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ingredient philosophy

There is a lot of conflicting, and oftentimes misleading, information in the marketplace right now regarding "Clean Beauty". Frankly, we're a bit over it.

Below are the guidelines that we use to make sure that we are doing all that we can to give you accurate and honest information so that you can make informed decisions based on your personal preferences.

Our partner brands follow the European Union LAWS

At INDIEHOUSE modern fragrance bar we only carry high quality fragrance products.

All of the brands that we carry follow the EU standards (laws) for developing cosmetics and fragrances.

We believe that Europe’s precautionary approach to evaluating all ingredients used in their cosmetics and beauty products is the right way to ensure the safety of our products. At this time there are more than 1300 banned ingredients (with another 250 restricted) in the EU database, while Canada has 500 banned ingredients and the USA only 30.  

The European Union will either ban or restrict the amount of a compound in a fragrance if independent studies confirm that the substance could be harmful or cause a significant group of people to have a negative experience. All cosmetic products created or sold in the EU are REQUIRED to follow the restrictions and comply with EU laws. We have adopted the EU Standards as our own, so all of the brands on our website follow these standards regardless if they are sold in the EU or not.


There is also a governing body for International Fragrance called IFRA. This is a voluntary member organization for fragrance manufacturers. IFRA does not make laws, it makes recommendations. The general consensus is that IFRA recommends, and then the EU regulates. Members of IFRA are required to follow the IFRA recommendations but non-members are not. It is for this reason that we look to the EU Laws as our standard as EU restrictions are not optional.


A Quick Look at Top "Dirty List" Ingredients

The following is a summary of cosmetics Ingredients getting the most press for having issues & how they relate to our products

Ingredient Use/Issue Allowed by EU?

Aluminum Powder

Aluminum Salt

antiperspirants, deodorants, lipsticks, and eye makeup


Animal Musks

Animal By-Products

Musk was BANNED by the EU in 1979. Musk tincture is illegal in Europe.

Ambergris is BANNED in US & Australia.

Castoreum: less than 300lbs produced worldwide annually so it's extremely rare and very expensive.

Beeswax is the only animal by-product allowed in our brands.  


BHA (Butylated Hydroxyanisole)

A preservative typically found in lotions & creams.

BANNED by the EU for use in Fragrance products


BHT (Butylated Hydroxytoluene)

A preservative linked to skin irritation.

No EU or IFRA restrictions.

EWG database rates it a moderate hazard for organ toxicity and skin irritation


Cyclic Silicones:

octamethylcyclotetrasiloxane (D4)

decamethylcyclopentasiloxane (D5)

Cyclohexasiloxane (D6)



Used as solvents for fragrance and essential oils.


D4 & D5: RESTRICTED by the EU. Amount in product may not exceed: 0.1%



D6: EWG database gives it a LOW overall hazard score


Cyclo and di methicone receive LOW hazard ratings from the EWG Database



Must follow guidelines








DEA is used as an emulsifier in shampoos, cleaners, and detergents.

BANNED in the EU


TEA is used as a fragrance pH adjuster and emulsifying agent.



Cocamide MEA is a foam booster made from coconut oil and Ethanolamines.




Must follow Guidelines


We don't carry foaming soaps

Ethoxylated Ingredients

Found in Shampoo, liquid soap, bubble bath, hair relaxers.

We don't carry these products



BANNED in the EU


Methyl Cellosolve or 2-Methoxyethanol

BANNED in the EU


Methylchloroisothiazolinone Methylisothiazolinone

BANNED in the EU



Musk Xylene (Nitromusk)



Musk ketone (Nitromusk)


Tonalide (Polycyclic Musk)




Galaxolide (Polycyclic Musk)




Musk Xylene – BANNED in the EU



musk ketone – RESTRICTED in EU


Tonalide – RESTRICTED in the EU

The EWG Database rating gives Tonalide an overall risk level of “low”



The EU has not placed restrictions on Galaxolide. The prevalent issue seems to be accumulation of the chemical in human body fat over time. The EWG database rates the risk factor for this ingredient at a very low.





















isopropylparaben, isobutylparaben, phenylparaben, benzylparaben, methylparaben, pentylparaben

Used in moisturizers, face and skin cleaners, sunscreens, deodorants, shaving gels, toothpastes, makeup, shampoo & conditioners.

Not found in Fragrances





BANNED by the EU






Must follow guidelines





Dibutyl Phthalate (DBP/DEHP/DEP)

BANNED by the EU



Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) / Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES)

Foaming agent found in shampoos/body washes/ cleaning detergents

BANNED by the EU




A preservative in water-based formulas for aftershave, bath products, foot sprays, hair conditioners, makeup, powders, shampoos, shaving cream, skin care

Must follow guidelines


BANNED in the EU

Used to lighten Age Spot and Acne Scars


Retinoic Acid (Tretinoin)

All-trans retinoic acid (Tretinoin) is BANNED for use in cosmetics in the EU.

FOUND IN: Anti-aging creams and lotions, moisturizers, and foundation.


P-Phenylenediamine (Coal Tar)

BANNED in the EU

Typically found in hair dyes and causes severe allergic reaction




Commonly found in sunscreens; BANNED in the EU


Please take advantage of our sampling program to check for compatibility if you have sensitivities.  


A number of our brands choose to work with greater restrictions on the ingredients for their fragrance brands. Where possible we will draw your attention to the additional efforts of these brands. One category that we have created specifically for this purpose is our "100% Pure Botanical Collection.

100% Pure Botanical

As the name suggests, this group of brands choose to create using only Essential Oils, Purified Water, and Organic Alcohol.  

It is important to note that to be a true essential oil, the oil must be isolated from the plant material by physical means only. The two accepted processes are DISTILLATION (heat/steam separation of the oil from its original form) and EXPRESSION (cold-pressing).

Please note: The designation 100% Pure does NOT mean that the products in this category are hypoallergenic. It's actually more likely you will have an allergic reaction to an essential oil since they are typically composed of 100 or more chemical molecules and are subject to uncontrolled environmental conditions such as air and water pollutants. We suggest doing a patch test before using.


A Note on Transparency

  In our effort to provide products that give our guests a range in scent and price point, occasionally we may choose to bring in a brand or product not sold in the EU that falls outside of our guidelines by one or two ingredients. In these cases, we will note the ingredient and give you the best information that we can find on why it is included on "Dirty" or "Suspicious" ingredients lists so that you may choose if the product is a good fit for you.

Because we have the pleasure of working with smaller brands, we are proud of our Partners' efforts to create beautiful products that are both cruelty-free and sustainable.


"…consumers shall be allowed to know that man-made molecules are fabulous things, they help protect the planet by not over-harvesting plants and trees, protect the lives of innocent animals, foster the expansion of perfume as an art form and they have been used in the best fragrances continuously since the 1880’s."

— Master Perfumer Christophe Laudamiel in

"LIBERTÉ, ÉGALITÉ, FRAGRANCITÉ: a fragrance manifesto"