Girl looking at her skin in a bathroom mirror with a white towel wrapped around her head

Harsh ingredients to avoid in skincare

We’re guessing it’ll come as no surprise when we say that harsh ingredients can be bad for us. But when it comes to the ways they can affect our skin, and the main culprits to watch out for, are we quite so clued up? Time to turn the spotlight on some harsh ingredients and skin signs to look out for, to help you fend off the onset of sensitive skin.

These ingredients can irritate anyone’s skin, even if it doesn’t tend to be particularly sensitive. Harsh artificial fragrances can sometimes set off a minor perfume allergy, with symptoms like watery eyes and itchy, tender skin. Soap and alcohol in skincare can be similarly irritating and drying. When you know the harsh ingredients to avoid in skincare, a gentle routine that reduces the chances of flare-ups becomes much easier to come by.


Soap often contains harsh chemicals and can be a much higher pH than our skin. This can lead to dehydrated, dry, and irritated skin, so keep your face wash soap-free for a gentler cleanse.

Alcohol in skincare

Also known as ethanol or ethyl alcohol, alcohol in skincare can have a dehydrating effect, stripping the skin of its natural oils and damaging skin cells. This weakens the skin’s moisture barrier, leaving our skin exposed to (and less able to defend against) external factors like the weather, pollution, and irritants. Hello dry, red, inflamed, rough, and sensitive skin. The alternative? Some ingredients, like fatty alcohols or stearyl alcohol, are different kinds of alcohol that are non-irritating and totally okay in skincare. They keep the product’s texture in top form and help them to stay stable on your bathroom shelf.

Artificial colours and fragrances

The majority of our Simple products have been specifically designed without any colour or fragrance. The few products that do contain them have natural fragrances and colours. Did you know that colours and fragrances have zero benefit for our skin? Some sensitive skin users find fragrance and colouring in skincare irritating: mild perfume allergy symptoms include uncomfortable, itchy skin and sneezy, watery-eye feelings. That’s why we think making artificial colour- and fragrance-free skincare is a no brainer. We swap them out for skin-loving ingredients instead for a quick and easy way to help keep your skin calm.

Contact with harsh ingredients in household cleaners

Harsh chemicals found in some household cleaning products can irritate our skin, causing it to become red, inflamed, irritated and dry. Try to wear gloves when using these products to prevent these cleaners from coming into contact with your skin.

Choosing skincare that’s both artificial colour- and fragrance-free, with gentler alternatives to harsh soaps and alcohols, is an easy switch that could make a real difference. Say goodbye to skincare-triggered irritation and switch to a routine that’s kind to your skin.  

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