Most people think this is the secret to beautiful skin but it is actually ageing you...

We are entering a new and more transparent era where consumers are looking for organic and chemical free products but many many chemicals and synthetic ingredients are still getting into their products. Without the knowledge to decifer the ingredients list, all they can do is trust the label that says: paraben free, organic, natural etc- this is not enough to keep chemicals out of your products.

Some consumers think that by spending more on their skincare products they are guaranteed better quality ingredients and less chemicals. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Most of the designer brands are loaded with chemicals and the word “organic” doesn’t even enter into the ingredients list. You might  feel that your  skin feels or appears better upon applying these products but what you are actually getting are  temporary results from synthetic ingredients. 

You may be thinking: “how can I sort the natural, nutrient rich products from the synthetic , chemical loaded ones?” In this article I am going to explain simple techniques to spot the more natural products and discard the potentially harmful ones. The majority of the skincare products on the market are dead products containing  alcohol and chemical preservatives that have been sitting in plastic jars for months on end. By the time you open these products they have little to no nutrients in them.  What  you are actually getting  are products bulked out with water and fillers that offer temporary results whilst their synthetic ingredients leave behind a residual build up of chemicals in your organs that lasts a lifetime, ages you and eventually results in disease or  even death. 

There are now so many natural preservatives on the market that offer broad spectrum preservation of your skincare products that there is really no excuse for  manufacturers to be using toxic preservatives. The reason they are still being used is because they are cheap and often easier to work with than their natural counterparts that may change the scent or texture of products. Manufacturers are still using chemical preservatives and alcohol in your skincare products despite the mounting evidence that shows the negative impact they have on  our health. Synthetic ingredients are also used to modify scent, texture and colour of products. Another problem with synthetic ingredients is that they can react with other ingredients causing carcinogenic compounds so if you combine these products with a product from another brand you may be layering ingredients that cause harmful reactions- yet another reason to steer clear from synthetic, chemical ingredients. 

So, let us have a look at some quick shortcuts to separate the clean, natural products from the green washed and the toxic skincare products on the shelves. I will give you bullet points so you can use this as a check list. 

If you follow points 1-6  without finding any negatives in your chosen product  you are fairly unlikely to find any of the remaining chemicals listed in your skincare product but you will need to go right down the list for personal care products. There are many many more chemicals hiding in skincare and personal care products than I have listed but these are what I would call the top offenders out there. You might want to use this list to check through your skincare products at home- this is the best way to get used to doing it.

1.    What kind of container is the product in?

Companies that choose glass over plastic are usually more conscious of your health and that of the environment. There are some very natural,  high quality products in plastic jars but there tends to be more continuity in the products in glass jars in terms of quality of ingredients. This is true particularly of products stored in Biophotonic (violet glass) jars. These violet glass jars work to naturally preserve the contents within by blocking out the white light spectrum that decomposes the product. They only allow the violet light spectrum to enter that fuels the product within with the force of life. I am yet to find a toxic product stored in Biophotonic glass and I would not ever expect to as it is the worlds most natural way of preserving organic matter. 

Biophotonic glass bottles

2.    Look at the ingredients list  (INCI). 

A  transparent brand  that has nothing to hide, will  likely translate the INCI name so that you can understand what the ingredient is. There isn’t always room for this on the actual product label, but it may be done on the external packaging or on an additional tag or leaflet accompanying the product. 

3.    The ingredients on product labels are listed in order of most to least. 

If the first ingredient listed is “aqua”, then water is the main ingredient in the product. At 11:11 we ensure that every ingredient is doing something beneficial to the skin so we use floral waters in our products and if you find aqua on our label it will be in small quantities within another ingredient so will be further down the ingredients list. 

4.    How many times can you spot “organic” on the ingredients list? 

Many companies call their products organic. They may only have one organic ingredient within the product so do not think this means that the product is 100% organic. Organic ingredients are much more costly than non organic ingredients so a product that contains mainly organic ingredients will need to reflect this in their price tag. It is difficult to find a product that is 100% organic unless it is a balm, oil or butter as there are many ingredients that can’t be organic such as water, natural preservatives, emulsifiers and some essential oils. You want to have as many organic ingredients as possible in your products

5.    Can you see the word “alcohol” on the ingredients list? 

Alcohol as a main ingredient in any skincare formula is a big no no. Alcohol is naturally drying to the skin and can be included in as much as 10% in baby products where chemical preservatives are not allowed. I see this as unacceptable as alcohol can be damaging to the delicate nervous system of an infant, not to mention drying to the skin. There are many different types of alcohol in an ingredients list, some aren’t actually alcohol and some use names other than alcohol, so let me clarify this for you with GOOD vs BAD. 

GOOD alcohol: 

Cetearyl alcohol, Cetyl alcohol and stearyl  alcohol. These are types of alcohol known as fatty alcohols that are beneficial for all skin types. They have skin conditioning and refatting  properties and help skin to retain moisture. They also function as emulsifiers and give a pleasing texture to skincare products. 

