Looking for your subscription?

Click here

Scarlet’s Hard Pass List

We’re all about bold finishes, unconventional textures, and brighter-than-bright colors, but as for problematic ingredients? Hard pass. Our formulas are one area where we refuse to play dirty, and we’ll never use ingredients that compromise the health and safety of your skin. The EU currently has over 1,400 ingredients banned from use in cosmetics, while the US has only banned 11 ingredients (which like, please do better). The industry-wide definition of what clean means is still being established, which is why we’re extra vigilant about vetting every single item we put into our products to ensure it meets our clean, vegan, and cruelty-free standards. Here, we’ve outlined all of the potentially harmful ingredients we vow to never use in our formulas. 

  • What it is: A fragrance and flavor ingredient
    What it does: Contributes to the composition of fragrances
    Potential concern:

    • Skin irritant
    • Respiratory irritant
    • Eye irritant

  • What it is: A solvent
    What it does: Breaks down and dissolves ingredients - most commonly used in nail polish and fragrances
    Potential concern:

    • Organ toxicity
    • Skin irritant
    • Skin sensitizer

  • What it is: A fragrance and flavor ingredient
    What it does: Contributes to the composition of fragrances
    Potential concern:

    • Skin irritant
    • Respiratory irritant
    • Eye irritant

  • What it is: Polyacrylamide
    What it does: Acts as a film forming agent and binder in skincare formulas
    Potential concern:

    • Carcinogen
    • Skin sensitizer 

  • What it is: Ethyl acrylate, Ethyl methacrylate, Methyl methacrylate, Butyl methacrylate, Hydroxypropyl methacrylate, Tetrahydrofurfuryl methacrylate, Trimethylolpropane trimethacrylate
    What it does: Adhesive to apply artificial nails and eyelashes
    Potential concern:

    • Potential carcinogen
    • Skin/eye irritation

  • What it is: SD alcohol, denatured alcohol, isopropyl alcohol, cetearyl alcohol
    What it does: Acts as a solvent
    Potential concern:

    • Skin irritant
    • Skin sensitizer

  • What it is: Any animal derived ingredient, i.e., beeswax, carmine, lanolin
    What it does: Acts as an emulsifier or coloring agent
    Potential concern:

    • Organ toxicity
    • Skin irritant
    • Sustainability
    • Animal welfare

  • What it is: Meat, fat bone, or genital glands of animals
    What it does: A perfuming agent and/or skin conditioning agent
    Potential concern:

    • Organ toxicity
    • Skin irritant
    • Sustainability
    • Animal welfare

  • What it is: Aluminum chloride, aluminum chlorohydrate, aluminum dichlorohydrate, aluminum salts
    What it does: Blocks sweat ducts preventing sweat from reaching the skin’s surface
    Potential concern:

    • Carcinogen
    • Neurotoxicity
    • Endocrine disruptor
    • Organ toxicity

  • What it is: Synthetic form of aluminum, sometimes listed as alumina
    What it does: Acts as an opacifying agent, skin protectant, and pH adjuster
    Potential concern:

    • Organ toxicity
    • Neurotoxicity

  • What it is: Elemental aluminum
    What it does: A natural coloring agent that imparts a white color to skincare products and color cosmetics
    Potential concern:

    • Organ toxicity

  • What it is: Butylated hydroxyanisole & Butylated hydroxytoluene
    What it does: Synthetic antioxidants used to extend shelf life
    Potential concern:

    • Carcinogen
    • Endocrine disruptor
    • Organ toxicity
    • Skin irritant

  • What it is: An industrial chemical used to make certain plastics and resins to prevent corrosion
    What it does: Prior to being banned by the FDA in 2006, BPA was used in lipsticks, face, and eye products
    Potential concern:

    • Carcinogen
    • Endocrine disruptor

  • What it is: Glycol ether
    What it does: A solvent used in perfume, cosmetics, and liquid soaps that also helps control a formula’s viscosity
    Potential concern:

    • Carcinogen
    • Endocrine disruptor
    • Reproductive harm/ toxicity
    • Skin irritant

  • What it is: Oxybenzone, Benzophenone, Benzophenone-3, Octinoxate, Octyl Methoxycinnamate, Octocrylene, Octisalate, Homosalate
    What it does: Protects skin from the harmful effects of the sun’s UV rays
    Potential concern:

    • Hormone disruptor 
    • Endocrine disruptor
    • DNA cell damage

  • What it is: Chlorhexidine and its salts (Chlorhexidine Dihydrochloride, Chlorhexidine Digluconate, Chlorhexidine Diacetate)
    What it does: A preservative and antimicrobial agent that prevents the growth of harmful bacteria in any product that contains water
    Potential concern:

    • Skin sensitizer

  • What it is: A by-product of coal processing (coal tar solution, P-phenylenediamine, Aminophenol, Diaminobenzene)
    What it does: A colorant and anti-dandruff agent
    Potential concern:

    • Carcinogen

  • What it is: D4, D5, D6, D7
    What it does: used as a solvent & carrier fluid
    Potential concern:

