hmm

I work part time in a natural skin care department, so I spend a ton of time reading ingredient labels and learning why different ingredients are in various products. I looked up the ingredients for the DivaWash and Lunette Washing Liquid and decided to decipher the ingredients that aren’t already explained on the label.

A couple of general things to keep in mind when seeking natural body care products:

·         Natural does not always mean good (or mean anything at all!). There can be naturally-derived ingredients that mimic some of the synthetic chemicals used in mainstream products.

·         Any company can say their product is natural, or naturally-derived, since there’s no government regulation concerning use of the term (in the US, anyway). Ever see a mainstream brand of lotion that’s called “green tea” or advertises “shea butter” only to realize there is absolutely no green tea or shea butter in the product? “Naturally-derived” also doesn’t tell you anything about how much chemical processing happened--the ingredient may be many steps away from the plant it once was.

·         Most ingredients in natural products have only limited safety testing, if any. HOWEVER, the same is true for mainstream body care products. The FDA does not regulate what goes into personal care products, and it is left up to the industry to self-regulate…which really means it’s entirely up to the consumer to track down what little information they can about what the ingredients may actually do. There is conflicting evidence about the level of skin absorption that happens (0-100% depending on the type of molecules), but particularly when you’re dealing with vaginal wall tissue, I’d venture to guess that the absorption levels of anything that’s put down there are pretty high.

 

Diva Wash Ingredients (Ingredients taken from http://www.greenfeet.com/itemdesc.asp?kw=Diva-Wash&ic=7510-00045-0000&eq= ):

·         Aqua

·         [Cocamidopropyl Betain, Decyl Polyglucose, Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate (Coconut Derived Ingredients)]

o   Cocamidopropyl Betain is coconut oil that has undergone chemical reactions, and is considered a “skin sensitizer,” meaning it can induce skin allergies. It is a “known human immune system toxicant,” but the cosmetics industry has deemed it safe in low, rinse off doses. The fact that it’s first after water on the ingredients list means it’s in relatively high concentration, but I’d guess still falls in the “low dose” category.

o   Decyl Polyglucose is a foaming agent that has no safety concerns attached to it, according to the EWG Cosmetic Safety Database (www.cosmeticsdatabase.com).

o   Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate is considered safe in low, rinse-off doses (like this wash), based on research amassed in the Cosmetic Safety Database.

·         Vegetable Glycerin

o   FDA research does exist on vegetable glycerin, since it’s also used in food. Considered safe. It’s thick, syrupy, and sweet, hence the concerns regarding yeast infections that have been raised here when it comes to glycerin-based lubricants. It originates under a process called “hydrolysis” and comes from fats/oils.

·         Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride

o   Comes from coconut oil and glycerin. Changes the thickness of products and slows moisture loss from the skin. Considered safe as a food additive by the FDA.

·         Tocopherol Acetate (Vitamin E)

·         Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C)

·         Retinyl Palmitate (Vitamin A)
o   Restricted use in Canada. Was found to have reproductive effects in animals in low doses ranging from infertility to fetal death. Brain/nervous and broad systemic effects in animals in high doses
·         Citrus Officinalis (Grapefruit Seed Extract-Natural Preservative And Antimicrobial)

o   This is a common preservative in natural products, although there is some debate (like with everything) regarding its effectiveness

·         Xanthan Gum

o   Fermented sugar. A very common thickening agent in food and body care.

·         Citric Acid (-Ph Balancer)

·         Citrus Sinesis (Sweet Orange Essential Oil)

o   I believe most, if not all, essential oils have natural antimicrobial properties

 

On the whole, the DivaWash looks pretty good, in my opinion. If you have SUPER sensitive skin, you might be wary about the cocamidopropyl betaine. If you’re SUPER prone to yeast infections, you might be concerned about the glycerin and xanthan gum. But if you rinse well, I imagine you’d be fine.

 

However, worth noting—there is nothing in this ingredients list that makes me go “wow!” The ingredients are standard and common in many, many natural soaps. So you may want to check out options at your nearest natural foods store, because you will likely find something less expensive—or at least more conveniently located than on the Internet—that will serve you just as well if not better.

 

Lunette Washing Liquid Ingredients:

·         Aqua

·         Sodium Laureth Sulfate

o   At work, “I need soap without sodium laureth/lauryl sulfate!” is one of the most common customer problems I encounter, especially from people with dry skin and hair. It’s a drying detergent/foaming agent that is found in many shampoos, toothpastes, and soaps, and is a recognized skin irritant in low doses. It can increase canker sores when used in toothpaste, and there is a debate over whether or not it’s a carcinogen. It caused “broad systemic toxicity” in the rats it was tested on, whatever that means. It’s commonly used because it foams well and is cheap.

