Cruelty free product

Animal Testing in EU


Testing cosmetics products and their ingredients on animals has been a controversial topic for a long time. Fortunately the European Union banned such tests in 2013.

Read more about EU ban...

Testing cosmetic products and their ingredients on animals was banned in the UK in 1998 and across the EU in 2013.

  • Since March 11, 2013 it is illegal to perform animal testing for cosmetics purposes across the EU, as well as market or sell cosmetics in the EU, where the finished product or ingredients have been tested on animals. The regulatory framework is part of EU Regulation 1223/2009 (Cosmetics Regulation) (former EU Directive 76/768/EEC).

As always there are some exceptions to EU bans, which of course allow for excuses when it comes to strict implementations:

  • Under the EU law, bans only apply to EU market – i.e. testing within the EU or sale within the EU.
  • The bans only apply to cosmetic products and ingredients which are only used in cosmetics.
  • The bans do not apply to all types of testing. They mainly apply to tests specifically aimed at consumer safety. Tests to determine if there is a risk to the environment (so-called ‘ecotox testing’) or worker safety tests are excluded.

At Essentiq we firmly believe in cruelty free product development and production as part of our company’s values and philosophy. In our opinion, values are not and should not be overlooked for sales opportunities. Values are a part of our ethics and integrity.

Many companies face a challenge to their values and integrity, when they are presented with the possibility of entering the mainland Chinese market. If you want to sell your cosmetic products in brick-and-mortar or on-line stores in mainland China, the Chinese authorities require that the products be tested on animals before being exported to mainland China. Those tests are done in China, but with producers consent. In theory, by performing animal testing in China for cosmetic products that are going to be sold in mainland China, you are not in violation of the EU legislation on one hand, and you comply with Chinese legislation on the other. Nevertheless, the question remains:  what about respecting your own values and ethics? What about maintaining your own personal integrity?

The producers that strictly adhere to their values enter the mainland Chinese market only by using the so called cross-border sales through Hong Kong. The sales amounts are of course much smaller, they can only be made on-line and directly to consumers with very strict limitations to purchased amount. Businesswise, this kind of approach limits the sales dramatically; however, by respecting your own company’s vales and maintaining its integrity you show what kind of a company you are.

Essentiq does not support or conduct animal testing for any kind of purpose (including worker or environment safety). We do not use ingredients that were tested on animals. Therefore, until laboratory testing of cosmetic products (vitro and vivo) are accepted as a basis for import to China, our products will be available to Chinese consumers only through cross-border sales.

Dry and Dehydrated Skin?


Most people do not differentiate between dehydrated and dry skin and consequently treat their skin with the wrong kind of therapy. So, what is the difference?

Dry skin is a type of a skin, while dehydration is a skin condition that can happen to every type of a skin. If you have a dry skin type, you need to add lipids to the skin, while for recovery or prevention of dehydration you need to add moisture and search for products that create some gentle layers on your face to prevent moisture loss. Let’s go into more details.

Dehydrated skin

 Dehydrated skin – lacks water, it is itchy, dull, and sensitive with tight surface. The skin is not necessarily dry; it only has a dried epidermis. Often, the skin is dried due to overly aggressive cleaning agents, weather conditions or inappropriate cosmetics used on a daily basis. The result is a highly dehydrated, dried epidermis. The skin is peeling on the surface, red blotches can appear, and there is a feeling of tightening. If you suffer from the above conditions, your epidermis is DEHYDRATED and your nourishing therapy should focus on moisturizing, protection from moisture loss and calming effects.

How to treat dehydrated skin?

In the morning and evening, clean your face with micellar water or cleansing milk. Cleansing milk should be washed off with lukewarm water, it is not necessary to wash off micellar water. Following that, apply the tonic with your hands and the intense moisturizing serum. The intensive moisturizing serum is initially used as a therapy (morning and evening). When the skin condition improves, it should only be used once per day. Your morning routine should end with application of a day cream, as it is very important that the skin is protected from moisture loss. Your night routine can be finalised with some nutritive creams with higher percentage of lipids.

We recommend using a face scrub twice a month to remove dead skin cells from the surface.


Dry skin

Dry skin – lacks oil (sebum), it is itchy, dull, sensitive with tight surface. Lower number of active sebaceous glands causes shortage of fat on the skin’s surface. Pores are smaller. The skin is extremely dry, rough and sensitive to weather conditions. There is a constant feeling of discomfort – tightening of the skin. The skin needs plenty of extra lipids to be added in order to achieve soft and supple feeling. Dry skin ages faster, therefore external delivery of lipids is extremely important. Appropriate nourishing therapy consists of products that soften you skin, delay ageing process, increase feeling of comfort and effectively protect against external influences (e.g. cold, wind and sun).

