Intro to Clean Beauty
Since last December I have had redness and irritation near my chin area, which I’ve been able to calm from time to time with certain products but the more I thought I was masking the problem the more I wanted to dive into what product ingredients I was actually using and see if that could be the problem. I first found the book, Skin Cleanse by Adina Grigore, where she recommends you start over and wash your face with only water for the first couple of days to let your skin rebalance and reset. In doing so, I began to notice the red irritation/texture I was experiencing on the side of my face beginning to disappear.
I was so interested in what I had learned from the book, I continued my research into what clean beauty really means.
What does Clean Beauty mean?
Safe and non toxic (no adverse health effects) for humans and the environment. What I also learned in all my research was the FDA has very limited control over the cosmetics, fragrance and personal care products. In fact, no product or ingredient requires FDA approval before going to market. It also cannot recall a product, only “request” that a product be recalled. This made me feel even more responsibility to understand which ingredients I was putting on my face and body.
Ingredients to avoid in your beauty products:
Parabens prevent mold and bad bacteria from growing in your products, but mimics estrogen which can lead to reproductive organ harm. (commonly listed on ingredient labels as: methylparaben, propylparaben, isoparaben or butylparaben)
Petroleum is a moisturizing agent found in lip balms, and is found to be the largest contaminant in the human body since it can easily be ingested from the lips. (commonly listed on ingredient labels as: parafin wax, mineral oil, toluene, benzene, anything with PEG, anything with DEA, butanol, EDTA)
Fragrances aka phthalates keep beauty products (nail polish, hair sprays, plastics) pliable, but has been linked to reproductive and hormonal harm in children and men. It's been linked to type 2 diabetes, obesity, breast cancers, and much more. (commonly listed on ingredient labels as: DEP, BBzP, DBP, and DEHP)
Ethoxylated Agents aka polyethylene glycols (PEGs), ceteareths, oleth, and sulfatescause bubbles and lathers in cleansers, but because it's a very harsh cleanser, it can be very drying. Although not considered "toxic", it can be very damaging to your hair. (commonly listed on ingredient labels as: polyethylene glycols (PEGs), ceteareths, oleth, sulfates)
Formaldehyde usually found in keratin or smoothing treatments that locks the hair’s broken bonds into a straighter position. This ingredient is recognized as a human carcinogen and has been eliminated from common beauty products (such as nail polish). (commonly listed on ingredient labels as: methylene glycol, formalin, methanal, and methanediol)
Abestos also known as talcum powder. Talc and asbestos are minerals that form together and have been a known cause of lung cancer and mesothelioma. It acts as a filler in makeup to create a soft, silky texture. (commonly listed on ingredient labels as: talc, talcum, talcum powder, cosmetic talc, magnesium silicate)
Hydroquinone is a topical bleaching agent, which is found in skin-lightening creams and serums. It is also used in the treatment of hyperpigmentation. Hydroquinone has been linked to various cancers, decreased immune response, abnormal function of the adrenal gland, and ochronosis. European Union, Japan and Australia have all banned the ingredient. (commonly listed on ingredient labels as: 1,4-dihydroxybenzene)
Triclosan can be found in sanitizing hand/body soaps and mascara. This ingredient has been proven to not be any more effective than just soap and water. It has been linked to liver fibrosis, skin cancer, hormone disruption, and the development of bacterial superbugs. (commonly listed on ingredient labels as: triclosan)
Silicia can be found in everything from oral care products to foundation, it is used as an absorbent, anticaking, and abrasive agent. Only one kind of silica is approved for use in cosmetic formulations, which is amorphous silica. However, crystalline silica (which is a human carcinogen) has been found in various bath and cosmetic products. Some studies have shown that amorphous silica can also contain crystalline. This raises environmental concerns because refined silicones are not biodegradable. (commonly listed on ingredient labels as: alumina magnesium metasilicate, aluminum calcium sodium silicate, aluminum iron silicates, sodium potassium aluminum silicate, silica, hydrated silica)
Oxybenzone is a common chemical UV filter found in over 60% of U.S. sunscreen formulas. This chemical creates a reaction on your skin which turn the UV rays into heat. 5 years ago, scientists found data linking the ingredient to testosterone fluctuations in men and postmenopausual women was considered clinically insignificant. A recent study suspects that the chemical is an estrogenic hormone disruptor and that it passes through the placental barrier, which can cause birth defects. (commonly listed on ingredient labels as: benzophenone-3 (BP3))
To help further clarity on which products I should avoid, I read about products on the Environmental Working Group’s Cosmetic database: https://www.ewg.org/skindeep/ and downloaded their app Healthy Living by EWG (Environmental Working Group). This app allows me to scan the barcodes from the beauty products, and lists all the ingredients that can be harmful, and rates them from a scale of 1-10 (1 being the cleanest, and 10 being the most harmful).
