What is Clean Beauty Anyway?
Do “Natural” and “Organic” mean the same thing?
Let’s break down what the words “clean,” “natural,” and “organic” actually mean when we’re looking at beauty product labels.
Amy Galper, the co-author of Plant-Powered Beauty explains:
When we see the word “natural” on a product label, we usually assume that either all or some of the ingredients are natural, meaning they are not made in a laboratory by scientists, right? After all, the definition of “natural” from the Merriam-Webster Dictionary is: “Existing in nature and not made or caused by people: coming from nature; Not having any extra substances or chemicals added: not containing anything artificial.”*1
But that’s not necessarily the case. And here is the shocker: What companies put in or call their products is not FDA regulated*2, “Natural can mean anything to anybody. There are no standards for what Natural means,”*3 writes Ruth Winters in the 7th edition of her book, A Consumer’s Dictionary of Cosmetic Ingredients.
So if we can’t trust the word “Natural,” how about the word “Organic”?
Thankfully, the word “organic” has a lot more weight. In the US, consumer labeling laws and USDA organic regulations require that if the word ”organic” appears on a product label or marketing, there must be proof. The National Organic Program develops the rules and regulations of all USDA organic products and has a whole list of important checkpoints that ensures that both the ingredients and the way products are manufactured are free from toxins.*4
Why should we care about beauty product labeling laws?
Let’s step back for a minute and look at some of the issues currently facing the beauty industry. As mentioned above, the FDA doesn’t regulate cosmetic products, and that includes all products we apply to our skin, whether it be cosmetics, skin and hair care, or aromatherapy products.
This is definitely a bit troubling, especially when you learn that the average woman uses up to 12 products on her skin everyday, and that those 12 products can contain more than 168 unique chemical components. Men use an average of 6 products per day, that may contain more than 85 different components (according to a 2004 study).
The effects of many of these chemicals on our health as well as their impact on the environment is still unknown. However, increasing numbers of ingredients are now being called out for multiple issues and symptoms, ranging from skin irritations to hormonal disruptions.
Enter Clean Beauty.
Clean Beauty reaches far beyond examining the safety of ingredients. It takes a more holistic lifestyle-centered approach, inviting us to become more aware of where ingredients come from, who is growing them, how they are grown, processed and manufactured, and the documentation supporting their safety and efficacy.
In other words, Clean Beauty is built on integrity, transparency, and trust.
Clean Beauty is founded on 4 guiding pillars:
- Sourcing: A clear traceable path to where the ingredient comes from.
- Integrity: The ingredients, growing, and processing practices (and even brand culture) are transparent and honest.
- Manufacturing process: Every step of the manufacturing process is clear and clean.
- Safety: Every ingredient and component has been researched and proven to be safe.
Start your Clean Beauty journey.
Take these first simple steps to transition to holistic skincare and beauty products:
- Choose products that have fewer less processed ingredients. These days, we all know that we should be doing our best to eat a nutrient-dense, whole foods diet. The same logic that applies to our food applies to our wellness products!
- Choose high-quality ingredients. Again, apply the same principles you use at the farmer’s market or grocery store. Think about how much more delicious a farm fresh tomato is than one that’s been sitting under plastic wrap in a temperature controlled grocery store.
- Try and learn about the companies that make the products you bring into your home. What are their values and business practices? How do those practices impact your family and the world around you?
- Be intentional about understanding the ingredients you use and their therapeutic properties. You can choose to care and nourish yourself and be proactive about wellness and prevention.
- Take baby steps. You don’t have to dump your entire collection of skincare and beauty products all at once. Maybe try swapping out one ingredient or product at a time and see how it feels and works.
One of the best ways to kickstart your natural skin care journey using cleaner ingredients is to start exploring plant oils. Plant oisl provide remarkable healing benefits for the skin. Take a look at a few of our specialty Brazillian Oils, and see how your skin can transform in just one month!
*1. Natural. In Merriam-Webster dictionary. Retrieved from https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/natural
*2. O’Connor, Siobhan and Alexandra Spunt, “No More Dirty Looks,” New York: De Capo Press 2010. Pg 9-23
*3. Winter, Ruth. A Consumer’s Dictionary of Cosmetic Ingredients, 7th Edition: Complete Information About the Harmful and Desirabel Ingredients found in Cosmetics and Cosmeceuticals, (New York; Three Rivers Press 2009) Kindle Edition
*4. “Organic Regulations,” United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Marketing Service website, https://www.ams.usda.gov/rules-regulations/organic