By Charlotte Hope-Shannon
Clean Beauty, a term that has overwhelmed the beauty industry in previous months and for good reason. As our desire for an environmentally conscious planet has increased, so too has our desire for ‘natural’ and sustainable beauty.
By name, Clean Beauty, lacks any formal definitions. So, without any official standard, it has surfaced under an umbrella of varying and often confusing, ideas.
With hope of aiding this confusion, we have reviewed what ‘clean beauty’ really means, for us and our products.
In the same way that the fashion industry faces the problem of greenwashing, the beauty industry is also facing a new era of misunderstanding. A product labelled ‘clean’ or ‘green’, may indeed be the opposite. And as a result, the credibility of sustainability in the beauty industry is also questioned.
And, this may be a surprise, but this also includes some synthetic ingredients too. For example, Hyaluronic Acid and Salicylic Acid. Safe synthetic ingredients are made using chemical copies of natural ingredients, are bioavailable and do wonders for the skin.
In other words, it’s important that we do our research.
Clean Beauty: Let’s Stop The Confusion
Firstly, to be ‘clean’ or ‘green’ doesn’t always mean better. Nor does it always mean sustainable. This is why research in the beauty industry is so important. As skincare industry expert and facialist, Caroline Hirons states:
Likewise, the term ‘natural’ is somewhat loose, as is the term ‘chemical-free’. This is where the confusion lies. In short, ‘chemical-free’ doesn’t exist. And, not all chemicals are harmful. Whether naturally derived or synthetically made, all ingredients are chemicals. Even water is a chemical.
Below is a list of some well-known ‘chemicals’ which are beneficial:
- (BHA) Salicylic Acid – derived from willow bark, targets acne & blackheads, anti-inflammatory.
- (AHA) Glycolic Acid – a chemical exfoliant, collagen booster, reduces fine lines, targets pigmentation.
- (Vitamin A) Retinol – usually applied in the PM, targets fine lines and wrinkles, improves skin texture, promotes skin renewal.
- Zinc Oxide – found in broad spectrum sun creams – creates a protective barrier, anti-aging, soothes, eases inflammation.
Why Clean Beauty Needs Science
Science in the beauty industry ensures that safe and legal assessments have taken place prior to product distribution. Therefore, science plays a key part in ensuring that products are secure and therefore, ‘clean’. This is regardless of whether a brand claims to be ‘chemical-free’ or not.
It’s important that as consumers we understand what exactly it is we are buying before we part with our money.
So, we have done the research for you. We have put together three of our favourite sustainably conscious brands, which actively promote honest and reliably sourced products. Each brand provides detailed information and promotes sustainable, ethical and natural products within the beauty industry.
Some Of Our Favourite Clean Beauty Brands
A classic Italian brand founded with strong, sustainable and transparent initiatives. Original, sustainable, natural and a firm favourite for all haircare lovers. I particularly love the NOUNOU range – the nourishing repair mask works wonders after just one use!
What Does Clean Mean To You?
Clean Beauty is entirely relative to each individual. And, something that may be right for one, may not be right for another. So, it’s important to define what clean beauty truly means for you personally. To help, why not think about the following four questions below:
- What is your personal, environmental and ethical ethos?
- What is your skin type and what are your skincare needs?
- What ingredients/classifications do you want in your beauty/skincare products and which benefit your skin type the most?
- And, how does this effect your relationship with the products you currently own?
Once you can answer these four questions, actively seek out products, brands and ingredients that align with your personal philosophy.
The beauty industry has a long way to go in its definitions and formulations. However, we are moving into a place where regulation and the need for transparency is on high demand.