I also, learned that Sephora has Clean at Sephora, which allows a quick way to check if an item contains parabens, sulfates, and phthalates with the "What it is formulated without". Additionally, any clean products featured on Sephora will feature a "Clean at Sephora" green seal. This made searching and shopping for clean brands, so easy. I found so many products that I already had, that were clean and made a list of ones I wanted to try.
Clean at Sephora products are formulated without:
Sulfates—SLS + SLES, Parabens, Formaldehydes, Formaldehyde-releasing agents, Phthalates, Mineral Oil, Retinyl Palmitate, Oxybenzone, Coal Tar, Hydroquinone, Triclosan, Triclocarban, Undisclosed synthetic fragrances (Products can be formulated with disclosed synthetic fragrances that meet the following two criteria: (1) the synthetic fragrances do not include any of the ingredients listed in numbers 1 through 12 above and (2) the synthetic fragrances are at a concentration below 1% of the total formula) The following type of acrylates: (ethyl acrylate, ethyl methacrylate, methyl methacrylate, butyl methacrylate, hydroxypropyl methacrylate, tetrahydrofurfuryl methacrylate, trimethylolpropane trimethacrylate , aluminum salts), Animal Oils/Musks/Fats , Benzophenone + Related Compounds, Butoxyethanol, Carbon Black, Lead/Lead Acetate, Methyl Cellosolve + Methoxyethanol, Methylchloroisothiazolinone & Methylisothiazolinone, Mercury + Mercury Compounds (Thimerisol), Insoluble Plastic Microbeads (This prohibited ingredient applies to products that are meant to be rinsed off ), Resorcinol, Talc (Talc that is free of any asbestos can be used in the formulation provided that Brand conducts testing to ensure that talc is free of any asbestos.), Toluene, Butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA), Butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT) that is 0.1% or more of total formula, Ethanolamines DEA/TEA/MEA/ETA, Nanoparticles As defined by the European Commission, Petrolatum and Parrafin that is not USP grade, Phenoxyethanol that is 1% or more of total formulation, Polyacrylamide & Acrylamide, The following types of Styrene (Bromostyrene, Deastyrene/acrylates/dvbcopolymer, sodium styrene/divinylbenzene copolymer , styrene oxide, styrene), 1,4 Dioxane in final formulas must comply with the thresholds as follows: (10 or < ppm for products that are meant to be rinsed off, wiped off or removed, 3ppm or < for products that are meant to remain on the skin).
With this new knowledge, I can be confident that I'm putting the cleanest products on my face/body and looking my absolute best, while passing it along to Jadyn as she explores which products work well for her skin too.
Below you'll find lists of harmful ingredients to look out for in your own beauty collection, and my recommendations on cleaner alternatives!
My current favorite clean beauty brands:
RMS Beauty believes that organic ingredients is only the first step to clean beauty. Their philosophy is having beauty products not only make you look beautiful, but are healing and nourishing to your skin. (Current favorite: Coconut makeup remover wipes).
BeautyCounter is a company devoted to progress. They believe in making the world a healthier place, while creating products their customers can trust. (Current favorite: Countercontrol Clear Pore Cleanser).
Tata Harper started her company when she couldn't find immaculate beauty products that met her purity, quality, and efficacy standards. Now, she's created this well-known-and-loved brand for all women. Ps. all her products are grown on her farm! (Current favorite: Resurfacing Mask).
Biossance used biotechnology back in 2003 where they created an accessible cure for malaria. Now, they continue to use biotechnology in their skincare. They create products that are effective and safe, yet don't cause harm to animals or the environment. (Current favorite: Squalane + Phyto-Retinol Serum).
Versed is a drugstore clean skincare brand that you can find at Target. It's formulated to the European Union standards (highest standards in the world) and has banned 1,300 toxins to ensure safe and effective products. (Current favorite: Cleansing Balm).
Grown Alchemist takes an all-natural approach to anti-aging skincare, body, and hair care. With powerful natural actives and botanical ingredients. (Current favorite: Tinted Hydra-Repair Day Cream)
Will you be making the switch to cleaner beauty brands? If so what are some of your favorites? Comment below!