The Official Website of Cabella™ - Glossary: What We Do Not Use & Why




What we DO NOT use & Why.

What are “petrochemicals” and why are they bad?

Petrochemicals consist of a large group of chemicals (as distinct from fuels) derived from petroleum, natural gas, or coal, which are used for a variety of commercial purposes. In deed, petrochemicals are found in most food products, in drinking water, pharmaceuticals, household cleaning products, as well as in cosmetic and personal care products, but we at CABELLA™ have done our utmost to avoid such use.
Petrochemicals and their by-products, such as dioxin, Pthalate, and others have been shown to cause a variety of serious health problems including endocrine disruption and even cancer. There are more then 75,000 such chemicals currently registered with the Environmental Protection Agency, only a fraction of which have been thoroughly safety tested — CABELLA™ has chosen to assiduously avoided their use wherever possible, so as not to add to the milieu of possible personal exposure that everyone is subject to.

Ethoxylation is the process of adding ethylene oxide—a flammable man-made gas—to certain raw materials used in cosmetic and personal care products. The addition of EO is a means of adding a water-loving (hydrophilic) group or moiety into a molecule. The reason for doing this is to make a water-insoluble material soluble in water, and thus more useful. Increased ethoxylation results in greater water solubility and in the case of detergent surfactants less irritating to both skin and eyes, better foamers and more efficient cleansers. A problem arises, however, in that it is theoretically possible for Ethylene Oxide to polymerize to these materials with the concomitant production of small amounts of a suspected animal carcinogen, 1,4-dioxane, as a byproduct. Now suppliers reportedly routinely check ethoxylated materials for the presence of dioxane, and it is further reported that it is easily removed, but even though removed from the intermediate ethoxylate, 1,4-dioxane can be regenerated during the sulfation (qv) process. To avoid the possibility of such contamination, where possible, CABELLA™ avoids the use of both ethoxylated and sulfated materials.

is an acronym for Polyethylene Glycols, and these are made of Ethylene Glycol subunits. PEGs are polymers of Ethylene Oxide, and may contain toxic impurities such as Ethylene Oxide and 1,4-dioxane, and there is some evidence that PEGs can cause kidney toxicity if applied to damaged skin.

Propylene Glycol:
At first glance, there is nothing inherently wrong with Propylene Glycol, save that at very high use levels it can be quite irritating especially to sensitive persons. Propylene Glycol, like other glycols is a petroleum by-product, and we’ve already stated that where possible we avoid the use of Petrochemicals.
In the manufacture of Propylene Glycol, first Crude Oil is made into Petroleum Naptha, and then Petroleum Naptha is made into Propylene (also called Propene). Propylene is then made into Propylene Oxide, and Propylene Oxide is made into Propylene Glycol.

is an acronym for Polypropylene Glycols, and Propylene Glycol (qv), as we’ve seen is a Petrochemical. While much has been written about the potential for deleterious health concerns from liver, heart and central nervous system damage, due to over exposure to Propylene Glycols ,we at CABELLA™ chose to take the cautious road, albeit the road less traveled, and not use these materials in our products.

Isopropyl Alcohol:
is produced by combining water and Propylene. As we’ve already seen, Propylene is a Petrochemical, and in keeping with our policy of avoiding where possible the use of Petrochemicals, Propylene being a by-product of oil refining and natural gas processing, we don’t use Isopropyl Alcohol in CABELLA™ products.

Parabens are alkyl esters derived from benzoic acid (itself a preservative found naturally in fruits and vegetables), and are widely used as broad-spectrum preservatives in cosmetics, personal care, pharmaceutical and food products. There are six commonly used parabens: Methylparaben, Ethylparaben, Propylparaben, Butylparaben, Isobutylparaben and Benzylparaben. Because they complement one another and extend their range of efficacy, parabens are usually used in combination with one another.

Though made from a material found in nature, parabens are weakly estrogenic, and evidence that traces of parabens have been found in breast cancer tissue rightfully or wrongfully has generated concern that they might play a role in the growth of breast cancer cells. While this concern is highly problematic and highly controversial, we chose to play it safe and avoid the use of parabens in CABELLA™ products, or in the raw materials which make up our products.

has long been used as a preservative in cosmetic and personal care products, and more recently in preservatives that release tiny amounts of Formaldehyde into the cosmetic system to be preserved. Such preservative are called Formaldehyde-donors, we at CABELLA™ have opted not to use Formaldehyde-donors, as the fact of the matter is that Formaldehyde had been found to be a carcinogen. Therefore you will not find Formaldehyde-donors such as DMDM Hydantoin, Imidazolidinyl Urea, and others in our products.

Sulfates are esters of sulfuric acid and anionic (negatively charged) surfactants. An ester is a fatty alcohol, such as lauryl alcohol, to which an acid has been attached with the subsequent loss of water. (For clearer understanding the reader must realize that most alcohols are fatty materials and not liquids as one is apt to think of them.) Lauryl indicates that the carbon chain length of the fatty tail of the fatty alcohol contains 12 to 14 carbon atoms. Soaps are salts of fatty acids. (A salt is obtained by neutralizing an acid with a base containing a metal, or a group acting like a metal.)

