Au Naturale Eye Essentials Kit

What's In It Wednesday: Garnier The Brusher Gel-Cleanser

Today's What's In It Wednesday takes an in-depth look at a product that my friend recently had a bad experience with.

She bought this product and loved the scent, the texture, the overall feel of it...until the hives appeared. Her skin was irritated, started to break out, and I thought I'd take a look at the ingredients in this product.

The product is called The Brusher Gel-Cleanser from Garnier, one of L'Oreal's many companies. It is sold at Target, Walmart, drugstores, etc. and is priced around $7.50. When I looked at the ingredients, I quickly saw why she was having such a bad reaction.

Here is a look at what's in it. The potential irritants and other bad ingredients are in red:

Aqua (Water), Lauryl Betaine , PEG-8, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Benzyl Salicylate, Citric Acid, Hamamelis Virginiana Extract (Witch Hazel Extract), Hexylene Glycol, Imidazolidinyl Urea, Limonene, Linalool, Mentha Piperita Extract (Peppermint Leaf Extract), Menthoxypropanediol, Methylparaben, Panthenol , PEG-120 Methyl Glucose Dioleate  Phenoxyethanol, Propylene Glycol, Salicylic Acid, Sodium Chloride, Sodium Cocoamphoacetate, Sodium Hydroxide, Tetrasodium EDTA, Tocopheryl Acetate, Vitis Vinifera Extract (Grape Fruit Water), Parfum (Fragrance)

PEG-8--a humectant. PEG ingredients, however, should be avoided because of their link to ethylene oxide and 1,4 dioxane--proven toxins. PEGs are often contaminated with these.

Benzyl Salicylate--can cause contact dermatitis and is known to cause allergies; this is a fragrance masking agent and UV absorber. 

Hexylene Glycol--this surfactant is a known immune system toxicant and is highly irritating to the eyes, skin, and lungs

Imidazolidinyl Urea--this preservative is also a formaldehyde releasing ingredient. It comes from animal urine and other bodily fluids

Limonene--skin sensitizer; for perfume. Banned in the EU
Linalool--Masking fragrance; shown to be hazardous, banned in the EU

Methylparaben--this type of paraben is a preservative agent against fungus. A very compelling study 7 years ago in the Journal of Applied Toxicology linked parabens to breast cancer as they may be hormone disruptive and lead to tumor growth. While the jury is still out on paraben safety, I personally find the links too strong and this home has been paraben free for more than 4 years.   
PEG-120 Methyl Glucose Dioleate--a humectant. PEG ingredients, however, should be avoided because of their link to ethylene oxide and 1,4 dioxane--proven toxins. PEGs are often contaminated with these.
Phenoxyethanol--adding this in conjunction with a paraben is unnecessary overkill. I am not opposed to using this to preserve skin care and actually am pro-phenoxyethanol to preserve. Combining with a paraben, though, is not going to do anything but potentially do more harm than good.
Propylene Glycol--PG is used in conjunction with other chemical ingredients as a preservative. It is also found in products to make it easier for other added ingredients to penetrate the skin. This ingredient has been shown in studies to aggravate skin conditions such as eczema. This derivitave of mineral oil is considered a petrochemical. There are many different grades of PG: industrial grade is found in anti-freeze. 

Some will tell you that skin care products with propylene glycol just like anti-freeze. This isn't true--the kind in cosmetics is cosmetics grade. That being said, this can cause contact dermatitis, especially in such a very high concentration. Because of this, I cannot recommend it since the product will not be rinsed thoroughly from the skin after application.
Sodium Hydroxide--this is found in the bulk of Garnier's skin care for some reason. This is AKA lye, which is OK in soap, but unnecessary in a lotion)
Tetrosodium EDTA--there are many mixed feelings on EDTA ingredients. I tend to err on the side of caution. While there are far more harmful ingredients, more research is needed on EDTAs to answer the looming questions of safety. The biggest concern is the study showing human neurotoxicity. This is cause for concern, as are the possible links to cancer. 
Fragrance/Parfum--This is a synthetic ingredient which is responsible for a large percentage of allergies in many sufferers. It can be very irritating to certain individuals, especially children and those with respiratory issues, headaches, and other illnesses.
The Chic & Green Bottom Line:
No way on this! In addition to this containing a wide variety of irritating and harmful ingredients, it is unhygienic. The brush will retain the water and provide a breeding ground for bacteria and mold--not something you want on your skin! Even if your skin is not sensitive at all, run past this one when you see it on the counters. There are far better, less harmful products on the market.