Clean Beauty is an umbrella term being used to describe beauty brands that are trying to do better - in terms of the safety of ingredients being used and/or also in the eco-friendliness of their products. It also encourages greater transparency of ingredients and celebrates community-oriented practices. As a result, it includes a variety of classifications in skincare - vegan, vegetarian, zero-waste processes, plastic-free packaging, organic formulations, natural formulations, fair trade practices etc. Clean Beauty universally is cruelty-free. The list of ingredients they exclude can usually be found in a product's or a platform's no-list.
By safety of ingredients, we mean that they exclude ingredients from their formulations, that studies have shown to be harmful.
On Clean Beauty Booth, we ensure that products hosted here do not contain the following:
- Why are they in cosmetics? -- They are primarily used to extend the shelf life of the products
- How do they look? -- Commonly appear as Ethylparaben, Butylparaben, Methylparaben, Propylparaben, IsoButylParaben
- Why should I avoid them? -- They are flagged for Immunotoxicity, developmental and reproductive toxicity
- Sulphates - SLS only
- Why are they in cosmetics? -- They are present to help lather
- How do they look? - Full form - Sodium Laureth Sulfate, abbreviated to SLS
- Why should I avoid them? - It is not rated as specifically toxic but they are unnecessarily harsh on the skin and strip it of its natural oils. This leads to drier skin that ages faster and loses elasticity. Also, using shampoos with SLS messes with its natural pH and losing the oils on your scalp means dry, itchy scalps and most importantly - hair loss.
- Why are they in cosmetics? -- They are used as a plasticizer i.e. to control the softening of a product - it is used to make hair stand in hair spray, for nail polishes to not crack and are also used in fragrances, lotions, deodorant, shampoo, body wash and even baby products.
- How do they look? -- The only Pthalate still widely in use is DEP which is DiEthyl Pthalate.
- Why should I avoid them? -- DEP is flagged for reproductive and developmental toxicity. Plenty of mainstream brands are still using it.
- Why are they in cosmetics? -- Aluminium is primarily found in deodorants. It functions as an anti-perspirant by blocking your sweat ducts and also reduces bacterial growth. It is also found in make-up formulation but in harmless concentrations.
- How do they look? -- Disclosed as aluminium compounds like Aluminium chloride, aluminium chlorohydrate, and aluminium-zirconium compounds, most notably aluminium zirconium tetrachlorohydrex gly and aluminium zirconium trichlorohydrex gly
- Why should I avoid them? -- There’s plenty of information and misinformation about the dangers of aluminium. A lot of mainstream studies have found and not found links to cancer. Since the list of potential carcinogens is long and highly debated, we take the stand to avoid this one. Studies have linked the compounds used to breast cancer. We are doing ourselves a favor by choosing options that minimize that risk.
- Why is it in cosmetics? -- It is used as a bleaching agent in fairness creams
- How does it look? -- Hydroquinone or tocopheryl acetate
- Why should I avoid it? -- It is found to be carcinogenic and is a human skin toxicant and allergen
- Chemical Sunscreens
- What is a chemical sunscreen? -- Chemical sunscreens absorb the sun’s rays instead of acting as a physical barrier (which is what non chemical sunscreens do). They also don’t leave a white residue on the skin and are absorbed easily
- What do they usually contain? -- They contain oxybenzone, octinoxate, homosalate and octocrylene - watch out for these names on the label
- Why should I avoid them? -- These chemicals are absorbed into the bloodstream and are detectable after just a single use. They have been linked to a variety of issues such as birth defects, infertility and endocrine disruption
- Heavy Metals
- Why are they in cosmetics? -- Metals like Arsenic, lead, chromium, mercury and lead are used in formulations of lip products, eyeliner, nail color, sunscreens
- How do they look? -- Lead acetate, chromium, thimerosal, sodium hexametaphosphate
- Why should I avoid them? -- Heavy metals are bioaccumulative, are linked to cancer, developmental and reproductive toxicity and organ system toxicity
There are some products that include certain ingredients that affect certain types of sensitive skins and they are flagged in the product description. Below is the list:
- Why are they in my product? -- They help with making the surface feel slick and smooth, an artificial smoothening effect - think serums on your skin or conditioners for your hair
- How do they look? -- Anything that ends in -cone or -siloxane is a silicone
- Why should I avoid them? -- While they give temporary sheen, they are bioaccumulative - which means they are hard for the body to get rid of. It is not rated very highly on the scale of concern but just in case you do have a sensitive constitution, we have them flagged in the description.
- Mineral Oils:
- Why are they in cosmetics? -- Mineral oils are used in a highly purified and light form in cosmetics. They are used to lock moisture in the skin.
- How do they look? -- Parafinnum liquidum is how it is commonly disclosed
- Why should I avoid them? -- Since they are used in a highly purified form they do not cause much harm. But they can clog pores, are flagged for allergies and have limited evidence for immunotoxicity.
- Artificial fragrances:
- Why are they in cosmetics? -- Cosmetics are carefully formulated with a large number of substances which are not always pleasant in their native state. Artificial fragrances are added to make them more palatable.
- How do they look? -- mostly disclosed as fragrance or Parfum
- Why should I avoid them? -- While fragrances don’t bother many, there are a few for whom this is a very strong trigger for allergies and headaches. We flag only artificial fragrances and not those derived from essential oils. We also don’t flag those that have been certified as safe.
- SLS gets a NO from us but SLES, which is milder, is present in many soaps and some shampoos. It does get flagged in the product description for people who might have greater sensitivities. If you have always wondered why natural shampoos don’t lather as much, it's because they do not have SLS.
By eco-friendliness of their products, we mean practices of not including certain ingredients that have a harmful effect on the eco-system downstream, reducing/eliminating the plastic content in their packaging, having an empties program, having zero-waste processes for manufacturing etc. Using organic ingredients in their formulations is also an eco-friendly practice because of the sustainability of organic farming practices.