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The ‘No List’

BY Laura Casciola

Okay, let’s imagine you’re an ingredient trying to make it into one of our function bottles– be that shampoo, conditioner, hair mask, hair serum, leave-in treatment, body wash or body lotion. To even be in the running, you’d have to make it past European Union safe cosmetics regulations (they’re stricter than those of the US), pass 26 checklist items, pass review in formulation with other ingredients, help achieve results for hair and body care needs, be 100% vegan, cruelty-free, and responsibly sourced. Phew. Tough crowd. 

You’re probably feeling good and thinking, “That must be all of the red tape in the way, right?” Wrong. At FOB we still say no to a lot of the remaining potential ingredients. Let’s take a deeper dive into what our ‘no list’ is, why we have it, and how it can help you (a person, not an ingredient) navigate and feel good about what’s going into your products, and onto your hair and body.

There are over 40 items on our ‘no list’, but we’ll break it down to what we like to call: No List 101. Here’s some of the most important stuff:

No sulfates.

Sulfates are detergents that contain sulfurs. They’re inexpensive and clean powerfully– but strip protective oils from your scalp and hair, and can cause irritation in the process.

No parabens.

Parabens are chemicals used as artificial preservatives. AKA, keeping away bacteria and increasing the shelf-life of a product. But the negatives aren’t worth it– parabens can cause hormonal changes and irritation. HARD no from us.

No phthalates.

Phthalates are industrial chemicals that act as solvents (help dissolve ingredients) in beauty products. But they’re so strong they’ve been known to give negative side effects. No thanks! 

No mineral oil.

Mineral oil is a byproduct of petroleum, created during the process of making gasoline. It’s helpful in that it reduces water loss from the skin. It’s harmful in that it’s been known to clog pores, and can be toxic depending on how filtered it is.

No talc.

Talc is a magnesium silicate mineral. It’s used as an absorbent in beauty products, but some talc is shown to be contaminated with asbestos. We’d rather not take that chance.

No gluten.

Gluten is (aside from the buzziest word ever) a general name for the proteins found in wheat. What’s it doing in personal care products? It acts as an emulsifier and stabilizer– meaning it can mix substances and then keep them mixed. We keep it out to be inclusive of those that are gluten-free, as we do of those that are vegan!

That feels good to know, right? It can be really intimidating to hear some of these words related to self-care products and not know what they mean or why you’re being talked to about them. Another great resource is our ingredients page, which lists it all out so you can make your own choices and understand what it is you’re showering with. There you’ll also find our ‘yes list’, aka our ingredients list, which is luckily also really long and full of things you can pronounce and trust.