    • Reproductive & developmental toxicity 
    • Endocrine disruption concerns

  • What it is: A skin softening agent
    What it does: Used as a moisturizer in lotions, creams, and bath products
    Potential concern:

    • Eye irritant

  • What it is: Diethanolamine (DEA), Cocamide DEA, Cocamide MEA, Triethanolamine (TEA), Monoethanlamine (MEA), Ethanolamine (ETA)
    What it does: A surfactant and pH adjuster
    Potential concern:

    • Carcinogen, may form carcinogenic nitrosamines
    • Skin toxicity
    • Endocrine disruptor
    • Inhibited fetal brain development
    • Reproductive harm
    • Organ toxicity
    • Allergen

  • What it is: 1,4 dioxane, ceteareth-20, steareth-20, emulsifying wax, PEGs, SLES, Ammonium Laureth Sulfate (most ingredients ending in -eth)
    What it does: Act as an emulsifying agent
    Potential concern:

    • Carcinogen

  • What it is: Disodium EDTA, calcium disodium EDTA, tetrasodium EDTA, trisodium EDTA, HEDTA, Others with -EDTA
    What it does: A binding agent that improves stability
    Potential concern:

    • Organ toxicity
    • Aquatic environmental harm

  • What it is: DMDM Hydantoin, Diazolidinyl Urea, Imidazolidinyl Urea, Methylchloroisothiazolinone, Methylisothiazolinone, Quaternium-15, Sodium hydroxymethylglycinate, 2-bromo-2-nitropropane-1,3 diol (Bronopol),Tosylamide/ formaldehyde resin, Polyoxymethylene Urea, Glyoxal, Methenamine, Benzylhemiformal, 5-Bromo-5-Nitro-1,3 Dioxane, Sodium hydroxymethylglycinate, EDTA Salts
    What is does: Preservative often used in cleansers
    Potential concern:

    • Carcinogen
    • Neurotoxicity
    • Developmental toxicity
    • Reproductive harm
    • Allergy Trigger
    • Skin/ eye irritation

  • What it is: Glutaraldehyde
    What it does: Acts as a preservative; prevents growth of harmful bacteria in any product that contains water
    Potential concern:

    • Skin irritant

  • What it is: A skin bleaching agent
    What it does: Reduces hyperpigmentation & uneven skin tone
    Potential concern:

    • Carcinogen
    • Organ toxicity

  • What it is: Lead acetate
    What it does: An impurity typically found in coloring agents
    Potential concern:

    • Carcinogen
    • Endocrine disruptor
    • Organ toxicity
    • Neurotoxicity

  • What it is: A heavy metal called thimerosal typically found in eye makeup
    What it does: Used as a preservative and antimicrobial agent
    Potential concern:

    • Organ toxicity
    • Neurotoxicity 
    • Reproductive harm
    • Developmental toxicity

  • What it is: Methoxyethanol
    What it does: A solvent used in perfumes as an additive. It also helps to control a formula’s viscosity
    Potential concern:

    • Organ toxicity
    • Neurotoxicity
    • Endocrine disruptor
    • Developmental toxicity
    • Reproductive harm
    • DNA/ Cell damage
    • Skin irritant

  • What it is: Prior to being banned by the FDA in 1988, methylene chloride was used as a fragrance and flavor ingredient
    What it does: Contributes to the composition of fragrance
    Potential concern:

    • Carcinogen

  • What it is: A non-biodegradable, solid synthetic plastic particle less than or equal to 5mm in size
    What it does: Acts as an exfoliant
    Potential concern:

    • Aquatic environmental harm

  • What it is: A by-product of petroleum distillation
    What it does: An occlusive emollient, meaning it helps keep skin hydrated by locking in moisture by forming a barrier on your skin’s surface
    Potential Concern:

    • Skin irritation
    • Clogged pores
    • Allergen
    • Contact dermatitis
    • Can be contaminated with PAHs which are linked to cancer

  • What it is: Extremely small particles (ranging from 1 to 100 nanometers) that have been synthetically engineered to be tiny, i.e., buckyballs, fullerenes, nanotubes, liposomes, or quantum dots
    What it does: Provides UV protection, enhances a formula’s texture and penetration into the skin, an ingredient stabilizer, and/or acts as a preservative
    Potential concern:

    • Organ toxicity
    • Endocrine disruptor
    • Reproductive harm
    • DNA/ Cell damage
    • Skin irritant
    • Not typically included on an ingredient listing

  • What it is: Musk ketone, musk xylene, musk ambrette, musk moskene, musk tibetene
    What it does: Acts as an additive in fragrance to give a musk like scent
    Potential concern:

    • Carcinogen
    • Endocrine disruptor
    • Neurotoxicity
    • Organ toxicity
    • Bioaccumulation

  • What it is: Esters of para hydroxybenzoic acid (We prohibit all parabens, including Ethylparaben, Butylparaben, Isobutylparaben, Isopropylparaben, Methylparaben, and Propylparaben)
    What is does: Acts as preservatives and anti-microbial agent in skincare and cosmetic formulas
    Potential Concern:

    • Endocrine disruption
    • Potential carcinogen
    • Developmental, reproductive & immune toxicity
    • Allergen

