Once you step into your bathroom, you are surrounded by products with ingredients derived from oil and gas.
Jump in the shower, and your soap, body wash, shampoo, conditioner, and shaving cream all likely include propylene glycol, which has several benefits including moisturizing skin, softening hair, and helping make other ingredients more effective, according to Healthline.
It also helps preserve products by preventing the overgrowth of microorganisms.
Propylene glycol – also found in many deodorants and antiperspirants – is formed by adding water to petrolatum, also known as petroleum jelly, a cosmetic product that has been in use since the late 1800s.
According to skincare brand CeraVe, petrolatum creates a water-resistant barrier on the top of your skin, making it an ideal moisturizer. Petrolatum is also a common ingredient in antibiotic ointment, providing comfort and treatment for mild cuts and scrapes as you get ready for your day.
Now that you’re all clean and fresh, it’s time for hair and makeup. As you’re spritzing up your ‘do, the petroleum-based propellants in your aerosol hairspray help evenly distribute the product as a fine mist.
As you move on to your face, petroleum products like petrolatum and mineral oil are found in many of the makeup products you may use, including foundation, bronzer, eye shadow, eye liner and mascara.
Mineral oil helps a product attract moisture from the air and bind it to the skin – and has been found to have anti-aging properties, according to Clarins.
Touch up those nails with a coat of polish made from multiple petroleum-derived products like ethyl acetate (which helps polish spread and dry) and triphenyl phosphate (which helps polish last longer), according to nailpro.com.
Synthetic substances like these are safe and often no different in composition than “natural” ingredients, according to Cosmetics Alliance Canada.
“A synthetic substance that mimics a natural one can sometimes provide a purer, more stable ingredient which gives the product a longer shelf life,” the Alliance says, noting that Health Canada considers both natural and synthetic ingredients suitable for use in cosmetics.
Without petroleum products, your personal care routine would look a lot different.
by Deborah Jaremko