Best Natural Skincare Ingredients for Women – and The Ingredients You Should Avoid BellaVita Botanics

Best Natural Skincare Ingredients for Women – and The Ingredients You Should Avoid

Bella’s, the time to make compromises to our health for convenience is over.  

For far too long we’ve been marketed and sold products filled with cheap, synthetic ingredients that disrupt our body’s delicate ecosystem. From hormone disruption to lymphatic congestion, the unregulated chemicals found in products we put on our skin could possibly cause slow-building health issues if used consistently. 

Oftentimes, the same products that contain synthetic ingredients are also “greenwashed”, meaning they’re presented to us in a deceiving way. They’re packaged in pretty jars and boxes sporting just the right amount of earth tones and text that read “clean”, “green”, and “natural” to trick us into believing they don’t contain unnatural ingredients such as parabens, sulfates, phthalates, etc. 

Now if you’re anything like us – sick of the synthetic stuff – then you’re probably interested in dipping your toes into the truly natural skincare scene. However, avoiding the potentially harmful ingredients mentioned above can easily sound like a daunting task at first. That’s why we’ve put together a quick overview of some of the most common ingredients in skincare (and cosmetics/haircare) that we recommend avoiding as much as possible. 

Then once you feel like you’ve got a good understanding of what to avoid and why you can consider slowly swapping in some of the super-effective natural ingredients we feature in some of our skincare, like mineral-rich salt, deeply-hydrating plant oils, and antioxidant-rich, botanical extracts. We promise, once you reap the benefits these natural ingredients have to offer, you will not miss the synthetic stuff.

Top ingredients to avoid


Parabens are preservatives used to prevent bacterial growth and extend the shelf life of makeup, moisturizers, hair-care products, and shaving creams. That sounds like a good idea, right? In theory, yes, however, there’s been evidence that links parabens to hormone disruption. They’re classified as EDs (endocrine disruptors) and one study even found a decrease in menstrual cycle length in women with increased levels of parabens in their urine. 

Now, we know what you may be thinking: “A shorter cycle? Heck yeah, that doesn’t sound like a bad thing to me!” And while we can all agree that periods can be dreadful, they also play a critical part in keeping us healthy. In fact, the same study went on to say, “these results suggest a possibility that parabens exposure is one of the environmental causes of human reproductive problem.” 

To avoid parabens, look for butyl-, ethyl-, methyl-, and propylparaben on ingredient lists.

Phthalates and Synthetic Fragrance

Phthalates, also nicknamed, “the everywhere chemical”, are binding agents known as plasticizers. They can be found in all plastic products – but also in cosmetics and skincare. They’re commonly used in fragrances to help them last longer, and in some cosmetics (like nail polish and hair spray), to lend flexibility. Alongside parabens, phthalates are classified as endocrine disruptors (EDs) and are readily absorbed by the skin. 

Synthetic fragrance can also be called “perfume”, “parfum” or just “fragrance” on an ingredient label. You can think of those three words as a catchall term for any number of ingredients (including phthalates) and skin-drying alcohols. Not-so-fun fact: they can legally remain undisclosed by manufacturers. They’re super harsh on the skin and have been linked to innumerable health risks.  Headaches; eye, nose, and throat irritation; nausea; forgetfulness; loss of coordination; and other respiratory and/or neurotoxic symptoms are just a few.

To avoid phthalates, look for them labeled as perfume, parfum, fragrance, or simply, phthalates on an ingredient list. 


Sulfates are surfactants and are often used in cleansers. They are responsible for turning liquids into the foamy lather we're used to when we wash our face, hair, and body. While seemingly harmless in their light and bubbly nature, they can actually dramatically strip the skin of its natural oils and moisture, and act as an irritant, leading to itchiness, redness, and dryness – especially with long-term use. 

To avoid surfactants, look for sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) and sodium laureth sulfate (SLES) on the ingredient list.


