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FAQ Ingredients


 Find below why the bamboo, a plant extremely rich in organic silica, is present in all our ZAO range products (apart from pencils). 

Silica is a nutrient found in connective tissue and throughout the human body. It participates in the synthesis of collagen and elastin and thus contributes to epidermal regeneration. Over time, our silica reserves decrease, leading to skin elasticity loss and demineralisation. It is, therefore, necessary to regularly replenish the epidermis. A silica supplement (oral or dermal) is then essential to maintain skin elasticity. 


There are two types of silica: 

  • Mineral silica: mostly found in crystal form. Human body can hardly assimilate this form of silica. Only 10% of the absorbed mineral silica is assimilated by the body. 
  • Vegetal (or organic) silica: found in bamboo is much more easily assimilated. 70% of the absorbed organic silica is assimilated by the human body. Organic silica is a widely used ingredient in Eastern medicine. It boots collagen and elastin production improving skin's strength, elasticity, flexibility, resistance and also helps to maintain the hydration level. 


  • Bamboo powder: It is a white substance extracted from bamboo stems, extremely rich in organic silica. You can find Bamboo powder in the ingredients list under the following INCI name: BAMBUSA ARUNDINACEA STEM POWDER.
  • Organic bamboo hydrolate: This component is obtained by bamboo leaves distillation and is extremely rich in organic silica. You can find organic bamboo hydrolate in the ingredients list under the following INCI names: PHYLLOSTACHYS NIGRA EXTRACT or BAMBUSA VULGARIS LEAF EXTRACT.
  • Organic bamboo macerate: Organic bamboo macerate is an oily substance obtained from bamboo's rhizomes. A rhizome is an underground stem, usually growing horizontally, that each year produces roots and upward shoots of a plant. It is a real storage and survival organ.


Like bamboo powder or bamboo leaves hydrolate, organic bamboo macerate is extremely rich in organic silica. The advantage of macerate over powder or hydrolate is its ability to better penetrate the superficial layer of the skin. You can find organic bamboo macerate in the ingredients list under the following INCI name: BAMBUSA ARUNDINACEA STEM POWDER.



It is important to highlight that active ingredients contained in organic plants are much more concentrated than in conventionally grown plants.

Our makeup products combine makeup efficiency (colour, long hold, visual effect, texture) and skin care. Our ingredients have specific properties, for example: 

  • Bamboo: with its high level of organic silica is necessary for skin cells renewal (see BAMBOO & Organic Silica section) 
  • Micronised silver powder: acts as an antiseptic, it was chosen by ZAO as a natural preservative (see SILVER POWDER section) 
  • Essential Fatty Acids: rich in omega-3, omega-6 and vitamin F. They provide flexibility and elasticity to the skin, preventing skin barrier problems and increasing skin hydration level.

Here are some of the essential fatty acids you can find in ZAO products: organic shea butter; organic cocoa butter; organic coconut oil; organic macadamia nut oil; organic almond oil.  

  • Antioxidants: fight free radicals responsible for cellular ageing and skin weakening. Here are some antioxidants you can find in ZAO products: Organic pomegranate butter; Ginkgo biloba leaf Extract; Organic babassu oil; Organic wheat germ oil; Red seaweed extract. 



Our foundations do not contain any sun protection factor. However, our new BB cream contains a Sun Protection Factor 15.

It is essential to highlight that sunscreen chemical filters are forbidden in natural and organic certified cosmetics, as most of them are harmful to humans and the environment. 

Only mineral sunscreens are allowed in certified organic cosmetics. The use of mineral sunscreens as a nanomaterial for sun protection is still a controversial subject. This does not mean that all mineral sunscreens will necessarily be in the form of nanoparticles. They can also be used as microparticles. 

Our foundations do not contain any sun protection factor. 


For our ZAO BB cream SPF, we have used titanium dioxide and zinc oxide in the form of microparticles to achieve it. This way, there is no danger for humans or the environment. See also Titanium dioxide section

See also Nanomaterials section



The hypoallergenic fragrance, which is present in minimal amounts in ZAO products, does not contain any allergens. Overall, there are no allergens in ZAO products. 

