The rise of awareness about personal skincare products and the clean beauty trend has led to increased scrutiny on the labeling and the ingredients mentioned. We need to know if an ingredient is harmful to our skin or our environment. And we do so by checking the complete ingredient list of the beauty or skincare product that we buy.
The most common mistake that most of us do while choosing the products is choosing the ones that have highlighted natural ingredients in their labels. There is no doubt that natural ingredients are good for the environment but not all ingredients are good for our skin. The truth is that the products with a completely natural ingredient list may still need suitable preservatives to increase the shelf life of the products.
That brings us to wonder what exactly is clean beauty? What does it comprise of and how can we select that? Read along…
WHAT DOES CLEAN BEAUTY MEAN?
The general understanding of clean beauty refers to cosmetic and skincare products that are made with skin-friendly ingredients that are also harmless to nature. These products do not contain any harsh chemicals with negative side-effects on our skin and body health.
But that does not mean that every synthetic skincare ingredient is bad or harmful for our skin just as not every natural ingredient is helpful. What this means is that just because a skincare product claims to be 100% organic doesn’t make it 100% best for your skin. Dr. Courtney Blair Rubin in her article on clean beauty focuses on the importance of skin-friendly science along with nature-inspired ingredients.
WHY IS CLEAN BEAUTY IMPORTANT?
When we use various products with unknown compounds in them, it is our health and our planet that suffers the most. Using chemically-loaded skincare products not only harms our skin on the surface but also disrupts our inner functioning. Plasticizers like phthalates are harming our skin, our health, and the nature around us.
It is our duty to keep our environment free of any toxic materials and preserve it to keep it beautiful for future generations. Momentary glamour is not worth the harm it causes to our skin and our nature. Using a safer, long-lasting alternative is the main purpose of the clean beauty trend. Proper regulation upon how beauty products are made and what ingredients are used in them is needed and there are many clean beauty activists that are demanding for more stricter standards.
HOW DO WE KNOW IF WE ARE BUYING THE RIGHT PRODUCT?
Even if everyone has a different understanding of the concept, most experts believe that terms like “natural”, “organic”, “green”, and “clean” are used so loosely that they have lost their credibility in the skincare industry.
The US Food and Drug Administration has not given a specific definition of clean beauty and that has led everyone to interpret it in their own way. It could mean anything from having 100% organic skincare products to including only a diluted extract of your favorite natural ingredient.
With the clean beauty movement going on in full-force, there are many skincare retailers who bend the meaning of clean beauty as per their benefits and make us believe what they want. Every brand has its own definition of clean beauty and they all want consumers to believe in their understanding of the concept. To escape such opportunists it is necessary to become aware and well-informed about which ingredients are good and which do not make the cut.
WHAT IS EXCLUDED?
Knowing that there is a long list of skincare brands selling off their products as clean beauty products, it can be hard to figure out which products really are the good ones. So, instead of checking for ingredients that should be there in your skincare product, it is easier to check for harmful chemical compounds and ingredients which should not be there in it.
Here’s what your skincare products should not have in them,
Cosmetics and skincare products use parabens as synthetic preservatives. You can easily identify them by the compounds with ‘paraben’ suffix in their names in the ingredient list.
Parabens have been a subject of scientific debate for a few years now, people suspect these parabens to be endocrine disruptors and can mess with the hormones. Market research by Nielsen shows that people are leaning more towards buying paraben-free products.
Sodium Lauryl Sulfates (SLS) is used as a flea and tick repellant in shampoo for cats and dogs and it is also used as a cleaning agent in most FMCG skincare products available on the supermarket shelf.
SLS in high amounts has been proven to be harmful to our skin and eyes. Studies show that SLS in excess amounts can also cause eczematous dermatitis and other allergic reaction. Even though the FDA has pronounced it safe for cosmetics, many beauty companies are choosing to go sulfate-free.
Phthalates are the chemical compounds used to soften the plastic so that it could be molded into a particular shape. In the skincare industry, phthalates are used as solvents in products like nail paints.
Phthalates are also considered to be endocrine disruptors. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classifies a certain type of phthalate, diethylhexyl phthalate (DEHP) to be a carcinogen – a cancer-causing agent. It is prohibited to be used in any skincare or beauty cosmetic product.
