Thankyou Botanical Red Ginger & Blood Orange Foaming Hand Wash
Foaming Hand Wash
— Red Ginger & Blood Orange.
This product claims to be 'Vegan Friendly', ‘Palm Oil Free’, ‘Not Tested on Animals’, ‘No SLS, SLES, EDTA or Parabens’ and ‘Made with Love in Australia’.
What does this mean?
At first look you’d think this product is natural, good for you, and has your best interests at heart. They care. Or at least – kind of. As a brand - Thankyou is a very sleek and well-oiled machine. To be fair they ARE doing great things to help alleviate poverty, and this should be applauded, but this particular product has a questionable ingredient list. Good for poverty, not so good for your body.
Upon scratching the surface with this review, some questions for them are raised. Their brand integrity seems inconsistent. According to their company backgrounder Thankyou first began by producing bottled water, founded on the idea: “To eradicate global poverty, one water bottle purchase at a time.” This idea has been hugely successful and they have made and donated donate millions to poverty-affected communities.
They have now branched out in to making a range of body care products. This is amazing. But this also comes at a huge cost to the environment in the form of use of single use plastics from their water bottles. This, as well as their use of chemicals such as phenoxyethanol is disappointing. This review is not a witch-hunt – but this is being highlighted here particularly because they call themselves a social enterprise. The worldwide manufacture of plastics uses up to 6% of all the oil extracted every year (Source 1).
More than 480 billion plastic drinking bottles was sold across the world in 2016 and most of this end up in landfill or the ocean. This is a worldwide crisis. Thankyou – We are calling you out. Are you scrimping on ingredient costs so that Coles will stock your products? And what are you doing to minimise the damage that your plastics are having on the environment that (in an ironic turn of events) – contributes to world poverty?
Lovely and subtle, smells natural with a hint of orange.
Hands felt clean and fresh after, skin slightly dry after use.
Aloe Barbadensis (Aloe Vera) Leaf Juice is soothing, moisturizing and anti-inflammatory.
Ginger Root Oil is anti-inflammatory.
Cocamidopropyl Betaine / Lauramidopropyl Betaine is commonly used in the cosmetics industry but is considered a moderate hazard by the EWG.
Phenoxyethanol has been correlated with allergic reactions and toxic effects on the nervous system.
Cocamide MEA, when dermally applied may be associated with toxicity.
Sodium Coco Fatty Acid Alcohol Sulfate was impossible to find reliable information on. Thankyou? (See: Sodium Coco Sulfate)
Benzyl Alcohol is a commonly used chemical found naturally in some essential oils or synthetically derived.
This product uses 3 types of plastic in its packaging and a plastic label.
Thankyou have opted to use a black PET bottle, with a fancy (and materials intensive) foaming pump. We’re still not sure about the foam, but it does supposedly save a lot of water - ‘saving over 88L of water per bottle’ according to Beco UK.
Formulation full analysis
Aloe barbadensis is soothing, moisturizing and anti-inflammatory.
Ginger root oil is anti-inflammatory. Could do better
Cocamidopropyl Betaine / Lauramidopropyl Betaine: A commonly used ingredient in the cosmetics industry as a surfactant (cleansing and lathering properties). The EWG (which does usually err on the side of caution) rates this one a ‘Moderate Hazard’ – with a good amount of evidence around it. It has been associated with irritation and allergic contact dermatitis, reactions that could be due to the ingredient itself or to toxic impurities present in it and further –it is a suspected environmental toxin.
The biggest problem that cocamidopropyl betaine has is that its processing aids, amidoamine and 3-dimethylaminopropylamine, can remain in the product (Source 2). These chemicals can cause contact dermatitis, eye irritation, and other allergic reactions. In fact, the rate of allergic reactions to these impurities is so high that the American Contact Dermatitis Society named cocamidopropyl betaine Allergen of the Year in 2004 (Source 3).
