Clean beauty is often associated with things like green beauty, natural beauty, and more. But what does it all mean? Clean beauty is basically what the name suggests: beauty products that are clean. Does this mean that non-clean beauty products are dirty? Short answer: yes.
Traditional beauty products are often made with harmful ingredients that aren’t very good for us and certainly aren’t good for the planet. These ingredients are cheap and easy to come by making them the perfect fillers and additives for conventional beauty products.
Why does this matter?
It only takes a few seconds for the products we apply topically to soak into our bloodstream. Our skin is our largest organ after all. And most of the time we don’t know or understand what we’re essentially putting into our bloodstream. That’s where clean beauty comes in.
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What is clean beauty?
Clean beauty is makeup and skincare products that were made with safe and non-toxic ingredients. But this is where it gets a little tricky. There is no legal definition for clean beauty and no regulations to prevent brands from using words like “clean” “natural” or “green” on their labels. This is a form of greenwashing.
Brands are very good at designing their packaging with lots of green, florals and nature to convince us their products are safe for us and the environment when in fact, they’re not.
So we can define truly clean beauty products in 2 ways. Ingredients and transparency.
Stop paying attention to labels and design and start paying attention to ingredients. Here are some to avoid:
- DEA (diethanolamine), TEA (triethanolamine), or MEA (Monoethanolamine)
- DMDM HYDANTOIN & UREA (Imidazolidinyl)
- PARABENS (Methyl, Butyl, Ethyl, Propyl)
- MINERAL OIL
- PEG (Polyethylene glycol)
- PROPYLENE GLYCOL (PG) & BUTYLENE GLYCOL
- SYNTHETIC FRAGRANCES
- SODIUM LAURYL SULFATE (SLS) & SODIUM LAURETH SULFATE (SLES)
When it comes to transparency a lot of brands will try to fool you as I said before. But clean beauty is simple. It contains minimal ingredients, no ingredients that contain “colours” or numbers. And they have a shorter shelf life. This is good. This way you know that the ingredients are real and aren’t full of synthetics and harmful preservatives.
My advice is to always be skeptical. Do your research, and don’t listen to just what the labels are saying. It sounds like a lot of work, I know. But there are so few regulations in the beauty industry. Brands can get away with saying whatever they want to and using whatever ingredients they want to.
Common misconceptions about clean beauty:
1. Clean beauty means it’s 100% natural
This misconception makes sense because clean and natural are often synonymous. But this isn’t always the case. While some preservatives are worse than others and can make products last way longer than they should, even clean beauty usually contains some kind of preservative. This isn’t a bad thing. If your products had zero forms of preservation they wouldn’t last much longer than an avocado sitting on your countertop. There needs to be something and clean beauty usually means that it’s a safe, non-toxic preservative.
2. Clean means green
I love that that rhymed. Anyway, clean doesn’t always mean green though it definitely can. But what is “green” anyway?
Green can also have a few definitions like:
- Plant based or plant derived
- Eco friendly
- Sustainably sourced
While these are all boxes that I like to hit, not everybody does. They’re not all one and the same. It matters what’s important to you And as long as the ingredients are safe, that’s what really matters. Just like on the flip side a beauty product can check off all these boxes and still contain harmful ingredients.
3. Clean beauty is more expensive
Yes and no. If you’re used to shopping at Sephora then no. If you usually get your makeup from Walmart or Target, then maybe. Though clean beauty can be found at high-end and drugstores alike! But just like with ethical fashion, when things are done properly and more expensive materials are used, it will be a little more than something like ELF.
So, how do you make the switch to clean beauty? I have a blog post all about that! You can read it here!
Clean beauty brands to try:
How sustainable is Lush, really?
Refillable makeup brands to help reduce waste
Thank you so much for reading and taking a step towards a healthier you! Please don’t forget to share this post and follow me on Instagram for daily low waste and clean beauty inspo!
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