BAD alcohol:

SD alcohol, Benzyl alcohol,  methanol, ethanol, denatured alcohol, or, less often, isopropyl alcohol- these are the drying types of alcohol that give products a quick drying finish and degrease the skin. There is an obvious appeal for these in products aimed at oily skin types but be aware they are drying for all skin types and will put skin out of balance causing sensitivity in many people and increased sebum production. These ingredients erode and wear away the skins surface and are in no way beneficial. (References  for this information:
Biochimica et Biophysica Acta, May 2012, pages 1,410-1,419
Experimental Dermatology, October 2009, pages 821-832)

Other alcohols to avoid: AROMATIC ALCOHOLS

These are used as fixatives and preservatives. Most commonly used is phenethyl and benzyl alcohol. 
Despite being  used in small  quantities  and that you will  find them towards the end of the ingredient list on your cosmetics products, it is important to note that synthetic alcohols can be moderately to highly toxic, causing skin sensitivities and allergies.


Used as a preservative in cosmetics and stabilizer in perfumes, phenoxyethanol is extremely harmful, especially to nursing mothers or infants. Phenoxyethanol can have a negative affect on the brain and the central nervous system. It irritates skin and eyes, and can cause blistering on skin. Although many skin care products (even some organic) use phenoxyethanol in small amounts that are not considered harmful  to skin, if the product is used multiple times a day, every day, it can accumulate causing damage. the FDA placed a warning to nursing mothers about using a brand of nipple cream that contained phenoxyethanol, stating that it could cause vomiting, diarrhea, dehydration, and central nervous system problems in infants.

Phenoxyethanol also goes by other names, such as: 2-hydroxyethyl phenyl ether and 2-phenoxy-ethanol, rose ether or even simply “fragrance”. 

6.    Avoid SODIUM LAURYL SULFATE (SLS) & SODIUM LAURETH SULFATE (SLES): harmful chemical foaming agents (N.B. Cleansers don’t need to foam to clean your skin effectively.) Linked to allergies, skin conditions and other health problems. 

7.    Avoid ALUMINIUM : Found in personal care products especially antiperspirant deodorant . This toxic metal disrupts the endocrine system. 

8.    Avoid DEA (diethanolamine), MEA (Monoethanolamine), and TEA (triethanolamine)
Clear, colorless, viscous liquids with ammonia-like odors. Usually found in foaming cleansers but can also be found in products such as makeup and sunscreen: 

9.    Avoid  DMDM HYDANTOIN & UREA (Imidazolidinyl) : Preservatives that often release formaldehyde. Commonly found in skincare products and many personal care products. 

10.    Avoid MINERAL OIL:
A  petroleum by-product that coats the skin like plastic, clogging its pores. This is incredibly harmful because it interferes with the skin’s natural ability to eliminate toxins, therefore increasing the likelihood of acne and skin conditions. 

11.    Avoid PARABENS (Methyl, Butyl, Ethyl, Propyl) Not always labeled, used as preservatives, and may contribute to hormone imbalance. 

12.    Avoid PHTHALATES: often listed as “fragrance”

13.    Avoid PEG (Polyethylene glycol)


15.    Avoid SILOXANES: Look for ingredients ending in "-siloxane" or "-methicone."

16.    Avoid  SYNTHETIC FRAGRANCES : always be suspicious as these can be made up of many chemical ingredients that are not actually listed on the label. These are not only found in skincare products but also general household products such as: scented candles, nappy bags, air freshener etc. 

17.    Avoid chemical sunscreen ingredients: OXYBENZONE, AVOBENZONE, OCTISALATE, OCTOCRYLENE, HOMOSALATE, and OCTINOXATE. These chemicals work by absorbing the suns rays and are easier to apply than natural filters and don’t leave a white residue but these benefits come at a cost to your health. Choose natural sunscreen products instead which contain zinc oxide or titanium dioxide- these sun filters remain on the surface of the skin and work by reflecting the suns rays. 

18. Avoid DISODIUM EDTA: a toxic preservative and stabiliser commonly used in cosmetics. It also enhances the foaming and cleansing actions of products such as liquid soaps and shower gels. 

11:11 products are made of living, cold processed, plant-based ingredients and superfoods that help to balance, hydrate and refine skin. These ingredients are incorporated with only plant-based, naturally occurring preservatives so that we avoid all synthetic ingredients that can cause imbalance to your skin: increasing sebum production and potentially causing dryness, irritation and speeding up the ageing process. Our Living, plant-based products are packaged in Biophotonic glass which only allows the violet light spectrum to enter the product energizing the product with the force of life, keeping the ingredients alive within.

We have traveled the world to source the most powerful skincare and superfood ingredients to ensure that they are of the highest quality and ethically sourced. 

So that you receive the freshest products possible our products are all handcrafted and made to order. When you use fresh, living skincare products there is no doubt that they work better as their ingredients are more potent: it is exactly the same as choosing homegrown, organic,  living foods over-processed, pre-packaged meals laden with preservatives. 









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