Which ingredient? Why shouldn’t I use it? What does Philosophia Botanica use instead?


PARABENS - Although inconclusive, studies have shown that parabens can be absorbed into the bloodstream and have been found in cancerous tumours particularly breast tissue (P. Darbre, 2004).  Parabens are also noted as suspected allergens and as a cause of allergic dermatitis. (K Farrow, Skin Deep,2002) Philosophia Botanica uses natural preservatives  extracts to preserve the product and ensure its safety. In order to ensure a substantial shelf life. We do use other non-natural preservatives that have a proven safety track record - these include phenoxyethanol and sodium benzoate.


Artificial Fragrances - Artificial fragrances are made using many synthetic chemicals and can irritate sensitive skin and cause skin irritations. P.B. uses essential oils such as African Geranium, Neroli and rose flower water. As well as having a beautiful natural fragrance, these ingredients also have many benefits for the skin.


PEG's (polyethylene glycol) - PEGs are used to stabilise and thicken skincare and makeup prodcuts. Evidence suggests that PEG’s may be allergens. (K. Farrow,Skin Deep, 2002)


Philosophia Botanica  relies on the combination of natural ingredients to maintain product stability. We also use natural product thickeners such as xanthan gum.


SLS/SLES - These foaming agents increase dryness and roughness and may exacerbate dry skin and eczema. They also disturb the growth process of new hair and skin. PB uses a few different natural foaming agents (surfactants) to cleanse hair and skin: lauryl glucoside, an ingredient derived from glucose and coconut, caprylyl/capryl glucoside a vegetable-derived ingredient and sodium cocoyl hydrolysed wheat protein glutamate, a wheat protein.


Petrochemicals - The petrochemical TEA: can pass easily through un-broken skin and long-term exposure has been found to lead to heart, kidney and liver damage. (K. Farrow, Skin Deep, 2002) The petrochemical DEA: is noted as a mild skin irritant and severe eye irritant. It is also moderately toxic by ingestion. (K.Farrow, Skin Deep, 2002)As per above we use plant and vegetable derived surfactants. We use essential oils instead of artificial fragrances.


Mineral oils - Mineral oils clogs the pores, interfere with the skin’s ability to eliminate toxins, promote acne and other skin irritations and slow down the development of new, healthy skin cells resulting in premature ageing. P.B. uses natural plant and nut-based oils for their moisturising properties. Oils we use include rose hip, jojoba, carrot oil, baobab, almond, avocado and sesame.


Artificial Colours - Artificial colours derived from coal tar have been found to cause nausea, mood swings, headaches and fatigue. (K. Farrow, Skin Deep, 2002) The colour of P.B. products is due to the natural ingredients used within the formula and no artificial colours are added. 



Antioxidants: Antioxidants neutralise free radicals, they scavenge free radicals from the cells within the body and prevent, or reduce, the damage caused by oxidation.

PEG: Polyethylene Glycol is a humectant commonly used in cosmetics, a by-product of petroleum production.

Surfactant: Detergent, cleaning agent.Emulsifier: Binds the water and oil in a formulation, what binds a product together.

Astringent: Tones pores of skin.

Humectant: Attracts moisture from the air to hydrate the skin, keeps the product moist.

Emollient: Moisturiser, softens and sooths the skin.

Emulsion Stabiliser: Binds product together, stabilises the product

Please find below a comprehensive list of the plant ingredients used in our range of all-natural products. All ingredients we use are from the botanical world.


ALMOND OIL - A great emollient, softening and conditioning skin, and also helps skin to balance its loss and absorption of moisture. Loaded with vitamins and minerals and has been known to relieve itchy, dry and inflamed skin.

ALOE VERA - Promotes rapid cell regeneration 

ANTI-OXIDANT - Vitamins A, E & C, reduce the effects of free radical damage caused by external factors, eg, carbon monoxide, sunlight & pollution which destroy collagen & skin components.

APRICOT KERNAL OIL - Moisturizing, nourishing, and revitalizing properties. With its high Vitamin A content, Apricot Kernel Oil is particularly helpful for dehydrated, delicate, mature, and sensitive skin.

AVOCADO OIL - A highly therapeutic oil rich in vitamins A, B1, B2 Panthothenic acid, Vitamin D, E, protein, lecithin and fatty acids. Excellent, penetrating nutrient for dry skin and eczema.

BEESWAX - A powerful antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial skin softener. Provides the skin a natural moisture retention, and forms a protective, long-lasting barrier against the elements. Derived from honey combs.

CALENDULA - Also known as Marigold, this cheerful yellow blossom is revered for its reputed ability to ease skin ailments. Aids in healing wounds, inflamed skin and most minor skin problems, including acne, eczema and other rashes. Antiseptic, antifungal, and antibacterial.

CARROT SEED OIL -  Source of beta carotene, vitamins A & E and pro-vitamin A. Helps heal dry, chapped, and cracked skin by balancing moisture. Excellent antioxidant. Derived from carrot seeds.

