Nivea Face Wash: Under the Cap [Part 2]

June 24, 2019 1 Comment

Nivea Face Wash: Under the Cap [Part 2]

We’re back with another episode of ‘Under the Cap’! If you missed part 1 on Dove Soap – click here to check it out. A lot of you said it gave you some great insights into products you never thought twice about.

Remember, we don’t really believe there is a ‘good’ or ‘bad’ list of ingredients. The adage “if you can’t pronounce it, it’s probably not good” isn’t always true, especially when ingredients are listed using INCI names and something ‘innocuous’ like Shea Butter is listed as Butyrospermum Parkii. Neither is ‘natural’ always best (would you drink a bucket of salt water from the ocean)? But it does give us a starting point to think about things.

This week, we’re diving under the cap of a Nivea product many of you use. While not everything you put on your skin will get absorbed into your bloodstream (if that were the case, after every shower we’d become balloons), the epidermis – or outermost layer of skin – is still affected by what goes on top of it. Some companies use ingredients because they’re quite cheaply manufactured, and not necessarily because they’re the best for our skin.

Nivea Face Wash

Just as you do when buying food, check the ingredients in your skincare products and make sure you’re aware of what you’re putting on your face. Take a look below!





See below for text version:





Water. In a rinse-off product like a soap, some formulators don’t believe in using expensive or rare hydrosols, so water is a great alternative.

Cocamidopropyl Betaine
Surfactant Can cause skin irritation for some.
Sodium Myreth Sulfate
/detergent - helps create a ‘slip’ to dissolve oils
Similar in ‘cleansing strength’ to Sodium Laureth Sulfate (an SLS you've probably heard tonnes about). So if you find SLS stripping then consider how a product with SMS feels on your skin. More here about maintaining a balanced acid mantle.
Sodium Acrylates Copolymer Gelling agent Derived from acrylic acid, which some consider to be very irritating on the skin.  
Moisturiser and humectant
Glyceryl Glucoside
Surfactant/detergent - helps create a ‘slip’ to dissolve oils
Usually derived from sugars, considered to be a mild surfactant.
Tocopheryl Acetate

Antioxidant/ preservative/emollient

Vitamin E - in this case it is synthetically derived and is skin conditioning.
Nelumbium Speciosum Flower Extract
Skin conditioning
Lotus Flower Oil
Moisturiser and humectant
Derived from Vitamin B5. Sometimes come from animal sources.
Lauryl Glucoside
Usually derived from sugars, considered to be a mild surfactant.
Sodium Chloride
Salt that thickens the ‘suds’ effect of surfactants
PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil
When an oil is ‘hydrogenated,’ the chemical composition is changed - think of margarine ys. dairy butter. PEG stands for polyethylene glycol - petroleum based compounds used as thickeners, and emulsifiers. Some people find PEGs irritating on broken or damaged skin, and studies show PEGs have estrogen-mimicking properties that can be associated with an increased risk of breast cancer.
PEG-200 Hydrogenated Glyceryl Palmate
Thickening agent
Hydrogenated palm oil. See above for more about PEGs, a controversial ingredient.
Film-forming/gelling agent
Also known as cationic Hydroxyethyl cellulose - HEC is used in the oil and gas industry, and for slime. Provides film formation on hair.
Extends shelf life/protects colour
More commonly used in sunscreens. Studies have shown it to be a potential allergen and irritant. Also noted as potentially contributing to endocrine disruption.
Propylene Glycol
Preservative and humectant
Some are allergic to this substance, and it is derived from petroleum (not inherently bad but depends on if this bothers you).
Recently become a controversial ingredient with some research showing signs of neurotoxicity. EU and Japanese regulations have restricted usage to 1% - which is generally agreed upon as safe.
Methylparaben, Ethylparaben
To prevent products from growing mould and bacteria, a preservative is necessary. However there is a lot of controversy around the use of parabens, and some find them irritating. Nivea has outlined its stance here.
Butylphenyl Methylpropional, Geraniol, Alpha-Isomethyl Ionone
Fragrance components
When in quantities of .01% or greater, these fragrance components need to be listed out separately because the IFRA (International Fragrance Association) deems them to be allergens.
Parfum is an all-encompassing term that can include 30-50 (or more) synthetic ingredients to add fragrance to a product.
CI 42090
Cosmetic colourant (brilliant blue)
Some concerns with organ system toxicity.
CI 16035
Cosmetic colourant (red 40)
Found to be irritating to some; there is also controversy around red dye - which can be from coal or carmine (a cochineal insect)

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June 25, 2019


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