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The Unkleer List

At Kleer, we believe in keeping beauty clean. So…what does that mean exactly?

To us, “Clean Beauty,” is a beauty product made with heart. It does everything in its power to be open, honest, safe, and ethical, from the ingredients it uses to the partners it chooses to work with. And we care just as much about what we don’t put in our formulas as what we put in them. 

There are over 1,300 beauty product ingredients that are prohibited in Europe. In the United States, there are only thirty. But at Kleer, there are more than 3,000 ingredients that fail to meet our “Clean Beauty” standard and will never be featured in a Kleer product. 

The UnKleer list is our commitment to be champions of “Clean Beauty.” It’s the higher standard we hold ourselves and our partners to. Because these ingredients have been connected to health, ethical, or environmental concerns, we’re making a promise to steer Kleer away from them for good.   



Aluminum is the third most plentiful element on the planet. We come into contact with it in a number of ways, including drinking water and medications. Aluminum may also exist in the form of salts or oxides. The toxicity of various forms of aluminum is highly dependent on their solubility in water and their pH range (Krewski et al., 2007). Due to the fact that aluminum compounds seem to be poorly absorbed by the human body, Kleer Brand allows aluminum oxide (also known as alumina), aluminum hydroxide, and similar compounds to be used as functional ingredients in goods. Aluminum powder is harmful (in large concentrations) and is thus forbidden in all goods.


Animal Derived Ingredients

It is banned to use animal musks or fats. Additionally, animal-derived ingredients are restricted.


BHA (Butylated Hydroxyanisole)

A stabilizer that has been associated with cancer, inflammation of the skin, and hormonal disturbance.


BHT (Butylated Hydroxytoluene)

A preservative derived from Toluene that has been associated with skin inflammation.



This red pigment (popularly known as Cochineal, Cochineal Extract, Crimson Lake, or Carmine Lake, Natural Red 4 C.I. 75470) is prohibited. It is derived from scale insects such as the cochineal scale and is often used in cosmetics as a coloring agent.



This substance has been prohibited in the European Union; it is a surfactant that is used as a fragrance addition. It may irritate the skin and has the potential to affect the central nervous system, blood circulation, liver and kidneys.


Chemical combinations

Certain compounds represent little to no risk when used alone, but may introduce a new risk when combined. While chemical processes are difficult to judge in terms of their prospective consequences. We exercise prudence and consider the long-term impact on consumer health and the environment.



Natural, organically derived, and manufactured colorants are available. All of these are permitted in color cosmetics (makeup)—products intended to give color. We do not produce colored/dyed skin care or body care products. Colorants that are natural or naturally derived are obtained from plants, minerals, or insects (carmine). Mineral colors are often seen as being more healthy or sustainable than manufactured hues. This is not always the case. 

The majority of "mineral" colorants were really synthesized in a laboratory. Additionally, mined minerals may include heavy metals (like lead, a known neurotoxin). Certain minerals may be mined in methods that are unsustainable and/or exploit people (including child labor, which is a concern in India's mica mines). Certain colorants fade and scatter at a quicker rate than their manufactured equivalents (though formulating with natural pigments has come a long way). That being said, petroleum is also not a sustainable feedstock. Thus, there are several variables at play here!


Cyclic Silicones

Cyclotetrasiloxane (D4), Cyclopentasiloxane (D5), Cyclohexasiloxane (D6), and Cyclomethicone are all examples of cyclic silicones. Several of these compounds have been linked to concerns about reproductive, developmental, and/or endocrine disruption. Additionally, they are persistent in the environment and may accumulate in the food chain. These substances have the potential for long-term bioaccumulation and may be absorbed into the circulation in an unregulated manner over an extended period of time (Krenczkowska et al., 2020).



Calcium Disodium EDTA, Tetrasodium EDTA, and Trisodium EDTA, among others, are chelating agents, which means they attach to metal ions and render them inactive. While these components have not been connected to consumer health concerns, they may pose a threat to aquatic life due to their inability to degrade in the environment and their presence in waters. 

