Natural makeup, organic skincare, clean beauty products.
All these terms have started taking over the beauty industry and can be seen on most clean beauty products we see on the shelves.
But what do brands really mean by natural, organic, and clean?
If you keep reading, I will share some helpful information for buying and choosing clean beauty products.
Natural Ingredients are not always Organic
Many times when we hear ‘organic’ and ‘natural’, we don’t really know what that is.
Natural ingredients are derived from nature, but they aren’t always organic or even sustainable.
Lack of Regulation in the Clean Beauty Industry
Since it is barely regulated by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration), it seems that the cosmetic industry can use the word ‘natural’ for just about anything nowadays.
With this lack of FDA regulations, brands can make claims about their beauty products being natural and clean when in reality they are harmful to your health and the environment.
One scary piece of information I stumbled upon is that while 1300 ingredients are fully banned in Europe, they are hardly regulated in North America!
Many cosmetics brands in the beauty industry use this to their advantage and often pack their products full of harmful ingredients, while just showing you the pretty packaging.
If you dig a little deeper, you may find that while your favorite moisturizer or lip balm doesn’t hydrate, it actually dries out your skin!
Are all Organic Ingredients really safe?
Organic ingredients refer to whether the ingredient is produced using toxic chemicals or not.
Just as in organically grown food, the organic ingredients used in beauty products can be better.
I say ‘can’ because not all-natural and organic ingredients are safe.
And SAFE is the most important thing all cosmetic products should be!
Organic ingredients as Tea Tree oil, Hemp seed oil, Ginger, and Aloe Vera are safe to use, natural and clean. They are free from toxic chemicals and can be used in lotions, body washes, creams, and much more.
Check the Ingredient List
Due to the lack of FDA regulations, it is very important to check the labels on products you use.
While brands can claim their products are natural and clean, the only way to make sure they use clean ingredients is to know what to look for on the label.
Ingredients in Hair products
Whether the ingredients are plant-derived, vegan, or eco-friendly, makes no difference if it is in any way toxic to your skin, hair, and body.
In your conventional hair care products, one of the most popular ingredients is Silicone, which can be found in most conventional shampoo and hair conditioners.
Silicone shampoo dehydrates your hair and clogs the pores on your scalp. Silicone is also bad for the environment and its biodiversity.
There are many options for Silicone-free shampoo and conditioners on the market, but the only safe way of finding them is to check the labels and make sure the ingredients listed are safe to use.
Watch out for Synthetic Ingredients
Synthetic fragrances and colors are very common in beauty products, although they are linked to agents causing Cancer and many skin irritations.
Choosing fragrance-free, clean products for your hair and body takes more than just believing the packaging. As explained above, the FDA’s lack of regulations in the industry makes it easy to make claims about the product on the packaging.
You can also download apps that will check the cosmetic ingredients for you and help you find the cleanest products to buy. They are usually referred to as “ingredient scanner” or “ingredient checker” apps and these ingredient analyzer apps will do the hard work for you, as long as you know the name of the brand and product. Some require you to scan the product but some have products already listed.
The most popular beauty ingredient apps currently are Think Dirty, INCI Beauty, Good Face, CosmEthics, and Supergreat. If you need a hand in finding the right products with the right ingredients, they are here to make your beauty shopping a little easier.
What Is In Your Makeup?
Makeup products are full of synthetic ingredients as well.
Cosmetics you use on your face should be absolutely natural and clean beauty products. Nowadays brands use less synthetic coloring in products like mascara, foundation, or lipstick.
If your Mascara causes eye swelling and eye irritation, check the ingredients used in it and replace it with a plant-based one. Cocoa pigments will still coat your lashes and make them beautiful, without damaging their natural protective layer.
Your lipstick with synthetic colors can be replaced with one that has fruit pigments or natural oil derived from rosehip or butter made from mango seeds.
For the health and safety of your skin, read the label and make sure the product is free of harmful chemicals.
What is Greenwashing?