According to The European Cosmetics Regulation, 26 ingredients may cause an allergic reaction. Their use is limited, and they must be included in the ingredients list if they are present in the final formula to a certain extent. The goal is to protect allergy-prone consumers by providing them with sufficient information at the time of purchase. They should know immediately whether the cosmetic product contains any allergens to avoid skin allergic reactions.

Here is a list of the 26 allergenic substances listed by the European Union Cosmetics Regulation:

Amyl Cinnamal, Benzyl alcohol, Cinnamyl Alcohol, Citral, Hydroxycitronellal, Eugenol, Isoeugenol, Amylcinnamyl Alcohol, Benzyl salicylate, Cinnamal, Coumarin, Geraniol, Hydroxyisohexyl 3-cyclohexene carboxaldehyde, Anise Alcohol, Benzyl cinnamate, Farnesol, Butylphenyl Methylpropional, Linalool, Benzyl benzoate, Citronellol, Hexyl Cinnamal, Limonene, Methyl 2-octynoate, Alpha-Isomethyl Ionone, Evernia prunastri, Evernia furfuracea. 

These allergenic substances are most often present in fragrances.



ZAO products are suitable for all skin types, including sensitive and acne prone skin.

Comedogenic ingredients are not an issue when used in lip, eyelashes or nails products. 

As far as other products, we prefer to be careful about using such ingredients. 

ZAO would like to limit the use of comedogenic oils and butter in its products as much as possible. 


Therefore, you can find the following ingredients that are potentially comedogenic but used in limited quantities to get their benefits:

– Mineral silk: wheat germ oil (0.5%) and cocoa butter (1%)

– Cream eyeshadows: wheat germ oil (0.5%)

– Pearly eyeshadows: soybean oil (less than 1%)

– Mineral touch: soybean oil (less than 1%)

– Compact powder and blush: cocoa butter (1%)




We have chosen not to use essential oils in our products due to their high sensitisation risk. 



We do use some fragrance in our products. This fragrance does not contain any allergens and is introduced in minimal quantities in all ZAO products range to limit allergic reactions.

As ZAO products are made of natural and organic ingredients, some raw materials such as oils can sometimes give a quite strong and a little unpleasant smell. We use a minimal amount of fragrance just enough to cover up this smell and to enjoy the use of ZAO products even more.

Please note that we use hypoallergenic and 100% natural fragrance. 

(See also Do ZAO products contain any allergens section) 


So far, only lip care oil contains argan oil. However, the entire product range contains other skincare ingredients.

See the Anti-ageing active ingredients section



Be sure that our product do not contain any gluten.

Gluten is a protein found in many foods made of wheat, barley, rye, and sometimes oats. Beyond the "gluten-free" trend, some individuals suffer from a coeliac autoimmune disease. 

To guarantee that our products are suitable for them, you can find a "crossed wheat spike" logo introduced by Afdiag. This label is controlled by AOECS European standard, with specific requirements such as in-house inspections and annual analysis control plans. For the time being, this label is only applied to food and non-cosmetic products. 

ZAO products contain two raw materials derived from cereals, especially wheat: · WHEAT GERM OIL


These two raw materials do not contain Gluten as we have the supplier's certificates that guarantee its absence. 



Zao products may contain palm oil derivatives, but it is essential to understand that it is difficult for us to exclude them as raw material suppliers do not offer other alternatives. 

Intensive cultivation of palm oil, mainly in Indonesia, leads to massive primary forest destruction in favor of palm plantations. 

Palm oil and ingredient complexes derived from palm oil are widely used in cosmetic products. Palm oil is easily recognisable in a product ingredients list by its INCI name, which is “PALM OIL”. It may also be identified by the following name: "ELEASIS GUINEENSIS (PALM) OIL". The cosmetic industry uses many palm oil derivatives, more challenging to identify because the word PALM does not appear in the ingredients list. 

Zao products may contain palm oil derivatives, but it is important to understand that it is difficult for us to exclude them as raw material suppliers do not offer other alternatives. We are forced to find ourselves in this situation.


