YOUR QUICK-START GUIDE TO OUR INGREDIENTS
ABOUT OUR INGREDIENTS
We’re committed to being an honest company, and we’ll always be straight with you about the products you love. We want to create products that deliver real benefits, while doing minimal harm to the environment. Our products are carefully assessed by independent experts so we know they’re safe, and here you can discover a little more about what goes into them.
WHAT TYPES OF INGREDIENTS DO WE USE?
We aim to use sustainably sourced, natural ingredients and ingredients of natural origin wherever we can. We try to use environmentally friendly synthetic ingredients, too. We aim to use ingredients that were developed using green chemistry, which are processes that reduce the use or production of chemicals that damage the environment. Over the past couple of years, we’ve taken steps to improve the environmental footprint of our formulas. We’re really focussing on the sustainability of our natural ingredients and ingredients of natural origin, and we’re looking at their biodegradability, too.
Natural ingredients come directly from plants and minerals, and also through processes without chemical modification (that means, we haven’t deliberately changed them).
We source some natural ingredients, like shea butter from Ghana and tea tree oil from Kenya, through our Community Fair Trade programme. Community Fair Trade was launched in 1987, to trading fairly with suppliers, offering good trading practices and fair prices.
INGREDIENTS OF NATURAL ORIGIN
Our products also contain ingredients of natural origin. These originally come from plants or minerals, but have been treated a little more than natural ingredients (or mixed with some non-natural ingredients) to make them suitable for use in cosmetic products. One of the requirements for plant-based ingredients of natural origin is that they must be renewable. This means they must come from sources that are abundant and self-generating, unlike fossil fuels, which take millions of years to replenish.
We use every ingredient for a reason: to give you the best experience with our products. That’s why we also use synthetic ingredients, which are human-made and created by chemical reactions. Synthetic ingredients can give our formulas properties that nature simply can’t provide, like preserving products (making sure they last longer). An example of a synthetic ingredient is isononyl isononanoate, a synthetic oil that helps maintain the skin’s moisture after applying cream. It’s not as heavy on the skin as vegetable oils and is highly biodegradable, with a low ecotoxicity profile, meaning it’s not harmful to the environment.
Another example is Trisodium Ethylenediamine Disuccinate, which has much better biodegradability than EDTA (Ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid), the standard chelating agent. This type of ingredient acts like a sponge, helping to stabilise and preserve the product. Synthetic alternatives to natural ingredients can help with the consistency (think, nice textures), quality and long-term performance of a product.
WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN NATURAL INGREDIENTS AND INGREDIENTS OF NATURAL ORIGIN?
Natural ingredients come from plants and minerals, and use low-impact processing methods like cold-pressing. Ingredients of natural origin originally come from plants and minerals, but have been modified in some way to make them more functional or safer. A good example is refined sunflower oil. Crude edible oil from renewable sources contains impurities, which we remove during the refining process.
These definitions are based on guidelines for cosmetics defined by the International Organization for Standardization, an independent, international, not-for-profit organisation.
REGENERATIVE NATURAL INGREDIENTS
Today, conventional intensive farming is putting a strain on our natural resources. It has degraded soil, created a lack of biodiversity, turned many forested areas into barren land, as well as having a negative impact on the health and wellbeing of surrounding communities. Imagine buying a product that has only a positive impact on the environment and the people who helped make it – that’s our vision.
We want to use natural ingredients based on regenerative farming that supports the regeneration of ecosystems and are currently assessing our portfolio to align it to be a regenerative business in the next decade. It seeks to reverse deforestation, restore degraded soil, increase biodiversity, improve water cycles and revitalise communities. Making sure the ingredients we use are produced in a way that has a net positive impact on the environment and on people will be hard but we are committed to getting there and are excited about the journey. This is why we call them ‘regenerative natural ingredients’.
HOW DO WE TEST OUR PRODUCTS?
We use experts who have a detailed understanding of raw materials and their uses, and every formula safety profile is independently assessed by a third party. They skilfully combine ingredients to create safe formulas that respect our customers’ skin, respect the environment and do what they say they do. Our products undergo extensive testing to ensure they’re safe and effective for use. We use three main testing methods involving computer data, laboratory-created tissues and people.
THE INGREDIENTS YOU’VE BEEN ASKING ABOUT
We know that some cosmetic ingredients are confusing, and even controversial.
You deserve to know exactly what you’re putting on your skin, so we’ve broken it down for you – here’s what we use, and why.
In 2015 we removed microbeads from all our products. We're also working hard to evaluate the presence of potential microplastics in our products, in line with European Chemical Agency (ECHA) guidance. Most of our ingredients are biodegradable, and we are constantly improving in this area. By 2030 we are aiming for all our rinse off products to be at 95% biodegradability, in line with guidance from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Being a cruelty-free beauty brand will always be one of The Body Shop’s main priorities. That is why we recently made the commitment to reformulate our entire product portfolio and go 100% vegan by the end of 2023 and our global refills program is also part of our commitment to reducing our negative impact on the planet.