The term “clean beauty” gets thrown about a lot these days. However, there’s not much agreement on what it means, other than that it has to do with cosmetics and the ingredients that go into them. That has led to a lot of confusion and misinformation around the topic.
Here are some facts about clean beauty that you may not be aware of.
There’s No Definitive Standard for Clean Beauty
A food producer can’t label something “organic” unless it meets specific criteria. There’s nothing like that for clean beauty. Any beauty product manufacturer can define for itself what clean beauty is. There’s no governing body that enforces labeling standards.
Most people agree that clean beauty products must not contain any toxic ingredients and that the label should honestly declare everything that’s in the products. Many manufacturers of clean beauty products adhere to these principles, but there’s nothing that forces them to. A consumer must rely on the reputation of the specific manufacturer to be ensured of a product that’s truly clean.
Clean Beauty Is Not the Same as Green Beauty
While neither clean nor green beauty has a formal definition, there are differences in their characteristics that most experts agree on. Green beauty, like green anything, is expected to be eco-friendly. Products that present themselves as green beauty are usually plant-based, sustainably sourced and don’t involve any cruelty to animals.
These may sound like admirable characteristics, but a beauty product can be green and still contain natural ingredients that are toxic. Conversely, a beauty product can be completely safe and not be green because it contains animal products such as honey, beeswax and silk.
Clean Beauty Doesn’t Have To Be 100 Percent Natural
People tend to think that natural is good and synthetic is bad, but that’s not necessarily the case. After all, poison ivy and nightshade mushrooms are natural, but you don’t want to find them in your beauty products. On the other hand, modern science has developed a multitude of beauty products that are perfectly safe.
Even preservatives can be safe. In fact, cosmetics need some preservatives. Without them the products are unstable.
Clean beauty products must be non-toxic, but they’re not called on to be all natural.
Clean Beauty Products Are Not Necessarily More Gentle
Just as some people react to synthetic ingredients, others don’t get along with some natural ingredients. There are common clean beauty components that can cause skin irritation and set off allergies. Examples are citrus extracts, essential oils and some natural fragrances.
Conversely, plenty of synthetic ingredients are hypoallergenic and just fine for sensitive skin. Because they’re synthetic, scientists are always improving them to eliminate allergens and irritants.
Choosing Natural Beauty Products
Despite the confusion, the trend toward natural beauty is largely a positive one. There are plenty of manufacturers who are serious about making products that are safe and non-toxic. The keys for consumers are to know the manufacturers and to read the labels.