EVENING PRIMROSE - Oenothera biennis: Evening Primrose is not an essential oil, but is valuable as a carrier oil for aging skin, and as a treatment with other oils for treating allergic skin problems. Helpful in menstrual and premenstrual problems, PMS! 

EVENING PRIMROSE OIL - This plant has been used for many years by North American Indian medicine men to make infusions for the healing of wounds. Evening Primrose Oil is exceptionally high in fatty acids, especially the essential gamma linolenic acid (GLA). This oil has superb moisturizing properties and is believed to be effective in helping with eczema and psoriasis.

GLYCERINE - An odourless, colourless, syrupy derivative of olive oil, Glycerine is a humectant, attracting moisture to the skin. It is sweet tasting, warming to the skin, and edible.

GERANIUM - Helpful for sluggish, restores good circulation aids detoxing.

GRAPEFRUIT - Great for cellulite and fluid retention. Being a diuretic, detoxifier and a stimulant of the lymphatic system makes it an excellent oil for massage. It is good for oily skin and acne.

GLYCOLIC ACID -  An Alpha Hydroxy Acid (AHA) that loosens the "glue" that holds dead cells on the surface of the skin, allowing the dead cells to slough off, leaving behind a smoother skin surface. Derived from sugarcane.

JOJOBA - The structure of Jojoba Oil closely resembles that of your own skin’s sebum; therefore it is an excellent moisturizer and is ideal for all skin types. Contains myristic acid, which has anti-inflammatory qualities.

JUNIPER - The Juniper is a thorny bush with long dark needles and produces a brownish-black berry. Has purifying and astringent qualities. It has antiseptic qualities.

LECITHIN - A vegetable based emulsifier used to keep water and oil and fat ingredients combined in formulation. Helps deliver moisturising agents to the skin. Derived from vegetables.

LAVENDER ESSENTIAL OIL - An antiseptic and disinfectant, and helps heal eczema, acne, and psoriasis. It has a calming effect on the mind and body, which can be helpful in treating insomnia. It is one of the mostly widely used essential oil because of its versatility. Derived from the flower.

NEROLI - Has wonderful therapeutic values; it Iis an antiseptic. Neroli is very valuable for skin care, for it has special properties of stimulating the growth of healthy new cells, and therefore has rejuvenating effects.

ROSEMARY - Stimulating, purifying and rejuvenating. An all-natural preservative which provides a long-lasting antioxidant protection to our formulations. 

ROSEHIP SEED OIL - Rich in essential fatty acids, vitamins (especially Vitamin C) and minerals. An antioxidant that has been shown to help improve elasticity of the skin, regenerate skin cells, slow down premature aging, reduce the formation of wrinkles, and reduce scarring. Derived from the extract of roses.

SOAPBARK EXTRACT. An extract of the Soapwort tree. Has mild foaming properties.

STEARIC ACID— Fat derived from vegetables. Acts as a binder of water and oil

SWEET ALMOND OIL - Skin nourishing properties, rich in essential fatty acids, vitamins A, B, E and minerals. Known to help repair the skins lipid matrix barrier by balancing its loss and absorption of moisture.

VITAMIN A - Retinol Palmitate. Stimulates skin tissue, collagen production and exfoliation. Improves skin elasticity, epidermal and dermal thickening, and helps reverse photo-damage. Nourishes the skin and assists in the rejuvenation process that maintains a more youthful appearance. Derived from Carotenoids, like beta-carotene, which are found in plants, such as dark or yellow vegetables and carrots.

VITAMIN B COMPLEX - Panthenol. Deeply moisturizes and heals the skin. Derived from rice husks. Vitamin B:When applied to skin, Vitamin B is believed to aid skin cells in repairing and reproducing themselves. It is also thought to stimulate production of collagen, enhancing skin smoothness and elasticity. This vitamin is excellent for skin showing signs of aging. A potent antioxidant which protects the skin from adverse environmental effects. Derived from citrus fruits, such as lemons, oranges and grapefruits.

VITAMIN C ESTER - Ascorbic Palmitate. A well known and long documented antioxidant that protects the surface of the skin from free radicals that can damage the skin. Comprised of Vitamin C joined with a fatty acid derived from palm oil.

VITAMIN E - Commonly referred to as nature’s own healing agent. Vitamin E has been cited as having positive effects on the wound healing process. Vitamin E is believed to penetrate below the skin’s surface to rejuvenate damaged skin cells and promote healthy regeneration of scarred skin. Vitamin E is also believed to help the skin overcome the harmful effects of the sun. Vitamin E helps to preserve the health and integrity of the skin and prevent premature signs of aging. Vitamin E - Tocopherol. An excellent antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-aging properties. Soothes sun damaged skin, promotes skin suppleness, protects against UVA and UVB radiation from the sun, stimulates cell regeneration and supports skin regeneration, while protecting the skin against the damaging effects of free radicals. Derived from natural sources of vegetable oil.

WHEAT GERM OIL - Rich source of vitamin E, softens and smoothes the skin. Derived from wheat kernel.