MASTERCLASS: WHAT IS CLEAN BEAUTY?
This word, clean beauty, can mean so many things, but to us it means products without any unwanted ingredients. It does not mean all natural, or all organic it just means clean of any toxic ingredients. This can be when you use the best of the naturals and the best of the active synthetics et voila, you have a really good product that does the job. Not all natural ingredients are good for you, some are even very toxic and that is the same with the synthetics.
But why is clean beauty important? Guess you can call it whatever you want, but the reason why it is important is to be aware of the ingredients you use on your skin due to the fact, that your skin is your biggest organ - you only got one so you have to treat it with respect.
Your skin has a purpose, it’s there to protect you from the harsh environment we live in. It naturally fights off some free radicals, protects you against harmful UV rays and holds on to your moisture level, so you don't dry out… But it can only do so much, and since the environment we live in becomes worse and worse, not to mention the pollution and the digital exposure our skin gets every day, we need to help protect it and treat it kindly.
Most of us use at least 15 products a day, (don’t believe us, check on the list below how many you use). From moisturisers to mascara and everything in between. Average ingredient list in a skincare product is 71 ingredients, now times 15, that’s over 1000 ingredients your skin is exposed to - that is a lot! It would be OK if you knew what each and every single ingredient does to your skin. But many of those ingredients are also used to make the other ingredients perform better, and the worst part of it is, some of the ingredients can create a by-product when mixed together. In other words, this means that when two ingredients come together, they can create a chemical reaction that turns into carcinogenic ingredients or even worse hormonal disruptors.
LIST OF PRODUCTS YOU USE DAILY
Shampoo, Conditioner, Body shower gel, Body lotion, Deodorant, Fragrance, Serum, Moisturiser, SPF (off course), Facial Cleanser, Foundation or tinted moisturizer, Mascara, Blush/bronzer, Powder, Hairspray, Lipstick or lipgloss.
Cosmetic regulations - well there are none! Well almost none. FDA spends 1% of their total budget for the cosmetic industry. So the industry decided to take matters into their own hands and created a self-regulated committee that brands could report to and claim all the ingredients they use in their products. But it’s not mandatory, so you can basically choose whether to comply or not. Most of the big brands do of course, because they are also watching each other. But the smaller brands, they can put whatever they want in the products, ingredients that might never have been tested on the skin, some even use ingredients and don't list them at all on the label. So, as you can see, the regulations really need to be better, as we have learned that many of the ingredients we use today penetrate the skin, and we want that for the good effective ingredients that help us look younger and feel better, not the other harmful ones. But we know they do. So the only thing we can say is, that you have to become an expert yourself if you don't want toxic ingredients penetrating your skin.
Your skin absorbs everything you put on it into your bloodstream, most of it the skin can fight and clean out by its self. But other harsh ingredients can actually do some serious damage to your skin and not to mention your health. Natural has become one of the most popular words to use in marketing (right after paraben-free) and it has kind of lost it’s true meaning. As the industry is not well regulated anyone can write natural on their packaging even if there is maybe only one ingredient in the bottle that is derived from nature. The product could still contain many harmful ingredients that are far away from natural. The best way to find out if a product is natural is by turning the box around and read the label. Claims such as ‘natural’, ‘clean’, ‘green’ and ‘hypoallergenic’ have no legal definition in the beauty industry and is very misleading to the consumer. Not to mention that when you think you know how to read an INCI (International Nomenclature Cosmetic Ingredient) companies can fool you by playing around with the order of the ingredients. Brands are required to write down every ingredient that is over 1% on the label, starting with the highest percentage ingredient (that’s why water is often the #1 ingredient on the INCI list) then all ingredients under 1% can be in any order and is usually in the wrong order in the attempt to try to protect the formula from being copied.
It can be frightening to read the label and see all of the ingredients that we are using, but don't you worry, we will be giving you a guide on how to quickly scan the list, so you too can become an expert.
European Cosmetic Regulation has been doing much better, banning over 1300 ingredients in skincare, while the US has only banned 11 ingredients since1938.. Do you know how many ingredients are allowed in skincare? 22.000 ingredients, and not even half of them have been tested.
Thankfully the consumer is becoming more aware, due to the rise of the clean beauty movement, lead by lifestyle websites like GOOP. We are also witnessing sensitive skin becoming a key concern in the consumer today. Everyone feels like they have sensitive skin (probably only 10% of the population do) but our skin has become more sensitive due to all the ingredients and toxic chemicals we are exposing it to.
FACT: Did you know that an unborn baby, which is supposed to be the cleanest, safest thing on earth, is born pre-exposed to toxic chemicals ? This is a new development, and a dangerous one. We all need to take better care of ourselves and be more aware of what products we use. As usual, we have done the hard work for you. So all you have to is memorize these ingredients, or print it out and have them in your purse, so you can cross them off your ingredient list when shopping for your beauty products. You can also have a look over here, where we have tested and approved beauty products and get them shipped directly to your door.
Finally read through the cheat sheet on what ingredients to watch out for, and if you have any questions or comments, don’t hesitate to drop us a note, we would be happy to nerd further with you on the topic of clean beauty.
CHEAT SHEET ON WHAT INGREDIENTS TO WATCH OUT FOR (TRUST US YOU DON’T WANT THESE IN YOUR BEAUTY PRODUCTS)
Mineral oil – Why? It’s a really heavy molecule and it doesn’t penetrate the skin. It usually clogs pores that can lead to acne and blackheads. Look for these names on the INCI, petroleum, petrolatum, paraffinum liquidum.
Silicones – same as above, look for dimethicone on the INCI list.
Phthalates – look for DBP, DEHP, DEP or BPA on your INCI, these are emulsifiers that are usually found in synthetic fragrance, hairsprays and nail polish and are easily absorbed through the skin! They are Endocrine disruptors and have been shown to lead to cancer in animals. DBP and DEHP are banned in cosmetics sold in EU.
Parabens – Not all parabens are harmful, and to be honest we eat them in our meals every day. But these are the ones to watch out for, if you don´t want them in your products methyl-, ethyl-, butyl-, propyl- parabens. They have been linked to breast cancer.
Phenoxy ethanol – an alternative preservative to parabens, most natural beauty brands changed over to this ingredient when the paraben crisis hit… Not nearly as well studied as parabens, but seems to be a skin irritant.
Drying alcohol – Alcohol is not the same as alcohol, look out for SD Alcohol, Denatured Alcohol or isopropyl alcohol.
SLS – Spelled sodium lauryl sulphate, a frequent surfactant in your shampoos, facial cleanser, dishwasher and basically all foaming products. It’s super harsh on the skin, and strips it of all moisture. The squeaky clean feeling you get sometimes when you wash your skin, well that is not good. It means you’ve stripped your skin of all the natural oils it needs to protect itself, meaning your skin becomes alkaline, which makes bacteria thrive.
Fragrance – trust me we do love us some fragrance, just not on our face and if we can avoid it, neither on the body. Reason being? Fragrance is protected by trade secret law, meaning you can write fragrance on a label without disclosing what ingredients its in it. Fragrance is not just one ingredient, but can be made up out of 10, 20 & up to 100 ingredients. Ingredients you don’t know and can be allergic to or some of them can create byproduct when mixed with other ingredients that could turn some ingredients into carcinogen or endocrine disruptive ingredients, and we just don’t want to take that chance. Plus after we stopped using skincare with fragrance, our skin really started glowing. This is one of the first ingredient we look out for.