We work out, we eat healthy foods, but then many of us cover our skin in questionable or harmful ingredients. What we put on our skin matters.” - Gregg Renfrew, Founder, and CEO of Beautycounter. How many of us actually pay attention to what goes on our skin? When it comes to cosmetics and skincare products, we follow the latest fad, or what our favorite stars wear, or even what our friends recommend. But, is that actually good for our skin? The clean beauty movement has been garnering a lot of attention. And, with more and more people joining the crusade, it appears that the trend is here to stay. You’re probably part of this crusade yourself, with your makeup vanity proudly kitted out with aesthetically packaged cosmetics that do not contain parabens, formaldehyde, oxybenzone, SLSs, or even artificial fragrances.
So, what is clean beauty anyway?
Since there’s no official definition for the term yet, every skincare and cosmetic brand that’s jumping on the “clean beauty” bandwagon has its own interpretation for it. The word “clean” means different things to different brands and people so what’s acceptable for one might not be for another. So, let’s start with the basics.
How do you define “clean”?
1. It’s non-toxic. Clean does not always mean 100% organic or natural, or even “green” (vegan and sustainably sourced). Your lipstick or makeup foundation can contain man-made or artificial ingredients but still be considered “clean.” Toxic-free means it has passed the high standards of health and safety, which is stamped with Grade A, B, or C. Anything lower is a red flag!
2. Transparency in Labels. Products that have a complete list of ingredients transparent to the consumer. If the container of your hydrating serum is not completely transparent in its label, it’s a red flag.
3. Sustainable. Both the ingredients and the packaging do not hurt the planet. This is why more and more makeup brands are going for zero-waste, reusable and recyclable containers.
Why Is This Trend Here to Stay?
1. We are now smarter.
We’re not going to kill ourselves just to achieve glowing skin. The significant increase in health-awareness is another evidence that the clean trend is here to stay. If you need a review of toxic ingredients, here’s a quick rundown of the common ingredients that need to be eliminated from skincare and cosmetic products.
a. Parabens – can cause hormone-related cancers, diabetes, thyroid problems, and even obesity.
b. Triclosan – associated with liver fibrosis, hormone disruption, and skin cancer.
c. Talc – normally contaminated with asbestos, which is a common carcinogen. d. Hydroquinone – a bleaching agent now banned in many countries for causing cancer, adrenal gland dysfunction, and multiple skin conditions.
e. Formaldehyde – another recognized human carcinogen.
f. Phthalates (DBP) – Still present in many cosmetic and skincare products, it’s highly toxic and can damage the reproductive system.
g. SLES, SLS, ALS (BHA) – dangerous. Can cause liver and stomach damage. h. Siloxanes – causes fertility damage, tumors in your lady parts, and disrupting hormone compositions.
i. Petroleum jelly – contamination of the human body
j. Phenoxyethanol – can cause damage to several organs.
2. Growing Market.
Numerous startups and entrepreneurs are gaining popularity due to their focus on clean skincare products. Even big brands, like Sephora, have now shifted to 100% clean formulations with their campaigns centered on “clean beauty”. Other brands are quickly catching up.
3. An Eco-consciousness World.
The world is getting more environmentally conscious. As a result, many organizations and brands are going “green”. The effort to save the Earth is ongoing, hence businesses profess environmental responsibility as part of their core values, which in turn inspire communities to take action.
4. The Rise of DIY.
Budget-conscious and health and wellness practitioners are utilizing food products for their skincare needs. They are concocting their own skincare products from their kitchen counters and sticking to a healthy diet.
5. Social Media Power.
Platforms like Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, etc. have played a pivotal role in drawing attention to the clean campaign. Numerous influencers with huge followings are ardent supporters of the movement.
6. Celebrity Endorsers
Hollywood movie stars and other famous public figures that promote clean beauty have consistent influence over their fans and followers. Gwyneth Paltrow, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Jessica Alba, Miranda Kerr, and Emma Watson are just some of the celebs in the long list of supporters. Their love for clean products continues to inspire many women the world over. With the beauty and skincare industry being highly unregulated, brands and companies have their own definition of “clean beauty.” What matters at the end of the day is transparency. As long as they are open about what’s inside their toner, concealer, moisturizer, and serum, these brands provide consumers with an informed choice.