What does 'Clean Beauty' really mean?
Clean beauty is a term labeling a product as safe for people and the planet. Clean beauty products are primarily plant and botanical based will little to no processed and toxic chemicals.
Beauty companies have created the term ‘Clean Beauty’ to self-regulate because of the lack of government regulation in the beauty industry. The US currently bans 11 cosmetic ingredients, while in the EU over 1,300 ingredients are banned. Using these chemicals, US beauty companies are able to make products cheaper and extend expiration dates. Think of it like buying a can of green beans versus fresh green beans.
While it’s hard to believe manufacturers could put known harmful ingredients in their products, the fact is they do, and it is perfectly legal. Mass marketed shampoos contain harmful ingredients that can include known carcinogens, irritants, and endocrine disruptors.
Read on for some of the most common culprits and how they effect your hair and overall health.
Parabens are a group of preservatives that make beauty products last longer on the shelf before going bad. Easily absorbed, parabens can mimic estrogen in the human body, with evidence linking them to reproductive organ harm, thyroid disruption, hormone-related cancers, and obesity. Exposure was recently linked to early onset puberty in girls.
Sulfates make your shampoo sudsy. They attract oil and allow grime and dead skin cells to be washed away. Sulfates are commonly found in detergents and dish soaps but in shampoo they are too harsh and can lead to irritation, redness, dryness and itching sometimes confused with dandruff. Sulfates strip the natural oils from your scalp and make hair dry and brittle. If you have a sensitive scalp or conditions such as psoriasis or eczema you should consider switching to a sulfate-free shampoo. Using sulfates on color-treated hair is too strong and will likely strip color. It makes no sense to pay a lot of money for salon color services then wash your hair with the equivalent of dish soap. People with curly or frizzy hair should also switch to sulfate-free shampoo to maintain moisture in the hair reducing frizz and hydrating curls.
Most conditioners, styling products, and thermal protectants contain silicone as one of the first 3 ingredients. Silicone is basically plastic and the problem arises when you apply heat on top of it. Heat causes the silicone to melt in to the hair creating holes in the hair cuticle. Blow driers, flat irons, curling irons, and even the sun can cause the silicone 'plastic' to melt in to the hair. On first use silicone makes hair look shiny but the holes in the cuticle over time lead to breakage, split ends, and frizz.
Vegan - a good for you label!
Vegan means the shampoo has a higher quantity of natural and organic ingredients and absolutely no animal by-products. People with allergies, auto-immune conditions, and especially children have sensitivities to animal by-products which can even lead to hair loss.
With the rise of auto-immune conditions and their unknown link to cancer it is increasingly important to know what chemicals we are putting on our bodies. Skin, including the scalp, soak in beauty ingredients allowing toxic chemicals to enter the body and bloodstream. Thanks to the clean beauty initiative companies are self-regulating and marketing to an ever more eco-conscious consumer. So the next time you replace a beauty product - make a clean choice.