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Ultimate Guide to Avoiding Toxic Ingredients in Your Products

Natalie - Precious Time Blog

Woman’s torso and arms, applying Kosmatology Goody Goody Grapefruit lotion bar.

We are so excited to have teamed up with Natalie of Precious Time Blog; a health and lifestyle blog. Natalie lives in Texas with her husband and her two adorable boys. We asked Natalie to write about what she avoids when looking for products for her family and she gave us lots of great information about how to choose products. Be sure to follow the links to some of Natalie’s posts on her own blog, she is a great resource for tips on how to green up your home and personal care products and clean up your cooking with healthy and delicious recipes!

Did you know...

    • 11 ingredients known to the state of California cause cancer or developmental problems – The State of California has identified 11 commonly used ingredients that can cause cancer or developmental problems

    • 29 ingredients are banned in Canadian cosmetics

    • The term "fragrance" can mean any combination of over 3,100 stock chemical ingredients

    • There are 1,328 harmful chemicals that are banned in Europe, while the US FDA has only banned or restricted 11.

    • 13,000 chemicals are used in cosmetics, and only about 10% have been evaluated for safety

More isn’t always better. In today’s day and age, there are a plethora of ingredients being put into all our skincare, beauty, and cleaning products. I don’t know about you, but I certainly don’t want that entering my body nor, my children’s. Here, I rounded up my top 8 ingredients that I personally think everyone should steer away from. There are also a few non-toxic ingredients I look out for simply because a few of us in the family have sensitivities to the ingredients.

My youngest son who’s almost 3 years old, had food sensitivities as a newborn. He would breakout in eczema-like rashes all over his entire body to the point where I had to completely eliminate dairy from my diet so he wouldn’t consume it while he nursed. His body cleared immediately after doing so which was reassuring, however, almost a year later, the eczema rashes broke out again leaving him itching and scratching all over, including his diaper area. Long story short, we finally saw a naturopathic doctor who ran blood work to determine he was allergic to seaweed/kelp and eggs. With the help of our naturopath, as well as using cleaner ingredients and eliminating ingredients he was simply just sensitive to, we are almost in the clear with only minor flareups.

We need to become our own advocates and do our own research to ensure we are putting only the cleanest of products into our bodies. Unfortunately, no one will do it for you. Heck, I even went to multiple doctors and dermatologists, and all of them just came back with creams and steroids that only mask the pain. They told me his eczema was “normal” and he should be fine after some antibiotics. Follow your gut and remember that what we put into our body (skincare products or food) can have a dramatic effect on our overall health.

Young boy, standing outside, holding Kosmatology Bug Balm.

Let’s start with clean ingredients we avoid due to sensitivities and eczema prone skin. The two listed below are in fact clean and safe to use, but due to sensitivities to those ingredients, we have to avoid it for now.

1.      Alcohol: Alcohol is a great preservative, but when someone is dealing with eczema, it should be avoided as it only aggravates the issue and dries out the skin even more.

2.      Seaweed/Kelp: love this ingredient but unfortunately, very sensitive to it.

8 Toxic Ingredients Everyone Should Definitely Avoid

1. Fragrance: My number one ingredient to avoid at all cost. If you see this on any labels, get rid of it. You will see this labeled as many different things such as perfume, parfum, aroma, and synthetic musk. Unfortunately, “fragrance” has no FDA regulation and can be a combination of over 3,000 different stock chemicals that imitate a smell or contain phthalates. Fragrance is associated with allergies, headaches, and endocrine disruption.

2. Phthalates: This is a large group of chemicals that have been shown to disrupt the endocrine system and cause birth defects. They are commonly used in fragrances to make the smell linger as well as plastic. Think twice before buying those bottled waters.

3. Phenoxyethanol: A synthetic preservative used in cosmetics, skincare, and personal care and has been linked to cause skin, eye, and lung irritation. When used within the limits of concentrations in their formulas, it’s not so bad. But since the FDA has no guidelines, I personally choose to not use anything containing this ingredient. I will say this, it is a very controversial ingredient as some people think it’s fine to use. But since the FDA has no guidelines, how do we know it’s ok? Something to think about which is why I included this one for you.

Young boy in bathroom using Goody Goody Grapefruit Foaming Hand Soap.

4. 1,4 Dioxane: A human carcinogen. You will not see this ingredient on a label, but important to note that it’s present in other ingredients. Some of the common ingredients you’ll see it in are: PEG, polyethylene, glycol, polyoxyethylene, petroleum, and mineral oil. 

5. Formaldehyde: A carcinogenic allergen that is released by multiple ingredients such as diazolidinyl urea, imidazolidinyl urea, DMDM hydantoin, and quaternium-15. You will find this usually in non-organic towels and bed sheets as well or anything that basically states “wrinkle free” as this term/ingredient is used to reduce wrinkles and static in products.

6. Aluminum: most common in conventional deodorants and antiperspirants. Heavy metal buildup in the body can contribute to acute or chronic toxicity. Long-term exposure can cause physical, muscular, and neurological degenerative processes, or even worse, cancer. Those toxins you place under your arms can lead right into the breast tissue. Yikes! Other terms you’ll see this as are: Lead, Mercury, and Heavy Metals. Have you checked out my blog post Let’s Talk Pits?” go more in depth about aluminum, deodorants, and how to detox your armpits naturally.

