Readers have been asking me to recommend some products that don't use the preservative phenoxyethanol. And with good reason. There are several animal studies that demonstrate that it is toxic - with effects on the brain and the nervous system - at moderate concentrations. In Japan, there is a concentration limit for its use in cosmetics. In Europe, the European Union classifies it as an irritant and there are various studies (on rabbit skin, for example) that demonstrate reactions at low doses.
I have pulled together some highly recommended products, serving different functions, and none of which has phenoxyethanol.
Tracie Martyn Amla Purifying Cleanser
($65). Tracie Martyn goes out of her way to avoid sulfates, parabens and formaldehyde-releasing preservatives. Her Amla cleanser is a standout product and I haven't yet found anything to beat it. It is wonderful for anyone with rosacea and/or sensitive skin. Amla is Indian gooseberry and a powerful antioxidant due to the tannins and polyphenols. This cleanser also has turmeric, a spice whose cosmetic purposes run the gamut from lightening skin to removing superfluous hair to curing eczema, psoriasis, and acne. Pricey, but it lasts for ages.
Replenix Retinol Plus Smoothing Serum 10X
($72). Over the counter retinol creams are mostly a sorry bunch, with very little vitamin A and lots of chemicals that you could happily live without. With a 1% concentration of retinol, Replenix Retinol Plus wisely keeps everything else stripped to the bare minimum. Hyaluronic acid will help with moisture retention and caffeine and green tea provide the antioxidants
Nutra-Lift Rejuvenating A Therapy
($40). This serum is great for what's in it as well as what isn't (no nasty preservatives here). This is one of the better matrixyl 3000 creams going, with a hefty 5% dose. Close your eyes and think of all the proven anti-agers. Whatever came to mind, Nutra-Lift probably has it. There's vitamin C, CoQ10, grape seed, astaxanthin, marine collagen and elastin, vitamin E.....I could go on and on.
Your Best Face Correct
($150). This is the best eye cream I have so far found. Honestly, the comments I get from friends since I started to use are almost embarrassingly complimentary. I even look as if I've had a little eye-lid lift (I haven't!). Another matrixyl 3000 product, this also has YBF's signature ingredient, spin trap, a molecule that stops free radicals in their tracks. Snap-8 is a neuropeptide that helps the facial muscles stay relaxed (so no squinting). Alpha arbutin is a skin brightener that inhibits melanin production. Your Best Face products can be bought from the TIA Shop
Stem Organics Smooth Skin Exfoliant ($39).
This is my new favorite and the gentle scrubbing ingredient is bamboo. It also contains Stem's two signature ingredients: pomegranate (an anti-oxidant with a clinical pedigree to prove it) and kakadu plum (an obscure Australian fruit that has more vitamin C than a gazillion oranges).
Ingredients in Tracie Martyn Amla Cleanser
Testingaqua (purified water), amla extract, sorbitol, coconut and soy amino acids, castor and soy hydrolized protein, decyl glucoside and lauryl lactylate, lactic acid, salicylic acid, ascorbic acid (vitamin c), malic acid, allantoin (comfrey), papaya enzymes, pineapple enzymes, silicon dioxide, honeysuckle extract, turmeric extract, spinach extract, blend of spearmint, lime and other natural essential oils.
Ingredients in Replenix Retinol Plus Smoothing Serum
Cyclopentasiloxane, Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Cyclomethicone, PEG/PPG
18/18 Dimethicone, Caffeine, Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Polyphenols,
Retinol, Polysorbate-20, Purified Water, Hyaluronic Acid.
Ingredients in Nutra-Lift Rejuventing Therapy
Certified Organic Aloe Vera Gel, Matrixyl 3000 at 5% (Palmitoyl
Ingredients in YBF Correct
Reverse osmosis water,
Oligopeptide, Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-7 PAL KTTKS), Vitamin C ester, sea
kelp / algae, liposomes, astaxanthin, grape seed extract, cetyl esters,
nikkomullese, co-Q10, pycogenol, natural mixed tocopherals (vitamin e),
anti-oxidant complex 14, natural firming complex (dmae, alpha lipoic
acid, vitamin C ester, & astaxanthin), fruit flower complex 12,
herbal complex 30, plant derived polysorbate 20,
hydroxyethyl-cellulose, hyaluronic acid, copper peptide, marine
collagen, marine elastine, organic royal jelly, Mexican yam, green tea,
active copper peptide , milk thistle, retinyl palmitate, ( vitamin A)
licorice root extract, snap-8 (acetyl glutamyl hexapeptide-3),
pepha-timp (polypeptide), cucumber extract, simugel (C16H34), syn-ake
(tripeptide), haloxyl (hydroxysuccinimide, chrysin, palmitoyl
oligopeptide (and) palmitoyl tetrapeptide-3), nutmeg butter, matrixyl
3000 (palmitoyl oligopeptide, palmitoyl tetrapeptide-3), dimethyl
isosorbide, alpha arbutin, cyclomethicone (and) dimethicone copolyol,
ethyhexyl palmitate, spin trap (phenyl butyl nitrone), glycerine,
l-proline, provitamin B5, raspberry seed extract, alpha lipoic acid,
sepilift DPHP (palmitoyl-1, palmitoyloxy-4 proline), triglyceride,
paraben du, sodium hyaluronate, caffeine, cetearyl isononanoate,
ceteareth-20, cetearyl alcohol, glyceryl stearate, cetyl palmitate,
ceteareth-12, vitamin e, BHT, olive leaf extract, vitamin a, violet
leaf extract, oakmoss absolute.
Ingredients in Stem Organics Smooth Skin Exfoliant
Organic Aloe Extract, Bamboo Extract, Vegetable Glycerin, Vegetable
Emulsifying Wax, Gylceryl Monostearate, Coco Glucoside (vegetable),
Organic Jojoba Oil, Guar Gum, Tasmanian Kelp Extract, Kakadu Plum
Extract, Organic Prunica Granatum (Pomegranate), D-alpha Tocopherol
(Vit E), Willowbark Extract, Sodium Hydroxymethylglycinate (amino acid
based preservative), Organic Sweet Orange Essential Oil, Tangerine
Essential Oil, Organic Geranium Essential Oil, Limonene (occuring in
essential oils), Bottle Brush Bush Essence, Organic Lemon Essential
Oil, Citric Acid.