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Natural and more responsible beauty products, how to choose yours?

Combining natural, effective and healthy has become essential for many of us in our beauty products.

We are increasingly aware of the importance of what we eat and our consumption of food products often reflects these values. For our beauty products, we are also becoming more and more conscious.

Every day a woman in France applies more than 16 beauty and hygiene products per day according to a study by LLERCO (The Institute of Consumer Risk Assessment) conducted in 2016 on more than 20,000 people in France. It is even 18 products for pregnant women! And it was already 8 products for men who are taking more and more care of themselves. No wonder the desire to know what we put on our skin and hair is so strong. Understanding the composition of our beauty products, knowing where our ingredients come from in all transparency is what Conscious Beauty is all about. 

To help you in this research we propose you this guide on the composition of your beauty products. 

Then follow the guide! 

The INCI list: to know the composition of your beauty products

Have you ever paid attention to everything on the back label of your beauty products? 

"International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients". This list mentions each of the ingredients used by the manufacturers of beauty products. However, there are some points to be aware of:

  • Components are listed in descending order, meaning that the first ingredient on the list is the one present in the greatest quantity. For example, a product whose INCI list begins with "Aqua" or "Water" means that it is composed mostly of water.
  • Below 1%, the ingredients may be presented in disorder and end up at the end of the list. This means that a preservative that is controversial for health (example: Phenoxyethanol) and dosed at 0.8% could be found after an essential oil (example: Lavandula Angustifolia oil) dosed at 0.1%.
  • Allergens are mentioned at the end of the list (see List of 26 allergenic substances). And perfumes or perfuming and aromatic compositions are grouped together under the name "fragrance" or "parfum". When the perfume is natural or of natural origin, this mention is generally added. Otherwise it is a synthetic perfume.
  • The botanical active ingredients are named in Latin, they are mostly followed by "extract" for plant extracts or "oil" for vegetable oils (e.g. Simmondsia Chinensis oil for jojoba oil, Hibiscus Sabdariffa Flower extract for hibiscus flower acid)
  • Chemical and synthetic substances are mentioned in English (example: Potassium Sorbate, Glyceryl Stearate).
  • The dyes are mentioned by the letters "CI" (Color Index) followed by 5 numbers, for example "CI 77491" for yellow.

There are applications like Clean Beauty or Yuka among others that can help you decipher INCI lists. 

The different types of ingredients found in beauty products, including natural or organic.

The main product families 

In concrete terms, here are the different families of ingredients present in your beauty products:

- The aqueous phase composed of more than 80% water for emulsions, i.e. creams, shampoos, skincare products, serums, body lotions... It is mainly used as a solvent to solubilize the active ingredients (hyaluronic acid, glycerine...). In natural beauty products, water can be replaced by a hydrolat, which is obtained by distillation of a raw plant material, or by a thermal water. Today, there are natural or organic solid beauty products. In this case they contain very little water and are presented in the form of soaps. To avoid wasting water, discover new silky powder textures without water for your shampoos and facial cleansers. These new and innovative textures are natural beauty products that are ready to use and transform under the water of the shower or the sink.

- The fatty or oily phase which can be composed of several types of ingredients such as : 

The ingredients of animal origin : they are either from the animal or produced by it (beeswax, silk, lanolin, honey...). You can find them in natural beauty products but they are absent from vegan products.

Did you know that? Keratin is a raw material generally animal from sheep wool. It is indeed the material that is closest to the keratin in our hair!

The ingredients of vegetable origin : they are extracted from plants (aloe vera, jojoba oil, shea butter, ...). These are the ingredients that we look for in natural products or products of natural origin.

Ingredients of marine origin : they are derived from marine resources (algae, collagen...). They are increasingly used in conventional cosmetics as well as in natural or organic cosmetics and we have not finished discovering the benefits of active ingredients of marine origin for our natural beauty products.

Ingredients of mineral origin : they come from rocks, sediments, sands... (coal, clay, zinc...). For example, charcoal absorbs impurities, it is a super active natural cleanser provided that it does not contain heavy metals. Well sourced and coupled with zinc pidolate, it is perfect in a natural cleanser for oily or blemished skin. 

Ingredients of synthetic origin: (silicones, mineral oils...) are to be avoided if you are looking for a natural composition. 

Ingredients of biotechnological origin : they are derived from microorganisms, plant cells... (prebiotics obtained from natural sugars)

- Foamers As the name indicates, they allow to make foam the products (example: Sodium Cocoy Isethionate, Cocamidopropyl Betaïn). In natural or organic cosmetics, certain irritating or chemical foaming agents are not authorized. However, the Bio label accepts in its charter of natural and organic beauty products surfactants based on sulfates, so if you avoid sulfates in your shampoos be careful about the composition as much as the label. The organic label is not a guarantee that your product will not contain irritants, allergens or sulfates.  

