The more I learned about natural ingredients, the more I only wanted to use them. Every time I wash my face with Tata Harper Regenerating Cleanser, I envision the apricot seed powder exfoliating my skin and the French pink clay detoxifying it. Or when I nourish my face with the Rejuvenating Serum, I know rosehip seed oil is rejuvenating my under-eye area, while Spanish lavender extract is relaxing fine lines.

If you are eager to get informed about the harmful ingredients in your skin care products, as well as natural ones to look for instead, keep reading. Tata Harper herself breaks down what to ditch, what to use, and why.

8 Toxic Ingredients VS. Natural ingredients in Your Skincare Routine

Parabens vs. Leuconostoc Radish Root Ferment

The chemical ingredient: Parabens

Explanation: “Most people are familiar with Parabens. All kinds of products from skin care to hand soap to household cleansers list ‘paraben free’ on their labels, but not many people know what they actually do. Parabens are used to preserve formulas and prevent mold, and can keep products stable for anywhere from two to five years.”

The natural option: Leuconostoc radish root ferment

Why it works: “The same bacteria that keeps fermented foods safe to eat makes this an excellent, completely natural preservative. It guarantees a shelf life of at least 12 months, and has none of the potential health risks like endocrine disruption and reproductive toxicity that parabens have.”

Phenoxyethanol vs. Anise Berry

The chemical ingredient: Phenoxyethanol

Explanation: “Phenoxyethanol is less well-known than parabens, but it has the same preservative qualities. So often products listed as paraben-free will have just replaced it with phenoxyethanol. It’s restricted in the E.U., and potential health concerns include allergies and nervous system effects.”

The natural option: Anise berry

Why it works: “Anise berry preserves the organic compounds in products and maintains the integrity and the efficacy of formulas. It’s best used in oil-based products rather than emulsions.”

Hydroquinone vs. Sea Fern Extract

The chemical ingredient: Hydroquinone

Explanation: “Many brightening products contain this harsh bleaching ingredient, which weakens skin. It can potentially lead to cancer, organ-system toxicity, and respiratory tract irritation. It is banned for use in personal care products in the E.U. and restricted in the U.S. and Canada.”

The natural option: Sea fern extract

Why it works: “Sea fern is naturally detoxifying, and reduces the appearance of dark spots. It stimulates the skin’s natural process of eliminating melanin, rather than just bleaching it.”

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Dimethicone vs. Bamboo Ferment and Irish Moss

The chemical ingredient: Dimethicone

Explanation:Dimethicone is a synthetic silicon that is used for texture. It gives products a smooth spreadability, can form a protective barrier on the skin, and fill in the look of fine lines and wrinkles. The barrier that it forms can actually trap bacteria and dry skin out over time. It’s restricted in Canada for its health and environmental impacts.”

The natural option: Bamboo ferment and Irish moss

Why it works: “Both bamboo ferment and Irish moss provide deep hydration for smooth and silky-feeling skin, and form a protective film to prevent moisture loss.”

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