At BLK + GRN, we never bring in junk—only joy.

If it’s not sustainably made, plant based, or cruelty free, we don’t put it in our homes, on our melanin or otherwise allow it to clog our self care.

There are currently over 1,500 harmful chemicals banned—or highly restricted—by the European Union (EU). Yet, in the U.S., the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) has only banned 11 toxins in our personal care products and cosmetics. We’ve compiled a list of the most harmful offenders backed up by most leading regulating agencies and the Environmental Working Group.

As part of our commitment to help you achieve a holistic lifestyle, we thoughtfully select the most nourishing, cruelty-free products from Black artisans around the world.

You will never find the following ingredients in any products on BLK + GRN.

What

A microbacterial ingredient


Purpose

Help reduce or prevent bacterial contamination


Why we know its shady

"Endocrine disruptor (chemical that negatively impacts hormones),Enables bacteria to become antibiotic-resistant,and Contributes to reproductive toxicity"


Commonly found in

  • Soap
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Deodorant
  • Toothpaste
  • Most products labeled as ""antibacterial"" or ""odor fighting""

Is it banned in the UK?

Yes, but in select products

What

Synthetic antioxidant derived from petroleum


Purpose

Waxy solid preservative used in cosmetics


Why we know its shady

"Endocrine disruptor (chemical that negatively impacts hormones), Possibly carcinogenic (cancer-causing) in lip sticks"


Commonly found in

Highest concentrations found in lip stick and eye shadow

Not to be confused with Beta Hydroxy Acids (sometimes labeled "BHA")


Is it banned in the UK?

Yes

What

Synthetic antioxidant derived from petroleum


Purpose

Preservative from toluene (also on our list)


Why we know its shady

Can negatively impact lung tissue, kidney and liver, May cause an allergic reaction to the skin, Interferes with hormone function


Commonly found in

Moisturizer

Lip Stick


Is it banned in the UK?

Yes

What

Colorless, flammable gas


Purpose

Helps prevent contamination in skincare products


Why we know its shady

"Known carcinogen (cancer causing), Skin and eye irritant, May trigger allergies"


Commonly found in

Nail Polish

Hair Dye

Eyelash Falseies

Shampoo


Sometimes listed as

  • Quaternium-15
  • Diazolidinyl urea
  • DMDM hydantoin bronopol
  • Limidazolidinyl urea

Is it banned in the UK?

Yes, but in select products

What

A Solvent


Purpose

Promote flexibility and reduce brittleness May be used as fragrance


Why we know its shady

"May adversley impact the respiratory system, Endocrine disruptor (chemical that negatively impacts hormones), Reproductive and developmental toxicant"


Commonly found in

Nail Polish

Synthetic fragrance

Hair spray


Sometimes listed as

  • Bisphenol A (BPA) used in most plastics

Is it banned in the UK?

Yes, in select products, these phthalates are banned:BBP,DEHP,DBP,DIBP

What

Synthetic Vitamin A, sometimes derived from animals


Purpose

" Stimulate collagen production and Help treat acne"


Why we know its shady

"Toxic to the reporductive system, May speed the development of skin tumors (especially to sun-exposed skin)"


Commonly found in

Cosmetics

Cream

Perfume

Hair Dye


Sometimes listed as

  • 3-Dehydroretinol
  • Antixerophthalmic Vitamin
  • Axerophtholum
  • Dehydroretinol
  • Retinyl Palmitate
  • Vitamin A Palmitate
  • Vitamine Liposoluble
  • Vitaminum A

Is it banned in the UK?

Yes

What

Can be made of many harmful chemicals (and commonly contains toxic phthalates)


Purpose

Deodorant, Masking


Why we know its shady

May cause allergic reactions,Endocrine disruptor (chemical that negatively impacts hormones),May trigger migraines and exacerbate asthma


Commonly found in

Perfume

Skin care

Makeup

Hair care

Deodorant


Sometimes listed as

  • Parfum
  • Parrafin (wax)
  • Natural Flavors

Is it banned in the UK?

No, but at least 26 of the potentially 1,500+ chemicals considered as "fragrance" is required to be labeled on products

What

Skin bleaching agent, fragrance or hair colorant


Purpose

Reduce skin pigmentation


Why we know its shady

"Skin allergy, May cause the skin condition ochronosis, Cytotoxic (may kill healthy cells and chromosomes if overused),Linked to some skin cancers,Potential carcinogen (cancer-causing chemical) "


Commonly found in

Lightening skin care products

Available in over-the-counter products and prescriped treatments


Sometimes listed as

  • Tocopheryl Acetate

Is it banned in the UK?

Yes

What

Hair colorant made from the petrochemicial benzene


Purpose

"Used to add color, Disinfectant, Anti-itch agent"


Why we know its shady

"Possibly toxic to the immune system Hormone disruptor (thyroid or ""beauty gland"") "


Commonly found in

Tire products

Hair Color

Bleaching Products

Some prescription and OTC acne treatments


Sometimes listed as

  • Resorcin
  • m-Dihydroxybenzene 1
  • 3-Benzenediol 1
  • 3-Dihydroxybenzene
  • 3-Hydroxyphenol
  • m-Hydroquinone
  • m-Benzenediol

Is it banned in the UK?

