What Is Clean Beauty, and Why Is It Important?
Simply, clean beauty relates to skincare and cosmetic products mindfully made that don’t contain toxic ingredients linked to harmful health effects. The popularity of clean beauty is increasingly growing as it’s the best way to protect a person’s health, skin, and the environment. When a brand claims to be “clean”, it incorporates the following terms:
Organic: implies that no toxic chemicals have been used in the production of the material. These products have special seals on them, which a consumer should check before purchasing.
Cruelty-Free: refers to a final product and its ingredients that have never been tested on animals.
Green: refers to the manufacturing of the product from ingredient sourcing to final packaging having no harmful impact on the environment.
Natural: relies on natural ingredients. These brands aim to find natural solutions to replace toxic chemicals.
Why is it important to nix the risks of toxic ingredients in products for clean beauty? Unfortunately, since there’s no established, industry-wide legal or official definition of clean beauty, brands can define it, however, their heart desires. Since our skin is a living and breathing piece of tissue that absorbs oxygen and water, it’s also going to naturally absorb what you put on it. Do you know what that means?
Toxic ingredients in your makeup and skincare can end up infiltrating your skin and into your bloodstream. Whether it’s preservatives to increase a product’s shelf life to synthetic solvents or binding agents in many cosmetics, many toxic ingredients can pose side effects to our health, wellness, and skin.
What are the Common Toxic Ingredients?
If you could decide exactly what goes on your skin, what would you include? Sugar, (pumpkin) spice, and everything nice would be at the top of our list, but unfortunately, product formulas just aren’t that sweet and simple.
When we think about what common ingredients are in popular skincare items, it’s frustrating how many damaging ingredients have become normalized in the industry. You can avoid cheap fillers, harsh ingredients, toxicity, and synthetics with our lovely list of pure, cruelty-free, and natural skin care alternatives.
But before we get to that naturally sweet side of skincare, we need to delve into the sour part – and that’s what the common top toxic ingredients are and how they affect our skin – and health:
Don’t seal your skin fate with sulfates. Sodium lauryl sulfates (aka SLS or SLES) are chemical latherers used in face cleansers, including body and hair washes, to create that bubbling or sudsing effect. They can be harsh and stripping on the skin, removing our natural protective oils and causing irritation.
Furthermore, SLES is a cosmetic surfactant that lingers in the environment and is a known carcinogen. Sulfates can irritate the skin, leaving it stripped and inflamed. It can trigger skin conditions like rosacea, eczema, and acne.
‘Ben’ there, don’t do that. And by ‘that’, we mean using products with parabens, which are artificial preservatives aimed to increase the shelf life of a product. According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), parabens are known to mimic and disrupt normal hormone behavior in our bodies. This can lead to inconsistent bodily functions, and reproductive issues, and it has also been linked to cancer.
It’s exactly why we stick with certain plant-based ingredients that can naturally stabilize a formula without the harmful side effects of artificial preservatives. Take our Mushroom Peptide Serum: Featuring skin-beneficial medicinal mushrooms and quinoa peptides, this anti-aging skin wonder formula makes skin more resilient and vibrant, and it increases firmness and elasticity.
Something just doesn’t smell right here. Whether it’s labeled as “fragrance” or “parfum”, artificial fragrances can act as irritants on the skin, especially for those with sensitive skin. The word “fragrance” is just a decoy that many brands use to avoid writing the actual chemicals they use to add the scent.
It should make ‘scents’ then why we use essential oils, which drive the effectiveness of the product and give a pleasant, natural aroma. Take the natural and divine aroma of our cult-favorite Coffee Bean Eye Cream. This creamy, dreamy formula smells like a warm vanilla latte and is infused with rejuvenating and restorative vitamins, oils, and extracts. No artificial culprits here!
Just like fragrance, the colors added to cosmetics (and hair dyes), like FD&C artificial additives such as FD&C Blue No. 1, Red. No. 40 and Yellow No. 5 are also curated from chemicals. Petroleum, heavy metals, or coal-tar are often the origins of these colors. Artificial colors can increase the risk of skin irritation, blocked pores, breakouts, and sensitivity.
Psst: We use pure color pigments from fruit and vegetables! It’s healthy food for your skin! When you wear cosmetics colored from fruit, you are getting beautiful, natural hues. But, what’s even better: you’re getting the benefit of all the vitamins and antioxidants present in that fruit!
If you recognize the cosmetic ingredient formaldehyde, it is probably because you’ve heard of it from another industry. Yes, the same formaldehyde that’s used in the funeral industry for embalming fluid is also added to many common beauty products as a preservative: nail polish, eyelash glue, and hair gel to name a few.
Because formaldehyde is considered an active ingredient, it can be inhaled when exposed to cosmetics containing it. Formaldehyde has been linked to tumors and the development of certain cancers.
Chemicals that are used in conventional sunscreens: oxybenzone, avobenzone, octisalate, octocrylene, homosalate, octinoxate. These chemicals have been linked to hormone disruption and skin allergies with prolonged use. Research has suggested that for nursing mothers, these chemicals can be especially dangerous. Nursing or not, it’s even more imperative to switch to natural sunscreens!
These chemicals not only impact human health, but they can also harm our oceans and aquatic life. Oxybenzone is closely linked to coral reef damage, bleaching, and death. It leaves contaminants in the environment through bioaccumulation, impacting sea species and marine ecosystems the most. That’s why reef-safe sunscreens have gained popularity among conscious consumers!
Silicones, such as the popular dimethicone, are synthetic ingredients that are found in makeup primers. Dimethicone is used to keep products from separating in their packaging and provides an ultra-smooth finish to lotions and potions.
The flip side of this seemingly silky silicone is it dries out the skin, clogs pores, and can lead to breakouts. We love using dimethicone alternatives such as natural oils, rice starch, sea kelp, and seaweed collagen. We feature many of these natural ingredients in our silicone-free primers and foundations that provide a flawless matte finish while being healthy for your skin.