Parabens, carcinogens, microplastics; the terminology around Clean Beauty can be very overwhelming and confusing. So confusing that it sometimes seems easier to pick up your trusted drugstore brands of cosmetics and forget about the hassle. If they are allowed to sell these products, how bad could it be? Well, it might be worse than you probably think! Picking the right products can have a big impact on your own health and the environment.
At YIVINA, we know from experience how overwhelming all the information out there can be, so we made a list of clear and simple reasons why to update your beauty regimen to a completely Clean Beauty one.
do not compromise
You shouldn’t have to compromise your own health for beauty. Ever. If you think your go-to drugstore moisturizer is safe because it is labeled as organic and natural, you fell right into the trap of cosmetics manufacturers. It’s a common misconception that anything labeled as such won’t harm your health or the environment.
Yet, depending on where you live in the world, labeling something organic might just mean it has one organic ingredient, and that’s it. A lot of common ingredients aren’t good for your health, so let’s have a closer look atthe basics so you can start making healthier and happier choices.
You will find them in a lot of products; from your moisturizer to your shampoo and other water-based products. Parabens are preservatives used to prevent bacteria or fungus from growing in the products, increasing the products’ shelf life. There has been a decades-long debate about whether parabens are safe for the human body. In 2004,
British scientist Philippa Darbre published a research paper that stated parabens were found in breast cancer tissue samples. The study didn’t prove that parabens can cause skin cancer, but it did identify that parabens are able to penetrate the skin and remain within tissue. Just to be sure, parabens are something you definitely want to avoid.
The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) describes formaldehyde, often used as a preservative in skincare products and makeup as ‘a nearly colorless gas with a pungent, irritating odor even at very low concentrations. Its vapors are flammable and explosive.’ That doesn’t sound like something you would even want to come near, right? Yet it’s still used in products people put on their skin, thus in their bodies.
While the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) doesn’t require formal approval of cosmetics with formaldehyde-releasing ingredients, the European Union banned formaldehyde in beauty products because it’s a known carcinogen.
These are just two examples of ingredients that are used in skincare products and makeup that are considered toxic. More ingredients to avoid can be found here.
We all love the earth, right? And we want to pass it on in good condition to the future generations. Sustainability has been a hot topic for a long time and picking the right beauty products can have a positive effect in the long run.
Think about all the products in your home that you rinse off: shampoo, conditioner, bodywash, scrub, face wash and so much more. The chemicals from these products end up right into our waterways through our drain, harming marine life and affect the food chain.
We will discuss some commonly used ingredients that are harmful to the environment, below.
Most of us love a good scrub, and rightfully so. A facial or body scrub will get rid of those dead skin cells and make your skin feel soft and rejuvenated.
Unfortunately, microplastics are often an ingredient found in scrubs. But what are microplastics? The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the European Chemicals Agency describe them as small pieces of plastic less than five millimeters long. They come from a variety of sources, including the ones we wash down the drain when we rinse off our beauty products.
Because microplastics can be so small they can’t be seen with the naked eye, the fact they will end up in the marine food chain is inevitable. Since many of us eat fish from that same food chain, microplastics don’t just harm marine life but our own bodies too.
This doesn’t mean you have to say goodbye to that baby soft skin. There are plenty of products that exfoliate your skin well without the need for microplastics. You can make your own scrub, or buy a sugar or salt based one.
A natural oil can’t be that bad, right? Unfortunately, palm oil is definitely an ingredient that you want to avoid. It is used in many cosmetic products, mainly because it’s cheap, but the effects on the environment are tremendous.
Forests are destroyed to be turned into plantations, displacing people and wildlife and releasing greenhouse gases. When peatlands are drained to grow palm trees, they become flammable. According to Greenpeace, more than 900,000 people in Indonesia have suffered acute respiratory infections due to the smoke fires in 2019, and nearly 10 million children are at risk of lifelong physical and cognitive damages due to air pollution.
Sadly, almost all of the ingredients that go into our cosmetics have been tested on animals at some point. For decades, animals have been used to test the toxicity of products for humans and the impact that chemicals will have on the environment. Animal rights activists have campaigned to end animal testing for decades, and yet the Human Society International (HSI) believes that half a million animals are used for testing in the cosmetics industry every year.
A total of 39 countries have banned animal testing for cosmetics, the majority of which are members of the European Union. It banned animal testing on finished cosmetic products back in 2004 and went on to ban testing on the ingredients of those products in 2009. And, in 2013, it went even further and banned the import and sale of any cosmetics that had been tested on animals abroad. In the United States, the situation was at a standstill until the beginning of 2020, when three states – California, Illinois and Nevada made the first move and banned the sale of cosmetics tested on animals.
Until recently, pre-market and post-market animal testing was required by law for all cosmetics sold in China. In 2014, the Chinese government stopped requiring cosmetics produced in China to be tested on animals. However, such testing remained required by law for all imported cosmetics.
the Simplicity of Clean Beauty
If the packaging of your cosmetics state they are produced in one of the countries that has banned animal testing, that doesn’t necessarily mean they are completely cruelty free. It just means that the end product has not been tested on animals. Labels are often very hard to understand and tracking the origin of these ingredients as a consumer are practically impossible.
Make sure to look for brands that are cruelty free. A product is cruelty free if the finished product and all of its ingredients haven’t been tested on animals by anyone, anywhere in the world. Vegan and cruelty free are not the same thing, so look out for that. A vegan product merely means there are no animal products used in the product, but it doesn’t exclude animal testing.
Your own health, the environment and animal wellbeing are three of the main reasons to shake up your beauty routine. While it might seem hard and sometimes overwhelming, YIVINA is here to take you by the hand on this journey, one small step at a time.
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Fatma, born in the Netherlands and currently living in Beirut, is a mother of three.
After studying law and working in the corporate field for years, she knew that her passion was elsewhere. Her dream was to own a clinic for non-invasive beauty treatments, which led her to become a certified beauty therapist.
For years she was the co-owner of a beauty clinic in Beirut – Lebanon, and is co-founder of YIVINA where she is also the Director of Content Development.