The Chemical Maze App is a must have if you are want to understand better what all those long and hard to pronounce words mean listed on product ingredient lists!

Chemical Maze is a simple app but so useful when you are trying to delve deep into understanding each ingredient listed on beauty products.

I find myself with my phone in one hand and a product in the other at work, in the supermarket….just last week after a discussion with my hairdresser about what’s in hair dyes, I found myself deciphering the label of some new products they have decided to stock to help her work out were they really as good as the sales person suggested! I have also had commical discussions with my son as we read the ingredients and search each one on the App. His eyes roll as I pull out my phone!

Chemical Maze started as a handy book which they have developed into this app now that we all have phones in our hands 24/7. The creator is an Australian homeopath called Bill Statham. You can read more on his story here. Their website explains:

The Chemical Maze was written to make it simpler and easier to recognise additives and ingredients in foods and cosmetics that have the potential to cause discomfort and ill health. With this recognition comes freedom of choice and for many a new lease on life.

So,what does this app do?

It’s basically a dictionary of cosmetic ingredients which you can search to discover what it is, other names for it, its function, what it is derived from, potential effects, possible uses and symptoms in the body people may experience. It gives each ingredient a happy green face (or two) , a sad red face (or two) or a neutral face (called a quizzical face) – I am sure you can imagine what these indicate. Basically I am happy when I see green and start to question the rest!

What I like about this app:

  • Easy to search and seems to have almost all ingredients I have searched.
  • It’s also a dictionary of food additives, so I have found myself using it to check food labels too.
  • The face symbols help you to decipher the more complex descriptions.
  • You can also search by numbers, which you may have noticed also appear on ingredient lists.
  • You can also search according to diet restrictions, what an ingredient is derived from effects on body, symptoms and risk level. I have not used this much but am starting to delve into it. These sub-categories makes it easier to look around and focus on whats important to you. i.e.: wanting to investigate particular ingredients that may lead to headaches or asthma, or avoiding product with gluten.
  • It’s created by an Australian!

What I don’t like about this app:

  • Not much not to like. It’s pretty basic but thats all you need. No images or designer looks but thats fine.
  • It doesn’t indicate how the ingredients would work together in a product so you have to decipher for yourself as you work through the ingredients list how much of the bad vs good are in a product and therefore if you would use (or not). If you look over just the red face ingredients and make sure there are none of these chemicals thats a good start!

Do you use Chemical Maze the app or book? Is it a useful tool in your life?