It's a good idea, really - a Never List that tells you all of the ingredients a brand does not include in their products. It builds trust and tells you the brand is looking out for you and carefully considering how they formulate their products.
But we've opted out of the Never List. Our philosphy is simple: 100% natural ingredients with Nothing to Hide.
Why? Because we think what goes into the bottle is more important that what is left out.
For example, we could say: We never use arsenic, snake venom, baby poop, baby giraffes, glitter or sodium lauryl sulphate, but that does't tell you that the product is harmless or natural (or "clean" for that matter). A Never List is useful if you are trying to avoid certain ingredients - you can easily scroll through and if those are left out. But if you're looking for true transparency, you also need to know exactly what is in the bottle.
The problem that arises from a Never List is who sets the standard? Who is deciding what ingredients should be on the list, and based on what data or research?
If you used standards from the IFRA (International Fragrance Regulatory Authority), it includes a dozen natural, time-tested essential oils on that list, including rose, lemon and bergamot (really?!), as well as dozens of truly toxic synthetic fragrance ingredients. In addition, the IFRA testing methods and data have been questioned by some bodies as being inadequate and lacking transparency, so relying on this list is problematic.
The European Union bans over 1400 cosmetics ingredients, including many toxic and questionable ingredients (which, BTW, are still commonly used in cosmetics and fragrances in Australia - we have very low standards). But when you consider there are around 7000 ingredients available for use in cosmetics and fragrance, with hundreds more being created each year, and only 25% will ever be tested, is it enough to solely rely on these lists?
It is important to start somewhere, so a Never List based solely on outside data is better than no list and a low standard. But brands need to do their own research, and not simply exclude ingredients that have been proven unsafe. There are hundreds listed as questionable, even if they have not been banned, and thousands that have never been tested, so there is no way to know their effects.
At the end of the day, it's important to know what you are looking for in your beauty products and to arm yourself with the basics so you know what to look out for on a label.
We are so fortunate to be living in an era of eco product overload - their are definitely brands out that that will meet all of your needs. But if you want something that is simply truly natural without the need to wade through reams of info, look for a label or statement that says just that - 100% natural, nothing synthetic. And one that lists ALL of their ingredients.
We call it Nothing to Hide.
It doesn't need to be complicated.