No, but concentration is limited and requires a warning label

What

Preservative


Purpose

Prevent bacteria growth


Why we know its shady

"Hormone disruptor,Dangerously mimics extrogen, Parabens are commonly found in tumors related to breast cancer


Commonly found in

Facial moisturizer

Fragrance product

Shaving cream

Hair cair product

Products labeled as "anti-aging" (However, we at BLK + GRN believe that aging gracefully is something to be proud of.)


Sometimes listed as

  • Methyl-5
  • Propyl-
  • Butyl
  • Phenoxyethanol

Is it banned in the UK?

"Yes, the following: Isopropylparaben,Isobutylparaben,Phenylparaben,Benzylparaben,Pentylparaben"

What

Crude oil or "fossil fuel"


Purpose

"Hair and skin conditioning, Skin protectant "


Why we know its shady

"Linked to certain cancers when contaminated with PAHS (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons),Skin irritant, Allergy trigger, Block pores; increase risk of acne"


Commonly found in

Laundry detergent

Shampoo

Conditioner

Lotion


Sometimes listed as

  • Petrolatum
  • Petroleum jelly
  • Paraffin oil
  • Minerol oil

Is it banned in the UK?

Yes, mostly in most cosmetics

What

Metallic elements denser than water


Purpose

Contaminant


Why we know its shady

Classified as a human carcinogen (cancer causing chemical) by most leading health agencies and organizations


Commonly found in

Lip Product

Whitening toothpaste

Eyeliner

Nail color

Foundation

Foundation

Sunscreen

Moisturizer


Sometimes listed as

  • Lead (lead acetate)
  • Mercury (thimerosal, merthiolate)
  • Aluminum
  • Chromium
  • Mercury
  • Zinc
  • Iron

Is it banned in the UK?

Yes, select metals in most cosmetics

What

Preservative


Purpose

Biocide used to prevent bacterial growth


Why we know its shady

"Skin sensitizer Eye and lung irritant May be neurotoxic (damaging to the brain or peripheral nervous system) Allery trigger"


Commonly found in

Shampoo

Conditioner

Hair Color

Body Wash

Laundry detergent

Liquid hand soap

Dish soap

Bubble Bath


Sometimes listed as

  • Methylchloroisothiazolinone (CMIT or CMI)
  • Benzisothiazolinone
  • 2-methyl-4-isothiazoline-3-one
  • Neolone 950 preservative
  • MI
  • OriStar MIT
  • Microcare MT

Is it banned in the UK?

Yes, in "leave on" cosmetics

What

Liqiud by-product of the petroleum process


Purpose

Add color to cosmetics


Why we know its shady

Classified as a human carcinogen (cancer causing) by most leading health agencies and organizations


Commonly found in

Cream

Ointment

Soap

Dandruff Shampoo

Lip Stick


Sometimes listed as

  • Aminophenol
  • Diaminobenzene
  • Phenylenediamine
  • Carbo-Cort
  • Tar Solution USP
  • Aerosol
  • Estar (skin treament)
  • Sometimes listed as “FD&C” or “D&C” followed by a color name and 5-digit number

Is it banned in the UK?

Yes

What

Mineral commonly found in chemical sunscreen


Purpose

Filter harmful UVA/UVB rays


Why we know its shady

"Hormone disruptor,Can trigger allergic reactions, May contribute to endometriosis in women"


Commonly found in

Sunscreen

BB Cream

Moisturizer

Lip Balm


Is it banned in the UK?

No, but more than 0.05% must be labeled

What

Found naturally in crude oil (petroluem)


Purpose

Used as a solvent


Why we know its shady

"Toluene vapor can negatively impact the central nervous system, Irritate the skin, Possible link to certain blood cancers (malignant lymphoma),Exposure to vapors during pregnancy may cause developmental damage in the fetus"


Commonly found in

Most nail products like polish and remover

Hair Dye


Sometimes listed as

  • Methylbenzene
  • Toluol

Is it banned in the UK?

No, but the use of it is restricted

What

Chemical commonlly used in flame retardant


Purpose

Make nail polish flexible and used to increase plasticity


Why we know its shady

"Hormone disruptor, Linked to fertility issues, Can trigger obesity"


Commonly found in

Most nail products like polish and remover


Sometimes listed as

  • TPP
  • Phosphoric acid
  • Triphenyl ester
  • Phenyl phosphate

Is it banned in the UK?

Yes

What

An anti-infective, inorganic salt


Purpose

Anti-dandruff properties, Slow the growth of yeast, Hair conditioning ingredient


Why we know its shady

"Possible carcinogen (cancer-causing),May cause respiratory damage, Environmental toxin"


Commonly found in

Anti-dandruff shampoo and treatments

OTC and prescribed scalp treatments


Sometimes listed as

  • Selenium Disulfide

Is it banned in the UK?

Yes

What

Steroid hormone


Purpose

Help condition the skin


Why we know its shady

Possible carcinogen (cancer-causing) Human developmental toxin


Commonly found in

Shampoo

Conditioner

Moisturizer

Astringents

Anti-Wrinkle Face Creams


Is it banned in the UK?

Yes

What

By-product of a bleaching or waste-burning process


Purpose

Product whitener


Why we know its shady

"May cause reproductive damage and birth defects,Linked to certain forms of cancer,Environmental pollutant"


Commonly found in

Cotton balls

Facial Tissue

Toilet Tissue

Sanitary pads

Tampons


Sometimes listed as

  • Not commonly listed on labels; Look for paper products labeled Totally Chlorine-Free (TCF) to be safe

Is it banned in the UK?

No, but the closely-related triclosan has been banned from antibacterial products