The Beginner’s Guide to Understanding Clean Beauty


For most of our lives, we’ve purchased our shampoos and physique washes with out batting an eyelash on the lengthy listing of components on the bottle. And whereas we nonetheless swear by a slew of those self same merchandise, we’re additionally grateful for the long-delayed emergence of the clear magnificence business. We don’t must wax poetic for lengthy about why this second is vital. The reply is easy: We need a greater understanding of the stuff we’re placing on and inside our our bodies.

It appears we’d like a lesson on learn how to navigate all of it. Is there actually a distinction amongst clear, inexperienced and natural? And if there’s, is 1 higher than the opposite? Ahead, Freedom Deodorant founder Ira Green helps us perceive all of the complicated language in addition to the place to begin if we need to clear up our act within the magnificence aisle.

Natural versus all-natural

The solely distinction between these 2 phrases is the addition of all. They imply the identical factor and as of now, there aren’t any FDA mandates on utilizing the phrase pure. Unfortunately, this implies the phrase is free for anybody to make use of, together with manufacturers whose merchandise might not be so secure.

“You can have one natural ingredient and still call it clean or natural. Education comes into play with knowing and understanding the ingredients in your product,” says Green.

At the identical time, simply because a product can’t be known as natural due to certification necessities (extra on this in a sec) doesn’t essentially imply it’s dangerous for you. If you’re not sure of whether or not one thing is secure to make use of, the overall rule of thumb is that the label shouldn’t appear to be gibberish.

“When looking at ingredients, you should be able to recognize the ingredients or be able to do a quick Google search, i.e., ‘cocoa butter’ or ‘beeswax.’”


Now, if a product is labeled “certified organic,” that implies that the USDA has confirmed it’s really made with 95 p.c natural components. But beware: There ought to be a certification label on the product. If it says it’s made with natural components however doesn’t have the USDA certification, it’s not the true deal.

The irony of this course of is that quite a lot of legitimately pure/natural merchandise don’t have that USDA stamp as a result of their components — regardless of their advantages — do not need a protracted sufficient shelf life for USDA necessities. For occasion, shea butter by itself is just steady as much as six months.

“We at Freedom deodorants run into this issue, as baking soda, water or magnesium is not organic [they can’t be certified], even though all our products are so clean. You can actually eat them!” says Green.

Another vital tidbit to recollect is that the FDA is definitely fairly lax in the case of approving merchandise to be used. In truth, the FDA doesn’t do the testing itself; all it requires is that cosmetics specifically not be altered or misbranded.

For this motive alone, you might need to think about including at the least 1 clear product into your routine.


If a product is labeled cruelty-free (together with Green’s Freedom line), this implies its components, formulations and finish merchandise have been developed with out strategies that require testing on animals. Organizations reminiscent of PETA and Leaping Bunny preserve searchable working lists of firms that make this declare, and those who do could show a bunny image on their packaging.

Clean & inexperienced

There are so many phrases related to the world of safer magnificence merchandise it’s turn into troublesome to differentiate which of them fall below which class. According to Green, phrases reminiscent of clear and inexperienced are merely advertising and marketing instruments. Again, consider them the identical approach you’d pure or all-natural.

These phrases can be utilized to explain one thing that features only one true-blue pure ingredient or one thing that doesn’t have an oz of the dangerous stuff. But in the end, there aren’t any rules that may technically preserve any model from utilizing the phrases. The solely label that requires testing and a label to again its declare is “certified organic.”

The no-no components

With all that being mentioned, there’s a laundry listing of components which are doubtlessly dangerous, no matter whether or not the product is labeled “green,” “organic” or something in between. Some of the larger ones are:

Parabens: Preservatives that reach the shelf lifetime of your merchandise however can nonetheless enter the physique by way of your pores and skin and hair, inflicting a number of points together with your reproductive system. They are available in numerous totally different types and are normally a small a part of product formulations.

Synthetic perfume: The chemical compounds that decide how your product smells. Depending on the particular person and their physique’s chemistry, any of those mixtures can result in irritation and allergic reactions.

Formaldehyde: In its purest kind, this can be a colorless gasoline that’s additionally utilized in paper and plywood. When utilized in cosmetics reminiscent of nail polish, it’s typically transformed to a gentler water answer, and with the assistance of preservatives (like parabens) is launched in small quantities to guard towards contamination. Unfortunately, it additionally comes with a number of probably harmful unintended effects, reminiscent of pores and skin irritation and even hair loss.

Aluminum: An ingredient most frequently present in antiperspirants to lower sweat. In brief, what it does is shrink or plug up the underarm pores and inhibit micro organism in order that they don’t secrete as a lot. Decades of analysis says the ingredient is doubtlessly linked to breast most cancers since antiperspirants are utilized so carefully to lymph nodes close to the breast and can even stop the physique’s immune system from releasing itself of cancerous micro organism.

Sulfates: This can confer with any of the next: sodium laureth sulfate, sodium lauryl sulfate or ammonium laureth sulfate. Sulfates are surfactants, or molecules that entice each water and oil. So if you scrub in your physique wash or shampoo, sulfates assist draw back the filth or oil. And if you rinse it off, in addition they support the water in washing it away. It principally helps increase the effectiveness of no matter product you’re utilizing. Unfortunately, they will typically work so nicely in addition they strip your hair or pores and skin of all its pure moisture within the course of, leaving it dry and broken.

Where to begin

Now that you simply’re armed with a greater understanding of fresh magnificence, you might need to experiment with 1 product (until you need to make your merchandise at residence). Fortunately and sadly, this sector of the business has grown a lot it may be difficult to determine the place your transition begins. If you need to store round, web sites reminiscent of Safe and Chic and Credo Beauty could be trusted.

We’ve additionally bought a helpful information here, however Green says the simplest factor to begin with is your cleaning soap.

“Find a milled soap that doesn’t have synthetic fragrance. I see them everywhere. You use this every day. It’s a big change.”

Ahead are 3 must-try soaps, all of that are thought-about both “natural” or “organic”:

Everything you've ever wanted to know about clean beauty
Image: Target

Dr. Bronner’s All-One Hemp Peppermint Bar Soap, $4.69 at Target

Everything you've ever wanted to know about clean beauty
Image: Osmia Organics

Osmia Organics Oh So cleaning soap, $15 at Osmia Organics

Everything you've ever wanted to know about clean beauty
Image: Schmidt’s Naturals

Schmidt’s Fragrance-Free Soap, $5.49 at Schmidt’s Naturals

Originally posted on StyleCaster.

(Editor references)

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