How to treat dry skin?

In the morning and evening clean your face with micellar water or cleansing milk. Cleansing milk should be washed off with lukewarm water, it is not necessary to wash off micellar water. Apply a tonic with your hands and finally apply a rich nutritive cream. We recommend using a scrub once a month to remove dead skin cells from the surface.


  • Cleansing Milk/Micellar Water
  • Moisturising Toner Green Lemon & May Chang
  • Some antiage serum – MAGIC serum, Antiage & Antiwrinke serum from PROLINE, Centella & Baobab serum
  • Face Cream for dry skin Immortelle & Avocado/Centella & Rose and MAGIC 50+.


Allergens in Organic Cosmetics

Allergens in Organic Cosmetics


Natural & Organic products may be even MORE ALLERGENIC than synthetic ones. Natural & Organic products contain essential oils and other natural ingredients that are sources of allergens, naturally found in the plants.

The 26 most common allergens can be found here...

INCI NAME ORIGIN Can be found in
ANISE ALCOHOL Synthetic or Natural Honey, essential oils of Anise, Tomatoes, Tahiti Vanilla
BENZYL ALCOHOL Synthetic or Natural Peru Balsam, Tolu Balsam, Essential oils of Jasmin, Apricot, Almond, Apple, Asparagus, Banana, Black Currant, Blackberry
BENZYL BENZOATE Synthetic or Natural Peru Balsam, Tolu Balsam, Essential oils of Jasmin, Ylang-Ylang
BENZYL CINNAMATE Synthetic or Natural Peru Balsam, Tolu Balsam, Copahu
BENZYL SALICYLATE Synthetic or Natural Propolis
BUTYLPHENYL METHYLPROPIONAL Synthetic It is a synthetic fragrance compound with a strong floral scent. It replicates the beautiful smell of the flowers known as “lilies of the valley”.
CINNAMAL Synthetic or Natural Essential oils of Cinnamon, hyacinth, Patchouli, Nutmeg
CINNAMYL ALCOHOL Synthetic or Natural Hyacinth
CITRAL Synthetic or Natural Allergen that appears in essential oils of lemon, essential oils of orange peel, essential oils of eucalyptus, grapefruit, orange, celeris, apricot, blackcurrant, grape, kiwi, mango, ginger, melon, plum, raspberry, rose
CITRONELLOL Synthetic or Natural Allergen that appears in essential oils of lemon grass, essential oils of Ceylon, apple, apricot, cassis, blackberry, blueberry, orange, passion fruit, peach, rose
COUMARIN Synthetic or Natural Woodruff, Flouves, Sweet clover, Angelique, Berce
EUGENOL Synthetic or Natural Essential oils of Clove, Allspice, Bay (Myrcia acris), Avens, Ceylon cinnamon, Laurel, Cistus, labdanifere, Basil sassafras, Basil Java, Cassie, Sweet flag, Carnation, Boldo, Cascarille, Galangal, Bay leaves, Nutmeg, Pale rose, ylang-ylang, marjoram, calamus, camphor, lemongrass, patchouli
FARNESOL Synthetic or Natural Essential oils of rose, Neroli, Ylang-ylang, Lime tree, Tolu Balsam
GERANIOL Synthetic or Natural Allergen that appears in rose oil, orange, palmarosa, thyme, verbena, neroli, lemongrass, geranium, hyssop, laurel, lavender, mandarin orange, lemon balm, nutmeg, myrtle, apple, apricot, black cranberries, blackcurrant, blackberry, coriander, ginger, nutmeg, thyme, geranium, rose, ylang-ylang
HEXYL CINNAMAL Synthetic or Natural Essential Oils of Cinnamon and Jasmin
ISOEUGENOL Synthetic or Natural Essential Oils of citronella, Essential Oils of Ceylon, Essential Oils of ylang ylang
LIMONENE Synthetic or Natural Allergen that appears in essential oils of: lemon, dill, common juniper, orange, verbena, neroli, niaouli, melaleuca, lemon balsam, pepper mint, nutmeg, myrrh, angelica, aspic, anise, bergamot, mandarin orange, bitter orange, caraway, celery, lavender, lime
LINALOOL Synthetic or Natural Allergen that appears in essential oils of: thyme, lavender, pine, laurel, sour orange, marjoram, peppermint, lemon, orange, thyme, ylang-ylang, verbena, myrtle, neroli, coriander, geranium, lime, lemon balsam, nutmeg, lemongrass, basil, bergamot, rosewood, banana, blackberry, bean, blueberry, apple, apricot, artichoke, thyme, rose, palmarosa
EVERNIA PRUNASTRI (OAK MOSS) Natural Oak moss extract
EVERNIA FURFURACEA (TREE MOSS) Natural Tree moss extract

