Celebrities like Gwyneth Paltrow, Miranda Kerr, and Julia Roberts, are all big fans of clean beauty and lifestyle and if you notice their gorgeous and flawless complexion, you will agree that clean beauty truly works. Today it's a trend to use the word clean with beauty products –but what exactly does clean beauty mean? Nowadays, all major beauty brands use the term clean to specify that their products don't contain certain ingredients that are unsafe, unhealthy, or controversial. It means that brands too are increasingly favoring natural ingredients but are okay with using synthetic ingredients too as long as they are safe for the customer and the environment.
Brands promoting clean beauty are officially rejecting the use of products that can likely be dangerous to the skin, like- paraben, synthetic fragrances, SLS, phthalates, artificial colours, triclosan, Talc, BHA, and other such things in the making of their beauty products. So, on the surface, we have what can be called a positive concern for the planet as well as human health.
But the term ‘Clean Beauty' is a very complicated one- and as long as no guidelines by proper authorities are established, it's going to remain so. What's considered clean and safe can mean different things to different brands, and here is where the controversy springs from.
Here's What Lies Behind The Clean Beauty Buzz
Growing awareness amongst consumers has led to the increase in demand for beauty products that are minimalist and have clean ingredients, where animals have not been used for their testing and making, or its use is considered as eco-friendly. Consumers are now very knowledgeable about what they want to buy, what's actually inside the products they are using, what would irritate their skin or body, whether they can use it without it having any detrimental effects on their face and body, and even about regulations related to it. All this has led to an increase in clean beauty brands and proper labeling of ingredients on products. Now skincare brands can be held to account for using potentially dangerous and toxic ingredients in their skincare and other beauty products.
If a brand wants to sustain itself for a long time in the market, it needs to be what appeals to the smart and demanding customers of today. It needs to have minimum impact on the environment- ethical sourcing of ingredients, reducing wastage, recycling of the packing materials, eco-friendly printing, certified sustainable cardboard, ban or minimum use of plastic. Clean beauty makes us all aware of the harmful impact of most of the things which were and are still being used by the beauty industry.
Is Shifting To All Natural Ingredients The Answer?
Essentially, it's a no. When we increase the use of natural products in skincare and beauty products, aren't we putting too much pressure on the environment, on our natural resources, on human labour, and on unethical working conditions? Are natural things very long-lasting in different weather conditions? Can all beauty products for hair, skin, makeup, and fragrance be made to sustain long periods without using any chemicals?
Well, not all chemicals are created equal and we know that every ingredient- be it natural or synthetic is made up of certain chemicals. The term non-toxic is vague, isn't it? For it means anything that is not harmful to humans. Here it can cover a wide range of products, for anything in excess is harmful too, so what defines nontoxic? We all agree that testing on animals is cruel but what is the alternative to not testing products or testing them on humans –isn't that going to defeat the whole purpose of clean beauty?
So, unless formal regulation on clean beauty by authorities is established and certain fixed guidelines are put in place, identification of clean beauty brands is not that simple. Products made from natural ingredients can be harmful or beneficial depending on their making process as well as their shelf life. So, in the end, can we really go clean with our beauty products? We can certainly try, be more aware and buy smartly after reading the product details and be as eco-friendly as we can be.