Understanding Clean Beauty and its ingredients?

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Understanding Clean Beauty and its ingredients?

“Clean beauty revolution” is a combination of words that we see more often everyday. But what’s the real meaning of “Clean beauty”? ??

Understanding Clean Beauty can be tricky, as it is still open to interpretation. Any product that claims to be “clean” is meant to be made without ingredients that are harmful for you. However, what kind of ingredients are bad for you? There are also natural plants that are poisonous…yes…NATURAL… ☠️

More than 1,300 ingredients are banned from cosmetics in the EU, whereas only 30 are banned in the US by the Federal Food, Drugs and Cosmetics act. This means that the dangerousness of the ingredients we consume depends on your current location. Different parts of the world follow different rules and guidelines. Crazy, right?

And this is when we can understand a little bit more about why the term “clean beauty” is an emerging (but ambigious) trend at the moment, and it has appeared to leave a mark and stay with us.

Categorically, all ingredients are “chemicals”. The main difference lies in being synthetic or natural. Clean beauty advocates the LESS the BETTER, which means short ingredient lists, minimal formulas and not many synthetic chemical related products.

According to a recent consumer survey published by Mintel, 21% of US buyers look for skincare products with the LESS is MORE philosophy. Moreover, there are further studies claiming that 62% of millennials read the labels in order to avoid certain ingredients. But the question is… Why consumers want less ingredients as possible?

Sustainable influencer @gigimartinoc

Reading between the lines here is quite simple as well as crucial: people want ingredients that do not harm their bodies. For instance, aggressive synthetic chemicals such as artificial colours or mineral oils (like paraffinum liquidum, petroleum, petrolatum) clog pores, irritate the skin and make it more sensitive.

The side effects as well as the “ingredients to avoid” list can be endless. Parabens (butyl, propyl, ethyl, methyl…) have been recently linked to breast cancer, reproductive issues and obesity.

In particular, there is a study that “highlights that the usage of parabens in various food, cosmetic and pharmaceutic products may be connected not only with hormone dependent health problems but also with diseases of civilization like obesity.” Read more: Parabens and Their Relation to Obesity. Physiological Research.

As 62% of consumers globally are concerned about looking old, natural and plant based ingredients/formulas are in vogue. We all want to avoid harsh chemicals on our skin.

Silicones, sulphates, emulsifiers or SLS (sodium laurel sulfate) cannot only irritate, unbalance and damage our skin, but also get absorbed and lead to long term health problems. Read more: Hazardous Ingredients in Cosmetics and Personal Care Products and Health Concern: A Review

In a nutshell, consumers are now making more informed decisions when buying products. We are little by little becoming more knowledgeable on what to eat, drink and put into our bodies. According to experts, making the right decision when buying sustainable products has a huge environmental impact. For example, using isoamyl cocoate as an emollient, (“a natural emollient ester derived from sugar beets and coconut oil”), can hugely impact our planet since it is “produced in an innovative, eco-friendly way that saves about 60% on energy consumption and CO2 emission compared to traditional manufacturing methods.”

We’ve learnt that consumers are becoming more knowledgeable and they care about what they are putting in their body. We can have higher trust in companies using shorter ingredients list that include more natural ingredients than synthetic.

Knowledge is power, however understanding brings everything together. Therefore the more we understand the quicker we evolve and can become the best forms of ourselves.

References and further reading:

Garner, Nicole & Siol, Antje & Eilks, Ingo. (2014). Parabens as preservatives in personal care products. Chemistry in Action. 2014. 38-43.

Jacob, Saya & Cornell, Erika & Kwa, Michael & Funk, William & Xu, Shuai. (2018). Cosmetics and Cancer: Adverse Event Reports Submitted to the Food and Drug Administration. JNCI cancer spectrum. 2. pky012. 10.1093/jncics/pky012.

Šramkova, Monika & Kolatorova Sosvorova, Lucie & Vitku, Jana & Včelák, Josef & Lischkova, Olga & Stárka, Luboslav & Dusková, Michaela. (2019). Parabens and their relationship to obesity. Endocrine Abstracts. 10.1530/endoabs.63.P605.

Zulaikha, Siti & Syed Ismail, Sharifah & Praveena, Sarva. (2015). Hazardous Ingredients in Cosmetics and Personal Care Products and Health Concern: A Review. Public Health Research. 2015. 7-15. 10.5923/j.phr.20150501.02.


This post has 2 comments

  1. Thank you so much for breaking this down, I feel like the big corporations hide a lot of harmful chemicals in everyday products. We need to be aware!

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