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dangerous ingredients in beauty products to avoid

    There are a bunch of ingredients we let seep into our skin that are toxic to us without even thinking twice. Here at Ngwedi Beauty, we believe the consumer has the right to know what goes into the products they use in their everyday lives and the stuff that accumulates in our blood and organs. You could be at risk for a slew of illnesses, including cancer. Please check the ingredients list on all the products you purchase to use on your beautiful temple. Let’s get into it.

    Synthetic Fragrances

    Synthetic fragrances were the first chemicals whose dangers I woke up to in a daze. I was shocked when I realised my favourite part of buying beauty products — the scent — was basically the worst for my body. 

    Many synthetic chemicals in fragrances are derived from petrochemicals (petroleum-based chemicals) that can be harmful to human health. I was always aware of people’s allergic or hypersensitivity reactions to fragrance chemicals but I did not know how bad it got. Chemicals found in man-made fragrances include phthalates, which are endocrine disruptors, as well as benzene derivatives, aldehydes, and toluene, which are known carcinogens! Carcinogens. Also known as cancer causing chemicals. It doesn’t get any better: some fragrance compounds are neurotoxicants and others are linked with reproductive birth defects. I don’t know about you but I find that highly disturbing.

    The scary part is companies can hide all these chemicals and others like it under the umbrella term “fragrance” so even if you read the ingredients list, you won’t have a clear understanding of what’s in the fragrance. I would steer clear of synthetic fragrances altogether because you just don’t know what you’re getting yourself into.

    Ngwedi Beauty prides itself on sticking close to nature. Essential oils are nature’s fragrance. There is no need to complicate things. Essential oils smell amazing, have a long-lasting scent and provide aromatherapy benefits that can combat issues like stress and depression. That sounds magical to me, and our whole thing is magic. 

    Essential oils are compounds extracted from plants either through distillation or cold pressing, producing the “essence” of the plant. The way the oils are made is important, as essential oils obtained through chemical processes are not considered true essential oils. We use exclusively true essential oils here, and we love doing it. Essential oils are extremely potent and have to be diluted in carrier oil to be safe to use on the skin and hair, which is the only way we use them. Depending on the plant the oil was extracted from, they can be antimicrobial, antifungal, antiseptic, insecticidal, antispasmodic, analgesic, pesticidal, vasodilating…and those are just a few properties of some essential oils! All you have to do is match the problem you have to the essential oil that would be great at tackling the problem. They’re great. We choose essential oils over synthetic fragrances any day.



    Parabens are typically present in preservatives. Preservatives are used in cosmetics to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria and mold in products, especially those high in water content. The parabens used most commonly in cosmetics to preserve them are methylparaben, propylparaben, butylparaben, and ethylparaben. Scientific studies suggest that the effect of parabens absorbed through the skin go beyond skin irritation. 

    The U.N. Environment Programme has identified parabens as a group, including propyl- and butylparaben, as endocrine-disrupting chemicals or potential endocrine-disrupting chemicals. They can disrupt hormones in the body and harm fertility and reproductive organs, affect birth outcomes, and even increase the risk of cancer. Scientists are concerned about the exposure to environmental estrogens and how they may contribute to the risk of cancer, particularly breast cancer in women. We don’t want to give you cancer. 

    Currently we only have Shea butter based body butters and have no need for preservatives as they are made using oils with long shelf lives and do not contain any water. However, we are fully aware that at some point we will release products that will need preservatives. The preservatives that we intend to use will be of natural origin and the healthiest possible solution. 



    Phthalates are chemicals that make plastic soft and flexible. You’re probably wondering why they’re used in cosmetics. Brace yourself for some words that are tricky to pronounce. The primary phthalates used in cosmetic products have been dibutylphthalate (DBP), used as a plasticizer in products such as nail polishes (to reduce cracking by making them less brittle); dimethylphthalate (DMP), used in hair sprays (to help avoid stiffness by allowing them to form a flexible film on the hair); and diethylphthalate (DEP), used as a solvent and fixative in fragrances. 

    In the past few years, researchers have linked phthalates to an array of maladies including, but not limited to, asthma, breast cancer, obesity and type II diabetes, neurodevelopmental issues, behavioral issues, altered reproductive development and male fertility issues. These are serious consequences of getting your hair laid, eating lunch (yes, phthalates are in food too!) or getting a manicure.

    One of our core beliefs at Ngwedi Beauty is that you should not have to compromise your health for beauty. The road to beauty lies behind the doors of self care. Truly committing to self care means reading that ingredients list so you can make an informed decision on your beauty products. You can even go as far as making that DIY beauty product. That way, you’ll know exactly what is in your product. Another way to know you’re putting the right things on your skin and hair is to buy Ngwedi Beauty products! We are completely transparent about the ingredients we use and encourage you to ask us any questions about what we put in our products.


    the takeaway

    At the end of the day, our skin absorbs everything we put on it, so we need to make sure it’s healthy. I for one don’t want to be taking in carcinogens and I certainly don’t want to sell any products containing chemicals that are carcinogenic, endocrine disrupting, neurotoxicants or produce birth defects. I would never forgive myself. I’d like to be a responsible beauty company owner and for Ngwedi Beauty to bring out your natural beauty the way Mother Nature intended. We take pride in always remaining 100% transparent when it comes to our ingredients. We keep it organic and botanical over here. So please, read those ingredients the next time you go shopping for cosmetics, especially those that claim to be “natural” (you know the ones I’m talking about). And remember: healthy skin is beautiful skin.