Tuesday, October 23, 2012


updated January 14, 2017
The Chemical Structure of a Paraben

Here is a list of the companies I have researched that are either completely paraben free, or have some products with and others without. To check the ingredient status, I have many samples at home that I physically check to see for paraben references, I search products on store shelves for paraben detail, and as backup will research special products online. 

What you see here are the brands that I like, have tried and will return to. Certainly there are others offered out there too, but these are my top favorites!

 Some great skincare and cosmetic lines that are paraben free are:

i) Ahava, Algenist, Arbonne, Bare Escentuals and bareMinerals, Darphin Paris, Juice Beauty, Jurlique, Lubex anti-age, Murad, Nerium AD, REN Clean Skincare of London, ReVive, Philosophy, Dr. Perricone, NARSImage Skincare, Tarte, Tatcha, Lorac, Smashbox, Urban Decay, Younique, and Clinique.  

You can find MANY of these at SEPHORA!


ii) JM Argan Oil, Paula's Choice, Aubrey Organics, Swanson Health products and Burt's Bees are great too. 

Some paraben with but mostly without, Clarins, same for Bobbi Brown, Crabtree & Evelyn, e.l.f., Kate Somerville and PeterThomasRoth. 

Some paraben but not all in Estee Lauder and Elizabeth Arden and Lancome, La Prairie, Laura Mercier and Shiseido; the list IS long and thank goodness getting longer for the better! 

Our favorite Touche Eclat Radiant Touch by YSL is paraben free, thank goodness! BUT, here is something interesting, pointed out to me by an attentive reader who says there is paraben in the Touche Eclat.  To get to the bottom of this quandary, I was in Saks today and double checked the product box, and NO reference was there regarding any -butyl, -ethyl, -iso, -methyl or any other paraben ingredients.  However, I did see on the Sephora website under ingredients, that methylparaben was listed.  

How to decide which is correct? I would take the ingredients listed on the box as the defining ingredient status. The packaging is created by the brand and the brand must stand by its public representation. 

When in doubt, read the box! 

Dior has paraben listed on its box for its hydrating eye cream, and I spoke with a Parisian representative who told me the amount is miniscule, .001%.  Dior's product and packaging is so lovely and effective, the paraben level must be reported regardless of its minimal amount. 

ADVICE: If you have a favorite cosmetic or beauty product you simply cannot part with that has paraben, just use a little bit and parse out the days you use it, just not every day. Also, eliminate other products at that time that have paraben as a listed ingredient. Spread out the exposure and slowly phase out the parabens in your life!

MANY companies here are on the bandwagon with paraben free skincare and cosmetic offerings, awareness is key and each little bit helps step by step for a better environment and world.

Here is a really up to date site to easily check your favorite cosmetics and skincare at Cosmetic Ingredients, have fun and see what is in your jars and bottles!

Another great website is Paula's Choice, check out your brands with their Ingredient List.
MORE very good links to test for healthy and not so healthy levels of toxins, sensitivity and overall quality in your beauty products: Good Guide has had great press coverage for its accurate and current data, also the federal agency EWG, Environmental Working Group in Washington, DC, and Pink Ribbon is the official site for international breast cancer awareness.

What YOU can do now:  before you buy, read the labels! Telephone the company and ask questions, be proactive!! Save your packaging and refer back to it if for later you have questions. I put the empty boxes in a ziplock bag and tuck away in a drawer, out of sight and out of the way, but easy to get to if I have a question.  You can do the same!

*Paraben is listed toward the middle or bottom of the packaging list usually, also look for derivatives of  butylparaben, isobutylparaben, ethylparaben, methylparaben, propylparaben and isopropylparaben.  At one time these were considered harmless preservatives, but studies have shown otherwise although not conclusive.* 

ALSO, the further down the list of ingredients listed on a package, the less the amount used in the product. I learned this years ago as a consultant for Calvin Klein and Ultima II Revlon, and I doubt this formatting of the ingredient volume has changed.

If you minimize your exposure to parabens, toxins, sulfates, aluminums and leads in general, you WILL be doing yourself a great favor. 

There is a HUGE caveat here from the American Cancer Society, which states on its site that many paraben studies remain inconclusive regarding the link with breast cancer. In fact, some studies suggest paraben use remains unproven as to the cause of tumors, regardless of traces found in the breast tissue and tumors.  

Hmm, what to think?  Moderation is key, we can be assured of that. Mix up your cosmetic use, take a break for a few days and skip, yes, skip the mascara, the makeup, go natural! We Try not to get too attached to a single regime, this way you optimize your chances of being free of any long-term exposures.

For some paraben free makeup and body treatment, please see my posting THE PARABEN FREE BODY for my favorite picks and what I use to stay beauty fit and ready for the day!!

I love Jurlique! It is farmed and manufactured in Australia, all pure ingredients.  The rose water mist is especially lovely in the evening, alone before you retire, or as a base before your night treatment.  Either way, you create an experience all your own with Jurlique.


Jurlique Cyber Monday - shop now!


  1. Come on really, why are you promoting paraban free......the whole thing is a marketing gimmick. You got served and you are easy prey

  2. Dear aesthetics, Thank you for your comment and interest in the paraben free controversy. I too have considered that the paraben free craze is a marketing gimmick and to a small degree I agree. But, for so many legitimate companies to hop on this bandwagon, there must be more truth than meets the eye. Why take a chance and keep parabens in their formulas? The cancer connection remains inconclusive even though parabens appear in cancerous tissue, so it is difficult to draw exact lines as to the paraben influence in the actual cause of cancer. Awareness is key in fighting this life changing disease, and maybe, just maybe, if parabens are not the cause, at the very least companies and consumers will continue to question and research their formulas till the root cause of cancer is discovered, and for that we will all be thankful. Forge ahead and keep asking questions, meanwhile, does anyone else have any comments on this topic?

  3. I am allergic to parabens, among other things. This is not a gimmick for me. Thank you for this article, I appreciate it.

  4. Hi, why is image skincare not listed ? They have a lot of paraben free products http://www.imageskincare.com/pages/frequently-asked-questions

    1. Hi Addys, Was not aware of this brand, it is listed now! What a great line of paraben free skincare, thanks!

  5. I have been studying the cancer/skin care relationship for five years...according to Russel Blaylock, MD and chemical/nutrition researcher - breast cancer patients that have had tissue examined for parabens are 100%, across the board, parben present in the tissue. It stores up in our bodies and it would take some major detoxing to get it out - years and years of small amount of build up matter. I encourage everyone to do their body a favor and go paraben and petro chemical free. I learned about Arbonne from a friend who is a breast cancer survivor and needed to choose safe products for herself, and I now use them. As was said - read the box! You can find safe products that will work for you. A book I recommend is by Dr. Samuel Epstein - Toxic Beauty. If we don't educate and empower ourselves regarding the consumer goods that we have choice over we will continue to be a society with increase in cancer and other diseases.
    Rita S. Purely Living Wellness (Health advocate and cancer warrior)

  6. I too am allergic to parabens, so for that reason alone, I HAVE to check the label on every beauty product I buy. I appreciate it when sites like this and manufacturers point it out that they are indeed 'paraben free'. My skin thanks you and this ISN'T a marketing gimmick.

  7. I have some Philosophy products that had parabens in them. A body wash and lotion. Just wanted to give a heads up! Both were recent purchases directly from their website so maybe ingredients have changed.