Nevertheless, we are trying to do our best by selecting only RSPO certified palm oil derivatives. 

What is RSPO certified palm oil?

RSPO: Round table for Sustainable Palm Oil 

RSPO is an association founded in 2004. It aims to promote the growth and use of palm oil that meets specific sustainability criteria at all levels: producers, traders, distributors, etc.

RSPO standard’s set of criteria are applied to all the steps of transformation of palm oil up to its selling. Its aim is to guarantee the traceability of sustainable palm oil, up to the final product. 

RSPO certified palm oil shows companies commitment and also certifies sustainability. 

You can find more information about RSPO certified palm oil here


RSPO certified palm oil is the best alternative we have at the moment. However, we do not give up and are trying to find new raw materials. 

Here is a list of raw materials derived from RSPO palm oil present in ZAO products: 


Our suppliers' certificates guarantee that their raw materials are derived from RSPO certified palm oil


Note: PROPYLENE GLYCOL found in our Eyeliners is from vegetable sources, accepted by Ecocert COSMOS. We also use organic certified palm oil derivatives.

Organic farming prohibits primary forests destruction. This certification therefore ensures that these derivatives are taken from specific palm oil plantations that are not responsible for deforestation:



For other raw materials frequently used as palm oil derivatives, we have managed to find an alternative



ZAO products do not contain aluminum. Aluminum salts such as aluminum Chlorohydrate, used in deodorants and antiperspirants, is still a controversial subject. This debate involves aluminum salts that can increase breast cancer risks depending on where it is applied, and the amount used. 


However, you may find the following INCI names on our ingredients lists: 

  • MAGNESIUM ALUMINUM SILICATE: It is a completely chemically inert mineral ingredient (clay type) that has nothing to do with an aluminium salt. This raw material presents no health risks.
  • CALCIUM ALUMINUM BOROSILICATE: This raw material is not an aluminium salt and is considered chemically inert. 
  • ALUMINUM POWDER (CI 77000): This raw material is used in cosmetic pigments and is added only to our nail polishes.



ZAO products do not include talc in their recipes. Taking into consideration its bad reputation and the fact that it is a potential endocrine disruptor, we have decided to exclude talc from our products.

Pencil green 604: talc is present in the green pigment in the final product but in a minimal quantity. We are trying to replace this pigment to remove talc, but it is rather challenging as there are only a few other pigments with this particular shade of green.



ZAO products do not contain nanoparticles. 

Nanoparticles raise ethical and public health debates as they can be absorbed by human cells due to their same size (10-9 meters). These cells would let the nanoparticles penetrate the body. After entering the body, they will then be stocked, and depending on their nature, the body would not be able to eliminate them. Long-term consequences of such nanoparticle absorption are unknown. That is why, according to the new European Cosmos standard, the ingredients containing nanoparticles are not allowed.

All organic products certified by ECOCERT must meet some fundamental criteria, such as the absence of GMOs, parabens, phenoxyethanol, nanoparticles, silicon, PEG, perfumes, and synthetic dyes, or ingredients derived from animals (except for those naturally produced by them: milk, honey...). 

Ecocert and Cosmos certification conditions ensure organic products respectful of human beings and the environment. Certification bodies have assessed specific nanomaterials in cosmetic products as safe. For example, some nanomaterials, such as mineral derivatives (titanium dioxide or zinc oxide) are accepted in sunscreen products certified organic.

 However, ZAO has chosen to go further and to refuse using nanomaterials at all in our formulas. Therefore, we ask our suppliers to prove the absence of nanomaterials in their ingredients.

See also Titanium dioxide section

See also Silver powder section



Titanium dioxide found in ZAO products is in the form of microparticles. ZAO products do not contain any nanoparticles.

Titanium dioxide (TiO2) is a white opacifying pigment that has been used in cosmetics for decades (toothpaste, face cream, body lotion, makeup,...). This pigment is also used in other everyday life products: food, home, and car paint, etc.

There is a controversy surrounding titanium dioxide in the form of nanoparticles because it can indeed be considered an endocrine disruptor and potentially cause cancer. ZAO products do not contain any nanoparticles. 

