A basic definition of clean beauty is a product that is safe for people to use, and does not include any toxic ingredients. The thing is, the meaning of words like clean, safe, and toxic are not easily defined. Not to mention, there aren't any regulations around the word clean, meaning a company can claim its products are clean, even if they are filled with ingredients that might be unsafe. Companies can use whatever adjectives they’d like when it comes to marketing and “greenwashing” their products. We all have personal sets of standards when it comes to beauty and hygiene products, so if avoiding dirty ingredients is important to you, here are a few tips for keeping your beauty routine clean.
Beauty Ingredients to Avoid:
1. ALCOHOL: often used in products like foundation and concealer to facilitate other ingredients' ability to sink into the skin, but they can be extremely drying and irritating. Alcohols can be comedogenic, cause a lot of irritation, dehydration, and free radical damage. They are more problematic the higher up they are on the ingredient list.
2. ALUMINUM: A toxic metal that can disrupt healthy functioning of the endocrine system. Found in almost every personal care product, especially antiperspirant deodorants.
3. DEA, MEA, & TEA: Clear, colorless, viscous liquids with ammonia-like odors. They are usually found in eye makeup , fragrances, hair products, and sunscreens.
4. DMDM HYDANTOIN & UREA (Imidazolidinyl): Preservatives that often release formaldehyde which may cause joint pain, skin allergies, headaches, and loss of sleep. Usually found in skincare products, cosmetics, shampoos and conditioners, and detergents.
5. MINERAL OIL: A petroleum by product that coats the skin like plastic, clogging its pores. This is incredibly harmful because it interferes with skin’s ability to eliminate toxins, therefore increasing likelihood of acne and other disorders. Usually found in creams, lotions, ointments, and cosmetics.
6. PARABENS (Methyl, Butyl, Ethyl, Propyl): Not always labeled, used as preservatives, and may contribute to hormone imbalance.
7. PEG (Polyethylene glycol): Ingredient that can alter and reduce the skin’s natural moisture level. It adjusts the melting point and thickens products.
8. PHTHALATES: Chemicals used to increase flexibility and strength of plastics, and not often listed among the ingredients on products. Usually found in cosmetics and listed under the term “fragrance".
9. PROPYLENE GLYCOL (PG) & BUTYLENE GLYCOL: Gaseous hydrocarbons which in a liquid state act as “surfactant”. They penetrate the skin so quickly and can weaken the protein and cellular structure.
10. SILOXANES: Look for ingredients ending in "-siloxane" or "-methicone." Used in a variety of cosmetics to soften, smooth and moisten. Suspected endocrine disrupter and reproductive toxicant. Also harmful to fish and other wildlife.
11. SODIUM LAURYL SULFATE (SLS) & SODIUM LAURETH SULFATE (SLES): Detergent that makes products foam, lather, and bubble. Also one of the possible causes of Perioral Dermatitis.
12. SYNTHETIC FRAGRANCES: Anything that is synthetic or artificial should always raise a red flag. These are made up of hundreds to thousands of different ingredients not listed on the label, so you are never sure what you are actually being exposed to. Usually found in cosmetic and skincare products but also many household products such as candles, air fresheners, and scented trash bags.
Use the "Think Dirty" App
“Think Dirty” is a free app, that is a really useful way to learn about the toxic ingredients found in your personal care products.
Simply scan the product’s barcode on the app and it will provide you with a “Dirty Meter”, a comprehensive rating, along with detailed and easy to understand information about the chemicals to avoid in products, health impacts and healthy personal care tips.
My Favorite Clean Beauty Products:
BB Creams & Tinted Moisturizers:
Blush & Bronzer: