What It Is: Anything containing ethanol is pretty much a no when it comes to beauty: This isn’t new information. However, a new sneaky evil has emerged: phenoxyethanol. It’s used as a preservative and fragrance ingredient compound that has started to commonly replace parabens in beauty products, particularly serums. Parabens have already been outed as particularly bad, and many companies love to market their products as paraben-free. However, if the product contains phenoxyethanol, similar negative reactions may occur.
Health Risk: For those with sensitivities, phenoxyethanol has a high chance of triggering irritations, particularly around the skin and eyes, or even in the lungs. It may lead to organ system toxicity.
How To Avoid It: Some companies try to get around the phenoxyethanol debacle by marketing the lack of parabens in their products. As always, double check labels!
Alternatives To Try: If you’re looking for a beauty serum that contains neither parabens, nor phenoxyethanol, check out the new Autumn on the World serum by one of the most truly green beauty companies, Odacité (a French play on “audacity”). Autumn on the World has only eight ingredients, all of them natural – favorites include vitamin C for collagen boosting, meadowfoam and pomegranate seed oil, an especially powerful anti-oxidant.