Cosmetics Sustainable Living

Sustainable Swaps: Facial Moisturizer

November 28, 2018

We all want to keep our skin radiant, youthful and moisturized. Especially in the cold and dry months our face needs some extra lovin’ after being exposed to the elements. There are millions of products out there that promise wrinkle-free ageless skin, however they usually don’t explain the INCI (International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients) aka the ingredient list. Unfortunately our cosmetics are full of things that don’t benefit our skin. On the contrary, they damage our skin and if anything age it!

Check the INCI

All cosmetics have an INCI either written on the product’s container or easily found online. Check out your products and make sure they don’t contain the following ingredients which are considered to be most harmful.

PETROLEUM BASED: petroleum derivatives that are not derma compatible. Choosing non petroleum based cosmetics is also an eco-friendly choice.

  • liquid paraffin
  • petrolatum
  • mineral oil
  • petroleum jelly
  • paraffin

SILICONE BASED: these silicone based ingredients create a film on your skin, seeming to nurture and protect skin. However these ingredients dry and damage over time and even cause acne or breakouts.

  • Dimethicone** very common in lotions, foundations and conditioners due to it’s “smoothing” effects.
  • Amodimethicone.
  • Cyclomethicone
  • Trimethylsiloxysilicate


  • SLS ( Sodium Lauryl Sulfate) and SLES (Sodium Laureth Sulfate): an aggressive agent in many shampoos that creates the foaming effect.
  • PEG (Polyethylene Glycol) PEG’s are a class of ingredients that should be avoided. They are marked on cosmetics as PEG-100 or PEG-4. PEG’s promote enhanced penetration and allow harmful ingredients to be absorbed by the skin.
  • Triclosan: powerful antibacterial, but very toxic. Also a suspected carcinogen. High risk for humans and environment.



Although the **DO NOT USE** list is long and most likely you have discovered that some of your favorite face creams, shampoos and conditioners are full of these harmful ingredients… Don’t Sweat It! There are better options out there and today I will give you just a few Sustainable Swaps for your facial moisturizer.

COCONUT OIL: this antifungal, antiseptic and moisturizing oil is great for your face. Use a small amount and massage into face and neck in circular movements. For dry skin, this is a perfect solution. For acne prone skin: apply to clean skin, leave on for 15 minutes and rinse off with warm water.

CALENDULA OIL: Another great oil for dry, irritated or acne prone skin. It is oil from Marigold Flowers. It has antiseptic, anti-fungal, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.  Use for spot treating acne or for all over treatments of irritated skin.

WHEAT GERM OIL: Anti-aging and antioxidant properties. Helps to fight wrinkles and promotes healthy skin. It is rich in Vitamin E which helps to protect skin against free radicals.

If you check the INCI of these products you notice that the list is much shorter.  100% transparency and no long words that require a chemistry degree to understand and decipher. Plus you might notice that by buying these oils, you actually save some money. Buying a bunch of different cosmetic face creams is expensive and they are usually sold in tiny plastic containers. These natural vegetable oils are sold in glass containers varying in size. They can usually be found online or in some health stores.


You can find these products pretty easily in select grocery stores or online.

For European orders check out: . They have a great selection of products. I personally like the brands TEA Natura or Erbe Di Janas for the oils.

Amazon also has many products, but they tend to be a little more on the expensive side.

Author: Ali @ Sustainable Psyche

My name is Ali. I am an American living in Italy. I am passionate about delicious food that is also ethical, healthy and sustainable. I love pasta and pizza, traveling, horseback riding and exploring the vibrant city of Milan that I call home.


You Might Also Like