What does Clean Beauty mean in 2021?
Clean beauty refers to natural beauty, organic beauty, vegan or green beauty, and all kinds of other terms that are stepping away from a long-standing norm in the beauty and skin care industry. For decades, this norm has been based on toxic ingredients and chemical products that pollute our bodies and the environment. Clean Beauty is a movement that steps away from that toxicity, and instead adopts a human, animal and planet friendly and safe approach towards beauty.
The Problem with Clean Beauty
Since there is no legal or official definition of clean beauty, brands that are aiming to be part of the Clean Beauty Movement can use the term freely. This makes it also increasingly difficult however for consumers – who are trying to see through the many product and brands available – to really pick out those brands that practice what they preach about clean beauty, not just their commercial agenda.
What is Clean Beauty, really?!
Maybe you are interested in using healthier products but aren’t sure where to start. You’re not the only one with so many brands available, to feel overwhelmed with the Clean Beauty concept and how to start choosing your products. So let’s start with some basic concepts and criteria to go by that can help you make the first step into Clean Beauty.
Clean beauty is all about beauty products that are not posing a threat to your health and the environment. This means that the ingredients in your products must be safe and clean. But what does that really mean? If you want to start identifying the ingredients in your beauty products, you can start with making sure you purchase products that to NOT include:
- Paraben like Propylparaben and Iosbutylparaben
- Propylene glycol
- Sodium laureth sulfate (SLS)
- Chemical sunscreens/UV filters like Octinoxate and Oxybenzone (choose mineral sunscreens instead!)
- Chemical fragrances and perfumes (‘fragrance’ is usually just a term used to hide other chemicals).
- Polyethylene (PEGs) like PEG-10 laurate
- Phthalates like Dibutyl phthalate
- Diethanolamine (DEA)
- Butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA)
There are thousands of ingredients that are under scrutiny within the Clean Beauty Movement. If you would like to read more about those ingredients, we recommend you start with reading about some of those ingredients in this article from The Well, or at Harper’s Bazaar here.
Another great way to start familiarizing yourself with clean and safe ingredients, is the amazing app Think Dirty. With this app you can scan your product and it will tell you exactly what you need to know about each ingredient in the product. Another great way to see if a product is safe based on its ingredients, is the Good Face Index.
The products we promote at YIVINA match the highest standards of clean beauty and are approved by industry leaders across the globe.
Another big challenge has been the transparency of the labels on beauty products. Do we really know whether all ingredients are listed on a label? How open and honest is a brand really about what they are putting into their products? True clean beauty brands list ALL their ingredients on their labels. Although many brands do still not adhere to this, the Clean Beauty Movement is demanding this full disclosure to the consumer. Another thing to be aware of is that brands can use labels such as natural and eco, without really matching clean beauty expectations, because the labels can often freely be used under very loose terms. The last thing we really want to point here, is that many not-so-clean ingredients are often hidden under a group name on a products label such as ‘fragrance’ or ‘perfume’.
At YIVINA we help people find products that match the criteria of real clean beauty.
Chemicals that can mimic the body’s hormones are classified as endocrine disruptors. Think for example of ingredients such as parabens (take a look at your ‘normal’ not-so-clean products and look for anything with the word paraben in it, you will be surprised how many you will find!), as well as chemical sunscreens. Endocrine disruptors interfere with your endocrine system, which is responsible for regulating your body’s essential rhythms (your metabolism, mood, and reproductive processes).
‘The reason that endocrine disruptors are particularly dangerous is counterintuitive at first: They come in very tiny doses. It’s their micro-ness, though, that allows them to impersonate our own hormones (also very tiny), altering the production levels of our hormones and the way they behave. Endocrine disruptors have been linked to severe, long-term health damage, including reproductive issues, birth defects, metabolic problems, and cancer. (Parents take note: Endocrine disruptors are even more of a concern for littles with developing systems.)’ – Goop
It is actually quite shocking to still find carcinogens in our beauty products, or any products that end up on our skin or in our bodies for that matter. Carcinogens are ingredients that are known for causing cancer. Yes, cancer. ‘A main carcinogen to be aware of is formaldehyde, which is used as a preservative in makeup, hair, body, and skincare products. To make matters worse, formadelhyde is never listed on labels; what is listed is the chemicals in formulas that release formaldehyde. Here’s what to look for: 2-bromo-2-nitropropane-1,3 diol (Bronopol), diazolidinyl urea, DMDM hydantoin, imidazolidinyl urea, sodium hydroxymethylglycinate, quaternium-15.’ – Goop
the Simplicity of Clean Beauty
Because clean beauty is not a fixed term, it can also mean different things to different people, which is the beauty of it. For some people it is really important that their beauty products are cruelty free, while others might really like to look for organic or vegan clean beauty. Clean beauty is not about being perfect in one way or another. The most important part is that whatever is in your product, it should be actually non-toxic. This means that whatever your individual preference is, we aim to eliminate as many toxins as possible.
