Look for these ingredients in cleaning + personal care products

It's 2023, and we're trying to make a revolution to the traditional consumer packaged goods industry. We saw the need for products that were sustainably packaged AND functional AND used only natural ingredients that are safe for you, your families + the planet. That's why we launched Better Basics.

My journey towards more natural and sustainable products happened over 10 years ago, after experiencing two parents diagnosed with cancer, and through that process, I learned that there are ingredients in common everyday cleaning and personal care products that can be carcinogenic or endrocrine disrupting, and are not recommended for cancer patients (which made me think... how can these ingredients be recommended for any of us!).

As I started researching products that had been commonly used in my home and in my community, I was appalled to learn that many everyday products were on there. It made me very suspicious that these ingredients are still out in the market, and I started to learn more about ingredient lists and what to avoid. 

We know it can be overwhelming and complicated to start greening and cleaning up your home. It doesn't help that some ingredients which are naturally derived can also be carcinogenic. So, our recommendation is two fold:

  1. start with reading the label 
  2. look for ingredients that you recognize/understand
  3. look for red flags ie. artificial colours, fragrances, irritants/hazard or toxic logos clearly listed on the label
  4. look for certifications: leaping bunny, Cosmos Eco Cert, EWG Verified, B Corp

If you want to dive deeper into ingredients, here are the list of ingredients that we avoid, after reseraching the implications of each on the Environmental Working Group), FDA, Health Canada and the European Eco Cert guidelines. According to the EWG, here are the The 12 Dirty Ingredients to avoid:

  • Formaldehyde
  • Paraformaldehyde
  • Methylene glycol
  • Quaternium 15
  • Mercury
  • Dibutyl and diethylhexyl phthalates
  • Isobutyl and isopropyl parabens
  • The long-chain per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances known as PFAS
  • M- and o-phenylenediamine

This is our list of what we just don't believe in and where we're #doingbetter. We don't have the perfect system, but we believe that it's the small, incremental changes that add up. We also evaluate ingredients for their environmental impact, including extraction, deforestation impact, carbon footprint, and biodegradability.


Ingredients that are in everyday products and what we avoid


We also like to avoid the following ingredients for their lack of transparency and/or known carcinogenic, allergen or environmental impact:

  • Petroleum Products
  • Palm Oil
  • Artificial colours or fragrances
  • Aluminum
  • Bleach
  • BPA Plastics (any plastics other than #1 and #2 for recyclability)
  • Coal Tar
  • BHA and BTA
  • Chemical Sunscreens (Benzophenone, Oxybenzone, and Octinoxate)
  • Silicones

There is no perfect way to begin cleaning up your home. Start small, trust your instincts, do what feels right for you and your family.

With care,

- Sam Rayner

Co-Founder of Better Basics