Starbucks and other coffee shops are finally getting the memo, plastic straws are sea turtles’ number one enemy, and they are investing in safe lids. You can buy a reusable water bottle anywhere you go, and scooters and bikes are appearing in nearly every cosmopolitan city in hopes of making the area a little more environmentally friendly. It’s true, the green movement is in full swing, and the public is becoming more conscious about the negative role we play in hurting our planet. But here is a little secret; living a green lifestyle is not just about reducing the amount of waste we produce. Green and clean living also plays a role in our beauty and skin routine and clean beauty is finding its way into mainstream culture.
Cosmetic stores such as Ulta and Sephora are taking steps to line their shelves with little bunnies that indicate if a product is clean, green, vegan, or environmentally-friendly. Large-name brands such as Covergirl and Sally Hansen are launching vegan and plant-based products. But not all companies are as transparent; some may claim their products are “green” or “clean,” but the truth is, there isn’t a set industry standard when it comes to an understanding of what these labels mean, making clean beauty a bit of sticky situation.
When someone refers to their product or line as “clean beauty,” they are typically indicating that the product is non-toxic and is made without certain ingredients and chemicals that are often linked to health problems. Certain makeup, face washes and even deodorants are made with toxic ingredients like carcinogens and endocrine disruptors. However, if a company says their product is “clean”, it typically means they eliminated harmful chemicals like parabens, phthalates, sulfates, formaldehyde and fragrances. Research shows that some of these ingredients are linked to ADD, ADHD, and asthma within children.
Although in theory, it is great to see more products taking steps to become greener and adding that cute little bunny to their products, not all of those bunnies are entirely warranted. Here’s the problem; there is little regulation within the beauty industry when it comes to determining what clean or green really means. The last time the FDA updated the law concerning cosmetics was in 1938! That’s 82 years ago. Since beauty companies seem to lack that “Big Brother” presence, nothing is stopping them from “greenwashing” their products with words like natural, green or eco.
This means the responsibility falls on us, the consumers, to understand which ingredients we should be wary of.
- Fragrances: although they may help a product smell better, fragrances often contain phthalates, which are a group of chemicals you’ll often find in plastic. They help fragrances last longer but can cause long-term health consequences. Some fragrances are even classified as hormone disruptors, allergens, and carcinogens. Of course, using essential oils is a great and safe substitute.
- Endocrine Disruptors: an endocrine disruptor is typically a chemical that copies our body’s natural hormones. Certain packagings and plastics even contain parabens that conscious beauty consumers should avoid.
- Formaldehyde: nope, it isn’t just a chemical used in the science lab; it is even present in some beauty products, specifically keratin and hair treatments. Formaldehyde is a carcinogen, which means it has been linked to cause or lead to cancer. Thankfully, many cosmetics have eliminated formaldehyde from their products, but it is still essential to be an educated consumer.
- Aluminum: certain deodorants are often made with aluminum-based compounds that clog our sweat ducts to reduce sweat. Research from the National Cancer Institute found aluminum-based deodorants can be absorbed into the skin and mimic estrogen hormones. We recommend switching to a natural deodorant just for safe measure.
At Haute and Holistic, we want to educate our readers on what it means to live a clean and green life both for your health and the health of our planet. Education is the first step when it comes to switching to clean beauty.
Love & Light