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Ingredient Review: Simple Skincare


I have re-written this blog post what feels like a million times. Sometimes it can be difficult to put into words my passion for why I choose natural ingredients. I do like to present facts and encourage readers to question companies. It can be hard to stand up against big brands and then (as I know from experience) have to deal with people who become upset by your opinions. Readers have accused me of damaging businesses, of picking on some companies and not others. Let’s just set the record straight, I very much doubt that one person’s opinion can “bring down” a multinational corporation. I am a little fish in a big ocean when it comes to my weight as a consumer. As much as I would love to critic many other brands, I don’t have the time to write about them all so I select brands that appear popular and currently on trend. 

I think it’s very naive that some people believe companies have the wellbeing of their consumers at heart and that everyone is decent when it comes to company ethics – think about cigarette causing cancer and leaking breast implants, we have whistleblowers to thank for giving consumers knowledge. I certainly would never regard myself as a whistleblower but the purpose of blog posts like this one is to basically say "hey, dear readers, you have a choice, don’t always believe the marketing hype, listen to your skin and spend your money wisely". Remember, I am also trying to share my experience dealing with allergies and eczema. I have spent many years trying to figure out why I have skin problems. Is it genetics or is it the environment around us, the food I eat, place where I live or the products I put on my skin? I also want to help protect the Earth for future generations, what goes into for example, a body wash ends up down the drain and into our water and soil. 

Simple Skincare has been around for years and I tried their products in my teens and promptly reacted to them. Recently Simple have been working with bloggers so they came to the forefront of my mind once again. When I saw this sentence in a review - "With Simple I never feel like I'm putting nasty chemicals on my skin" - I wanted to scream a little and I felt the need to express my opinions.  I have never been comfortable with the Simple and their image for being "sensitive skincare experts". I am upset by the bold as brass wording "skin loving ingredients, no harsh chemicals". Why? Because I believe it is misleading. Their formulations make me feel uncomfortable. In order to support my argument, I decided to take a closer look at the product line. 

Simple’s tag line appears to be based on products being free from artificial perfume, colours and no harsh chemicals. For some people being free from perfume and colours is a positive selling point, there will of course be consumers who have sensitivity to these ingredients, me included. However, I have a wide range of irritation triggers so Simple does not meet my needs. You could argue, it is impossible to cater to everyone and I do not disagree on that point. However, I wrote a blog post the other week and explained why the phrase “no harsh chemicals” does not sit comfortably with me. What do Simple class as a harsh chemical? From where I am standing, their products are loaded with synthetic ingredients which I believe may cause irritation and could be classed as harsh on skin. 

I looked at ingredient lists across Simple’s product line and I can demonstrate why I believe the phrase "no harsh chemicals" is a bit cheeky. I spotted 2-Bromo-2-nitropropane-1,3-diol a antimicrobial preservative that may contain/release formaldehyde, which is an irritant, carcinogenic and a neurotoxin. Formaldehyde is a proven toxin so would you not class this as a "harsh chemical"? The majority of Simple products contain parabens and BHT (Butylated hydroxytoluene), used for preserving and both regarded as a toxin and allergen. The face wash contains SLES (Sodium Laureth Sulphate) and Cocamidopropyl betaine, synthetic surfactants associated with irritation and allergic contact dermatitis. I noticed Dimethicone in the facial creams, a silicone based polymer which I avoid because I believe it has the potential to irritate delicate skin. Now you could argue that the average person probably won’t feel any ill effects from these ingredients, however, I think there is strong evidence to show a risk for those who are prone to sensitivity, the exact consumer these products appear to be formulated and marketed towards.

I noticed on the front of each bottle that Simple give you the number of “skin loving” ingredients, for example, four in the Night Cream (glycerine, bisabolol, allantoin, borage oil). That equates to 20% of the product containing ingredients which Simple are happy to market as “skin loving” but what about the other 80%? I can never understand why any consumer would be comfortable with this ratio. The natural and organic skincare I choose probably contain 90% to 100% natural ingredients (as in recognisable from plants and pronounceable). I accept that not every natural plant extract is suitable for the entire population but my positive experiences outweigh all the negative ones from ranges available on the High Street. 

Bottom line is Simple Skincare is not for me. Of course, you have the right to decided what to put on your skin but I would like to encourage readers to do their homework. Be aware that even a product that claims to be suitable for sensitive skin may have the potential to irritate.

Sarah x