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Behind the Brand: Meant's NO List

Behind the Brand

Meant's NO List. Ingredients to avoid in skincare

When Lindsay Knaak-Stuart was designing Meant, she knew there was a list of ingredients that she didn’t want formulated in the products. These NO List ingredients are often used to stabilize formulas and make them seem more effective, but are not so healthy for our bodies. Many of these ingredients have no definitive research that proves they are directly toxic, and many common cosmetics have been formulated with these ingredients for years. But if we aren’t completely certain what effects they have, why should we risk it?

Lindsay formulated Meant products following cues from the EU standards on cosmetic regulations, which has banned 1,328 ingredients compared to the U.S.’s small handful (it’s less than 20). Read on for a brief explainer on Meant’s list of skincare ingredients to avoid.

10 Ingredients To Avoid In Skincare


A common preservative in cosmetics used to prevent the growth of bacteria and mold. Parabens can penetrate our body tissues and there is talk that they are related to breast cancer, but there is no definitive research that it can cause. They are often found in makeup, moisturizers and shaving cream.

Sulfates (SLS / SLES)

These are foaming and cleaning agents that make your soaps and shampoos lather, and are effective at washing away oils. Rumors say that sulfates can cause cancer but there is no definitive research. However, sulfates have been known to dry out skin or hair because they wash away too much oil.


A group of chemicals that make plastic more flexible and often found in nail polish, hair products, lotions and household products like toys and vinyl coverings. While there is no definitive research to what phthalates do to humans, we think it’s better not to put the same ingredient found in vinyl on our bodies.

Propylene glycol

A type of liquid with an alcohol base used to retain moisture. It’s often found in hair products and deodorants. It can irritate the skin if you frequently use products with it.


Otherwise known as Triethylamine, this ingredient is often used to balance the pH of a product. It can also emulsify a product to help with an even application. It’s found in cosmetics like mascara, foundations, sunscreens and shaving products. It can irritate your skin, and it is classified as a respiratory toxicant with repeated exposure.


Diethanolamine is similar to TEA in that it is an emulsifier and a pH balancer. It can also act as a foaming agent. The National Toxicology Program found an association between DEA and cancer in laboratory animals, but it didn’t establish a link between DEA and cancer in humans.

Mineral oil

This ingredient is a mix of petroleum bases, and is used as a hair and skin conditioning agent. It can be found in sunscreen, lip gloss and other skin care products. There is concern that mineral oil can cause cancer, but this is for mineral oil not found in skincare products that are refined differently.


These are often found in cosmetic products because they can make for a smooth and silky application of moisturizers and primers. Some worry silicones can create a barrier to your skin (and “suffocating” it), but there is no definitive research. However, it can potentially irritate your skin.

Synthetic dyes

These enhance the look of a product and are often added to food products. There is concern that these can negatively affect children but the FDA hasn’t found any definitive research.


These make products “smell good,” but they can often be irritating to your skin. FDA regulations say companies only need to list “fragrance” or “flavor,” as the actual formulation of these fragrances can be considered trade secrets. This means that “fragrance” on a list of ingredients can actually mean dozens of additional ingredients.

All Natural, Organic Body and Skin Care

Meant is also a Leaping Bunny certified brand, meaning it is certified cruelty-free. Meant believes in the ethical and legal formulation of its products, and does not believe in animal testing.

Check out our products, made entirely from all-natural, organic and botanical extracts. 

Haley Kim

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