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Non-Toxic Skincare Guide - What Is Clean Skincare?

Non-Toxic Skincare Guide - What Is Clean Skincare?


At Sand & Sky we believe great skincare isn’t only about what you put in, and that the ingredients you leave out are just as important. That’s why we’re committed to creating clean, Aussie botanical skincare formulas, free from the unnecessary nasties found in oh-so-many skincare products.


From sensitising sulfates to problematic parabens and PEGs, here’s a rundown of the key nasties you’ll never find in our products – and why we steer clear of them.


list of skincare red flags


Our Pledge to NO Skincare Red Flags 


NO Sulfates (SLS & SLES)

Instead of sending you to sleep with science-y talk of polyatomic ions and tetrahedral structures, we’ll keep things nice and simple. In a nutshell, sulfates are synthetic ingredients used as detergents in skincare and personal care products.

Cheap and easy to formulate with, they’re the ingredients that give your shampoo its suds, and leave your face squeaky clean after cleansing. So far so good, so what exactly is the problem?


While sulfates like sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) and sodium laureth sulfate (SLES) are considered safe, they can cause skin, eye and scalp irritation for some unlucky individuals. Used in skincare, they’re often harsh and stripping, compromising the skin barrier and causing irritation, dryness and even breakouts. Not cool, sulfates, not cool.


Because we love all skin types at Sand & Sky, we leave all sulfates out and skip the drama. Instead, we concentrate on making natural, clean skincare – for every complexion under the sun. 






NO Parabens

Nobody wants a funky, fungi-filled face cream, and parabens are a popular preservative used to extend a product’s shelf life. In our bathrooms since the 1920s, you’ll find them lurking in a wide range of personal care products you use every day. And this is controversial for a number of reasons.


Firstly, parabens can irritate those with dry skin conditions such as psoriasis and eczema. Annoying, sure – but no real biggie. The major problem, however, lies in their role as endocrine disruptors. Absorbed through the skin they have been found to mimic oestrogen, causing hormonal disruptions in the body that some believe may have negative health implications.


While the research isn’t conclusive and the verdict is definitely still out, we just don’t see the point of taking any chances with parabens. So we don’t.

NO Silicones

Derived from the silica found in sand, silicones are synthetic materials frequently used to improve the texture of face and body prods. Forming a water-and-air-resistant barrier on the skin, they can also assist with wound healing. Which all sounds innocent enough, right? Sure. But it’s a little more complicated – especially if you’re prone to breakouts.


Common in serums and facial moisturisers, silicons are primarily used to increase the cosmetic appeal of a product. Helping products to glide on smoothly, they also lock in moisture for a soft, velvety result. However, any skinprovement is temporary, with the results washed down the drain with your cleanser. And speaking of cleansing, you’ll probably need to do it twice…


Since they’re water-repelling, silicon-based products are trickier to remove. If you’re slack with your cleansing, you might notice pimpled, clogged pores and blackheads emerge. Silicon can also trap dirt, dead skin cells and other pore-clogging ingredients, so it’s a bit of a no-go zone if you’re pimple-prone.


Like to layer skincare? The presence of silicon in a moisturiser or serum can also cause pilling of a subsequently applied layer, for example your sunscreen or foundation. Not a good look.


At Sand & Sky, we’re not into peddling band-aid beauty products, so we’ll never use a temporary fix like silicon. Instead, we hunt down the best, most powerful natural ingredients that will plump, smooth and hydrate – from the very first drop.


NO Phthalates

Fun to say, not so fun to use, phthalates are chemicals that help make plastics more flexible and durable. So what the heck, then, are they doing in your hairspray, nail polish, perfumes and cosmetics?


Well, for starters, they help prevent your painted nails from drying too brittle. They also allow hair products to achieve lasting hold without stiffness, and help body lotion cling to your skin. And guess what? Most of us are exposed to them COUNTLESS times throughout the day. Especially women.


Unfortunately, like parabens, these popular plasticisers are known hormone disruptors. So, since we happen to like our hormones as they are, thank you very much, you’ll never phind phthalates hiding in our products.



Polyethylene glycols, or PEGs, are petroleum-derived compounds found in moisturisers, cleansers and personal care products. They are mainly used as thickeners, softeners and emulsifiers, with the later meaning that they enable water and oil to mix.


While suitable for most skin types, other than those with an allergy, there have been toxicity concerns raised about the potential inclusion of certain impurities. However, cosmetic formulators have cleaned up their practices and eliminated these impurities. According to The Derm Review, when applied topically, PEGs are not believed to pose significant dangers to human health.


Call us crazy, but we’d kinda rather stick with petrol in our cars. If you would too, you can rest assured all Sand & Sky products are 100% non-toxic, PEG- and petroleum-free.


That’s not all we leave out, either. You’ll also find no gluten, polypropylene (microbeads), formaldehyde, paraffin, mineral oils, coal tar or animal by-products in our cruelty-free, PETA-approved clean skincare. For full details and transparency on our ingredients, visit our product pages.


References: Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Phthalates Factsheet. Updated April 7, 2017.



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