The term “greenwashing” has become more and more popular in the cosmetic industry.
It refers to brands using terms like clean, eco-friendly, and green to mask the fact that their products are bad for your health. These might be filled with parabens and synthetic ingredients.
These misleading claims can have a very bad impact on the people and the environment.
If the packaging says the product has ingredients that are green and safe to use, why wouldn’t we believe them?
As it turns out, we can’t.
Ingredients You Should Avoid
Since the beauty industry isn’t properly regulated, products can contain harmful ingredients.
They can be found in your makeup, hair care, and skincare products.
Here is a short list of harmful ingredients you should NOT use, for your own health and safety.
Most products containing water have parabens in them, as it prevents the growth of bacteria. But studies show that parabens are linked to hormonal imbalances and cancerous breast tumors.
Parabens are best avoided, so if you see an ingredient with the word “paraben” it is better to look for a different product.
Almost all conventional skincare products have artificial fragrances in them. If a label says “perfume” or “fragrance” it could cause irritations and even allergic reactions.
With the lack of regulations by the FDA even the products that are unscented may contain artificial fragrance.
While mostly used in fragrances, phthalates are sometimes found in other cosmetics products as well. Hair sprays and nail polishes can contain this ingredient, which is a known endocrine disruptor.
Phthalates can affect your hormones and even lead to birth defects.
In cosmetics, formaldehyde is used as a preservative to prolong the shelf life of products. Even back in 2015, the American Contact Dermatitis Society named it ‘The Contact Allergen of the Year’, as it can cause allergic skin reactions and rashes.
You can find formaldehyde in ingredients as Imidazolidinyl Urea, Diazolidinyl Urea, and DMDM Hydantoin.
Found in most chemical sunscreen products, Oxybenzone has been linked to hormone disruption and in some cases even cancer. It has been used in other personal care products as SPF lotions, lip balms, and other beauty products.
FDA research from 2020 showed that six chemical UV filters linger on the skin and can be found in the bloodstream even weeks after using them on the skin.
When choosing sunscreen products, it is better to find mineral sunscreens.
If you are a parent, you should absolutely avoid using any chemical sunscreen products for the safety of yourself and your children.
Some mineral sunscreen products can still contain a mix of mineral and chemical UV filters. But mineral-only products create a barrier and reflect the sun rays, instead of absorbing them into the skin.
How to make the switch to clean beauty products?
Since our skin is the largest organ that absorbs almost everything we put on it, we need to make sure that we only expose it to clean and safe ingredients.
Start with a clean face!
Choose a cleanser that is gentle on your skin, free of parabens and other harmful ingredients.
As the most basic part of your skincare, you should find a face cleanser that will not only help you remove your makeup and wash away the dirt from pollution, but will also maintain the skin’s natural barrier.
Use a Clean Moisturizer
Moisturizer is an important step that shouldn’t be skipped in your beauty routine.
Whether you are using a body lotion, lip balm, or face cream, make sure the ingredients used in products are clean and safe.
Brands using clean ingredients
The Ordinary, is a cosmetics brand that took over the market with its clean and affordable skincare products and advanced formula. Its products are free of parabens, mineral oils, sulfates, dyes, and other toxic chemical ingredients. The Ordinary says that it takes pride in its formula made with integrity and transparency while delivering a range of products for most skin concerns.
Retinol has become very popular in fighting sun damage and preventing deep wrinkles while nourishing your skin. The Retinol Cream by Sulina Shop is a great example of a natural, clean, and plant-based product that would be a great addition to your skincare routine.
Their Retinol Face Cream hydrates the skin, shrinks pores, and can reverse the signs of aging using a balanced mix of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and essential oils.
Read labels carefully
With so many products for our face, body, hair, and nail care, it may become overwhelming to find cosmetics brands that are really clean, natural, eco-friendly, and use sustainable ingredients.
The best advice you can get is to always do your research and read the labels to avoid any harmful ingredients that may be found in beauty products.