If one of the 26 substances in the chart is present in a product formula, producers are obliged to comply with the labelling requirements (rules) of the European Regulation that states (Annex 10 III entry 83 of the Cosmetics Regulation No 1223/2009):

The allergenic substances must appear on the label if:

  • The concentration is higher than 0.01% in a rinse-off product, e.g. shampoos, shower gels,
  • The concentration is higher than 0.001% in a leave-on product, e.g. creams, lotions.

If an allergen is contained in different ingredient of the product, producer has to add up all concentrations to verify the threshold and label the product in accordance with the rule above.

As a cosmetics manufacturer we often have to explain our decision to use a certain ingredient in a product. Very often people worry or complain about effect of certain ingredient, which they have read on the internet about. Unfortunately, the internet articles are not always based on scientific research, and often even the scientists do not agree on every aspect of an ingredient.

Lately there have been many open discussions about the harmful effects of BUTYLPHENYL METHYLPROPIONAL or LILIAL. In the past there were some articles published, stating that it causes hormonal imbalance or even cancer. We have noticed that recently many of those claims have been removed. So what is the extent of harmful effects of lilial?

Due to its floral scent butylphenyl methylpropional or lilial functions as a fragrance ingredient in cosmetics and other personal care products. It is used in aftershave lotions, bath products, bubble baths, cleansing products, hair care products, moisturizers, perfumes and colognes, shampoos and skin care products. In most of the mentioned products lilial is a part of a fragrance. That must be clearly stated on the product’s label.

At Essentiq we take great pride in our products which contain 98–99% natural/organic ingredients, but as mentioned above, those contain certain allergens. When working with essential oils, it is hard to avoid them.  They are also part of fragrances, even if a fragrance is natural.  We use fragrances. In low quantities 0.2–0.3% of total product, mostly to cover the base of products and stabilise the odour among different bulks.  Within Essentiq products we only use IFRA certified fragrances. Some of the fragrances contain 2-3% of butylphenyl methylpropional, if any at all. In case that a fragrance includes butylphenyl methylpropional this means 0.004–0.009% of butylphenyl methylpropional in total product. If we strictly followed the EU regulation on labelling requirements, we would not be obliged to list butylphenyl methylpropional as an allergen for rinse-off products. However, we list all allergens that are contained in the ingredients of our products, even if the % is below the required threshold for labelling. The same goes for butylphenyl methylpropional which we consider as one of the 26 allergens, not any more toxic, harmful or skin irritating than the others. It just depends on every individual if he/she has a dermal sensitivity to a certain allergen and if he/she is aware of it.

The safety of butylphenyl methylpropional has been evaluated by the Research Institute for Fragrance Materials (RIFM) Expert Panel. Based on this evaluation, an International Fragrance Association (IFRA) Standard was established. The IFRA Standard restricts the use of butylphenyl methylpropional in fragrances because of potential dermal sensitization.

You can read the current valid restrictions on the use of butylphenyl methylpropional here...

Product types Finished product concentration (%)
Hydroalcoholic-based fragrances (e.g. Eau de Toilette, perfume, Aftershave, Cologne)* 1,42
Deodorant 0,09
Make up products (e.g. eye make-up, make-up remover, liquid foundation, mascara, eyeliner) 0.04
Face cream 0,05
Hand cream 0,05
Body lotion 0,06
Hair styling 0,04
Bath cleansing products (e.g. soaps, shower gels, rinse-off conditioners, shampoos) 0,1
*Maximum finished product concentration for hydroalcoholics on shaved skin is 0,6

On May 10, 2019, the EU’s Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety (SCCS) concluded that butylphenyl methylpropional is safe at 200ppm when used as a fragrance ingredient in different cosmetic leave-on and rinse-off type products at the concentration limits proposed by the International Fragrance Association (IFRA). However, it stated that the substance cannot be considered safe at the proposed concentrations under an aggregated exposure scenario, that is, if using different product types together.