7. Parabens: Parabens are basically a group of preservatives also known as methylparaben, propylparaben, butylparaben, etc. They are made to act like estrogen in the body and can disrupt hormone function. They have even been found toaccumulate in breast tissue. You can find this in a ton of commercial beauty and skincare products.

8. Oxybenzone: You will see this ingredient pop up mainly in sunscreens and is a HUGE no-no in my book. Oxybenzone has been found present in 96.8% of human urine samples surveyed. It’s also linked with allergic dermatitis and hormone disruption. See my Sunscreen post talking all about ingredients you don’t want in your sunscreen. Click HERE

Why I choose and trust Kosmatology?

Little boy in striped sweater holding Kosmatology Bug Balm.

The answer is simple…You can read and pronounce all of their ingredients. I know exactly what I’m putting into my body and trust that what I’m using or putting on my kids is safe and clean. They are also Certified Made-Safe. What that means is, they went the extra mile to have all of their ingredients tested and verified that they are made with safe non-toxic ingredients. Made Safe Certified products are made without any behavioral and developmental toxins, GMO’s, heavy metals, endocrine disruptors, and much more. It’s refreshing to see companies taking the extra step to prove there is no greenwashing happening with their products.

My Favorite Kosmatology Products:

Good-Goody Grapefruit Lotion Bar

Hand Soap

Insect Repellent Stick

Hand Sanitizer

Little boy in front of brick wall using Spritztrus Hand Sanitizer by Kosmatology.

I hope you find this helpful and something you will keep in your back pocket whenever you're on the hunt for a new product. Just note, this is not the full list of toxic ingredients. Something useful to download are two apps...1) Think DirtyApp and 2) EWG App. This will be helpful for you to look up any product you have or want to purchase and will rate if it's clean or not. Super helpful.



Precious Time Blog

What to Compost

Janis Covey

Fruits and vegetables in paper bags.

We know that after the last blog, you ran right outside, found the spot for your compost pile and cleared out the area. You are ready to compost everything in sight! But what should you actually compost? We’ve got all the details here.

There are two distinct types of composting materials and they are referred to as “Greens” and “Browns”.  Browns are the carbon-rich materials and Greens are the nitrogen-rich materials.  Your compost pile needs to have a ratio of 2-3 parts Browns to 1 part Greens.  If the ratio is off with too much Greens then the breakdown of the pile will be slow, alternatively, too much Browns will cause odor.

Fall leaves in a pile.

Let’s discuss Browns first, the primary job of the Browns is to be a food source for the soil-dwelling organisms that work with the microbes to break down the materials in your compost pile.  They also add bulk to and allow air to circulate through the compost pile.

Browns would include:

·       Fall leaves

·       Pine needles


·       Twigs, tree branches/bark but nothing too big (chipped wood is good)

·       Straw or hay

·       Sawdust

·       Corn stalks

·       Paper (newspaper, writing/printing paper, paper plates and napkins, coffee filters but nothing with a glossy coating on it)

·       Plain Corrugated cardboard

. Kosmatology mailers and Bug Balm tubes


Greens are the materials that are rich in nitrogen or protein. They tend to heat up a compost pile because they help the microorganisms grow and multiply quickly.  Greens consist mostly of wet or recently growing plants.  Greens are usually green or came from a plant that was green at one time.  There are exceptions to this rule, such as egg shells.

Greens would include:

Coffee Grounds.

·       Grass clippings

·       Coffee grounds/tea bags

·       Vegetable and fruit scraps

·       Trimmings from plants

·       Annual weeds that haven't gone to seed

·       Eggshells (crush first)

Follow these rules, make sure your ratios are correct and watch your pile… decompose! We wish you success in your endeavors to help the Earth and hope we have inspired you to give composting a try! If you have any questions or comments, please leave them below!

How to start composting

Janis Covey

Three compost bins, one on left made of metal fencing, middle and right made of wood. Text reads “Composting: How to get started.”

I’m sure just the idea of composting seems overwhelming, but we’re here to help you get started and make the journey easy.  You’ll be slinging “compost lingo” like a pro by the end of this series. First off, do not feel that you need to buy any fancy composting material, all you need is a spot of bare soil in a shady spot to start.  After you’ve picked your area and cleared the ground you’re ready to go.


1.      Create a layer of twigs or straw a few inches deep on the bare soil.  This helps with drainage and keeps the flow of air through the compost pile.

2.     Add your compost materials but alternate between moist and dry layers.  Moist ingredients include food scraps, tea bags, seaweed, etc.  Dry materials include straw, leaves, sawdust and wood ashes.  With wood ashes and sawdust, make sure to sprinkle in thin layers, or it will create clumps and slow the breakdown.

Dead Leaves.

3.     Add a nitrogen source to activate the compost pile and speed up the process.  Good nitrogen sources would be manure, clover, buckwheat, wheat grass or grass clippings.

4.     Keep the compost moist by either watering it occasionally or let the pile be exposed to rain.

5.     Cover the compost pile.  Covering helps retain moisture and heat.  Covering can also prevent the compost from being saturated by rain.  You want the compost to be moist but not soaked.

Gardening tools hanging on a wall.

6.     Turn the compost pile every few weeks.  This helps aerate the pile.  As we discussed in last week’s blog, oxygen is required for the chemical reaction to turn the food waste into fertilizer.  This step is vital.

7.     Once you’ve established your compost pile, add new materials by mixing them in rather than adding them to the top.

Next time we’ll discuss what you should and shouldn’t add to your compost and how to get the ratios correct.

If you missed the first blog in the series click here to read Composting and Why It’s Important