PEGs stands for polyethylene glycols and their derivatives. It is not a single ingredient but a group of chemicals used to moisturize, stabilize, and enhance the penetration of other ingredients. They are widely used in cosmetics as surfactants, cleansing agents, emulsifiers, skin conditioners, and humectants. Why avoid them? PEGs are often contaminated with carcinogens and likely carcinogens that can possibly cause serious health consequences, including damage to the nervous system. 

To avoid PEGs, look for them directly on the ingredient list, labeled as PEGs

With truly clean products, you’ll find none of the potentially harmful stuff we just mentioned. Read on to learn about a few of our favorite plant-based ingredients that make natural skincare so sweet.

A few of our fave skin-friendly ingredients

Skin-softening Plant Oils – Apricot Kernel Oil

Apricot Kernel Oil is a wonderful foundational oil packed with natural and organic vitamins A and E. This precious oil is especially good for dehydrated, delicate, mature, or damaged skin. It’s one of the “finer textured” oils which means it’s easily absorbed by the skin and won’t leave that overly “greasy” feeling. It is one of our all-time favorite oils to add to facial creams, and on its own, it makes a great make-up remover. The apricot kernel oil we use in our Evening Face Cream is 100% pure, and cold-pressed. It is unrefined, also known as “virgin” – meaning it holds a deeper color than the refined version, and a fresh, “nutty” scent.

Apricot kernel oil benefits include: 

  • Deeply nourishing, yet light and lustrous – not greasy
  • Decreases the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles
  • Improves skin tone, and increases skin radiance
  • High-antioxidant content helps protect skin against free radical damage and environmental stressors

Organic, Botanical Extracts — Camu Camu Extract

Camu camu extract is the richest botanical source of vitamin C, containing over 30x more than an orange. It comes from a small sour berry native to the Amazon region. Camu camu is teeming with polyphenols such as flavonoids, phenolic acids, tannins, and a range of other bioactive compounds that brighten skin, visibly boost collagen synthesis and production, and help restore skin elasticity. You can find the versatile camu camu extract in our Hyaluronic Facial Dew Drops where it works all of its plant magic to make your skin more resilient, plump, and radiant. As you can probably tell, its benefits to the skin are vast, and we haven’t even covered them all.

Camu camu benefits:

  • Fade spots and discolorations caused by acne scarring, hyperpigmentation, aging, and sun damage
  • Visibly boosts collagen synthesis and production
  • Restores skin elasticity and plumpness
  • Reduces appearance of fine lines and wrinkles
  • Antioxidants protect against free radical damage and environmental stressors

Mineral-rich Salts – Pink Himalayan Salt

Pink Himalayan Salt benefits more than just your tastebuds. This nourishing salt can be used as a gentle exfoliator that can polish away dull, dead skin cells for softer, brighter-looking skin. Containing a whopping 84 trace minerals, Himalayan salt can be used to restore deep hydration in the skin while promoting blood circulation. We feature this salt in our Body Polish where you can use it in the shower or while you soak in the tub for a luxurious (and detoxifying!) self-care break.

The salty benefits:

  • Removes expired skin cells
  • Reduces the appearance of cellulite and other imperfections
  • Imbues skin with nourishing, hydrating minerals
  • Encourages cell turnover for a more youthful appearance

Remember, what goes on your skin, goes in your body. 

As we know, the skin is the largest organ in your body. It’s porous and soaks up everything it comes into contact with, so it’s important to pay close attention to the ingredients in our skincare products. If the products you use contain harmful ingredients such as harsh, toxic chemicals, colors, and fragrances, those ingredients make their way into your body. Your blood, your lymph nodes, and even your nervous system. As we’ve covered, the majority of conventional, often greenwashed, skincare products contain a concerning cocktail of potentially carcinogenic chemicals, irritants, and allergens.

To lower potential exposure to toxic chemicals, preservatives, and fragrances that are harmful to our bodies, choose truly natural, organic, and environmentally-safe skin care products as much as possible. Read ingredient labels and continue to become educated about what ingredients to avoid when selecting your cosmetics, body, and hair care products.

As always, you can rest assured knowing that when you choose BellaVita Botanics, you choose beauty from the inside out. 

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