Clean Beauty

Dirty List content section


Clean beauty begins with the ingredients *not* found in our products. The Dirty ListTM is the foundation of our larger, comprehensive Credo Clean Standard. These ingredients are linked to health or environmental issues. All of our brand partners agree not to formulate with these as intentional ingredients—and to control for potential contamination, as well.

Aluminum Powder

Elemental aluminum (powder) is the third most abundant element on earth. We are exposed to it through a variety of sources including drinking water, pharmaceuticals. Aluminum can also form as salts or

oxides. The toxicity of different forms of aluminum depends in large part on its solubility in water and the pH range. Aluminum compounds appear to be poorly absorbed by the human body, and so Credo permits aluminum oxide (aka alumina), aluminum hydroxide and related compounds as functional ingredients in products. Aluminum powder is a toxicant (at high doses), and it is prohibited from all products.

Animal Derived Ingredients

Animal Musks and Animal Fats are prohibited. Animal Derived Ingredients are also prohibited, with these exceptions: Cholesterol, Lactose, Lanolin, Keratin.

BHA (Butylated Hydroxyanisole)

A preservative linked to cancer, skin irritation, and hormone disruption.

BHT (Butylated Hydroxytoluene)

A Toluene-based preservative linked to skin irritation.

Chemical Sunscreens

Some chemical sunscreens have been linked to hormone disruption. Others, like Avobenzone, appear safer but remain understudied. Credo prohibits all Chemical Sunscreens, which include (but are not limited to) Benzophenone, Oxybenzone, and Octinoxate.

Cyclic Silicones

Cyclic Silicones include Cyclotetrasiloxane (D4), Cyclopentasiloxane (D5), Cyclohexasiloxane (D6), and Cyclomethicone. Data indicates that some of these chemicals may have reproductive, developmental toxicity and/or endocrine disruption concerns. They are also persistent in the environment, and may build up in the food chain.


Calcium Disodium EDTA, Tetrasodium EDTA, Trisodium EDTA, etc, are chelating agents, meaning that they bind to metal ions, which inactivates them. These ingredients are not linked to consumer health issues, but they might be a problem for aquatic life since they don't break down in the environment and have been found in waterways.


These ingredients (including DEA/TEA/MEA/ETA) may be contaminated with chemicals like Nitrosamines, which are linked to cancer.


Although typically not listed as an ingredient, Formaldehyde “releasers” or “donors” often are listed on ingredient labels. Some of the ingredients that likely have Formaldehyde tagging along include DMDM Hydantoin, Diazolidinyl Urea and Quaternium-15.


Typically used for skin lightening reasons, it inhibits melanin synthesis, causes skin irritation, and may cause discoloration of the skin. Hydroquinone is a metabolite of the carcinogen Benzene.

Methyl Cellosolve or 2-Methoxyethanol

This ingredient has been banned in the EU; it’s a solvent that’s used as an additive in perfumes. It can cause skin irritation and may cause effects on the central nervous system, blood, bone marrow, kidneys and liver.

Methylchloroisothiazolinone and Methylisothiazolinone

These preservatives are banned from use in leave-on cosmetic products in the EU and restricted to very small amounts in rinse-off products. They can cause skin allergies and irritation and may be toxic to the nervous system.


There are several types of synthetic musks used as fragrance ingredients. Two types, Nitromusks and Polycyclic Musks, have health and environmental concerns ranging from suspected endocrine disruption to widespread environmental persistence, so we prohibit them. Learn more about our fragrance policy here.


Certain Parabens have been linked to hormone disruption. Out of caution, we prohibit all Parabens, including Butylparaben, Isopropylparaben, Methylparaben.

Perfluorinated compound (PFASs or PFCs)

There are 3000 Highly Fluorinated Compounds used in many different types of products because of their oil-, stain-, and water-repellent properties. Compounds in this category do not break down in the environment, and many have been linked to a variety of health issues including cancer, hormone disruption, liver toxicity, and obesity. Avoid products with “perfluor” or “polyfluor” as part of the ingredient.

Petrolatum and Paraffin

Petrolatum is a semisolid mixture derived from processed petroleum. Mineral Oil, Paraffin Wax, Liquid Paraffin, and several other ingredients are also petroleum distillation byproducts. The concerns with these ingredients are unsustainable sourcing and possible PAH contamination. PAH (which stands for Polyaromatic Hydrocarbons) are linked to cancer. It is possible to obtain certification that there is little-to-no trace PAH contamination.

Note: Credo encourages brands to use natural ingredients instead of petroleum-derived ingredients, but we do not prohibit all petroleum-derived or synthetic ingredients from products. Instead, we ask brands to avoid the “dirtiest” of them (which are on this list), and to obtain certificates of analysis to address potential contamination issues.


Phthalates are plasticizing chemicals. Some appear on product ingredient labels, but many may remain undisclosed, hiding under the term “fragrance.” Since some phthalates have been linked to hormone disruption, we ask our brand partners to avoid using them altogether.

Polycyclic Musks

There are several types of synthetic musks used as fragrance ingredients. Two types, Nitromusks and Polycyclic Musks, have health and environmental concerns ranging from suspected endocrine disruption to widespread environmental persistence, so we prohibit them. Learn more about our fragrance policy here.


Usually used in hair dyes, it’s linked to a host of issues including allergies, irritation, and hormone disruption.


A solvent that is toxic to the immune system, may cause birth defects, and usually found in nail polishes.

Triclosan and Triclocarban

These ingredients are antibacterials used in personal care and home-cleaning products. They’re persistent in the environment and may be associated with hormone disruption.


Please see The Dirty ListTM for the ingredients that Credo requires brand partners to avoid formulating with. In addition, here are other ingredients you may be wondering about.

Beeswax (and other Bee Products)

Credo allows Beeswax, Honey, Pollen and Propolis (all from bees) which are safe, effective ingredients. We ask our brand partners to obtain assurance from their ingredient suppliers that the bees are treated humanely. Bee populations are in big trouble, and that doesn’t bode well for wild plants, crops, or humans. We encourage brands to do the following to help increase the chances for bee health, and to reduce our industry’s negative impact.