Apart from that, there are several other types of phthalates that have been banned from use in the cosmetic and skincare industry by the European Union. These are dibutyl phthalate, di-isobutyl phthalate, and butyl benzyl phthalate.
So, if you see any of these compounds in the ingredient list of the skincare product then that product is clearly not for you. Make sure none of these chemical compounds are present in the ingredient list of your favorite skincare products.
TRICLOSAN OR TRICLOCARBAN
Triclosan or Triclocarban is an ingredient added to various antibacterial soaps to prevent bacterial contamination in the products. But its use has been banned in the soaps by the FDA. Triclosan is a known endocrine disruptor.
It increases resistance to antibiotics making us vulnerable to attacks from viruses and bacteria. FDA states the possibility that triclosan can be a potential cause of skin cancer.
Artificial fragrances are other compounds that contain different chemicals that are harmful to our skin. 75% of these chemicals are phthalates that disrupt the endocrine system and messes up hormones in human body.
Most of the cosmetic and skincare products that do not claim to be clean beauty products contain “fragrance” which you can easily find in the ingredient list given on the product. If it contains “fragrance” it usually points to artificial fragrance. This artificial fragrance is easily absorbed in our skin and harms it faster than most chemical compounds listed here.
The EU and Canada have already banned phthalates which ultimately brings a ban upon artificial fragrances as well.
Talcum powder or simply talc is a mineral (Hydrous Magnesium Silicate) made of oxygen, magnesium, and silicon. It has been used for a long time in the beauty industry.
Talc contains asbestos in its natural form. Asbestos is a known carcinogen or a compound that causes cancer. Asbestos-free talcs are also present in the market but their safety remains a question. So, many clean beauty brands have completely banished the use of talc in their products.
Aluminum is generally found in antiperspirants and deodorants in the form of Potassium Alum or Ammonium Alum. Both these substances are bioaccumulative and may cause cancer. Aluminum also causes Alzheimer’s disease.
So, if you are using antiperspirant or deodorant then you might have to check those ingredient labels before you use them the next time.
WHAT ARE THE ALTERNATIVES?
If we cannot use the above compounds in our cosmetic and skincare products then there is a need for alternatives for the purpose they used to fulfill. There are many other alternatives to the above-given list of “bad compounds”.
Many skincare brands are using Phenoxyethanol as an alternative to parabens and even sodium benzoate has been used as an alternative to parabens. Similarly, scientists and researchers are in search of safer alternatives for the harsh chemical compounds that can give consumers better products without compromising the quality of the product.
Until then, the best way to separate the good ones from the harmful ones is to make sure they don’t contain these chemicals but also give you effective results. Look for brands like Bee Elite Essentials that are made with powerful and potent nature-inspired compounds and do not contain parabens, sulfates, phthalates, mineral oils.
Why is clean beauty important?
Clean beauty is a concept that strives to make people realize what is good for their skin, it is about sustainable skincare and beauty that is not harmful to your skin or the environment.
Is 100% pure cosmetics really pure?
Most of the cosmetics that are available in the market have preservatives in them. The best way to know if the product is pure is to check the ingredients list. Just make sure that there aren't any harmful elements or compounds in it. Refer the list we have written above to see to ensure that those ingredients are not in your products' ingredient list.
What is natural beauty?
We believe that natural beauty is something that looks the way it is naturally without any makeup. Yes, you need skincare products to maintain your skin quality but not makeup or surgeries to cover it up or change it.
How can I be naturally pretty?
You are already pretty. All you need to do is to maintain your skin and those gorgeous looks. Follow a strict skincare routine every day to keep your skin clear of any impurities and bring forth your natural glow. We would suggest using Bee Elite Essentials Ageless Series, it has all the skincare products you will need to take care of your skin and it is made with nature-inspired ingredients that will love your skin as much as you do.
The market is full of various beauty and skincare products, all claiming to be the best. In this race, it is the consumer who is affected by the products and ends up suffering the most. Awareness about which products we are using and what ingredients and compounds are used to make those products is very important.
The good thing is, we as consumers are also getting more educated about these products, their effects on us and our environment. Hopefully, the information shared in today’s article will help you seek out the right products. If you liked this article make sure to check our other article on daily skincare for fall.