We can assure you that Essentiq products containing butylphenyl methylpropional are perfectly safe for you and your family. Nevertheless we are still advising you to check the list of allergens in the product. Read INCI, especially ingredients marked as ‘*** Components from fragrance and natural essential oils’. And if a product contains an allergen that you are allergic to it, do not use it. Even if allergen appears within the safety limits, it is always better safe than sorry.

Organic Cosmetics - Benefits for Users

Organic Cosmetics – Benefits for Users

Organic Cosmetics - Benefits for UsersIn my previous blog post I wrote about benefits of using natural & organic cosmetic from the ‘save the planet’ perspective. In the current blog I will share my views on benefits of natural/organic cosmetic from the end-user perspective.

As already mentioned, there are no EC regulations, guidelines, requirements or restrictions about production or even classification of natural and organic cosmetic.  For many years it has been a grey area, allowing individual interpretations and claims. When can product be considered as natural – when it contains 5, 10, 90% of natural ingredients? How can an average customer, who does not have an in depth knowledge of chemistry and understanding of INCI (International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients) know, which skin care product is natural? In our opinion, the quality of natural or organic cosmetic is determined by the EXCLUDED ingredients, rather than by the included ones. According to public opinion, good quality natural cosmetic should be:


Why? What is so bad about sulphates? What are the reasons to exclude them?

  •  To reduce the chances of developing irritation or inflammations on skin or scalp.
  • To increase moisture retention within the hair and the skin.
  • To prevent destruction of the important skin mantle acid balance and thus protect the skin from absorbing harmful chemicals.
  • To help maintain colour in dyed hair for longer periods of time. Sulphate free shampoos are beneficial for coloured hair.


Why exclude PEG and EO? Are PEG and EO dangerous?

  • PEG stands for polyethylene glycol
  • EO stands for ethylene oxide

The cosmetics industry uses PEGs and EOs as solvents, thickeners, softeners and moisture carriers. They also function as absorption enhancers. Through these properties they allow both good and bad ingredients to be absorbed faster into deeper parts of skin. If they are used on broken or damaged skin, they can cause irritation and sometimes leas to system toxicity.

PEG’s are often manufactured using ethylene oxide and 1,4 dioxane. Ethylene oxide is a known human carcinogen. It may harm the human nervous system and sometimes even cause developmental problems. 1,4 dioxane has been marked as a possible human carcinogen. It is also toxic to the environment.


 Why? Are artificial colours bad for you?

To change the colour of soaps, lotions, shower gels, face creams, shampoos, styling products, and more, manufacturers use artificial colours and dyes, which are often made from a variety of synthetic chemicals. Artificial colorants are often made from coal tar, and sometimes contain dangerous metals, such as lead. When your skin comes in contact with the toxins that artificial colours leave on your skin, there is an increased risk of sensitivity and irritation. In addition they could lead to greater risk of acne, because they might block your pores.



Mineral oil is considered “comedogenic.” That means it can clog your pores which can lead to acne and blackheads. Dermatologists have also said say that creams which combine mineral oil and paraffin can damage the skin barrier and increase water loss.

The more refined the mineral oil is, the less comedogenic it is. But it is difficult to find out how purified the mineral oil in your product is.


Silicone forms a barrier on top of your skin, which is similar to putting on a plastic wrap. It is true that this barrier can lock in moisture, but it can also trap dirt, sweat, bacteria, sebum, dead skin cells and other debris along with it. This prolonged exposure to oil, dead skin cells and bacteria trapped beneath the semi-occlusive silicone layer can lead to breakouts of acne or congestions. Smoothness, achieved by silicones is only short-term. By clogging the pores, silicones prevent additional moisture from getting in, and that results in dull, dried out skin.



You may be surprised that phthalates are a family of industrial chemicals that are used to soften PVC plastic, as well as being used as solvents in cosmetics and other consumer products like detergents, lubricating oils, automotive plastics, plastic clothes, and personal-care products (soaps, shampoos, hair sprays, and nail polishes). Several studies conducted on animals have concluded that phthalates can damage the lungs, kidneys, liver, and reproductive system.


GMOs are genetically modified organisms whose genes have been artificially altered to modify their characteristics in some way or another. Plants, animals, and microorganisms – including bacteria, viruses, parasites and fungi – can all be genetically modified.  Among the first GMOs used in cosmetics were certain plant-derived ingredients. Some botanical cosmetic ingredients are derived from or contain components from GMO food products including corn oil, corn flour, soybean oil, and other components produced by yeast. Some GMOs have been developed specifically for cosmetic, to assist in production of ingredients. For example, canola has been modified to produce high levels of lauric acid, a key ingredient in soaps and detergents, at a reduced cost for consumers.

