You’ve probably heard the word parabens floating around lately. It’s one of those mystery words that has entered the zeitgeist, but with fuzzy details surrounding it. Are parabens dangerous? Is it a scary word? An urban legend? A salad topping?

Let’s break it down.

What are parabens? The word paraben describes any of a group of compounds used as preservatives in cosmetic products (as well as pharmaceuticals and some foods). It’s the special X factor added to extend the shelf life of products and prevent the growth of bacteria. And parabens are nothing new—they’ve been around since the 1950s.

So, why are we talking about them now?

For years, there has been speculation about parabens and their safety, since we know through science that some parabens (that can be absorbed through the skin and into the bloodstream) mimic estrogen in the body, and estrogen disruption has been linked to breast cancer and other reproductive issues. In 2012, a study conducted on breast cancer tissue samples confirmed that 99% of the samples contained parabens. The FDA has not updated their regulations on the use of parabens since 2007. Still, there appears to be adequate cause for concern especially for pregnant women and young children since disrupted hormonal systems cause the most harm during critical periods of development (gestation and childhood).

What makes SoCozy so different?

When I was doing research before developing my own product line for kids’ hair care back in 2002, I made a decision about parabens: NO. NONE. ZIP. NADA. It was of utmost importance to me to create paraben free shampoos, conditioners, and other products, made specifically for kids without all the nasties. I knew it was possible to create paraben-free, clean, safe, salon-quality hair care for kids without parabens. So I did.

I created a line of paraben free products that work wonders, smell amazing and contain absolutely no parabens, as well as, sulfates, phthalates, synthetic color, or propylene glycol. They’re even free of gluten, wheat, and nuts, making them completely safe for kids with allergies and sensitivities. All of my products have a natural shelf life of 18 months in which they stay fresh and safe to use. And more importantly, they are products I can stand behind as a parent myself.