By Margaret Hyde, Spa Week’s Green Living Expert

The best “green” beauty products tend to have fewer ingredients on their labels. While it’s up to you to decide which ingredients you will (or won’t) put on your body, green products should be petrochemical and fragrance free (unless you’re talking about fragrant essential oils) to be considered truly green.

In addition, I avoid products that contain the following No-No Ingredients:

Parabens: These chemicals are most commonly found in shampoos, conditioners, lotions and cleansers. They are known estrogen-mimicking chemicals that are believed to disrupt hormone function.

Phthalates: Phthalates are most known for causing that strong, chemical smell found in plastics like rain coats and certain toys. In the beauty world, there are many different types of phthalates being used, but they are usually not listed on ingredient labels. If you see the general word “fragrance,” you can often assume that the product contains at least some phthalate chemicals. These chemicals are damaging to the liver and kidneys and also have estrogen-mimicking properties, so it’s best to use fragrance-free natural products to ensure you’re avoiding exposure.

Sulfates: Listed as either sodium laureth sulfate, ammonium laureth sulfate, these are common foaming agents added to everything from toothpaste to shampoo to laundry detergent. They’re also used to clean car engines. Sulfates are highly irritating and cause redness, flaky skin and other allergic reactions in many people. Many brands now make sulfate-free haircare products, including mass and drugstore brands.

Triclosan: This chemical is a common antimicrobial agent that is added to a wide variety of products—soaps, deodorants, toothpaste, cosmetics and even shoes and cutting boards. If you see the word “antibacterial,” triclosan is often included — even if it isn’t listed on the ingredient label. There is evidence that it is an endocrine disruptor and is harmful to thyroid function, as well as being linked to the emergence of antibiotic resistant bacteria.