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Your ingredient questions answered

We are often asked questions about the ingredients we use in our products. Afterall, it’s only natural to care about the products you use at home and put on your body.

We’re committed to providing you with answers to why we use certain ingredients, what they do and whether they are safe.

A person using a deodorant

Aluminium salts

Aluminium salts have been used for over half a century as the active ingredient in antiperspirants to control sweat and associated body odour.

Unilever employees in a laboratory

Controlling impurities

Slight impurities (known as ‘traces’ or ‘trace contaminants’) can occur in some products – either because they are naturally present in raw materials, or because they arise during the manufacturing process.

Children brushing their teeth


Having strong, healthy teeth and gums is essential to people’s health and wellbeing. Regular brushing with toothpaste containing fluoride helps prevent cavities and improves oral hygiene.

A person washing their hair

Formaldehyde donors

Formaldehyde donors are widely used in personal care products as safe and efficient preservatives. They deliver a small amount of formaldehyde throughout a product’s shelf-life, protecting it from spoiling.



Many people enjoy using fragranced products. To create them we only use high-quality ingredients that meet global standards set by the International Fragrance Research Association (IFRA).

A person smelling a perfume on their wrist


Fragrances stir up memories and evoke emotions, and many people enjoy using fragranced products. To create them we only use high-quality ingredients that meet global standards set by the International Fragrance Association (IFRA).

A person washing their hands with soap

Methylisothiazolinone (MI)

We use preservatives to keep home and personal care products in good condition: without them, they could be spoiled by bacteria, yeasts and moulds.

Recycling plant in brazil


Microplastics are tiny pieces of plastic which can end up in the ocean, causing potential damage to the environment. Most come from the breakdown of larger plastics in the ocean, but some can come from their use in consumer and industrial products.

A person wiping their face


Parabens are a family of ingredients used as preservatives in personal care products. ‘Paraben’ refers to many slightly different paraben forms, some of which can be found in nature.

A mother and baby

Petroleum jelly

Petrolatum, more commonly known as petroleum jelly, is widely used in beauty and personal care products and has a unique moisturising ability unlike many other ointments and creams.

A mother with a child


Phenoxyethanol is a clear, colourless liquid with a faint rose odour, which occurs naturally but is more usually synthetic. It is one of the most common preservatives used in personal care products.

Plastic scrub beads

Plastic scrub beads

We stopped using plastic scrub beads in 2014 in response to concerns about the build-up of microplastics in oceans and lakes.

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Preservatives, as the name suggests, help keep things fresh. We use preservatives to help protect our products from bacteria, yeasts and moulds. Without them, our products could start to smell unpleasant, change colour or grow mould.

A person washing their hair


Many of the things people say they like about personal care products – from the silky effect of hair conditioners to the smooth feel of roll-on deodorants– are made possible by silicones.

A person cleaning their kitchen

Sodium hypochlorite

Sodium hypochlorite is used in our home care products because it is a powerful and fast-acting disinfectant that combats a wide range of micro-organisms, including bacteria and viruses.

A child showing soap on his hands

Triclosan and triclocarban

Through their use in toothpastes, mouthwashes, soaps, deodorants and cleaning products, anti-bacterial ingredients help maintain healthy bodies and clean homes.

Bottle of talcum powder with some powder on yellow surface


Talc is a naturally occurring mineral that is used on its own as talcum powder and as an ingredient in a range of personal care products.

Small pile of white powder

Titanium Dioxide

Titanium dioxide is a white powder extracted from naturally occurring minerals. It has been used for many years in a variety of different products including foods, pharmaceuticals and cosmetics.

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