EDTA is often used at a concentration of less than 2%, whereas the other salts are used at much lower percentages. The lowest dosage that was shown to be harmful in animals was 750 mg/kg/day(Lanigan et al., 2002). These chelating compounds are cytotoxic and genotoxic in a negligible way, but they are not carcinogenic. Clinical trials revealed that an EDTA salt is not absorbed via the skin. However, since these substances chelate calcium, they are likely to impair the flow of other compounds into the skin (Lanigan et al., 2002). Out of an abundance of caution, Kleer Brand does not formulate using EDTA.



These substances (including DEA/TEA/MEA/ETA) may be contaminated with carcinogenic compounds such as Nitrosamines.


Ethoxylated Ingredients 

These compounds are synthesized synthetically utilizing the carcinogen Ethylene Oxide. Another carcinogen, 1,4-Dioxane, often contaminates Ethoxylated substances, however 1,4-Dioxane does not display on ingredient labels. Sodium laureth sulfate has been shown to be an irritant to the skin and eyes (Robinson et al., 2010). 

To avoid Ethoxylated compounds, scan for the following often stated ingredients on labels (although there are many more); Kleer formulations are devoid of Ethoxylated substances:

  • Polysorbate-20, Ammonium Laureth Sulfate, Ceteareth-20, Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES) and most ingredients ending in “-eth
  • Emulsifying wax: This is usually a mixture of Cetearyl Alcohol and Polysorbate 60 or Ceteareth-20
  • PEGS: (Polyethylene Glycol) compounds. There are over 1000 PEG ingredients listed in the International Nomenclature of Cosmetics Ingredients Database

    Mild to life-threatening hypersensitivity responses of the immediate kind have been recorded. Nonetheless, because of the non-standardization of their name, knowledge of their allergenic potential is low (Jove Cerda et al., 2019).



    Natural fragrances are preferred over synthetic perfumes. We do not permit the use of synthetic perfumes (no phthalates, nitromusks or polycyclic musks) 

    Other "glycols," such as Polypropylene Glycol, are not permitted by Kleer Brand. These are synthetic compounds that draw moisture to the skin and aid in the stability of goods. These substances do not seem to pose a danger to the majority of people's safety. Propylene Glycol, on the other hand, may irritate delicate skin.


    Heavy Metals

    Both natural mineral pigments and manufactured colorants include trace amounts of lead, nickel, cadmium, and other heavy metals. While these minute concentrations (in the low parts per million range) pose minimal harm to human health, numerous heavy metals may accumulate in our bodies over time, and cosmetics are not the sole route of exposure. As a result, Kleer Brand takes contamination very seriously. Heavy metals, we feel, should be avoided.



    While formaldehyde is not normally specified as an ingredient, it is often included as a "releaser" or "donor" on ingredient labels. DMDM Hydantoin, Quaternium-15, Diazolidinyl Urea are all likely to include Formaldehyde.



    Frequently used to lighten the skin, it suppresses melanin production, irritates the skin, and may result in skin discoloration. Hydroquinone is a benzene metabolite.


    Japanese Honeysuckle

    This endogenous preservative chemical resembles a paraben, and structure dictates function in chemistry. Thus, although there is no evidence that it is an endocrine disruptor (as is the case with parabens), we avoid it out of caution.


    Lanolin and Keratin

    Lanolin is a safe and effective oil derived from the oil glands of sheep. Keratin may also be generated from sheep's wool and other animal sources, however it seems that the keratin utilized in cosmetics is obtained from sheep's wool. Sheep should not be killed or damaged in order to extract lanolin or keratin. No animal should be harmed or treated inhumanely to obtain ingredient resources. At Kleer we are vegan and cruelty free. 


    Methylchloroisothiazolinone and Methylisothiazolinone

    In the EU, these agents are prohibited in leave-on cosmetics and are limited to trace levels in rinse-off products. They may induce skin sensitivities and irritation and may be neurotoxic.



    Numerous synthetic musks are utilized as scent components. We ban two kinds, Nitromusks and Polycyclic Musks, because of their potential for endocrine disruption and broad environmental persistence.



    Several parabens have remained associated with disruption of hormones. We restrict all parabens, including Butylparaben, Isopropylparaben, and Methylparaben, out of an abundance of caution. 


    Perfluorinated compound (PFASs or PFCs)

    There are around 3000 exceedingly fluorinated compounds that are employed in a variety of different goods due to their oil-, stain-, and water-repellent qualities. Avoid items that include the words "perfluor" or "polyfluor" in their ingredient list. These compounds do not degrade in the environment, and many have been associated with a range of health problems, including cancer, hormone disruption, and liver poisoning. 