Nanoparticles raise ethical and public health debates as they can be absorbed through human cells of the same size (10-9 meters). After entering the body, they will then be stocked, and depending on their nature, the body would not be able to eliminate them. The long-term consequences of the absorption are unknown. That is why the new European Cosmos-standard does not allow ingredients containing nanoparticles. 

We want to reassure you that we do not use titanium dioxide in the form of nanoparticles in ZAO products. Titanium dioxide present in ZAO products is in the form of microparticles. Microparticles are 1000 times larger than nanoparticles.

They do not pass through the skin barrier and do not reach our cells (because they are too large). Therefore they do not present any health risk.


Particles sizes:

Microparticles: 10-6 m = 0,000 001 m = 1 thousandth of a mm

Nanoparticles: 10-9 m = 0,000 000 001 m = 1 millionth of a mm



Silver is an excellent natural preservative that does not present any toxicity risk to our body as long as we avoid nanoparticles. All ZAO products, apart from pencils, contain micronised silver powder. 

In our formulas, silver plays a crucial role in preservative and skin antiseptic. Silver has been chosen precisely due to its inherent antibacterial qualities. The reason why very few companies (and no makeup companies) use silver as a preservative is only due to its high price of more than €10,000 per kilo. 

Silver is also used in band-aids, burns treatment, prostheses conservation before transplantation in the human body; it has been considered for more than 2,000 years as a water purifier and a disinfectant. That is why in the Middle Ages, nobles and wealthy people used to drink and eat from silver tableware. Silver is an excellent bacteria killer by asphyxiation.


  • Natural preservatives are as effective as chemical preservatives used in non-organic cosmetic products. 

All cosmetic products, organic or non-organic, sold on the European market must pass a test that verifies the efficacy of their preservative ability. This test is called a "challenge test" and consists of introducing bacteria into product samples and then checking that they do not grow. 

All ZAO products have successfully passed this efficacy test. 

Moreover, the silver powder is so effective that it can be used in a much lower quantity than that of traditional chemical preservatives. We, therefore, also reduce the risks of allergic reactions.


  • Is silver powder dangerous?

Generally speaking, the problem with using metals consists in their particles size: nanoparticles are controversial because they can be absorbed by the human body cells with the same dimensions 

(10-9 meters). After entering the body, they will then be stocked, and depending on their nature, the body would not be able to eliminate them. 

The silver that we use is microsilver (trade name), as it is in the form of microparticles. Their size is between 1 and 10 microns, which is about 1,000 to 10,000 times larger than nanoparticles.

Microparticles do not pass through the skin barrier and do not reach our cells (because they are too large). Therefore, they do not present any health risk.


Particles sizes:

Microparticles: 10-6 = 0,000 001 = 1 thousandth of a mm

Nanoparticles: 10-9 = 0,000 000 001 = 1 millionth of a mm



ZAO products can potentially contain insignificant traces of heavy metals as they are naturally present in our mineral pigments as impurities. 

Heavy metals (Nickel, Lead, Copper, Chromium, Zinc, Cadmium, Mercury, Arsenic, Barium) are not used in ZAO products but can be found as unavoidable impurities in mineral pigments. 

Pigments bring colour and different shades to a makeup product and therefore are essential. 

One of the fundamental principles of organic makeup is to use only natural dyes and ingredients. Natural pigments without doubts offer a narrower range of colours and shades compared to the conventional cosmetic product range, but we continue working on adding new colours to the palette. 

We use only natural mineral pigments in ZAO formulas.

Our mineral pigments can potentially contain some traces of heavy metals. 


Let’s take a look at Nickel in one of our pigments: pink dye CI 77007 (ULTRAMARINES): 

Nickel is potentially present in this pigment with a concentration ranging from 0 to 50 PPM, or between 0 and 0.005 %. (PPM means parts per million; 1 PPM = 0.0001%) 

Given that the amount of pigment in ZAO products never exceeds 20%, there may potentially be up to a maximum of 0.0001% of Nickel in the final product. 

This is true for ZAO products but also for all organic and natural makeup products.