- Emulsifiers to promote and stabilize the formation of an emulsion (soy lecithin, sugar esters, coconut oil derivatives)

- Thickeners and/or gelling agents to give a particular texture to the formula (Xanthan Gum, Carbomer)

- Preservatives, colorants and fragrances

What are the ingredients to watch out for?

- Mineral oils They have emollient properties (soften the skin). However these oils are known to create an occlusive film on the skin which will limit its natural water losses but it will thus prevent its auto-regulation. Moreover, they can block the pores of the skin, which makes them comedogenic (example: Paraffinum Liquidum, Ozokerite, Mineral oil).

Did you know that? The mention "Oil free" on your cosmetics means that the formula does not contain mineral oils, but may contain vegetable oils.

- Silicones Silicones : they give an illusion of softness, but in reality have no nourishing effect. Moreover, they block the pores of the skin and are not very biodegradable. As far as hair is concerned, they envelop the hair fiber, which gives it softness and suppleness. But in reality silicone will suffocate the hair and eventually damage it (example: Trisiloxane, Dimethicone).

- Sulphated surfactants Sulfated surfactants : they are foaming, cleaning and emulsifying agents (used to disperse fats in water). They are present in conventional shampoos and shower gels, but also in cleaning products such as dishwashing liquid and detergents. Thus they can be very irritating for the scalp, drying and allergenic (example: Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Ammonium Laureth Sulfate, Sodium Laureth Sulfate).

- The PEGs PEGs : they are petrochemical derivatives, their manufacturing process is one of the most polluting in the cosmetic sector. Industrialists use them for their thickening and emulsifying properties. They are recognized by their names which often include the term PEG or PPG, but also by names beginning with "Propylene" (example: Polyethylene glycol, PEG-10 Dimethicone).

- Conservatives Preservatives : they are essential when the formula of a cosmetic product contains water, they prevent the development of bacteria. Preservatives are sometimes criticized because some can be allergenic or irritating. According to Annex V of Regulation 1223/2009, their dosage is regulated (e.g.: Benzoic acid dosed at a maximum of 2.5% in rinse-off products, except for oral care products, and 0.5% for leave-on products; Potassium sorbate dosed at a maximum of 0.6%, Phenoxyethanol dosed at a maximum of 1%).

- Aluminium salts Aluminum salts are antiperspirant agents that are suspected of being carcinogenic and of having an impact on the nervous system in the long term. However, according to a study (2014) of "Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety (SCCS)" and a report of the French Agency for Health Products Safety (AFSSPS) published in 2011, the studies conducted are not conclusive. AFSSPS recommends not to exceed a concentration of 0.6% of aluminum salt in products (example: Aluminum Chlorohydrate, Sodium aluminum chlorohydroxy Lactate).

- Allergens Allergens : perfumes in beauty products contain allergens and as their name indicates, they can cause allergic reactions or irritations in people who are sensitive to them. Thus, some of these substances are regulated in order to limit the risks of allergies (see List of 26 allergenic substances).

The legal mentions to know 

Each cosmetic product label must include certain information, such as

  • The name and address of the manufacturer or the person responsible for placing the product on the market
  • The country of origin of the products, when they are manufactured outside the European Union
  • Special precautions for use
  • The function of the product
  • The amount of product
  • The INCI list
  • The manufacturing batch number
  • The expiry date (UBD: Use By Date) when the durability is less than 30 months
  • The optimal shelf life after opening or "OUP". 12M means that the product will keep for 12 months after opening. 

The labels and certifications of natural beauty products 

Since January 1, 2017, the COSMOS (COSMetic Organic Standard) label is the new standard in terms of Natural and Organic Beauty Products. This label was developed by 5 founding members: Cosmebio (France), ECOCERT (France), BDIH (Germany), ICEA (Italy) and Soil Association (Great Britain).

To promote the use of organic products and respect biodiversity. The COSMOS standard is guided by four fundamental principles:

  • Use natural resources responsibly and respecting the environment
  • Use clean processes and respecthuman health and the environment
  • Integrate and develop the concept of " green chemistry "

COSMOS offers 2 certifications 


  • At least 95% of the ingredients in the product must be of natural origin.
  • Of all the ingredients that can be organic (water is not considered an organic ingredient), at least 95% must be organic.
  • At least 20% of the ingredients in the product must be organic, and at least 10% for rinse-off products

Did you know that 2% petrochemicals are allowed in the finished product, that palm oil and its derivatives are allowed as long as they are organic, and that there are no restrictions on esterified and hydrogenated oils. 


