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Phtalates cosmétiques.

Why doesn't Typology use phthalates?

Phthalates are chemical substances derived from phthalic acid. In cosmetics, they are typically used as fixative and film-forming agents. In hair care products, they make the fibre more flexible, lighter and shinier. Subject to controversy, they are accused of being allergenic, even toxic, and are implicated as endocrine disruptors. The European Union has banned most of these compounds in cosmetic formulas. The only one still allowed is the dimethyl phthalate (INCI: Dimethyl phthalate - DPE). A focus on these chemical compounds that are widely subject to controversy.

All you need to know about Dimethyl Phthalate (DEP).

Phthalates are slightly volatile, colourless liquid substances. Originally, these ingredients were used as plasticisers in plastic materials, particularly polyvinyl chloride (PVC), to make them more flexible. In cosmetics, they were primarily used for their fixative and film-forming properties. However, recognised as endocrine disruptors, most of them were banned from cosmetic formulas by the European Union in 2013. Only dimethyl phthalate (DEP) remains authorised: this ingredient is multifunctional. Here is a non-exhaustive list of its properties:

  • Film-forming : It forms a continuous film on the skin, hair, or nails, particularly useful for long-lasting nail varnishes;

  • Fragrance agent : It is often used to mask an unpleasant smell and give the product a pleasant aroma;

  • Hair Conditioner: The DEP provides shine and flexibility to the hair, making styling easier;

  • Solvent : It aids in the dilution of other ingredients in cosmetic formulas.

Phthalates: What are the health risks?

The ANSES (French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health & Safety) classifies phthalates as endocrine disruptors. The following species have been categorised by the ECHA (European Chemicals Agency) as carcinogenic, reprotoxic and mutagenic (CRM), and are also prohibited by Regulation No 1223/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 30 November 2009 in cosmetic products:

  • Butyl Benzyl Phthalate (BBP);

  • Dibutyl Phthalate (DBP);

  • Bis 2-ethylhexyl phthalate (DEHP);

  • Diisobutyl Phthalate (DIBP);

  • Diisopentyl phthalate (DIPP);

  • Bis 2-methoxyethyl phthalate (DMEP) ;

  • Di-n-pentyl phthalate DnPP ;

  • Dipentyl Phthalate Ester (DPP).

Note : In toxicology, four types of exposures are observed: inhalation, intravenous, ingestion or skin contact. The body's assimilation of one of these substances can affect fertility and the development of the foetus or even the newborn.

The current regulations.

In 2013, a large number of phthalates were banned by the European Union due to their cancer-causing and endocrine-disrupting effects, among which are DEHP, DBP, and BBP. However, four phthalates (DEHP, BBP, DBP, and DIBP) were listed in Annex XIV of the REACH regulation on 24 February 2011 as substances of concern subject to authorisation. Indeed, specific authorisations for the use of substances classified as category 2 CMRs can be approved on a case-by-case basis by the European Commission. Companies, however, must demonstrate the adoption of necessary safety measures aimed at controlling the risks. The other phthalates still need to be analysed concerning the REACH directive. They must therefore be included in the category of substances requiring temporary and restrictive authorisation while awaiting the proposal of other substitute ingredients.

Typology does not use dimethyl phthalate (DEP), and phthalates in general, in its formulations.

At Typology, we have chosen to apply the precautionary principle and exclude these compounds from our formulations. As a responsible skincare brand, we develop healthy, minimalist formulas devoid of criticised ingredients. Find our blacklist strict for products that respect your health and the environment.


  • SCHETTLER T. Human exposure to phtalates via consumer products, International Journal of Andrology (2006).

  • BYUNG-MU L. Risk assessment of unintentional phthalates contaminants in cosmetics. Regulary Toxicology and Pharmacology (2020).


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