It is important to highlight that chrome is not an ingredient added as such in the products. However, there are two things that you should know about: 


  • All ZAO formulas contain natural mineral pigments. Mineral pigments can potentially contain heavy metals traces and therefore insignificant hints of chrome.
  • Some of our products contain a green pigment, Chromium Oxide Green (CI 77288). Some people may be sensitive or allergic to this pigment.

If you have an allergic reaction, please consult your doctor or an allergologist. 

Here is a list of Zao products where this pigment is used: Eyeliner Green 073 / Eyeshadows 116 / Eyeshadows 214 / Lip scrub 482 / Eyeshadows 276 (green eyeshadows from clin œil n°2’ palette) / Concealer Green 499 


This green pigment allows us to obtain the shades of green that would otherwise be difficult to achieve. The palette of natural pigments available for certified organic cosmetics remains narrow even today. 

Since the ingredients present in our products are 100% natural and are certified organic, it is  hallenging for us to replace this pigment. 

However, we are concerned about the safety of this pigment and therefore decided to rectify the formula of the products containing this pigment. We will soon offer you new shades. 

See Do ZAO Products Contain Any Heavy Metals section



Maltodextrin is not an ingredient added as such to our formulas. Maltodextrin that you can find in some of our products comes from another cosmetic ingredient used in our recipes: Cayoma Olive. 

You can find more information about this ingredient on the manufacturer's website by clicking on the following link 

After checking all our formulas, we can assure you that maltodextrin is only present in some of our powders with a concentration in the finished product between 0.00005% and 0.012%. 

Most of the time, it is derived from starch and especially from rice starch. Rice is a natural, gluten-free cereal. Our supplier also confirms that maltodextrin is gluten-free.



Nevertheless, ZAO decided to offer you nail polishes free of harmful ingredients (including phthalates), and enriched with silica (bamboo sap). You can use them without moderation! 

It is difficult to find certified organic formulas for nail polishes. Organic raw materials available on the market do not perform well enough to formulate Organic nail polishes (especially in terms of drying or hold time). 

Zao nail polishes formulas do not contain phthalates, especially dibutylphthalate, which is known to be an endocrine disruptor and may cause eye irritation (tearing, conjunctivitis) and upper respiratory irritations (rhino-pharyngitis, bronchitis). If ingested or inhaled it can cause headache, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, hematuria, dizziness, photophobia (light sensitivity) and nephrotoxicity. 

We are continually working on making our products more respectful of the environment and your health. We have therefore replaced chemical solvents by agro-solvents (from corn, potatoes,…).

Besides, ZAO nail polishes are «10 Free». Finally, like all the products from our range, Zao nail polishes are vegan. 

See also the nail polish part «10 FREE»



ZAO has developed a formula excluding the ten most harmful raw materials. ZAO nail polishes do not contain any of these raw materials and are "10 Free". 

Nail polishes often contain petrochemical raw materials that may cause adverse health effects either by nail penetration or inhalation. 

The number before the word FREE indicates the number of harmful ingredients that are excluded from the formula. It is essential to highlight that there is no official list of the raw materials covered by the label "X Free".

Some cosmetic brands claim that their nail polishes are "10 Free" or "12 Free", but if you look at their ingredients list, you will see that there are ingredients known to be very dangerous or harmful for health, that are rarely found in nail polish formulas. They are not concerned by the "X Free" label but allow to use "12 Free" or "13 Free " tags. These brands misuse this label without making any real effort to adapt their formulas. We should then be careful! 


Even if there is no official list, you can find the following ingredients list of the "X Free" label on the internet: 

  • TOLUENE*: respiratory and skin irritant;
  • FORMALDEHYDE*: reprotoxic, irritant and known as carcinogenic;
  • DIETHYL PHTALATE*: possibly an endocrine disruptor (banned in cosmetic products in Europe but still allowed in the USA);
  • FORMALDEHYDE RESIN: less toxic than formaldehyde but may contain traces of formaldehyde and cause irritations;
  • PARABEN: endocrine disruptor and highly allergenic;
  • XYLENE*: eyes, skin and lungs irritant;
  • CAMPHOR: endocrine disruptor and highly irritating;
  • ROSIN*: irritating and allergenic;
  • STYRENE: endocrine disruptor, irritant, carcinogenic;
  • BENZOPHENONE: (1-benzophenone and 3-benzophenone): has been identified as an endocrine disruptor and is highly allergenic. 