  • What it is: Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), Perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS), Polyperfluoromethylisopropyl Ether, DEA-C8-18 Perfluoroalkylethyl Phosphate, Teflon
    What it does: Acts as a surfactant and adds a smooth, sleek finish to cosmetic products
    Potential concern:

    • Carcinogen
    • Endocrine disruptor

  • What it is: Petroleum derived ingredients such as paraffin wax, mineral oil, toluene, benzene, PEGs, DEA, MEA, butylparaben, EDTA, propylene glycol, and isopropyl alcohol that can be contaminated with polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and typically generate 1,4-dioxane
    What it does: They are typically used as moisturizers, occlusive agents, emulsifiers, solvents, and preservatives
    Potential concern:

    • Carcinogen
    • Organ toxicity
    • Neurotoxicity
    • Endocrine disruptor

  • What it is: A semisolid mixture derived from processed petroleum. Mineral Oil, Paraffin Wax, Liquid Paraffin, Liquid Petrolatum are also derived from petroleum distillation by-products
    What it does: Used as a solvent & carrier fluid
    Potential concern:

    • Unsustainable sourcing
    • Possible PAHs contamination, which are linked to cancer

  • What it is: DBP, DEHP, DEP, DMP & Others
    What it does: Solubilizer most commonly found in synthetic fragrances

    • Potential Concern:
    • Hormone disruptor
    • Endocrine disruptor
    • Reproductive harm
    • May not be labeled on ingredient lists

  • What it is: An extract derived from human or animal placentas
    What it does: Increases hair thickness and collagen production
    Potential concern:

    • Carcinogen
    • Endocrine disruption

  • What it is: A preservative and antimicrobial agent
    What it does: Prevents growth of harmful bacteria in any product that contains water
    Potential concern:

    • Carcinogen
    • Organ toxicity
    • Skin irritant
    • Allergen

  • What it is: Galaxolide, tonalide
    What it does: Acts as a fragrance additive
    Potential concern:

    • Carcinogen
    • Endocrine disruptor
    • Neurotoxicity
    • Bioaccumulation

  • What it is: PEG compounds
    What it does: Used as thickeners, softeners and solvents
    Potential concern:

    • Possible contamination with 1,4-dioxane and ethylene oxide, both known carcinogens
    • Endocrine disruptor
    • Reproductive harm

  • What it is: Aminomethyl propanol
    What it does: Adjusts a formula’s pH and acts as an ingredient stabilizer
    Potential concern:

    • Carcinogen
    • Reproductive harm
    • Organ toxicity
    • Skin irritant

  • What it is: Benzalkonium chloride, cetrimonium chloride
    What it does: Acts as a preservative, anti-microbial agent, and surfactant
    Potential concern:

    • Skin, eye, and respiratory irritant
    • Allergen

  • What it is: 2-methylresorcinol (derivative of resorcinol)
    What it does: Colorant for hair dye, fragrance ingredient, and an anti-acne active
    Potential concern:

    • Endocrine disruptor
    • Organ toxicity
    • Skin irritant
    • Allergen

  • What it is: A combination of retinol (pure vitamin A) and the fatty acid palmitic acid
    What it does: Antioxidant
    Potential concern:

    • May speed the development of skin tumors and lesions when applied to the skin in the presence of sunlight 

  • What it is: Bromostyrene, Deastyrene/ acrylates/ dvbcopolymer, Sodium styrene/ divinylbenzene copolymer, Styrene oxide, Styrene
    What it does: Synthetic polymer used as a film former in sunscreens and lotions
    Potential concern:

    • Non-reproductive organ system toxicity
    • Potential Carcinogen

  • What it is: ALS/ ALES, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS), Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES), Sodium Lauroyl Sarcosinate, and all other sulfates
    What it does: Foaming agents commonly found in shampoos, face washes and shave creams
    Potential Concern:

    • Contamination with 1,4 - dioxane
    • Organ toxicity
    • Skin/ eye irritation
    • Allergen

  • What it is: Fragrance/ parfum that may contain any combination of 3,000 plus stock chemical ingredients
    What it does: Adds fragrance to a formula to produce a scent or mask an odor
    Potential concern:

    • Carcinogen
    • Endocrine disruptor
    • Organ toxicity
    • Respiratory toxicity
    • Reproductive harm
    • Neurotoxicity
    • Skin irritant
    • Allergen

  • What it is: Talcum, talcum powder, cosmetic talc, magnesium silicate
    What it does: Dilutes color and acts as an absorbent
    Potential concern:

    • Asbestos contamination

  • What it is: Toluol, Benzene, Methylbenzene, Phenylmethane
    What it does: A solvent usually found in nail polishes
    Potential concern:

    • Neurotoxicity
    • Links to blood, brain and reproductive cancer
    • Birth defects
    • Reproductive, developmental and immune toxicity
    • Skin & organ irritation

  • What it is: Microban
    What it does: An antimicrobial agent
    Potential concern:

    • Endocrine disruptor
    • Organ toxicity
    • Skin irritant
    • Aquatic environmental harm