Clean Skincare at Cheeks

Our Ingredient Promise

At Cheeks + Co, ‘clean’ means that our products have been vetted against our No-Glow List of ingredients and that we trust in the ethical principles of our brand partners. We take exceptional care when testing new products and would never consider a product or ingredient that could compromise your skin’s integrity. We also consider the health and safety of our employees when evaluating products and ingredients. Our curation reflects our ‘clean’ commitment to balanced and healthy skin, our team, the environment and our love for animals. 

The No-Glow List at Cheeks + Co

These are all of the ingredients that are excluded from our spa and retail skincare products*. For each ingredient you can find a detailed evidence based explanation for the reason it's excluded. Additionally, we reserve the right to revise this list should new evidence arise. Lash / Brow tinting is excluded. We are actively looking to replace our current lash / brow tinting with cleaner ingredients. Please email with questions.

Excluded Animal-Derived Ingredients

Keratin is the building block of hair, nails and skin. Keratin can be derived from the feathers, horns, and wool of different animals. 

As an ingredient, collagen is primarily sourced from animals.

A substance with a strong odor obtained from a gland of the musk deer.

Made from animal collagen and sourced from connective tissues, such as skin, tendons, ligaments, and bones.

Used mainly in color cosmetics, carmine pigment is produced by drying, crushing, and then boiling the bodies of cochineal beetles to extract carminic acid.

Excluded Non Animal-Derived Ingredients (a - z)

Definition: BHA is a synthetic antioxidant.

Function: Antioxidant, stabilizer and preservative.

Why We Exclude It: BHA is known to cause skin irritation and is a possible carcinogen and endocrine disruptor.

Sources: 1, 2

What: BHT is a synthetic antioxidant.

Function: Antioxidant, stabilizer and preservative.

Why We Exclude It: Similar to BHA, BHT is known to cause skin irritation and is a possible carcinogen and endocrine disruptor.

Sources:1, 2

Definition: Chemical Sunscreens absorb and scatter the sun’s UV rays. During this process they are converted into heat.

Function: UVA and UVB protection.

Why We Exclude Them: chemical sunscreens are absorbed by the bloodstream and have been associated with increased skin irritation and certain ingredients have been linked to hormone and endocrine disruption. They have also been known to cause irritation in those with Rosacea. Physical sunscreens are a great alternative, and what we use at Cheeks & Co.

What to Look out for: - Avobenzone- Benzophenone- Oxybenzone- Octinoxate

Sources:1, 2, 3

Definition:A specific category of silicones whose molecules have a ring-like structure.

Function: They are frequently used as solvents for fragrance and essential oils. They also spread easily on hair and skin, which is why they are added to cosmetics and skincare.

Why We Exclude It: Data indicates that some of these chemicals may have reproductive toxicity and endocrine disruption concerns. Cyclic silicones have also been referenced as unfriendly to the environment because they do not biodegrade.

What to look out for: - Cyclotetrasiloxane (D4) - Cyclopentasiloxane (D5)- Cyclohexasiloxane (D6) - Cyclomethicone

Sources:1, 2, 3, 4

Definition: EDTA is a chelating agent.

Function: EDTA grabs and sticks to other molecules. It prevents ingredients from binding to other trace metals in the formula.

Why We Exclude It: While it is not directly associated with health risks, EDTA has environmental concern as it does not biodegrade easily and has been found in our water systems.

What to look out for: - Calcium Disodium EDTA- Tetrasodium EDTA- Trisodium EDTA- Disodium EDTA

Sources:1, 2

Definition:Clear and colorless ammonia compounds used in cosmetics.

Function: Commonly used as emulsifiers or foaming agents.

Why We Exclude It: Ethanolamines have been linked to cancer, environmental concerns (bioaccumulation) and organ system toxicity.

What to look out for: -DEA -TEA -MEA-ETA

Sources:1, 2

Definition: Ethoxylation is less of an ingredient and more of a process. It is the process of ethylene oxide reacting with other chemicals to make them less harsh.