ZAO nail polishes do not contain any of these raw materials and are "10 Free". 

Besides, ZAO nail polishes do not contain:

  • TRYPHENYL PHOSPHATE: endocrine disruptor
  • OCTOCRYLENE: endocrine disruptor
  • CYCLOPENTASILOXANE: endocrine disruptor
  • METHYL METHACRYLATE: very irritating and allergenic 

(*ingredient potentially present as an unavoidable impurity trace) 



Squalane or Squalene used in ZAO products is of vegetable origin, mainly derived from olive oil. 

Currently, Squalene is harshly criticized because the use of Squalene of animal origin can be harmful to marine biodiversity. 

Historically, Squalene was extracted from shark liver, which resulted in the overexploitation and death of the species. Unfortunately, some beauty brands carry on using it, either on purpose or not. 

However that Squalene can also be found in plants (derived from olive oil, cane sugar, rice,... ) 

We couldn't use any Squalene of animal origin considering our respect for the animal world.

As you know, our certified organic products must comply with a significant number of rules, including the selection and traceability of the ingredients. Ingredients derived from dead animals are strictly prohibited. Furthermore, our products are also certified Vegan & Cruelty Free by PETA.

You can, therefore, be sure that our products do not contain any squalene of animal origin. 


What's the difference between squalane and Squalene? 

Squalene is naturally produced by most plants and animals, including humans (it is found especially in human sebum). Its structure is similar to the skin lipids structure. Thanks to its excellent chemical affinity with the skin, it quickly penetrates the skin and gives it a silky touch.

Squalene has many benefits. It is an excellent emollient that smooths and softens the skin helping to restore the skin lipid barrier. It is also an indirect moisturiser that protects against dehydration and keeps the skin soft and smooth. Squalane is a stable derivative of Squalene, less sensitive to oxidation.

Being more stable and having the same properties as Squalene, squalane is most commonly used in cosmetics. 



ZAO respects the animal world and does not use any carmine in the product. The whole range is labelled Vegan and cruelty free by PETA.  

Deep purple pigment is derived from cochineal females (known as Dactylopius Coccus). This insect lives on Opuntia cactus variety and is mainly cultivated in Latin America, Peru is the world's largest producer. 

Dactylopius coccus female is used to produce different shades of red, orange, and scarlet. Also called carmin, this dye is named after the carminic acid found in the body and eggs produced by the female.  

The insect produces this acid under stress to protect itself from predators. Insects are killed by immersion in hot water (dried afterward) or exposure to sunlight, steam, or the heat of an oven. Each method produces a different colour.

This dye is widely used in food, confectionery, pharmacy, and cosmetics to satisfy the demand of "natural colour". Indeed, the term "natural colour" generally sells, but when we know that it takes 70,000 insects to produce 500 grams of cochineal, as well as the extraction conditions of the pigment, then it is evident that the use of carmine is not ethical.


ZAO’s choice is not without consequences, that's why we do not have any red or fuchsia lipstick.  Our products are certified organic and therefore do not contain any synthetic pigments. The only way to have a red lipstick would be to use carmine because there is no other stable natural pigment of the red colour. Mineral pigments are of ochre, or orange, there is no solid red. 

But we continue laboratory trials to find an alternative solution. 



First of all, as ZAO products are certified organic and Vegan, they must comply with the strict certification specifications. This compliance can guarantee that our products are safe. 

Apart from these certificates, we are concerned about having safe formulas without any raw materials that could present a health risk. 

Therefore, ZAO products are entirely safe for pregnant women.

As for nail polishes, even if they are not organic, our "10 Free" formulas are much healthier than the standard nail polish formulas. They do not present any particular risk. 

However, please consult your doctor if you are pregnant before use.