·         Sea Salt

·         Citric Acid

o   A weak acid. Common, safe.

·         Citrus Limonum

o   Lime!

·         Eucalyptus Globulus

o   Eucalyptus essential oil. Antimicrobial and antibacterial. Will clear your sinuses. Totally safe when diluted like this.

 

Often, I’m relieved by short ingredients lists. It’s so much easier to figure out what’s going on. However, the sodium laureth sulfate raises major alarms by both gentle AND natural standards, but since it’s going on the cup which is, presumably, going to be thoroughly rinsed so that the substance never hits your skin, you’re probably fine.

 

 

However, just as with the Diva Wash, there is, in my opinion, nothing about these ingredients that particularly differentiate this cleanser from any other natural, synthetic-fragrance-free cleanser that you can pick up off the store shelf.

 

 

In both cases, I suspect the companies are just trying to make money by marketing a specialized wash that, when you look into it, doesn’t really appear to be all that specialized. Probably not harmful, but also probably not necessary.


EDIT: Lady Cup LadyGel Ingredients:

·         Aqua

·         Sodium Laureth Sulfate

o   See Lunette Washing Liquid

·         Cocamidoprodyl Betaine

o   See DivaWash

·         Sodium Coccoamphoacetate

o   Derived from coconut oil. Deemed safe, with some research.

·         Lauryl Polyglucoside

o   A surfactant derived from sugar, sometimes corn. Surfactants reduce the tension between liquids (presumably to help mix liquids, like oil and water, for example). I found some patent information that claims this mild surfactant should be less likely to irritate the skin than betaines.

·         PEG-7 Glyceryl Cocoate

o   A sugar derived from coconut oil that serves as a surfactant and cleansing agent. An emollient (smoothes skin) and emulsifier (suspends one liquid in another).

·         PEG-200 Hydrogenated Glyceryl Palmate

o   Not safe for use on injured or damaged skin. Skin/sense organ hazards are suspected. Approved for limited use in food (ex: to coat tablets to make them easier to swallow). More research needed.

·         Glycerin

o   See DivaWash

·         Lactic Acid

o   Use is restricted in Canadian cosmetics. Skin irritation shown in humans. Animal studies have shown sense organ (eye, nose, mouth) effects at very low doses and skin irritation at very low doses. Broad systemic toxicity shown in many animal studies. Approved for use in food.

·         Parfum

o   The greatest mystery ingredient of all time. Companies are not required to report what their fragrances actually are, where they’re derived from, or anything about them. Hence, people can have fragrance allergies and have no way of knowing what in the fragrance they’re ACTUALLY allergic to.

·         Phenoxyethanol

o   In Japan, restricted use in cosmetics. European Union classifies it as a harmful irritant. Animal studies show sense organ effects at very low doses, brain/nervous system effects at moderate doses. US Cosmetic Industry Review Board (the industry’s self-regulating organization) deems it safe in limited concentration.

·         Benzoic Acid

o   Weak acid used as a food preservative. Fatal for cats in very low doses.

·         Dehydroacetic Acid

o   Classified by European Union as toxic and harmful. FDA allows it in certain foods. Cosmetic Industry Review Board assumes it is safe in existing concentrations in body care products.

·         Allantoin

o   Commonly derived from bovine uric acid (cow pee extract :) ). Also found in plants, like comfrey. Used for healing. Has not been assessed for safety.

·         Camelia Sinesis Extract

o   Green tea extract

·         C.l. 42051

o   Acid Blue 3 coloring. Banned or found unsafe, according to Cosmetic, Toiletry, and Fragrance Association


I don't know, ladies. It seems like there are a lot of chemicals in this one all doing more or less the same thing, and a lot of them have some tentative evidence that they may not be good for you. As a vegetarian, I can't use this due to the allantoin. I would venture to guess that these ingredients are pretty similar to any mainstream handwash.

Oh, and one last thing to bear in mind: even the ingredients that have been deemed harmful or irritating have only incomplete evidence, and perhaps one day the verdict will change. There's a lot of research still to be done. If only the FDA wasn't underfunded! :)

If you want to check out what research exists for some of your own products you use for cleaning your cup or anything, one good place to start is www.cosmeticsdatabase.com
( 51 comments — Leave a comment )
ashleyashleysmooshie on April 23rd, 2009 04:09 pm (UTC)
Definitely not TLDR, I am glad you wrote about this.

:D
rainbowkiwirainbowkiwi on April 23rd, 2009 04:12 pm (UTC)
It seems like plain castile soap is the better option as long as it's rinsed well.