This potential for personal choices in the world of clean beauty is an invitation to becoming more aware and conscious of our choices and individual values. There are clean beauty products for everyone. This shift in the industry means that consumers (you!) are taking more and more responsibility over what they want to buy and for what reasons, rather than blindly trusting what brands have to offer.
YIVINA is here to help you do that, so let us dive into a few more interesting things you can learn here, now, about clean beauty.
Is Clean Beauty All Natural?
The first thing we will address is whether clean beauty has to be all natural, which usually means something along the lines of preservatives-free. The simple answer to that question is No; clean beauty is not necessarily all about being 100% natural. Science based developments have been evolving for years which means there are many safe ingredients that have been developed over the years including certain synthetics, and even some preservatives that are considered clean. These ingredients often also support the stability of a product and the continuation of quality into the future. Again, the key words here are ingredients that are non-toxic and do no harm to you and the environment.
Is Clean Beauty Always Organic?
Here, the same confusion takes place as people often think that natural and organic mean the same as clean. Although organic ingredients are highly desirable for obvious reasons, not all ingredients in clean beauty have to be organic to be called clean. Again, it is about safety and being non-toxic. Do you have a particular preference for organic, however? Then you can opt for clean beauty products that consist of organic ingredients.
How to Start transitioning to Clean Beauty
Earlier, we already talked about the top ten ingredients to avoid when you are transitioning to clean beauty. We know that when this is relatively new to you, it might all sound daunting and overwhelming. The truth is, that transitioning to clean beauty is not as complicated as it might sound, and you don’t have to change all your habits and routines overnight. Try to see it is an interesting journey you are on, and step by step you learn and grow while your body and the environment benefit increasingly from your choices.
Start with the basics: face and hair. Most of use at least one of those products daily, so you can start simple while having a big impact immediately by avoiding the daily intake of toxins of those products and replace them with nourishing ingredients instead. Once you have replaced those, you can start looking at other products, for example those you use for your body.
Avoid initial overwhelm. With the clean beauty industry on the rise, brands are popping up like mushrooms. Therefore, YIVINA advices you to start with trying a few brands that make clean beauty products and are already well-known in the clean beauty industry for their clean and safe ingredients. Two great places to start looking for brand names are Credo and Follain who showcase many beauty products that will fit your needs.
Clean Beauty in Short
Starting to understand these basics can help you make clearer choices based on what you find important, and still know that your product can be a clean beauty product even if it is not all natural, and organic, and, and….. This also means that as a consumer it is always healthy to stay aware of what ingredients are in your products, and to keep checking in with your labels, as it is the consumer awareness that is driving the clean beauty industry to higher levels of quality and cleanness.
Knowing the differences between clean and toxic, is a huge first step towards developing clean beauty routines. YIVINA empowers you on that journey by providing information and promoting products that match with high standards of safety and non-toxicity. This way, you will know exactly what to look for next time you are shopping for beauty products and what to avoid. And on top of that… when you don’t know you can always ask us!
Clean beauty means that products are safe, non-toxic, and have brands make a conscious effort to label their ingredients in a transparent way so consumers can make real choices based on factual information about the product, without being misled by vague words and hidden terminology. Other than that, a product can be organic or natural but that that doesn’t mean it is non-toxic or clean, as many products are just using labels without rigorous checks and approval mechanism such as that of the US FDA; a tricky method called greenwashing.
It is not as complicated as it might seem, to start transitioning towards clean beauty: it is an exciting and empowering journey. And we are here to help: YIVINA – Your Source of Clean Beauty.
Your Source for Clean Beauty
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Minou is originally from the Netherlands and lives in Beirut, Lebanon. She is a Co-Founder and Strategic Director of YIVINA, and founder of Minou Hexspoor Coaching and Consulting, partnering with ambitious women across the globe to create work life congruence, well-being and self-care.
She is the proud mom of a 22-year-old son, and is a real world traveler.