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Decoding Clean Beauty Myths & Buzzwords

Decoding Clean Beauty Myths & Buzzwords

Why Clean Beauty has become so confusing?

While so many of us making more socially and environmentally conscious choices every single day, companies are coming up with more new buzzwords to attract customers which is creating lots of confusion to decide who is delivering a clean beauty promise for real?

Since there’s no legal or official definition of clean beauty, many brands have taken it upon themselves to define it according to their agendas.

We think it’s time to break the myths once and for all. It’s much easier to shout “clean”, “green” and “sustainable” than it is to deliver genuine clean beauty.

At Beauty cleanse skincare we’re all about empowering you to make informed choices for your skin and the planet. (which involves minimalism and natural approach to beauty)

That’s why in this post, we decided to shine a light on some of the most common “clean beauty” buzzwords circulating the internet today.

100% Pure

This term clearly isn’t credible at all.

Does it relate to a single ingredient being 100% pure, overall product, company’s operations, ingredient sourcing or what?

It is a vague claim that doesn’t say much about why a product should be classed as clean.

One common pattern that can be found in streamline beauty products are slapping a logo on the front of a product, name check some exotic sounding ‘natural’ ingredient, to get customer into buying a product under false pretences.

Take, for instance, Boots’ Beautiful Hair Moisturise & Nourish Shampoo With Added Organic Argan Oil, which was rated worst out of 25 products in the Soil Association Certification’s Campaign for Clarity report which calls out mislabelled products. Argan Oil is boldly called out on the packaging, but it’s just one of 16 ingredients, five of which are on the Soil Association Certification’s ‘Terrible Ten’ list that includes components that can cause allergies, damage your immune system, or be toxic to the environment.

It looks like truth and integrity have taken a back seat.

When it comes to creating new skincare, an age-old formula for success tends to resurface again and again in the industry.

juicy claim + nice smell + cheap raw materials + high price = tidy profit

CHEMICAL-FREE

Let’s face it, even the water we drink is chemical, so! A brand can say that an ingredient has a natural origin, but you shouldn’t say that it’s chemical-free because even the naturally occurring molecules are made of chemical elements. There are harsh and good chemicals, but everything is a chemical, so this term chemical-free is just an example of lazy marketing.

Vegan

Does not automatically imply that product with a vegan label is of natural origin or falls under a clean beauty category. Vegan cosmetics can contain several artificial components also found in conventional cosmetic products. They can also be unsustainable and unethical overall. The only difference is that vegan cosmetics do not contain substances of animal origin.

Whilst it is crucial to stop animal suffering, we must also be aware of the price we pay when we put controversial ingredients onto our skin and into our bodies.

Just like we have healthy vegan foods, we also have all the sugary processed vegan foods. Although these are consumed with compassionate intent, they are not great for our health if eaten every day. Same goes for the non-natural or controversial vegan products that we put onto our skin.

Again, there is no legal regulation on a product labelled as vegan so check the brand’s credentials to assess their values. The quickest way to ensure products are vegan is to look for the Vegan Society Trademark Logo.  It certifies that products do not contain any animal extracts or animal by-products in the ingredients or the manufacturing process. Also, that the products and ingredients have not been tested on animals.

All our products are registered with the Vegan Society Trademark.

Natural

Often the most overused description in beauty, a product can be described as natural even if it has just 1% naturally-sourced, plant-based or mineral ingredients. Statement such as ‘natural’ and ‘contains natural ingredients’ totally makes no sense when 99% of the ingredients could be controversial. The best way to know exactly what’s in the formula is to check the ingredients listing. If they are not listed in their common names in the ingredient (INCI) List, do a little research to find out what exactly do they mean and what is their function in the formulation?

We only use 100% careful selection of natural ingredients, that are either composed of plant, mineral, and/or marine vegetation that undergoes chemical changes due to biological processes such as fermentation, distillation, and cold processing (such as pure plant oils), or backed by modern technology that makes them safe and sustainable to be used in our formulations. Click here to read about our ingredients.

Free from

Just because a product states that it does not contain a certain substance, does not guarantee that the ingredient used to replace said substance is harmless to your health. For example, calling a product free from SLS doesn’t justifies that everything else in the product is clean and healthy for the skin. What we should be asking is “what’s all the other stuff?”. And “is it good for me and our planet?”

It’s just a meaningless claim that may only emphasise on one tiny clean attribute or ingredient which is worthless when rest of the ingredients are un-clean including business practises and manufacturing. The original idea for this claim was to help people make informed choices when they buy a product.