It has still not been determined what the effects of GMOs on human health are.

CONTROVERSIAL PRESERVATIVES (parabens, phenoxyethanol or sources of formaldehyde) FREE


Phenoxyethanol and Parabens are widely used synthetic preservatives that have global approval for use in all cosmetic products in concentrations up to 1%. Parabens and phenoxyethanol are a problem in cosmetics for reasons that have nothing to do with skincare. Based on research, some articles mention that both preservatives, when absorbed through skin care products can mimic hormones in the body, disrupt functions of the endocrine system or even cause cancer. However, we could not find any scientific study that would prove that.

Someone might ask, what the point in excluding controversial preservatives is, then.

Well, because it is the public opinion that they are dangerous. And you cannot defeat public opinion or fight against it. If people feel safer by not using some preservatives, it is much easier to replace them with the ones that are publicly acceptable.

Before I started preparing my blogs, I did a lot of internet research on the topics I was going to write about. I was surprised how many positive and negative reviews are available about the same topics. One claiming something is dangerous, other saying it is not. No wonder that it is hard for people to decide whom to believe and trust. So, my advice is – trust yourself and read the INCI!

Organic Cosmetics - Benefits for Environment

Organic Cosmetics – Benefits for Environment

Organic Cosmetics - Benefits for EnvironmentThe first initiatives for creation of natural cosmetics came from environmentalists, as part of their efforts to reduce soil and groundwater pollution.

People in the developed world take a shower at least once a day. Can you imagine the amount of ‘chemicals’ that flows into the drain? And where does all this waste water end?

With the development and pressure to reduce the prices, foaming agents, cleansers and preservatives also developed. Through the eyes of a producer or a consumer they became more effective and their added value increased. However, at the same time they became more aggressive and thus environmentally unfriendly. This prepared the ground for the development of natural cosmetics, as the need arose for cosmetics that contain mild and environmentally friendlier ingredients. Of course, environmentally friendly ingredients are basically also human-friendly ingredients. But the original idea for natural cosmetics derived from the desire and the need to protect the environment.

Many people wonder what the difference between natural and organic cosmetics is. If we look at it through the eyes of available certificates for different types of cosmetics, natural and organic cosmetics differ in the fact that in the organic cosmetics, the required share of the content of natural raw materials is higher, the threshold of the share of the content of organic raw materials is prescribed, the criteria for the integration of certain synthetic raw materials is stricter and more restrictive.  However the end user will in fact not notice the difference between natural and organic. Perhaps only in the smell of the product or perhaps in the reduced foaming effects in cleansing products. Organic products usually do not smell as fragrantly as natural ones, as they use fragrances that are mainly made out of natural essential oils & CO2 isolates.

The most noticeable difference in the eyes of the manufacturer or the end user is in the share of organic ingredients in the product. But not from the perspective of higher percentage of organic meaning a better product. No, the real added value is in indicating the extent of the manufacturer’s support of organic farming. Why is this important? Because farming is one of the biggest polluters of our planet. But humans need farming to get food and survive. However we do have a choice to use or not to use pesticides, fertilizers, genetically modified organisms, antibiotics and growth hormones. By choosing not to use pollutant ingredients, farmers do not get as much out of their land as conventional farmers do, production costs are higher because farmers need more workers, products do not look alike, shiny and of similar and perfect shape. They are less attractive and eye catching. All of that makes organic farming, and by that ingredients produced through organic farming, more expensive. It’s a lot of work just to look after soil quality (by versatile crop rotations and additions of organic material), to recycle nutrients, and to enhance and protect biodiversity. Is it worth all that?

In our eyes, yes, it is; and that is why we invest 20–30% of our resources in organically produced active ingredients. We believe it is our responsibility as a manufacturer of cosmetics to pollute as little as we can.

Someone might now be disappointed, and say that benefits of natural/organic cosmetics are only for the environment. No, there are great benefits also for humans. Although those benefits are measured from the perspective of which ingredients natural/organic cosmetic does not or should not contain, rather than what it contains. As there are no EC regulations, no official clear definition and restrictions about natural and organic cosmetics, this is still a grey area, allowing individual interpretations and claims. When can product be considered natural – when it contains 5, 10, 90% of natural ingredients? Find out more in my next blog.

Using natural or organic cosmetics is not just a matter of fashion or trend. It is a personal contribution of every user to reducing his/her share of environmental pollution. It is one of the steps that each individual should make to maintain our planet clean, green, safe and healthy for our successors.