If you’re like many people these days, you’re reading the labels of virtually everything you put in or on your body. However, you still want to look good, and your daily beauty regimen is part of that. Clean beauty is more than just a buzz phrase. It is a way of life.
Saying that federal regulation regarding what goes into beauty products is outdated is an understatement. Federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations for safe products are more than 80 years old, and the only way that toxic beauty products can be recalled is if the manufacturer volunteers to do so. Thus, it’s up to you to take toxic products out of your life, but you don’t know where or how to start. Does everything have to be completely natural, or are there some manufactured chemicals that are okay? Here is what you need to know to select clean beauty products.
What Does Clean Beauty Mean?
Clean beauty products are safe for humans and the planet. A manufacturer like WODA Skin Care has considered human and environmental health when making its products by following European practices. The product should have a non-toxic element as a baseline and plant-based ingredients that produce results. Clean beauty is similar to clean eating, which involves minimally processed foods that are as close to their natural state as possible. Ethical and sustainable foods are also part of clean eating.
Another problem with the FDA is that the agency doesn’t regulate words such as organic, green, non-toxic, or cruelty-free so that these designations can vary among manufacturers. Essentially, here is what you need to know:
- Green – The product does not harm the environment but be careful with this one as some manufacturers simply claim that their products protect the planet’s resources
- Organic – Products must have at least 95% organic ingredients to bear the USDA seal and also meet handling and manufacturing specifications
- Non-toxic – Ingredients in products have been shown not to produce and adverse health effects
- Sustainable – Ingredients are ethically sourced and proven safe for the environment and include sustainable or no-waste packaging
- Vegan – Does not contain animal byproducts or ingredients
- Cruelty-free – Not tested on animals
In short, clean beauty products are mindfully created and produced without any proven toxic ingredients. They’re also ethically sourced and made with body health and the environment in mind. WODA Skin Care follows these principles as our products are based on scientific research, using organic and natural ingredients to meet your skincare needs.
To follow clean beauty practices, you should avoid certain ingredients. Although the European Union has banned more than 1,000 substances in many beauty formulations, most are still allowed in the United States. You’ll want to make sure the product you choose does not have the following ingredients.
This chemical mimics estrogen. Evidence links it to reproductive problems, thyroid disruption, and hormone-related cancers. It is included in products to slow the growth of mold and other microbes. Europe has banned five types of parabens, isopropyl-, isobutyl-, phenyl-, benzyl-, and pentylparabens, all of which are still legal in the United States.
Phthalates and Fragrance
Manufacturers want their products to smell good, so you’ll continue buying them, but wherever you see or smell a fragrance, phthalates are usually there too. This chemical helps that good smell last longer, but it is also linked to reproductive harm and diabetes, and even cardiovascular problems in some studies.
Found in skin-lightening creams and serums, hydroquinone is a topical bleaching agent. Studies have linked it to some cancers, abnormal adrenal gland function, and some cancers.
While talc’s implication in ovarian cancer because of its presence in baby powder is well known, the problem occurs with this natural mineral when it hasn’t been purified as it could contain asbestos. Talc is an ingredient in face powders and eye shadows.
Many sanitizing hand and body soaps and mascara contain this antibacterial and antimicrobial chemical. However, no research has indicated that it provides an advantage over soap and water, while it has also been linked to liver fibrosis, hormone disruption, and skin cancer.
Many different products contain silica as it is absorbent and prevents products from caking. The problem occurs when crystalline silica, a known human carcinogen, sometimes contaminates formulations with amorphous silica, which is FDA-approved. Refined silica also poses environmental concerns as it is not biodegradable.
Other Ingredients to Avoid
Remain wary of products that contain the following ingredients. According to the Good Face Project, these and others are either known carcinogens or somehow harmful to humans:
- Chemical UV filters Octinoxate and Oxybenzone
- Diethanolamine (DEA)
- Sodium laureth sulfate (SLS)
- Polyethylene like PEG-10 laurate
- Butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA)
How to Transition to Clean Beauty Products
Switching to clean beauty can be overwhelming because we use so many different products. A good place to start is with facial and hair products. Think shampoos, conditioners, mousse, hairspray, and the like. You don’t want toxins seeping in through your scalp. From there, move onto facial products, including moisturizers, eye creams, brightening serums, and other skin care items. Follow with cosmetics. Once you have accomplished this, you can move onto finding clean beauty products for the whole body.
Find one or two product lines like WODA Skin Care and stick with it. Our skin care bundles are a great way to start a clean beauty regimen for your face with products that are targeted toward your skin type.
Beware of Greenwashing
Greenwashing is the practice of making a company look environmentally responsible through vague claims. Previously mentioned terms such as organic, natural, sustainable, and the like can make a manufacturer look like they care about the environment. For example, palm oil is a natural ingredient, but the harvesting of palm trees leads to deforestation in the tropics, thus negatively affecting the environment.
In some cases, synthetics may even be cleaner than a natural compound that is not 100% pure. One example is synthetically-derived forms of vitamin C. However, make sure that synthetics have a purpose and are not used as fillers, stabilizers, or preservatives.
The bottom line is to read labels and pay attention to ingredients. Use online reviews and ingredient resources to determine if your chosen clean beauty products are effective and don’t contain any unsafe or environmentally unfriendly ingredients.
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