    Petrolatum and Paraffin

    Petrolatum is a colloidal suspension petroleum byproduct. Mineral Oil, Paraffin Wax, and Liquid Paraffin are also petroleum distillation byproducts. Considerations about these components include their unsustainable origin and their exposure with PAHs. PAHs (Polyaromatic Hydrocarbons) have been related to malignancy. Certification that there is trace PAH contamination is obtainable.

    Note: Kleer Brand products are made entirely of natural sources rather than petroleum-derived ones.



    Phthalates are compounds that act as plasticizers. While some are declared on product ingredient labels, others may stay concealed under the phrase "fragrance." Due to the fact that certain phthalates have been related to hormone disruption, we avoid them entirely.


    Polycyclic Musks

    Synthetic musks come in various forms and are utilized as an ingredient in a variety of fragrances. We don't allow the use of Nitromusks and Polycyclic Musks because of possible endocrine disruption and environmental persistence, respectively.



    Allergies, inflammation, and disturbance of hormones have been connected to this chemical, which is often found in hair dyes.



    Nail polish contains toluene, which is known to be harmful to the immune system and to cause birth abnormalities.


    Triclosan and Triclocarban

    Personal care and household cleaning products often include antibacterial chemicals. Hormones may be disrupted by their continuous presence in the environment.



    Mica is an element that is often used in cosmetics, particularly makeup, because it gives glitter, gloss, and brightness. While mica is a safe and natural cosmetic component, it does not meet Kleer Brand's guidelines for "clean" ingredients: Mica is often mined in India by juvenile laborers. Child labor (along with any other kind of harmful working circumstances) does not match our "moral" standard. 



    Nanoparticles are very small particles that have been created or micronized to be incredibly small. (size range: 1 to 100 um, or nanometers) Because the smaller particle size alters the function of the component, they might be quite beneficial. However, the reduced size may have a variety of health consequences. Numerous beauty companies market products that incorporate "non-nano" titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, minerals that are often used in sunscreens and color cosmetics. However, these assertions are often false. 

    According to EWG, "although manufacturers' particle sizes vary, virtually all would be classified as nanomaterials under a wide definition of the word, such as the one suggested by the US Food and Drug Administration in 2011."

    Kleer Brand does not permit the use of potentially nano-sized minerals because; the evidence indicates a minimal danger; chemical SPFs are not the greatest alternative; assertions of "non-nano" are often untrue.


    Palm Oil and Palm-Derived Ingredients

    Numerous consumer items use palm oil and palm-derived components. Palm oil is a natural, effective, highly useful, and safe ingredient—as well as a crop with the potential to be sustainable. 

    The majority of palm oil is now farmed and extracted in an unsustainable and damaging way, resulting in the extinction of vulnerable and endangered species and devastation of the surrounding ecology, communities, and climate. 

    However, the answer is not to restrict palm oil. We must establish a strong market for ecologically and ethically produced palm oil. We will endeavor to raise demand for sustainably sourced palm oil.


    Petroleum-Derived and/or Synthetic Ingredients

    When appropriate, Kleer Brand utilizes natural or naturally derived ingredients rather than petroleum-derived or synthetic components, however we do not ban the use of all petroleum-derived or synthetic ingredients. This is because synthetic compounds may be both safe and sustainable, while natural ingredients can be both dangerous and unsustainable. Clean cosmetics is not about "synthetic vs. natural," but about thoroughly assessing component origins for any adverse effects. To that aim, we avoid 'un-Kleer' of synthetic chemicals (those on the un-Kleer list) and get certificates of analysis, as well as manufacturing/growing processes, to address any environmental contamination.



    Despite its reputation as a "controversial" component, phenoxyethanol has a safety profile comparable to—if not superior to—that of other regularly used preservatives. Despite its widespread use in cosmetic products, phenoxyethanol is a rare sensitizer. It can be considered as one of the most well-tolerated preservatives used in cosmetic products (Dreno et al., 2019). Preservatives are required to kill/prevent the development of bacteria in any product containing water; hence, they are not a "nice to have," but a "ought to have."

    Phenoxyethanol was the subject of a final decision of the Environmental Working Group (EWG). The document's takeaway message is as follows: The EWG believes 2-phenoxyethanol to be safe for use as a preservative up to a concentration of 1% — the maximum level used in Kleer Brand products.