  • At least 95% of the ingredients in the product must be of natural origin (including water).
  • The rate of ingredients of petrochemical origin is limited.

Attention, these labels authorize certain sulfated surfactants (Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Sodium Coco Sulfate, Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate, Ammonium Coco Sulfate) and 6 preservatives (Benzoic Acid, Benzyl Alcohol, Salicylic Acid, Sorbic Acid, Dehydroacetic Acid and Denatonium Benzoate). And have no restrictions regarding the presence of allergens.

There are other labels/organizations, here are some of them: 

  • Natrue (one of the most demanding labels)
  • Slow cosmetics (organization)
  • Nature et Progrès (association)

Did you know that? Some labels certify an organic cosmetic product as soon as it contains at least 10% of organic ingredients.

In addition, to be able to claim the % of ingredients of natural or organic origin, it is necessary to refer to the ISO 16128 standard. This norm is an international standard used to define a process, a quality. It describes the methods for calculating the Natural, Natural Origin, Organic and Organic Origin Indices. From these are calculated the percentages of natural and organic in a finished product. 

What are the pictograms related to the environment?

In addition to the logos of labels and certifications, we also find pictograms related to the environment on the packaging of products. Here are the most common ones:

  • The green dot means that the company participates in the financing of a system of management, sorting and recycling of packaging waste.
  • The Möbius strip informs us that the packaging is fully or partially recyclable.
  • Triman means that the product is recyclable.
  • Tidy man means that the waste is to be disposed of in a regular garbage can.
  • FSC/PEFC These logos indicate that the wood used in the product's packaging comes from a sustainably managed forest.

Did you know that? Each product is identified by a number "the lot number" which is usually on the back of the bottle or jar. It allows us to have a traceability of the product and to know the production date if you have a complaint about the product.

Comparison of a Yodi product with a classic product

Yodi products have been created for all those who want to take care of their skin as well as their diet. Our products are of natural origin for the beauty of your skin and your hair. What differentiates Yodi from other brands: 

1) Yodi is a Conscious Beauty brand. All ingredients in the products have been sourced for their effectiveness and safety on the skin and scalp. The products contain less than 11 ingredients all of natural origin. The composition of the products appears on the front of the packaging and each ingredient is translated for greater transparency. Very often, in classic products, including natural or organic beauty products, we find a long list of ingredients mentioned above (emulsifiers, silicones, preservatives, allergens...)

2) YODI products are in powder formready to use and formulated without water which allows us not to add preservatives. Moreover, they do not contain controversial ingredients, listed allergens, ingredients of animal origin, silicones and sulfates. The fragrances of the shampoos are of natural origin and free of allergens. We favor organic active ingredients in our minimalist formulas. 

Yodi products are rated 100/100 on Yuka and approved by Clean Beauty! 

At Yodi, we have chosen to list the ingredients on the front of the product with their translation and the INCI list on the back. Our ingredient list is written in a simplified manner, putting the most differentiating ingredients first.

For example you can find "Hibiscus Flower Acids " followed by its INCI name on the front and "Hibiscus Sabdariffa Flower Extract" in the INCI list on the back of the pack.

This method allows the consumer to identify to clearly identify what our products are made of, without having to decipher the chemical or Latin names.

The formulas of cleansing YODI are 100% of natural origin according to the standard ISO 16128 and 94% for shampoos.

Yodi offers powder shampoos and powder cleansers for all the beauties. Men, women, our beauty products are natural and adapted to the needs of skin and hair. 

Did you know that? The packaging of YODI products is made of aluminum that can be recycled over and over again! The labels are made of wood cellulose.

Regarding our service caps, they are made of recyclable PP plastic. You can send them back to us, they will be upcycled. Indeed, we found a French company that recycles small plastic parts that do not go through the sorting centers and would be incinerated...

List of the 26 allergenic substances in Annex III of the Cosmetic Regulation 1223/2009 :

  • Alpha-Isomethyl ionone
  • Amyl cinnamal
  • Amylcinnamyl alcohol
  • Anise alcohol
  • Benzyl alcohol 
  • Benzyl benzoate 
  • Benzyl cinnamate 
  • Benzyl salicylate Butylphenyl methylpropinal 
  • Cinnamal 
  • Cinnamyl alcohol Citral 
  • Citronellol 
  • Coumarin 
  • Eugenol 
  • Farnesol 
  • Geraniol 
  • Hexyl cinnamal 
  • Hydroxycitronnellal 
  • Hydroxyisohexyl 3-cyclohexene carboxaldehyde 
  • Isoeugenol 
  • Limonene 
  • Linalool 
  • Methyl 2-octynoate 
  • Evernia prunastri (Oak moss) 
  • Evernia furfuracea (Tree Moss)  


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