The term “clean beauty” is commonly used, but many people do not know what it means. While products described as “clean” are not regulated like organic ingredients, the term is used to describe products that do not contain ingredients that research indicates could cause harm. Find out which beauty products are considered clean, learn how to select clean formulas and discover how investing in clean products for regular use can pay off.
What Clean Beauty Means
Products that are described as clean tend to be made without ingredients that are considered potentially hazardous. Here are a few substances that are commonly excluded from clean formulas:
Parabens are used as preservatives, and some types can act as hormone disruptors. Phthalates are also hormone-disrupting chemicals present in some conventional beauty products, such as fragrances and nail polish. These are the two types of ingredients that are most commonly pointed out as being omitted from clean beauty formulas.
The other substances listed here are featured on the Breast Cancer Prevention Partners’ Red List of Chemicals of Concern, with which Paris Laundry cross-references the ingredient lists of all products. The forever chemical 1,4-dioxane is a contaminant that may be present in sudsing ingredients. The chemical UV filters homosalate and octinoxate may be contaminated with the known carcinogen benzophenone. Triclosan is an antibacterial and antifungal agent that may also disrupt hormones.
How To Select Clean Products
There are two ways to find products that do not contain risky ingredients: shopping at retailers that check and cross-reference every ingredient in product lists or doing this work yourself. You can reference online resources, such as the BCPP list, the EWG Skin Deep database or smartphone apps that make it possible to look up products as well as individual ingredients and assess any known risks.
Shopping at a retailer that specializes in clean beauty makes it much easier to find the best and safest products. Conscientious merchants free customers up to focus on product specifications rather than being concerned with finding clean formulas. Even among clean product formulations, you may also need to pay close attention to ingredient lists if you have allergies or other concerns.
The available data on beauty product ingredients is always growing and changing. A number of ingredients are also banned in the European Union and Canada and remain legal or controlled in the United States. You may want to take global research into account when deciding on ingredients to avoid. In some cases, ingredients that were suspected to be risky are cleared for use as being safe at low concentrations.
The Most Important Clean Products
Using clean beauty products can be even more important than making the switch to clean household products or other formulas. Beauty products are typically applied directly to the skin on your face and body once a day or on a regular basis. These products can be a direct pathway of exposure to potentially carcinogenic substances, chemicals that act as hormone disruptors and other hazardous ingredients.
Ideally, your cleanser, moisturizer, sunscreen and cosmetics should all be clean formulations. These are the products that many people use on a daily basis, and your exposure to the ingredients in these products is likely to be higher than beauty products that you only use on an occasional basis.
Cleansers for face and body are often marketed as being free of specific products, but in many cases, the substances of concern are actually contaminants. For instance, sulfates such as sodium laureth sulfate can be drying but are not toxic in their own right. The presence of contaminants such as 1,4-dioxane are the real risk, but this contaminant produced by the interaction of other ingredients is not included on ingredient labels.
How Clean Beauty Products Are Priced
In many cases, clean alternatives do not cost significantly more than conventional products. You can often find budget, moderately priced and more expensive clean versions of cleansers and moisturizers for face and body and hair care products. In some cases, the alternative ingredients that are used may be more costly, which can lead to a higher product cost.
Many clean formulations are more effective than conventional beauty products. It may be possible to use less product or apply products less often to achieve the same or better results. In some cases, a product may simply cost more but have the benefit of not exposing you to potential health hazards.
If you are not sure whether you want to commit to a more costly clean formula, you might want to try a sample of the product. In the case of clean cosmetics, you may exchange some features, such as long-lasting wear, for the benefit of a reduced cumulative health risk. When you find products that deliver satisfactory performance with safe ingredients, many people find that the cost is justified.
The Benefits of Clean Beauty Products
Clean beauty products are less likely to pose a health risk over years of use. While conventional products may not immediately cause health problems, ingredients that disrupt hormones can lead to problems down the road. When you use clean product formulas and regularly assess the ingredients in your beauty, cosmetics, hair care, bath and body product collection, you can rest assured that you are using the safest formulas.
Many brands that make clean beauty products are also committed to environmental responsibility or sustainability. Choose from naturally and ethically sourced products made by brands such as Blissoma, Free + True, KYPRIS, Mukti and Paris Laundry. Using clean personal care products can limit your exposure to harmful substances as part of your daily or regular grooming routine.
While it may not be possible to completely avoid every source of potential exposure to harmful substances, using clean beauty products to minimize direct exposure to potentially toxic ingredients through repeated application to the skin or hair can be a step in the right direction. Paris Laundry offers a selection of the best clean skincare, makeup, hair, bath and body products.