I use kirk's. It's coconut oil and vegetable glycerine.
hmmeversochili on April 23rd, 2009 04:17 pm (UTC)
Someone posted earlier that castile soap isn't recommended on the cups' websites, but it's unclear why. I'm no silicone expert, but it doesn't seem like it would degrade the silicone. Perhaps because it's competition for their washes?
(no subject) - rainbowkiwi on April 23rd, 2009 07:21 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - eversochili on April 23rd, 2009 04:23 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - rainbowkiwi on April 23rd, 2009 07:20 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - denymemandi on April 23rd, 2009 04:37 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - amyakieran on April 24th, 2009 12:43 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - rainbowkiwi on April 24th, 2009 01:41 am (UTC) (Expand)
The Abbess of Cockaignecthulhu_shuman on April 23rd, 2009 04:25 pm (UTC)
This was incredibly interesting! Thanks for posting it.
hmmeversochili on April 23rd, 2009 04:57 pm (UTC)
my pleasure! thanks!
crowheart on April 23rd, 2009 05:24 pm (UTC)
Cocamidopropyl Betain is coconut oil that has undergone chemical reactions, and is considered a “skin sensitizer,” meaning it can induce skin allergies. It is a “known human immune system toxicant,”

Ooooh, wait, I have an autoimmune disease, should I not be using the diva wash??? That sounds scary =-(.
hmmeversochili on April 23rd, 2009 06:13 pm (UTC)
You can read up on it here, where all of the existing research has been gathered together http://www.cosmeticsdatabase.com/ingredient.php?ingred06=701520

You'll see that there's a 63% data gap, which I believe indicates that a lot more research is needed.
Lost: stock - bookgypsy_owl on April 23rd, 2009 05:42 pm (UTC)
Interesting. Thanks for posting.

I wonder if the 'washes' may be in part for the more money thing, but also because so often people get freaked out about the idea of 'using the wrong thing' or what not, that they know if they fork out a bit of extra cash, they can get something they 'know' will work. A peace of mind type deal. I mean, you can tell people that things are exactly the same expect the company that makes them time and again, and they will still go for the more money known name brand, right? (Granted, this is kinda circular... 'We want a product we know is safe on our cups.' 'You want it, we will make it and sell it to you. (and make more money for it.)' 'Okay! :D ')
hmmeversochili on April 23rd, 2009 06:25 pm (UTC)
I bet there's a lot of truth to that peace of mind idea.
(no subject) - noptimum on April 24th, 2009 09:40 am (UTC) (Expand)
DQ: lunettedamned_queen on April 23rd, 2009 05:53 pm (UTC)
But Lunette Wash still has a pH of 3.5, which is something you don't find with regular soap, right?

I know that if I use normal soap to cleam my cup with, I get a nasty yeast infection, even if I rinse it very very well (tried that a couple of months ago)
hmmeversochili on April 23rd, 2009 06:23 pm (UTC)
I've seen some natural soaps that say they're pH balanced - brands aren't coming to mind right now, but I will check around when I work tomorrow.

What was the normal soap you used?
(no subject) - hiriel1804 on April 23rd, 2009 06:49 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - aedifica on April 23rd, 2009 07:38 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - eversochili on April 23rd, 2009 07:49 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - damned_queen on April 23rd, 2009 07:26 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - eversochili on April 23rd, 2009 08:01 pm (UTC) (Expand)
virushumanvirushuman on April 23rd, 2009 06:02 pm (UTC)
Thanks for taking the time to post that! I'm going to make sure that I don't purchase soaps with sodium laureth sulfate from now on.
hmmeversochili on April 23rd, 2009 06:24 pm (UTC)
Particularly if your hair and skin tend to be dry or sensitive, it can help to avoid it.
Carolinemiriyaayanne on April 23rd, 2009 06:51 pm (UTC)
Deleted/reposted - my computer is broken posted it long before I was done writing and rearranging my chaotic thoughts :P

This is a great post - real science is always a good tool in deciding whether you really need something, or not. To rinse my cup I generally only use lukewarm water. It gets the blood off just fine :D

Just want to add something... Perhaps replace "natural doesn't necessarily mean good", with "natural doesn't mean anything". It's only used as a selling point now anyway and if you look at it closely everything is natural anyway when you get down to it :\ Maybe also add what "chemical" means? So many people are "worried about chemicals" when even water is a chemical. Reading labels is pretty consumer-empowering, so the right information helps a lot of people :D

As for sodium laureth sulphate, there's a VAST difference between using it in a soap or shampoo and using it in toothpaste. Only in toothpaste does it cause canker sores (I should know, I suffer from them no matter what do, but SLS/SLES makes it a lot worse). What makes cocamidopropyl betaine nicer than sodium laureth sulphate, is that the former is a zwitterionic surfactant, and they're all less irritating than the ionic surfactants (SLES is anionic). That's why kid's soaps and shampoos all have zwitterionic surfactants - they don't hurt the eyes. And rinsing stuff off properly makes a vast difference in allergy problems, that part mustn't be underestimated. For all that I have very sensitive skin, SLES/SLS are just fine as long as I rinse them off quickly :D (And thank goodness for that, or I'd never find anything I could use to wash with.)

