As with fashion or technology, beauty products and processes also trend. What we were previously led to use or believe or led to believe has already evolved or changed. We’ve seen this migration skyrocket in non-invasive anti-aging skin treatments, in cryogenic slimming procedures, and the marriage of technology to natural extracts.
The hottest topic of the moment is a clean skin. And we don’t mean a solid scrub with soap and water after exercise a day in makeup. Product ingredients are being scrutinised to test their level of cleanliness in terms of chemical content.
How does clean differ from natural?
The terms ‘clean’ and ‘natural’ are often interchanged because there’s no governing body regulating its use. ‘Natural’ is used to describe the purity of a product formulated without synthetics. Natural products contain ingredients found in nature rather than laboratories.
‘Clean’ products differ in that they rely on third-party testing to ensure ingredients are safe for the skin as well as eco-friendly and/or sustainable. Leigh Winters, a neuroscientist and wellness expert describes the difference easily. *“Think about poison ivy,” Winters suggests. “It’s a beautiful plant to look at walking in the woods, and it’s even ‘natural.’ But it has no therapeutic benefit and can harm you if you rub it all over your skin. Poison ivy highlights this idea that just because a plant or ingredient is ‘natural,’ that term alone does not make it synonymous with ‘efficacious’ or ‘safe for topical use in humans.'”
Why should we use clean products?
Clean beauty products are free of parabens (preservatives), silicones (a rubber-like plastic which makes hair shiny, skincare products feel silky and deodorant feel velvety) and sulfates (a corrosive cleansing agent which makes lots of foamy bubbles). When reading labels avoid the following: Parabens, glycols, sodium, ammonium laureth sulfates, triclosan, petrochemicals like mineral oils and petrolatum, synthetic fragrances and dyes; and other ethoxylated materials that produce 1.4-Dioxane.
You’ll be interested to know that essential oils may also not be considered ‘clean’ given that they often not completely pure and often fragrances irritate the skin.
Sadly, clean products are often more expensive that synthetic-infused ones but given their efficacy, you’re assured value for money.
Where to start?
If you’re stuck on where to start, start with what you use the most; shampoo, conditioner, body moisturiser and deodorant. Every small step makes a difference.