The term Clean Beauty is often associated with other terms like natural beauty, organic skincare, green beauty, non-toxic beauty, and many others. Essentially, clean beauty refers to beauty products that are made without any ingredients that could potentially be harmful. This definition may sound like a no brainer, but the reality is many beauty products are made with synthetic or chemical ingredients that have proven levels of toxicity. This is the original tenant of clean beauty, but what else encompasses clean beauty?
The answer is tricky because the term clean beauty and all its other associated terms mentioned have no real definition. The beauty industry in the United States is heavily unregulated. In the US, there are 30 ingredients banned for use in beauty products compared to over 1,300 ingredients that are prohibited in the EU.
Many brands have taken their own steps to choose better ingredients for their products. Still, it can be challenging to know if ALL of their ingredients are nontoxic. Because the industry is so unregulated, companies are free to call their products natural even if they only have one natural ingredient in them. This is called ‘green-washing’- when a company uses buzz words that surround clean beauty to attract consumers who are looking for genuine healthier options.
What does clean beauty encompass?
Many large companies have lived up to the challenge of stopping the use of harsh chemicals in their products or creating new products that meet these standards. In my opinion, it is not enough to use nontoxic ingredients and call yourself clean. Here is a more in-depth explanation of what I see as clean beauty. Listed are three standards I look for in a company before I purchase their products
The first standard must be quality ingredients. I do not look for terms like ‘green’, ‘natural’, or ‘organic’ because not every natural ingredient is safe for the skin, and not all synthetic components are harmful. Instead, the aim is to check for ingredients that are not harmful in any way. That can include manmade preservatives and other synthetic ingredients.
I also look to see if the ingredients are essential to the formula or if the product is packed with filler ingredients. Why put stuff on your skin if half the content is unnecessary filler that is not helping my skin? Still, the most important thing is that products do not use harmful ingredients. Though this may seem like a common sense or simple standard, many companies still use ingredients that are known to be unsafe
A clean beauty company is always transparent about the ingredients they use, mainly because they have nothing to hide. Sometimes companies will claim and advertise their products as ‘all-natural’ or ‘eco-friendly,’ but you have to remember that these terms at the surface have no meaning. Companies add these terms to their marketing because they know that consumers have turned toward safer and higher standards in beauty products. They hope to veer those sales back to their products.
The truth is while they may have some natural ingredients they can show off, they also have many other dubious ingredients. A clean beauty company has nothing to hide. Often, they are very transparent about all the ingredients they use and even how they are sourced. Which brings me to my third point
Ethical Business Practices
Many clean beauty companies are stepping up to the plate and using many sustainable and eco-friendly metho.ds in their business models. Many companies in the clean beauty movement source their ingredients sustainably and through fair trade. They may use renewable energies or put efforts into making recyclable packaging. For many, and for me, looking for clean beauty products to purchase means looking for nontoxic high performing products and also products that are made safely and sustainably. What is the point of buying something that is not toxic for me, but ends up being toxic for others and our environment?
The clean beauty movement can be tricky because it means something a little different for everyone. While some find that frustrating, I think it’s beneficial. It lets each person take the steps they are prepared to make to live a more non-toxic life. It is not about getting something perfect, but to make changes that feel sustainable for the long run and work for your lifestyle and budget.
Why Does it Matter?
In a world that feels on the verge of collapsing at times, it can be tough to understand your roll in how you can help. I know I feel very helpless at times. I realized while I was transitioning to clean beauty that my purchasing power as a consumer is a tool for change. By buying clean beauty products, we are sending a message to big companies that we are holding them to higher standards. That we are no longer willing to invest in products that are harmful to our body and the environment.
These are only my opinions on clean beauty, and you will find other definitions on the internet. Ultimately, whether you are considering beauty products, food, or new clothes to purchase, it is vital to be a more conscious consumer. I hope this blog will give you resources to guide you along a path to a more non-toxic life.
While I believe that our society is making a positive shift towards focusing on high-quality ingredients, I think that most people overlook the business practices of the companies that they are supporting with their purchases. Thank you for shining a light on that important piece of the puzzle.
Yes, I completely agree with you. Its not all about whats in the products but also how it was made!
I’m so glad to see that you mentioned that not all synthetic ingredients are harmful – I think that’s something that a lot of people misunderstand. This is a really thoughtful explanation of clean beauty.
Yes definitely! And sometimes ‘natural’ ingredients are made in a lab because it may be safer that way then sourcing it from nature. So it is not a black and white issue!