However, I do have to avoid a lot of products labelled "natural" - they put lot of essential oils and plant-derived scents in things (plus all these special extracts of this and that that probably are kinda pointless anyway except that they do sell more products), and I often react to them. So "natural" isn't always best - it's often easier to know where you stand with a simple, synthetic fragrance. That's my experience as a lifelong atopic eczema sufferer, anyway :)

Tl;dr: Agreed. You rock.
aedificaaedifica on April 23rd, 2009 07:06 pm (UTC)
Regarding "natural doesn't always mean good": when I hear a product being advertized as "natural," my internal response is "so is hemlock (and a lot of other poisons)!" :-)
(no subject) - miriyaayanne on April 23rd, 2009 07:07 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - eversochili on April 23rd, 2009 07:42 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - miriyaayanne on April 23rd, 2009 08:23 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - eversochili on April 23rd, 2009 10:46 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - miriyaayanne on April 24th, 2009 11:18 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - eversochili on April 23rd, 2009 07:52 pm (UTC) (Expand)
angaramielangaramiel on April 23rd, 2009 06:53 pm (UTC)
I like this, too. But what about LadyCup's version?
hmmeversochili on April 23rd, 2009 06:57 pm (UTC)
I didn't realize there was one! I'll look that up.
(no subject) - angaramiel on April 23rd, 2009 07:00 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - angaramiel on April 23rd, 2009 08:42 pm (UTC) (Expand)
aedificaaedifica on April 23rd, 2009 07:35 pm (UTC)
Thank you! That's very helpful.

So far I've only been using water on my cup, with a vinegar soak after my cycle ends. I think the vinegar was a bad idea, though, as I used apple cider vinegar and the cup picked up the smell! (I had to soak it in plain water to get the vinegar smell off, because it was stinking up the room it was stored in.)

I'm curious about trying Dr. Bronner's soap, since I've seen one or two people mention on here that they use it. If you have time/willingness/etc to explain the ingredients, I would be happy to read it! The website http://www.drbronner.com/DBMS/LS.htm has their ingredient lists.
aedificaaedifica on April 23rd, 2009 07:43 pm (UTC)
Just saw the update with the LadyGel info. That's interesting about allantoin! I like a comfrey salve for treating minor wounds (observed evidence is that they seem to heal slightly faster and I love the smell of the salve) but maybe next time I should just get a cow to pee on me instead? *grin*
(no subject) - eversochili on April 23rd, 2009 07:44 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - eversochili on April 23rd, 2009 07:43 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - aedifica on April 23rd, 2009 07:56 pm (UTC) (Expand)
...as accurate and impermanent as breathingthatgirljj on April 23rd, 2009 08:56 pm (UTC)
Do you have any opinions on the inclusion of Retinyl Palmitate in the Diva Wash? My understanding is that it's inclusion in skin care products is meant to increase cell turnover and sloughing of the skin (similar to retinol). I'm not sure I'd want that near my ladybits. Would there be any other particular reason they'd include that as an ingredient?
hmmeversochili on April 23rd, 2009 10:48 pm (UTC)
oh wow, there is a lot more going on with retinyl palmitate than I thought. I will be updating the entry with that info in about 5 minutes.
(no subject) - eversochili on April 23rd, 2009 10:53 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - thatgirljj on April 23rd, 2009 11:23 pm (UTC) (Expand)
miyavi_loli on April 23rd, 2009 09:54 pm (UTC)
Wow! This is great. Thanks for posting.
froggie3dsfroggie3ds on April 24th, 2009 04:21 am (UTC)
Tami's Soaps http://www.soapbytami.com/newfaq.htm are awesome. They're expensive, but absolutely fantastic with ingredients you can read and know what they are and they're handcrafted. I like Dr. Bronner's too; again, very straight forward ingredients list.
melissa569melissa569 on April 24th, 2009 07:35 am (UTC)
Drat, you beat me to it, lol. I was working on the same exact thing. But thank you for doing this, because I was only half done, and this means I don't have to finish it :) Pretty interesting info too!
blookie_doo: kettublookie_doo on April 24th, 2009 12:27 pm (UTC)
Thanks for posting this! Not only was it super interesting, but now I'm sure I'm just going to stay with the plain soap I've been using instead of switching to one of the brand's washes. :)
happymamabear on February 21st, 2012 08:50 am (UTC)
I just ordered a MCUK and I was wondering about soaps. This is very helpful I was wondering if you know anything about the she-cup? They make a soap paper. Also the Lunette wipes?
( 51 comments — Leave a comment )