Low allergy cosmetics

Many of those affected by allergy to methylisothiazolinone and methylchloroisothiazolinone are also allergic to other preservatives, or fragrances, or unrelated allergy-triggering ingredients in skincare products. Others have multiple sensitivities which both they and their medical consultants might be struggling to pinpoint and identify.

For them, ‘ultra hypoallergenic’ cosmetics might be the only answer — products which contain no or few potential allergens, and sometimes may consist of just a few simple ingredients.

There are a few cosmetics brands — such as Vanicream and Free & Clear — which have been widely recommended for their use of highly hypoallergenic ingredients. It’s important to point out, however, that products labelled ‘hypoallergenic’ aren’t automatically suitable for everyone with allergies. ‘Hypoallergenic’ does not mean ‘allergy free’ — it means ‘low allergen’.

In a new article, Allergen Free Skincare, which I’ve published on my Allergy Insight website, I look at some so-called allergen-free cosmetics — which are in fact low or ultra-low allergen cosmetics — and made some recommendations, not based on personal experience, on the whole, but on examination of the products’ ingredients. They include many by the excellent Vanicream and Free & Clear, but also manufacturers of the simplest of soaps, unfragranced single-source oils, and pure shea butters — one of the most hypoallergenic and natural ingredients available.

There are no guarantees you will not react, if you do have multiple sensitivities — but hopefully you’ll find some useful products and suggestions which may suit your needs, and ease your skin troubles …

To read Allergen Free Skincare, click here.


  1. Susan Stein

    Even if a product fragrance free it can still have ingredients that I can be allergic to. I’m very allergic to roses and roses are having a moment. Roses are in a lot of products for sensitive skin. I’m also allergic to lavender which is in a multitude of products including some fragrance free products. You can be just allergic to plant based ingredients or essential oils as you are to chemical ingredients.

    1. MI Free (Post author)

      Yes, that can sadly happen, and as I said in the article, there are no guarantees, and yes, you can be allergic to synthetics or naturals. Lavender should not be in fragrance free products, however – that is certainly not permitted in UK / EU, and I can’t imagine it being permitted elsewhere. Do you have names of brands and I can query them?

  2. Susan Stein

    Do you know of any semi-permanent or temporary hair dyes that are fragrance free? Why are so many companies that have hypoallergenic products test their products on laboratory dogs? Dogs’ skin is different that ours and the tests are meaningless . Humans can’t use products made for dogs and the reverse is true.

    1. MI Free (Post author)

      You may find some options here: https://mi-free.com/ppd-allergy-and-mi-allergy/
      Sorry – no idea re: dogs. Am actually surprised they would do that, and can’t imagine it is legal in many countries.

  3. Lisa M Wolf

    Would Aveeno products be considered MCI/MI free?
    I’ve looked at their products and I don’t see a reference to those, but they are not listed on this site. Thank You.

    1. MI Free (Post author)

      Hi Lisa – I’ve not looked into Aveeno, I have to admit, but as they’re thought of as a skin-friendly brand, using known skin-beneficial ingredient oats, then I’d be very surprised if they used MI. However, that said, the Ingredients list in that format available on the web page you’ve linked to doesn’t look complete to me, and I’m not sure all preservatives have been declared there. They’re also a little vague about the fragrance. I would give them a call if it’s a product you otherwise like the look of. Best wishes, Alex.

      1. Lisa M Wolf

        I looked at the bottles I have here for body wash/moisturizer and also online. Then I called…I got the feeling the rep on the phone simply just looked online as well. She said “no MCI/MI.”

        I really feel the stuff is okay, and that I’m likely reacting to hair dyes more than anything. I’ve looked at all my product bottles, Amika, Biolage, Aveeno. None have it. One bottle of Dermasil lotion did, so that’s in the trash. 🙂

        This is super frustrating! Thanks for replying.

  4. Allyson

    Hi Lisa,
    Was recently diagnosed with the following :
    dodecyl gallate
    euxyl k-400
    Kathin CG (which i know is MI)

    i’m looking for makeup i can use! specifically concealer foundation ! i’m 46 and everything seems to leave me with dry patches. im learning best skin care to use but no luck finding makeup.

    also, are all of these parabens? am i looking just for parablen free? or organic? i’m very confused
    thank you!!!

    1. MI Free (Post author)

      Which country are you in, Allyson?
      Euxyl k400 is (I think) mainly a preservative called phenoxyethanol which is quite common. On cosmetics you should only see ‘phenoxyethanol’ – Euxyl k400 shouldn’t appear.
      Kathon CG won’t appear either – it’s ‘methylisothiazolinone’ and ‘methylchloroisothiazolinone’ as you’re aware of.
      Dodecyl gallate is another preservative – but I don’t think it’s especially common, though can be used in food too.
      None of these are parabens. Parabens all contain ‘paraben’ in their name.
      The British brand Odylique I think would be safe for you, but check before you buy.
      Best wishes, Alex, Editor, MI-Free

    2. Lisa M Wolf

      Alex has great links under Cosmetics-> Makeup
      I bought IDUN but haven’t tried it yet. Here’s hoping!

  5. Ali Horning

    Have you rechecked attitude living products recently? They seem to have changed some of the formulas on products and hoping the brand is still MI free.

    1. MI Free (Post author)

      I haven’t, but they’ve previously referred to MI as a “dangerous chemical” so I can’t imagine that would change (https://ca.attitudeliving.com/blogs/lifestyle/10-ingredient-to-avoid-in-a-shampoo-and-tricks-to-find-the-best-natural-products)


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