Function: Often used as emulsifiers (ex: they mix water and oil), skin conditioners and surfactants (often used for cleansing and foaming.)

Why We Exclude It: The process of ethoxylation may leave behind trace amounts of carcinogens (1,4 Dioxin) and is therefore linked to cancer.

What to look out for:

- Generally ingredients that end with an -eth but especially:
- PEGS - Polyethylene Glycol
- Polysorbate-20
- Ceteareth-20
- Sodium laureth sulfate (SLES)
- Ammonium Laureth Sulfate
- Emulsifying Waxes: Cetearyl Alcohol and Polysorbate 60 or Ceteareth-20 

Definition: Formaldehyde and formaldehyde releasing agents are chemicals which help prevent microbes from growing in water-based products. Releasers (also known as donors) are chemical compounds that slowly release formaldehyde.

Function: Preservatives

Why we exclude Them: They have been linked to cancer and pose an allergic and skin sensitivity risk in even small percentages within a formula.

What to look out for: 

- DMDM Hydantoin
- Diazolidinyl Urea
- Quaternium-15

Sources: 1, 2

Definition: A topical skin bleaching agent, originally discovered and used to develop film.

Function: Skin lightener.

Why We Exclude It: Hydroquinone has been linked to cancer, liver and kidney damage. 

Sources:1, 2

Definition:Parabens are a group of chemicals commonly used as synthetic preservatives in a wide variety of personal care products and foods.

Function: Preservatives that prevent the growth of microbes.

Why we exclude Them: They have been linked to potential hormone disruption in men and women.

What to look out for:-Ethylparaben-butylparaben-methylparaben-propylparaben-isobutylparaben-isopropylparaben


Definition: A family of industrial chemicals commonly used to soften PVC plastic.

Function: Although rarely used in cosmetics nowadays due to consumer advocacy, phthalates are used as solvents (they help dissolve other ingredients).

Why We Exclude Them: Phthalates have been associated with damage to the liver, kidneys, lungs, and reproductive system.

What to Look out For: -DBP (dibutyl phthalate)-DNOP (di-n-octyl phthalate)-DiNP (diisononyl phthalate)-DEP (diethyl phthalate)-BBzP (benzyl butyl phthalate)-DEHP (di 2-ethylhexyl phthalate)-DiDP (diisodecyl phthalate)-DnHP (di-n-hexyl phthalate).

Sources:1, 2, 3

Definition:Resorcinol is a chemical commonly used in hair dyes and acne treatments.

Function: An antiseptic and disinfectant, used to treat mild skin abrasions.

Why We Exclude It: Resorcinol has been linked to irritation, allergies and hormone disruption.


Definition:High performance scents composed of synthetic materials.

Function: Synthetic Fragrances either add or remove the scent of a product.

Why We Exclude Them: Fragrance (synthetic and natural) is a proprietary formulation, meaning that skincare brands and even the labs that brands work with, are not obligated to disclose the ingredients that make up their fragrance. Whenever you see the term ‘fragrance’ on a label, it’s a guessing game as to what’s hidden within. Due to this lack of transparency, and also the possible association to skin irritation (so far this concern is a bit unknown), we exclude synthetic fragrance from our formulas. Also, many synthetic fragrances are produced from petroleum and often include phthalates as ingredients. 


Definition:Toluene is a colorless, flammable and water-insoluble liquid (an ingredient in paint thinners).

Function: Used primarily in nail products and hair dyes, toluene is a solvent used to dissolve other ingredients.

Why we exclude it: Toluene is known to cause headaches, dizziness and cracked skin, as well as more serious long term effects such as reproductive damage, birth defects and respiratory complications.


Clean skincare by Cheeks


A lightweight moisturizing emulsion, TidalShift is a strengthening serum that delivers deep hydration while helping to increase the skin's resilience to environmental stressors. This ocean-blue silk glides across the skin like a gentle wave with fortifying blue-green microalgae, niacinamide, ceramides, and polypeptides to help reduce the appearance of redness, fine lines, and hyperpigmentation.


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