    Quaternary Ammonium Compounds

    Quaternary ammonium salts, which include alkyl chain, alanol, and polymer derivatives (trimoniums), are used exclusively in cosmetics as surfactant-cleansing agents, hair conditioners, and antistatic agents.

    They are most often found in disinfectant cleaners as antimicrobial "active ingredients," but are also commonly employed in the beauty sector. Typically, "quats," as they are referred to, include the prefix "...onium chloride" in their names, e.g. Benzalkonium Chloride. We restrict quats as preservatives (there are better alternatives).


    Retinyl Palmitate

    This compound is absorbed into the skin and transformed into retinol. 

    As a retinoid, when applied to the skin and worn in direct sunlight, this substance may enhance sun sensitivity. Retinyl Palmitate, on the other hand, is likely to be of little consequence in night creams. The German BfR advises that Vitamin A components be used in small amounts in face and hand care products and avoided in lip and body care products.


    Silicones (Linear)

    Linear silicones, such as Dimethicone, may help enhance the texture of the skin, fill in wrinkles, and condition the hair. While it is doubtful that these big, stable compounds pose a health risk to cosmetics consumers, the following information may help you make an educated choice -Silicones biodegrade poorly (or not at all); they have an adverse impact on the environment. Silicones may clog pores depending on the size of the substance and the sensitivity of your skin. As a result, persons with acne-prone skin may wish to avoid creams that include silicones.



    Talc is a mineral that is found in a wide variety of consumer goods, including cosmetics and body (talcum) powders. There are two possible risks associated with talc: 1) asbestos contamination and 2) tiny particles entering the body by inhalation or perineal (genital) usage of talc-based body powder. Kleer Brand never, ever uses talc.



     Dreno B., Zuberbier T., Gelmetti C., Gontijo G. & Marinovich M. (2019) Safety review of phenoxyethonal used as a preservative in cosmetics. Journal of The European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology

    Cherian, P., Zhu, J., Bergfeld, W. F., Belsito, D. V., Hill, R. A., Klaassen, C. D., Liebler, D. C., Marks, J. G., Shank, R. C., Slaga, T. J., Snyder, P. W., & Heldreth, B. (2020). Amended safety assessment of parabens as used in cosmetics. International Journal of Toxicology, 39(1_suppl), 5S-97S.

    Jover Cerdá, V., Rodríguez Pacheco, R., Doménech Witek, J., Marco de la Calle, Francisco Manuel, & de la Sen Fernández, María Luz. (2019). Immediate hypersensitivity to polyethylene glycols in unrelated products: When standardization in the nomenclature of the components of drugs, cosmetics, and food becomes necessary. Allergy, Asthma, and Clinical Immunology, 15(1), 9-5.

    Krenczkowska, D., Mojsiewicz-Pieńkowska, K., Wielgomas, B., Bazar, D., & Jankowski, Z. (2020). Ex vivo human skin is not a barrier for cyclic siloxanes (cyclic silicones): Evidence of diffusion, bioaccumulation, and risk of dermal absorption using a new validated GC-FID procedure. Pharmaceutics, 12(6), 586.

    Krewski D, Yokel RA, Nieboer E, . Human health risk assessment for aluminum, aluminum oxide, and aluminum hydroxide. J Toxicol Environ Health B Crit Rev. 2007;10(suppl 1):1–269.

    Lanigan, R. S., & Yamarik, T. A. (2002). Final report on the safety assessment of EDTA, calcium disodium EDTA, diammonium EDTA, dipotassium EDTA, disodium EDTA, TEA-EDTA, tetrasodium EDTA, tripotassium EDTA, trisodium EDTA, HEDTA, and trisodium HEDTA. International Journal of Toxicology, 21(Supplement 2), 95-142.

    Robinson, V. C., Bergfeld, W. F., Belsito, D. V., Hill, R. A., Klaassen, C. D., Marks, J. G., Shank, R. C., Slaga, T. J., Snyder, P. W., & Andersen, F. A. (2010). Final report of the amended safety assessment of sodium laureth sulfate and related salts of sulfated ethoxylated alcohols. International Journal of Toxicology, 29(4_suppl), 151S-161S.




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