Popular as the term may be, how many of us actually know what constitutes clean beauty and how to shop consciously for products that fall on the broad spectrum it encompasses?
I, for one, have spent more time than I’d like to admit researching this topic to find out exactly how to define clean beauty in order to find out how or why it may be important to bring “clean” products into my daily routine.
Turns out, you can’t. Not really.
It may or may not shock you to know that the beauty industry is essentially unregulated meaning that the FDA does not have to approve ingredients or products before they go on the market. Not only is this a huge safety issue but it also negates transparency and means that not all ingredients have to be listed and many ingredients can actually be disguised.
The lack of regulations within the industry also means that many companies can easily get away with misleading customers through “Greenwashing” and essentially have full creative control about how they market products.
A few terms to be cautious of when searching for clean products:
- No Harmful Ingredients
- Certified Green
- Chemical Free
These words could be considered “Greenwashing” and the terms oftentimes don’t carry any weight. It is a clever way to trick a conscious consumer into buying a product that may not be all it’s cracked up to be.
Brands that are actually formulating clean, honest products will be transparent about exactly what the product does not contain instead of using vague buzzwords.
To many in the beauty industry we treat “clean beauty” as products that have transparent labelling of ingredients that are not linked to harmful health effects. As a rule, clean beauty products should contain no mystery ingredients and should be exactly what it claims to be. Clean Beauty houses a broad spectrum of terms and values that can be confusing to a consumer so let’s break down some of the most common ones;
Green Beauty - Basically, eco-conscious. Brands that label themselves as “Green” may par-take in several green initiatives such as planting trees from products sold, lessening their packaging or using compostable packing alternatives.
Cruelty Free - No animal testing was conducted during any stage of the production of a product. The two main cruelty free organizations to look for on products would be PETA or Leaping Bunny.
Vegan - Products using no animal ingredients or animal by-product ingredients such as honey or beeswax.
Non-Toxic - Synonymous with clean beauty in that the ingredients of a non-toxic product could be synthetic or naturally derived. Clean or non-toxic products use ingredients that aren’t known to cause any harm or ill effects and will often be free from: parabens, synthetic fragrances, synthetic dyes, sodium lauryl sulfate. However, the term “non toxic” can cause consumers to believe that every other product with similar ingredients may be toxic to us (which is not the case, which means we have to do our own research!).
Natural Beauty - there is no legal, governing definition for this term and the word natural is used pretty freely in the beauty industry but can often mean very little. The general idea is that a “natural” product uses the most naturally derived ingredients and stays away from any synthetics or lab-made ingredients.
Organic - One of the few regulated terms of the beauty industry! There are few certifications a brand can earn in this space, one being The National Organic Program which requires 70% organic ingredients and the other being the USDA Certified Organic which requires 95% organic ingredients. Certech would be the Canadian alternative asking a minimum of 95% organic ingredients.
Thanks to the evolution of the industry we are able to dispel the misconception that clean beauty has to be all natural for it to be healthy for us. We only have to look to the plethora of safe, man-made ingredients, preservatives and synthetics that we can comfortably use in our everyday routines without fear of toxins to know this.
So, how do we choose to encompass Clean Beauty at Sunja Link Body Shoppe, you ask?
We specialize in sourcing effective, conscious, and independently-owned brands from around the world who care about quality, people and the earth. We curate a collection of products from brands that we believe are putting something positive out into the world and many of these fall on the spectrum of Clean Beauty and wellness.
Clean Beauty at its core means to us, taking stock of your own personal values, assessing what is important to you in the clean beauty world and letting us help you shop accordingly. There is no right or wrong way to begin your clean beauty journey and it’s not about getting rid of everything you own and starting from scratch, all that matters is creating your own personal relationship to it and asking yourself what is important to you when it comes to purchasing skincare and wellness products and why. Taking a look at the bigger picture may help to inspire a more conscious consumer within you and we’re here for it.