If you are ready to switch a clean beauty routine, you’ve come to the right place! In this article you will find out what ingredients are harming your health daily in your personal care products! You will learn how to be a Green Queen and how to read labels to keep you and your family safe from toxic chemicals. Finally, you’ll learn how to transition your products with a simple approach, when you don’t have the time for extensive research! Girl, I’ve got you! I’m even including a cheat sheet you can keep in your wallet for easy reference!
Why is Clean Beauty Important?
The short story is that there are many harmful chemicals in the personal care products you are using everyday! They are known to be carcinogens, hormone and endocrine disruptors. They can also cause infertility and birth defects. You don’t even have to wear makeup for some of these chemicals to find their way into your system. It’s in your toothpaste, moisturizer, shampoo, sunscreen and the list goes on. The shocking truth is that the beauty industry is highly unregulated. You can read all about that here! Beauty and self-care should not come at the price of your health!
I have been a hair and makeup artist for over 20 years and due to my Environmental Science background, I have always been interested in finding the best products to use on my clients. Health and planet sustainability are 2 factors I always consider. There were few if any truly “clean” options for the beauty industry 20 years ago.
Today there is progress however, there is still much to be done! Education is the key! As a safe beauty advocate, I spread the word about clean beauty, through workshops with women in my community and students at my children’s school. I even had a meeting with Jane Philpott to discuss changes to the regulation of personal care products in Canada!
What is Clean Beauty?
My simple definition of clean beauty is: personal care and beauty products that are not harmful to human health. Products that are cruelty free, ethically sourced and use sustainable packaging are also part of the “clean”equation for me.
There are a lot of misconceptions as to what is considered “clean” in the beauty industry. Clean Beauty is now trendy which has lead to “greenwashing” in marketing. You will see words like “green”, “natural”, “organic” and think that it’s perfectly safe to put that product in your cart or worse yet on your precious baby’s skin. Sadly, in many cases you will also find toxic ingredients in addition to these “natural”claims. I always tell people that an easy way to decide about the safety of a product is to check the label for the term “fragrance” or “parfum” . The unregulated beauty industry does not require companies to disclose what is in their fragrance formulations, calling them “trade secrets”.
How to Get Started with Clean Beauty!
I always believe in the idea of progress over perfection! If you’ve read this far you’ve made the decision that you would like to switch to a clean beauty and personal care regimen. Don’t feel like you need to change EVERYTHING right away! Choose the areas with the most concern to start with. I’ve learned that a product absorbs into your system after 12 seconds of exposure! Think about the products that you use all over your body. I started with body lotion, sunscreen and body washes and anything going on the kids!
Tips for Switching to Safer Clean Products!
- As a busy mom of 4, I like to keep things simple for myself!Knowing the ingredients to avoid is key! See the list and free printable below!
- Skip any products that contain “fragrance” or “parfum”. For products with essential oil fragrances, be sure that the oils are pure.
- Beware of “greenwashing”! We already know that a company can make any claim they want to on a pretty package. Don’t let words like “green”, “natural ” and “organic” cloud your better judgment! 1 organic ingredient does not cancel out 1,000 toxic chemicals in a company’s trade secret fragrance formulation!
- Do your research before making a purchase! The Environmental Working Group website is a wealth of knowledge, their skindeep database lists over 70,000 products that you can check for safety!
Ingredients to Avoid in Cosmetics!
What Ingredients Should I avoid?
- Fragrance/Parfum: for the obvious reasons mentioned previously as well as it’s impact on respiratory issues and fish and wildlife.
- Parabens: are linked to breast cancer and known hormone disruptors. Watch for it in makeup and moisturizers.
- PEG: is a known carcinogen found in conditioners, deodorants and moisturizers.
- Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES) and Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) : Found in foaming products such as bubble bath, shampoos and facial and body cleansers. SLES is linked to cancer. SLS may cause liver damage.
- Formaldehyde: Another known carcinogen. Found in many hair and nail products.
- Coal Tar Dyes: linked to cancer. It can also become contaminated with heavy metals which are toxic to the brain. Found in hair dyes.
- DEA: another carcinogen found in creamy and foaming personal care products.
- BHA and BHT: carcinogen and hormone disruptor found in many cosmetic products.
- Phthalates: plasticizers used in fragrances, makeup, hair and nail products. They are known endocrine and hormone disruptors as well as carcinogens that can lead to infertility and birth defects.
- Petrolatum: derived from petroleum, a carcinogen found in lip, hair and skincare products.
- Triclosan: a hormone disruptor found in “anti-bacterial” products.
- Oxybenzone: a chemical filter found in sunscreen and other cosmetics. It is classified as an endocrine disruptor that can interfere with thyroid function.
- Cyclomethicone and Siloxanes: may cause hormone disruption and liver damage. Found in many hair, cosmetic and skincare products.
Common FAQ’s Regarding Clean Beauty!
- Do Clean Beauty Products Have a Short Shelf Life?
In most cases clean products do have a shorter shelf life. These products are not filled with chemical preservatives. I see this as an incentive to keep a very minimalist approach to products. Do you really need 5 different types of Shampoo at one time in your shower? Buy what you need when you need it! Reduce your footprint wherever you can!
- Why are Clean Beauty Products more expensive?
In most cases careful studies and practices go into sourcing and manufacturing Clean products. They are not mass produced with toxic fillers. In other words you get what you pay for!
- Do I have to throw away all of my current products?
I get this question a lot. Once I started to learn about the harmful side effects of some of my favourite products, not even the prettiest packaging or celebrity testimonial could get me to keep it. When you know better, you do better! Again, it doesn’t have to all happen overnight! Reading labels and educating yourself is the first step!
- Do Clean Beauty Products really work?
Like everything else you will find your favourites and ones that you may not invest in again despite all the the company’s best efforts to make it a “good” product. As a professional make-up artist I will always provide my honest opinions about products. My makeup kit for clients is now entirely clean and brides often ask if their makeup will last and if it will look good in pictures. The answer for the products I use is “Yes”! If I can’t check the boxes for quality and longevity for a product it doesn’t make it in my kit or a blog post recommendation.
Become a Clean Beauty Diva!
- It’s simple! Read labels, avoid bad ingredients stay educated and don’t fall victim to false labels! Keep your family, friends and loved ones safe in the process. This one small change will snowball into other healthy changes in your life too! Healthy eating, mindful purchasing in all areas of your household, fitness and so much more!
- Download this Ingredients to Avoid printable and share it with all your friends to keep in your wallet! You will never have to guess whether a product is safe or not!
I hope you enjoyed this comprehensive guide to clean beauty! Follow me to stay up to date on how you can stay glamourous and safe at the same time! xo Charlotte
P.S. I’d love to here your clean beauty faves and hacks in the comments!