1,2-Hexanediol This is used for its wax-like properties and is derived from a combination of ethyl alcohol and stearic acid. Ethyl alcohol is the same as ‘rubbing alcohol’, and is used as an antibacterial in mouthwashes, nail enamel, lipsticks, etc.; it’s made by the fermentation of starch, sugar and similar carbohydrates. Stearic acid is a white, waxy natural fatty acid which occurs naturally in bark, butters and animal fats and oils. (NB If you are vegan, you might want to enquire whether companies which use this ingredient source it from plants, or from animal fats.)

2-Bromo-2-Nitropropane-1,3-Diol We have to say this bactericide is something we don’t really want to find in a natural cosmetic. (Only one product that scored well in our Tried & Testeds featured this preservative – albeit very near the bottom of the ingredients list, which reflects the quantity used.) Ironically, it’s also used widely in baby wipes – because it’s an effective germ-killer. Although determined safe for use in cosmetics (by the Cosmetic Ingredient Review Assessments), it scores as a high ‘hazard’ in the Environmental Working Group’s Cosmetic Safety Database. As we say, it’s only present in small doses – probably not enough to worry anyone (particularly as this product is washed off the skin), but we’re a bit surprised it’s still being used in natural products when there are so many other ingredients at a formulator’s fingertips.