It should only be used to highlight ingredients that could pose serious threat to consumer’s health or skin, in cases such as free from nuts, free from gluten, free from alcohol etc

In beauty industry, too often free from’s are used as smokescreens to distract us from what’s actually inside a product. They can make a synthetic product sound greener or cleaner than it really is. That is why when we label our products, we use the approach that’s focused on what healthy ingredients are inside our products, as opposed to what aren’t.

Cruelty-Free

This term only means a product is not tested on animals. In UK, we don’t even need this statement on the labels as this is a must for all EU companies. Testing on animals is banned in Europe. It’s also unlawful to claim something as a benefit when it’s a basic legal requirement.

To make sure your products are cruelty-free, always check for certifications, such as PETA Cruelty-free and Cruelty-Free International Leaping Bunny logo. Out of the two, the leaping bunny logo is the most trust-worthy symbol guaranteeing no animal testing was carried out in developing the product.

However, there is one exception here. For small independent companies, this can be sometimes hard to obtain in the early years of trading due to budget constraints. Therefore, always ask this question from the brand if you have any doubts. If they are not hiding their statements in the smallest font possible and trying to give confusing answers to your queries, chances are you can trust them for sure. At the very minimum, they can easily afford PETA cruelty-free certification which is not expensive and require a company to sign an agreement that there is no animal testing in the entire manufacturing process.

Note: Although EU law has strict regulations around animal testing, China requires it by law, so any products sold there will automatically have been tested on animals regardless of them being formulated in EU. (with exception of online sales and Hong Kong)

All our products are certified with PETA Cruelty-Free.

Green Beauty

Green beauty has so many associations, such as plant-derived, eco-friendly, sustainably sourced, ethical beauty and eco product. The problem with this is these are all generic terminologies with words or terms with no clear meaning (e.g, “eco-friendly essential” by the company who is responsible for polluting the oceans with their manufacturing processes).

This practise is similar to green washing which is deceiving customers into believing that the products are environmentally friendly. Emphasizing one tiny green attribute which is worthless when everything else is un-green. Again, the key is to read your ingredient’s list and scroll through company’s website to watch out for transparency and sustainability in everything they do.

Organic

Products only need to contain a minuscule percentage of organic ingredient to label themselves as organic. Yes, really!

So, the clearest way of understanding the organic credentials of a product is to always check the INCI List and look out for the Soil Association Organic Logo. This certifies that the products are sourced and manufactured using sustainable, organically-farmed ingredients which are free from harsh chemicals.

However, again there is one exception here.

Usually small independent brands who still use same high quality certified organic ingredients are unable to get the soil association certification due to budget and affordability constraints. Getting this certification does not come cheap to small companies. In this case, we always suggest looking for transparency in company’s messages on their social channels and website. If they have not proudly mentioned anything about their organic ingredients and sourcing practises, then it could be little hard to trust them. In all circumstances, you can always send an email to the brand and ask to confirm this. A written confirmation by a brand is really powerful to figure out if they can be trusted or not.

Our Organic Ingredients are sourced from a British-owned family heritage business who keep their practises ethical & transparent and are founded upon the absolute passion for providing the finest & highest quality organic ingredients.

We carefully choose all our suppliers to ensure their practises are aligned with our sustainability missions. All their Organic ingredients are registered with COSMOS, Soil Association and SEDEX. However, as a small brand we cannot afford soil association certification at present, but we are fully transparent about our ingredient sourcing policy and endeavour to go for certification as soon as we can afford it.

So what are some of the ways to avoid getting caught up in the buzzwords?

Just like in ethical fashion, the key is to avoid generalised claims and vague wording. Instead, take a few extra minutes to read the ingredients list on a product and scroll through a company’s website to watch out for transparency in everything they do. If a beauty brand claims to be clean but doesn’t provide specifics, it’s most likely green washing.

Use technology to inform yourself. Research companies, read ingredients, contact businesses, ask questions and start to hold people accountable for their claims!

Rather than focusing on “clean”, we should be looking to the brands prepared to be transparent & sustainable – the ones who are willing to shout about exactly how their products will help our skin without damaging the planet and where, precisely, their ingredients come from, because they have no reason, whatsoever, to hide it.

Armed with this advice, now you’re ready to shop like a pro!

Don’t forget to share your thoughts & experiences in the comments below. Click HERE if you would like to read our blog on how to decode your ingredient’s list/INCI List?

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