Why 'Clean Skincare' Can Be Problematic
Terms like 'clean', 'all natural', 'zero chemicals', and 'pure' have made their way into the clean skincare space, but often times the consumer is met with a lot of conflicting information when making a skincare purchase. Let's break it down!
One of my pet-peeves as of late has been the excessive marketing done by the beauty industry and specifically this movement for “clean skincare”. I have clients who think they are using products that are safe for their skin and when we do a deep dive into the ingredients, there are some great surprises in there!
I would definitely like to trust labels and brands when it comes to what I’m using on my skin, but sadly that isn’t the case. At the end of the day, marketing can just be marketing, and we as the consumers need to do this research in order to make sure what we are using on our skin is what we are being told!
“Clean Skincare” is definitely a movement I am on board with and there are SO many wonderful brands out there that do have the consumers best interest in mind, but there are also companies that do not.
An ingredient I see in particular in self-proclaimed 'clean skincare' products, would be phenoxyethanol. You'll often see this listed as the last ingredient in serums that are very pricey and supposedly 'high quality and non toxic' (although I won't name specific brands). Phenoxyethanol is used as a preservative and fragrance ingredient, and is actually banned completely for use in Japanese Cosmetics through Japan's Standards of Cosmetics. I don't know about you, but if I see that one country bans an ingredient completely, I get a bit worried that we are using that ingredient at all anywhere else. The more I started researching ingredients, the more I saw the overwhelming amount of "clean skincare" brands that used phenoxyethanol in their formulations.
When it comes to the terms like “pure” and “all natural”, what do those terms really mean? Well, sadly they don't mean much. There is so little regulation in the cosmetics industry, that you could see "pure olive oil" listed on a label and that olive oil could have been harvested in a nuclear war zone (this is a dramatic example, but I'm serious!). We have to ask questions like: where is that oil derived from? What was the production process like? How was it stored? What testing process did the oil go through? And so forth...
One of my favorite resources for really breaking down ingredients, the purpose they serve and their impact on the environment, is Skin Deep by The Environmental Working Group. If you haven’t used it yet definitely go take a look at the back of your ingredient labels and put this incredible resource to use!
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Take care, xo
The Holistica Hive