-dioxane is an eye and mucous membrane irritant, primary skin irritant, central nervous system depressant, nephrotoxin, and Hepatotoxin 

23. Benzalkonium Chloride: Effects of overexposure Can cause irritation to the skin, eyes, nose, throat and mucous membranes. Symptoms include muscular paralysis, and low blood pressure. 

24. Polyethylene Glycol (PEG) compounds: Potentially carcinogenic petroleum ingredient that can alter and reduce the skin's natural moisture factor. This could increase the appearance of aging and leave you more vulnerable to bacteria. Used in cleansers to dissolve oil and grease. It adjusts the melting point and thickens products. Also used in caustic spray-on oven cleaners. 

25. Silicone derived emollients: Silicone emollients are occlusive - that is they coat the skin, trapping anything beneath it, and do not allow the skin to breathe (much like plastic wrap would do.) Recent studies have indicated that prolonged exposure of the skin to sweat, by occlusion, causes skin irritation. They are also non-biodegradable, causing negative environmental impact.