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Safe Cosmetics Australia

The Toxic-Free Campaign

Our Story

Scrutinising product ingredients since 1993. Amina Kitching founder of The Toxic-Free Campaign, recognised the need to avoid chemicals that triggered skin irritation. Having personally experienced allergies from a young age, it became clear as a teenager that using makeup, shampoos & perfumed products triggered an immediate response. Most often red irritated skin, itchy red eyes or dry skin patches, & in some instances asthma & eczema. By 2003 Amina had learned a lot about which ingredients she needed to avoid, the culprits? Synthetic man-made chemicals.

Natural & Organic ingredients appeared to be the solution. Simple raw ingredients like olive oil, aloe vera, jojoba, essential oils, clay & many others supported her skin health without triggering adverse reactions. In search of natural products the choice was limited & the options were expensive imports. Making her own products was the obvious solution, having used home made recipes for over a decade & studying Naturopathy, launching her first range of products was second nature. With the arrival of her first daughter, Amina developed a natural range of skin care products the whole family could use.

By 2009 there were lots of Natural & Organic brands, but sadly the integrity of these brands were not so healthy. The cosmetics market was flooded with products flanking natural ingredients when in truth they were made with 99.5% artificial chemicals. The distinct difference between certified organic, multi-national brands & those making truly natural & organic products was blurred, the need to raise chemical awareness & take a stance on the use of common marketing terms was apparent.

Armed with experience & a passion for health, The Toxic-Free Campaign was launched with a handful of pioneering brands. Today over 100+ innovative brands from Australia, New Zealand & in more recent years India, have joined the campaign adopting a transparent & healthy ingredient policy that considers consumer health first. In 2010, Safe Cosmetics Australia pioneered the first toxic-free guidelines for cosmetic manufacturers. The list of chemicals to exclude & restrict took the precautionary approach towards chemicals in having a preference for Natural & Organic ingredients.

The original list of chemicals to exclude was extensive, it consisted of over 300+ chemicals. The brands the campaign attracted shared the same philosophy, that natural & organic ingredients are far superior to artificial chemicals & that their products provide a healthier solution for many people. Today, the campaign continues to attract manufacturers of high quality products that are formulated without unnecessary binders, fillers & other irritating chemicals that are recognised internationally as being associated with common skin reactions, systemic toxicity & that pose alarming concerns for human health & environmental impact.

The campaign raised many questions & prompted backlash from chemical suppliers & formulators. This was no surprise, in fact it only confirmed the importance of the campaign. In America, Canada, Japan & the EU, other organisations had been campaigning for years, prompting the beauty industry to rethink their ideas of what constitutes the terms Natural & Organic & are natural ingredients healthier than man-made chemicals? Are synthetic chemicals harming our skin & body? The media became increasingly interested in chemicals in cosmetics, reports of heavy metals in lipsticks, synthetic preservatives & sunscreens causing harm to infants & children playing with toxic kohl eyeliner hit the news. Controversy was ripe.

By 2013 & again in 2017, changes to the campaign criteria were made. The list of chemicals to avoid was refined with the objective to simplify a complicated issue. There are over 144,000 chemicals available for use in world wide, in Australia over 10,000 of these are used in cosmetics, personal care & household products & 1,000 new chemicals are made each & every year. Governments around the world have conflicting ideas on which chemicals are harming human health & the environment. Even with scientific evidence, many chemicals are banned & restricted in one country yet remain completely free of restrictions in other countries.

The high volume of chemical use is a global problem. Consumers can influence change by choosing brands that consider the impact of the chemicals they use. Safe Cosmetics Australia has refined the list of chemicals to highlight the Key Issues concerning chemicals in cosmetics & consumer health. Chemicals that are most commonly used in products & that science & international government agencies have reported as causing harm to human health.
The mission is to make the campaign message clear & simple:
  • Current legislation permits the use of toxic chemicals in personal care & household products. 
  • Chemical safety is a global problem & product ingredient labels should be scrutinised.
  • Legislation has to start somewhere so let's start with the top offenders & tackle this gross oversight one chemical at a time.

Science & skin health

Manufacturing guidelines

Australian Certified Toxic-Free® Made Safe® & Allergy Certified® are registered Australian trademarks, Licensed to brands that pledge to uphold greater manufacturing principles that work to:
  • Safeguard Consumer Health by raising chemical awareness and promoting brands that exclude chemicals of concern.
  • Promote Personal Wellbeing by recognising brands that provide Natural & Organic products, free-from chemicals of concern.
  • Raise Industry Standards shape the future of products used by consumers, institutions, industry, manufacturing & agriculture.
  • Campaign For Legislation assess chemical safety prior to approving chemicals for use in Australia, sustainable practices.
  • Encourage Self-Regulation by beauty brands to exclude & restrict chemicals of concern - see Key Issues & Key Allergens.

Your skin's ecosystem

More than two decade's later, research on the human microbiome is booming. Skin is now viewed by scientists as an ecosystem in its own right. It is also well understood that human cells & microbes co-exist with both contributing to skin health - that micro-organisims play an important role in skin diseases such as acne, dermatitis, psoriasis and rosacea.


Ingredient transparency

Safe Cosmetics Australia is calling all brands to provide full ingredient transparency - to publish all of their ingredients on their website & to leave out common chemicals that are known to be toxic or associated with triggering allergies & skin irritation. It is so important that consumers can make informed choices that protects their health.

Natural cosmetics

Not so long ago, natural skin care just meant it had one, maybe two, natural ingredients in it. Today, the Natural & Organic cosmetics market is the fastest growing beauty trend. Revered for its ability to improve the skin with extracts, oils, butters & without toxic chemicals!
"In an age of 24/7 connectivity, consumers should have full access to information. Ingredient transparency empowers consumers, it's what brands leave out of their products that matters the most."

- Amina Kitching, Founder of SCA.