Shampoos were originally made from soaps. The oldest technique of making soap shampoos was to dissolve a fatty acid and to add an equal amount of caustic soda solution, as the base. Lauric acid soaps are considered the most irritant, and sulfation was intended to reduce this irritation, which in fact it did so do. Thus, when modern synthetic detergents became available in the 1930s, manufacturers changed from the use of soaps to the use of lauryl sulfates and similar materials. (Soaps are synthetic detergents, but because they have been made and used for thousands of years, most people don’t think of them as such.)

In the manufacture of Sulfates, fatty alcohols, like lauryl alcohol is sulfated with either chlorosulfonic acid, sulfur trioxide or, less frequently, sulfamic acid. As mentioned, an ester is a compound formed when a fatty alcohol is reacted or joined together with an acid, resulting in the loss of water, as they unite. Esters are reversible. That is, once chemically joined together, they can under certain circumstances such as with product pH drift later be broken down to their component parts, and if this occurs the sulfuric acid component can be irritating. This takes on added significance when the sulfated shampoo is Ethoxylated (qv). Thus, those of us who serve you from CABELLA™, have opted to make all our shampoos both Sulfate-free and EO-free.

We’ve already defined esters — Pthalates are esters of Ophthalmic Acid, and were mainly used as plasticizers (substances added to resin film-formers to increase their flexibility, transparency, and durability). We say “were used,” as by-in-large what few Pthalates that might have been used in the processing of cosmetic and personal care-use chemicals have been removed from such ingredients due to concerns that Pthalates cause a wide range of adverse health problems including liver, kidney and lung damage, as well as reproductive system and sexual developmental abnormalities.

There is nothing inherently wrong with the use of silicones in personal care products, as when properly selected these make good conditioners with exceptional feel, and add high shine and luster to hair fiber. Unfortunately two of the most widely used silicones in cosmetic and personal care products, Cyclopentasiloxane (D5), and to a somewhat lesser extent Cyclomethicone (D4), have rightfully or wrongfully been linked to fertility problems, liver damage and cancer, and have been placed on the toxic chemicals list of the Canadian government, and reportedly the European Union will also soon require registration of D4 and D5 as potentially harmful. Rather than take sides in the issue, we at CABELLA™ simply avoid the use of all silicones in our products.

The word Fragrance is used in cosmetic and personal care ingredient listings to inform the user that a product contains a compounded perfume. The single word Fragrance is allowed by the FDA for used in place of the product manufacturer having to list every chemical used in the making of a perfume, because the typical compounded perfume contains from 150 to 300 chemicals, and so it would be impractical to list all of these on a single product container.

Fragrances can be made up of natural or synthetic chemicals, and more often than not are a combination of both. Partially because compounded perfumes contain so very many chemicals, the Research Institute for Fragrance Materials (RIFM) maintains the largest database on fragrance and flavor materials in the world, and rates the toxicity of chemicals to steer formulators away from potentially harmful especially to allergy-prone persons.

It is largely due to the overwhelming number of chemicals used in the design of a compounded perfume that we at CABELLA™ instead employ the use of several essential oils. Yet, essential oils themselves contain numerous natural chemicals, some of which as Limonene, Linalool, Nerol, its isomeric form Geraniol, and other naturally occurring potential sensitizers do require listing on the ingredient label declaration along with the names of the essential oils used for fragrancing. Nevertheless, we at CABELLA™ think it better to have to list a few such potential trouble makers than to hide the numerous ones that may be hidden under the appellation “Fragrance.”

Artificial Color:
Unless one is purposely trying to apply a colorant to hair or skin, we at CABELLA™ see no functional purpose in using colorants in our products, as here as with other chemical entities, components of a number of formerly used cosmetic colorants and some of those still used in hair tints have been shown to be potential toxicants.

Mineral Oil:
is a by-product of the distillation of Crude Oil, and in keeping with our policy of avoiding the use of Petrochemicals, we do not use Mineral Oil in any of our CABELLA™ products.

DEA: is an acronym for Diethanolamine, which by itself at the percentages used in cosmetic and personal care products is considered harmless, but which can react with other ingredients in formulas to form nitrosodiethanolamine (NDEA) a carcinogen linked to stomach, esophageal, liver and bladder cancers. Whether or not MEA (Monoethanolamine) and/or TEA (Triethanolamine) will be found to be equally as dangerous, we’re not willing to chance, and so we use none of these materials in or CABELLA™ product offerings.

There are any number of other ingredients that we at Cabella have not chosen to use in the creation of our products, and have herein opted to talk primarily about those which are most frequently seen when reading cosmetic and personal care product ingredient labels. Now, let’s look at those ingredients that we do use: