Liz Earle Cleanse & Preserve?

Yesterday's Mail on Sunday came with a very exciting page 88; a voucher to claim a free Liz Earle Cleanse and Polish 30ml mini with a muslin cloth. I'm already a huge fan of this product and have a whopper sized bottle in my bathroom cabinet but it's always nice to have an extra treat that will be perfect for my travels (note to self: book travels). I'm not going to be reviewing this product as you can already find an abundance of reviews splashed across the internet and pages of magazines screaming its praises. Not to mention all of the awards that it has been presented with.

So here is my little Monday treat; beautifully packaged and complete with a how-to guide and little ingredients booklet. I just love the attention to detail.

I continued to browse the Liz Earle counter in John Lewis. I picked up the Sheer Skin Tint but as the word 'paraben' caught my eye, I swiftly put it back down. This prompted the sales assistant to hand me a little factsheet on preservatives. I apologise for the quality of the photos above - I know you probably won't be able to read the details but this had to be an iPhone job I'm afraid!

Having read this little factsheet cover to cover, I have mixed emotions. I feel a little at ease but also more curious because I'm a more confused about what to think!

Essentially, it explains that although parabens are feared (and naturally so after all that horrible press!) they're actually widely found in natural products. For example, they're found in many fruits in different concentrations, hence some fruits last longer than others; take blueberries long shelf life compared to raspberries. Parabens are even found in vanilla extract! It would be a very expensive job to extract all of the tiny amounts of parabens from foods to use in cosmetics. Therefore, it is created synthetically to be identical on EVERY level to those found in what we eat. 

So why all that media hype? The negative publicity comes from mis-interpretation of scientific studies but also the press coverage on what has turned out to be a flawed study. It's actually very important that many cosmetics do have preservatives in them or you could be spreading all kinds of potentially dangerous bacteria and fungi across your face and body. So really, parabens are very helpful. Baring this in mind, I'm now worried that some products which claim to be 'natural' are likely to be un-preserved and I'm back to square one!

Liz Earle claim to carefully trial their products so as to use the least amount of these preservatives for it to be effective but I wonder how many companies (and I imagine a lot of lower-end cosmetic companies do) top up their formulations to the maximum allowable amount of these ingredients purely because it's easier and requires less testing?

I'd love to hear people's opinions on this matter. Do you avoid products with certain ingredients in? Does it not bother you in the slightest what goes into your products so long as they do what they say on the tin?

N xoxo.