Beauty | What actually is clean beauty and the ingredients to watch out for?
Ok In all areas of my life I embrace wellness , in that I try to make small decisions each day that will have a positive impact on my life, mind and body , whether it's getting in my vitamins , taking 5 minutes to mediate, or picking the healthier option at lunch . Now this isn't to say I'm floating around on my cloud of superiority, there are so many more changes I could make, (but I think any small changes are much better than none right?), and cleaning up my beauty is one of the ones that i've been meaning to do for a while.
Now I don't mean giving them a wash and home editing them to look fabulous in my drawers ( anyone else addicted ?) I’m talking about using clean products!
One little problem though!! .. I had no clue what it was all about . Ok , ok I know I should be watching what I put on my skin but that was where my knowledge started and ended , so I made it my mission to find out exactly what clean beauty is and why the hell it's so important.
So,what the hell is clean beauty ?
If you hop on Google you'll find it says, Clean beauty is made without ingredients that are shown to be or suspected to harm human health, a clean beauty product should be safe, non toxic and have transparent labelling .
Simple right ?....
Well kind of , Clean beauty is still open to interpretation “claims such as ‘natural’, ‘clean’ ‘green’ and ‘hypoallergenic’ have no set definition as yet and without a standard can be misleading and open to misuse” says Annee de Mammiel , founder of de Mamiel skincare and pioneer of plant based beauty “ terms like chemical- free are silly because all ingredients are chemicals, whether they are synthetic or form nature.” she follows on with, so if it is open to interpretation that means different brands could be doing or not doing in some cases what they “feel” Clean beauty is .
Not great right ? some major confusion and greenwashing going on here, just choosing a product that states it is “clean” or “natural” doesn't mean it actually is .
Now here in the not so sunny UK we adhere to strict EU safety laws , elsewhere in the world , the levels of potentially skin-damaging ingredients aren't so heavily regulated, but this is no reason for us in the UK to not at least take note of what is in the products we are using and get the cleanest possible products we can for our bodies.
So here are some important things to know about Clean beauty , and why you should be considering making the switch.
From toxic relationships to toxic products , none of us have time for it !! Check that a product is Paraben, Sulphate and Phthalates free , these are considered the three biggest toxins used in beauty products.
Parabens - It has been proven that Parabens are able to penetrate the skin's barrier into our bodies , after which they can potentially disrupt the Endocrine system and interfere with our hormonal production.
Phthalates - Can also be harmful to our Endocrine systems and may cause reproductive and developmental concerns , the EU has banned cosmetic companies from using these in their products however they are still in use widespread in the US, and I know lot’s of us are keen to get our hands on those exclusive US skin care products.
Sulphates- are skin irritants and the concern is that they can strip skin of its natural oils leading to dryness and irritation , and I for one am not down with that.
All about Organic
Now organic is a little easier to navigate, a product can be certified Organic making it really simple to know what is what. If a certain percentage of ingredients meet the standard set by The Soil Association , as well as meeting a set criteria that includes sustainably sourced , minimum packaging and non-toxic chemicals they can receive certification.
Now does organic mean better? Well I think so. I think organic products are better for us and better for the planet, by including ingredients that are pure and grown without use of GMO’s , herbicides and synthetic fertilisers, we can be happy that nasty and unnecessary chemicals don't end up in our products and in the environment.
Do I need to think of the environment to be clean?
The impact our products make on the environment can be huge , so taking steps to buy products that take this into consideration when choosing ingredients can have a hugely positive impact. “As an emollient I use isoamyl cocoate, derived from sugar beets and coconut oil,” says de Mamiel. “It is produced using 60 percent less energy and CO2 emissions than siloxane (a silicone), and delivers a non-oily feel and light texture.” says Tata Harper the “Green Queen “ founder , showing that the same job can be done with a more natural and environment friendly ingredients.
Some ingredients you can keep an eye out for that are not great for the environment are:
- Exfoliating microbeads - many of these are made using a plastic substance and we all know plastic is not great for our planet earth just ask David Attenborough.
- BHA & BHT - In addition to being a suspected hormone disruptor, they are both linked to environmental harm .
- (DBP) Dibutyl Phthalate - We mentioned this toxic ingredient earlier , but it can also accumulate in the environment and has been linked to problems in fish.
- Triclosan - Used in anti-bacterial products in the likes of deodorants and laundry detergent it has a huge impact on the biochemistry of amphibians , fish and aquatic plants .
- Synthetic fragrances - The national geographic repterd that they “ compromise a cell defense mechanism that normally prevents toxins from entering cells' ' in fish and other invertebrates.
There are many more ways in which you can make your beauty clean, but what I have covered is a great start.
Clean beauty will mean different things to different people , and with no hard and fast standards it is very much open to interpretation. After all my reading I will for sure be more aware of the products that I am buying when it comes to myself and this place we call home , and not just look for those claims of “clean” or “natural “.
I hope you took away some tips to help you start your clean beauty regime and make some important changes .