The Truth About Clean Beauty
You’ve probably heard a lot of buzz about clean beauty. It’s something more and more people are talking about. But… you may not know what it means or even what it is. Heck, I’m still confused!! To add insult to injury on the confusion front, many products are touted as natural or clean, but they are actually not. So…what do you look for or look out for?? Kaitlyn (my digital strategy manager) and I are both very interested in this topic and we decided to dig in there, do some research and get educated! We also feel strongly about sharing what we found with all of you in order to help you possibly clean-up your beauty routine. WHY do we want to do this?? Well, some of the ingredients are potentially harming your body and we want you to make smart, informed decisions that are best for you and your health. I started my clean beauty journey last year. I haven’t talked about it much because again it’s confusing and quite honestly I haven’t found a full clean skincare routine yet that I’m in love with.
As you all know, I’m not a dermatologist or a skincare expert, but my journalism background makes me uniquely qualified to research this topic, digest it, and share it with you in simple to understand terms. I will do my best to simplify this complicated and confusing topic!
If you’re just getting started and want to learn the basics, this post along with the three linked below are where you need to start!
The Reason Why Clean Beauty Is So Confusing
The Top 10 Ingredients to Avoid for Cleaner Beauty
Popular Clean Beauty Brands That Are Actually Safe
Find all clean beauty posts here.
What Is Clean Beauty?
Clean beauty essentially means beauty products with cleaner, non-harmful ingredients. A product is only clean if it’s free of synthetic chemicals and ingredients that are proven or questionably harmful. An ingredient can be proven or questionably harmful for a number of reasons that I will get into in a minute. Clean also means the ingredients should be ethically sourced and not tested on animals. Clean beauty brands are more transparent about the ingredients in their products. They do not use any harmful or questionable ingredients and they recognize the need to test the safety of all ingredients.
Figuring Out the Labels
Natural, organic, non-toxic, clean, cruelty-free… There are SO many beauty buzz words out there… it makes my head spin! What do they all mean and what is the difference? Here’s the good news: essentially all of these labels mean the same thing with a few minor differences. Here is a simple breakdown:
- Clean – It’s safe for people AND the planet. Example: A product that has safe ingredients and packaging that’s safe for the environment because it can be recycled or it is biodegradable.
- Green – It causes no harm to the environment. Example: A product that’s recyclable or biodegradable.
- Organic – It’s only certified organic if it’s 95% organic and has an official USDA Organic Seal. This guarantees that the company complies with handling and manufacturing specifications and does not use any GMO’s or Genetically Modified Organisms. It’s expensive to get the seal so smaller companies may not be able to afford the certification. But, buyer beware! Some companies still label their products organic without the official USDA Organic Seal…which opens up the question of whether companies are telling the truth or just labeling a product to make it more appealing. Look for the USDA seal.
- Nontoxic – It does not have any ingredients that have been deemed harmful or questionably harmful.
- Sustainable – This is kind of the same is green. It should be ethically sourced, safe for the environment, and not waste packaging.
- Vegan – It does not contain animal by-products or ingredients sourced from animals. It’s worth noting that a product can be vegan, but still contain chemical ingredients that are harmful to YOU. So vegan is not necessarily clean or nontoxic.
- Cruelty-Free – It has not been tested on animals at any point in the production or manufacturing process. A beauty product can be cruelty-free but not vegan, and vice versa.
With all of that in mind, which of these do you think is MOST important?? Please share in the comments. Mine is definitely “Clean.”
My Clean Journey
I remember when I first started hearing about clean beauty… I basically rolled my eyes. I felt like it was yet another beauty trend that would fade. Part of me also felt like…”I have enough to deal with so I really can’t add one more thing to my plate.” But, I made a commitment to myself to get healthier in every way… and cleaning up my beauty routine is one of those seemingly small changes I can make…that could end up being bigger in the long run. It has PAINED me to turn down beauty contracts worth thousands with companies I have admired greatly for years, but when I set my mind to something… there’s no turning back! My journey started with clean deodorant (I use Native, you can read more about that here) and now… I have moved onto skincare. I haven’t tackled makeup yet. That will likely be phase 3. There is nothing wrong with taking your time and moving slowly. ANY change is better than NO change.
Why Should I Care?
You might be thinking “Why should I care?” And I totally get that. Let’s dive in a bit more about the “Why“…
Let’s say… you use the same moisturizer pretty much every single day. If that moisturizer has a known carcinogen in it (yes, there are actually MANY companies that put carcinogenic ingredients in products)…you are increasing your risk of cancer in the future. Think about that for a minute. You know cigarettes cause cancer. As a result, do you smoke? Most of you probably do not smoke. Is that moisturizer worth it? Probably not! Or another example: Your favorite face moisturizer has an ingredient that’s a known hormone disruptor. This can literally mess with your reproductive organs, thyroid, and other hormones. It’s often hard to trace health issues back to the toxic ingredients in our beauty products because there are also many environmental factors, but if it’s one thing you can change to possibly avoid cancer or other disorders in the future, then… why not?
Have you made any changes to your beauty routine? Do you have a holy grail clean skincare product you can share with us?? Please comment below!!
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