WHAT IS 'CLEAN BEAUTY' AND WHY SHOULD YOU USE IT?

What is Clean Beauty?

Clean? Natural? Organic? Free-from? Vegan? Sustainable? Eco-friendly? The ‘clean’ beauty sphere can be a bit of a minefield. If you too, are wondering what ‘clean beauty’ really means, we’ve uncovered the ingredients to watch out for, some of the best brands to shop and the positive impacts it can have on your skin…

What Does Clean Beauty Really Mean? 

Clean beauty essentially means products that are made from non-toxic ingredients and which are both safe for people and the planet. The word ‘natural’ is, in fact, unregulated within the beauty industry so it’s important to consider the ingredients carefully. Similar to clean eating where you would avoid overly processed foods and prioritise wholesome goodness, clean beauty brands are opting for natural ingredients since it is suggested that around 60-80% of what we topically put on to our skin is absorbed into our bloodstream. With so many of us becoming more aware of beauty ingredients and environmental effects, there has been a huge spike in brands offering more transparency.
 

What Ingredients Should I Avoid? 

There are a number of not-so-good ingredients commonly found in your everyday products – from toothpaste and deodorant, to make up foundation and even supplements (read more about this here), we’d recommend trying to reduce your exposure to them where possible. Some of these include:
  • Parabens: very commonly-found preservatives that help your products last longer. Often found in shampoos, moisturisers, shaving gels, makeup, and much more.
  • Sodium lauryl sulphate (SLS): a surfactant which creates the lathering in most of your shampoos and shower gels. Surfactants are often also found in face wipes and can be particularly drying as they completely strip your skin of its natural oils. Not necessarily harmful but not a good way to support your skin. 
  • Phthalates: chemicals that work to keep certain products pliable and help fragrances last longer. Also found in plastic packaging. 
  • Mineral oil: a moisturising agent sourced from petroleum and often packed in to face creams and lip balms.
  • Hydroquinone: a bleaching agent frequently found in creams or serums targeted at pigmentation.
  • Formaldehyde: found in nail polish and some keratin hair treatments, which is thought to be carcinogenic - more research needed on this but best to limit exposure if possible. 
  • Clean products also tend to stay clear of talc, alcohol, dyes and artificial fragrances.

Our best advice? Try looking for products that have been certified by clean beauty advocates such as The Soil Association, Ecocert and Cosmos. Alternatively, read the ingredients list for yourself.

 

Why Should I Be Conscious Of It?

The above ingredients can all pose several threats – particularly unwanted irritation and heightened sensitivity – which is why many are adopting a more natural approach to the skincare they use. Many also find the efficacy of these clean products far better. (Note: it is still possible to be irritated by certain natural ingredients).

Some may claim that natural ingredients aren’t as effective, but did you know that most synthetic ingredients are in fact based on natural sources that have proven to offer benefits to the skin? Hyaluronic acid, for example, can be taken from fermented plants. Bakuchiol is currently having a moment and is cropping up in lots of new products hailed as the all-natural alternative to retinol but without any irritation, such as this alternative serum from Herbivore Botanicals for example.

 
Which Clean Beauty Brand Should I Shop?

When it comes to skincare, brands such as:

  • Allies of Skin
  • Aurelia Probiotics Skincare
  • NEOM
  • Neal’s Yard
  • Herbivore
  • Dr Hauschka
  • Indie Lee
  • Green People
  • REN
  • Oskia
  • Tata Harper
  • Drunk Elephant
  • Pai

All boast ‘clean’ ingredients lists and promise to not include any toxic chemicals. We love Aurelia’s Miracle Cleanser for melting away makeup and impurities, Drunk Elephant’s Lala Retro Whipped Cream for replenishing moisture and REN’s Ready Steady Glow Daily AHA Tonic for ridding dead cells and boosting radiance.

The cleanliness doesn’t stop there, as many makeup brands have also joined the movement. Try Kjaer Weiss, RMS Beauty, Inika, ILIA and Burt’s Bees. 

Have any brands of your own that you’d recommend? We would love to hear from you! Drop us a line, or check out our Instagram or Facebook to see what we are up to and hear about exclusive offers. 

Disclaimer: As with all information on www.equilondon.com, this article is not a substitute for individual medical advice.