Phenoxyethanol: EWG rates this as a (Source 4). Not that we rely on the EWG for all our info but this is a red flag. We dug some more… safechemicals.org links this chemical commonly to allergic reactions like eczema (some severe) and toxic effects in the nervous system especially in infants (Source 5). Potentially endocrine disruption as well. Further; Phenoxyethanol is a scientifically proven irritant to human skin and eyes, (Source 6) and it is classified as irritant in European Union. Phenoxyethanol is also restricted for use in Japan. On the other side of the argument: The European committee on consumer safety states: “The SCCS considers 2-phenoxyethanol safe for use as a preservative with a maximum concentration of 1.0%, taking into account the information provided.” (Source 7)
One may argue that the exposure to phenoxyethanol and (subsequent dioxane contamination) is too small in cosmetic applications to affect health. You may say that you'd have to ingest gallons of the stuff to see the negative effects. Yes, perhaps using a lotion with a small amount of phenoxyethanol one time isn't going to make your body go haywire. But with cosmetic items we're looking at repeated multiple daily exposure, and using multiple products with phenoxyethanol would ensure you are absorbing way more than your 1%. ITS CUMULATIVE. AVOID.
Cocamide MEA: A surfactant—foam booster and an aqueous viscosity-increasing agent. EWG rates this as 1-4 depending on delivery, but there is not enough information out there on this one. According to the Journal of Toxicology: “data suggest little acute, short-term, or chronic toxicity associated with dermal application. MEA vapour, however, is highly toxic “4. Call us crazy but if something is been scientifically proven to be ‘toxic if inhaled’ we just wouldn’t want to put it on our skin. Period. Whatever is on the skin can be absorbed into the skin and will need to be metabolised and eliminated by the liver. However they did continue with: “Dermal application of Cocamide MEA at concentrations of 50% was non-irritating to mildly irritating in animal tests. Based on the limited data available on Cocamide MEA, it was concluded that it is safe as used in rinse-off products and safe at concentrations up to 10% in leave-on products. It was further concluded, however, that Cocamide MEA should not be used as an ingredient in cosmetic products in which N-nitroso compounds are formed or in formulations that will be aerosolized. – How many other chemicals do we use in combination?? FINALLY: There are also significant contamination concerns too. This is where brand integrity comes and you’d hope that they are sourcing pure ingredients.
Sodium Coco Fatty Acid Alcohol Sulfate. Hmmmm…When trying to find information on this exact chemical it came up with – nothing. Not really a good sign at all. We actually cant find anything o this exact name in any reliable index – Thankyou? Any comments on this please?
The only thing that came up was Sodium Coco sulfate – so here’s the info on that: It’s a substitute for Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS). Digging into the research uncovers a minefield of conflicting information (Source 5). In a nut shell – It’s an ingredient made in the same way as SLS, however due to larger molecular size it does not sink into skin and is therefore not as irritating but still has the potential. It seems the only reason this is better than SLS is that is doesn’t penetrate the skin – but what about broken skin?
Benzyl Alcohol: Preservative. A very, very commonly used chemical found naturally in some essential oils or synthetically derived. We do not know what type Thankyou use. The jury is out with this one so you decide. Bottom line: EWG rates this at 5. It is a skin allergen, and according to a 1998 study can "can instigate immune system response that can include itching, burning, scaling, hives, and blistering of skin" at certain concentrations (Source 9). Toxic reactions and allergies to benzyl alcohol usually occur when the isolated chemical is used in a higher concentration as a preservative (1-5% of the formulation.)
Further “High concentrations can induce asthma and bronchitis in some individuals”. And – this is alarming: “Benzyl alcohol was formerly used in neonatal care as a preservative in intravenous drips, however, infants started getting benzyl alcohol poisoning (with 16 fatalities), and it has now been discontinued in this use”.
We can see that a small amount of this product is not harmful, but again, are there any long-term studies that can quantify the results of benzyl alcohol used numerous times per day in numerous formulas? Say that you wash your hands five times a day, and put hand cream on after four times a day, or you are putting lotion on your whole body, using a facial oil, etc. – you get the picture – what is your exposure then? It has been shown that benzyl alcohol can react with titanium dioxide (commonly found in makeup) to form toxic aldehydes, including formaldehyde even at low doses (Source 8). As you can see again it may be not the individual use of chemicals and products that are the problem its that we do not consider and have no idea idea what the cumulative effects are of all of these throughout the day are.
Do you (like the rest of Australia) love Thankyou?
Would you still purchase Thankyou despite its questionable ingredients because of its altruistic work?
Let’s get controversial. Comment below to have your say!
7. Comparison of objective and sensory skin irritations of several cosmetic preservatives. Lee E, An S, Choi D, Moon S, Chang I. Contact Dermatitis. 2007 Mar;56(3):131-6.)