In the beauty industry, when hair, makeup, or skin care products are made without any toxic materials it is considered to be “clean”.
Clean cosmetics originated back in 1938 when the FDA passed the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FFDCA). Despite the act, much of the ingredients in the cosmetic industry remained unregulated. Groups like The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics had to take on the task of categorizing and determining what ingredients were toxic and should be excluded in cosmetics.
Toxins that are not used in clean cosmetics include but are not limited to:
- Artificial Fragrance
Due to the continued lack of regulation in the cosmetic industry the ingredients excluded can very between brands.
Harpersbazaar.com writers Olivia Fleming and Jenna Rosenstein wrote “The Ultimate Guide to Clean Beauty“. Their article goes in more detail about more of the toxic ingredients not used in clean products and why.
Why are these ingredients not used?
For brands that opt for clean production, 1 reason specific ingredients are avoided is their potential to have harmful side effects. Not to say that all of these ingredients are toxic. Many are considered to be skin irritants which can vary from person to person. As a precautionary method these ingredients are removed from production. Another reason the ingredient may be excluded is where it comes from. Most clean cosmetic lines try to avoid ingredients with unethical sourcing. This occurs when an ingredient is being obtained illegally or immorally (at the expense of another’s misfortune). Mica is an example of an ingredient that can be unethically sourced. Even though mica does not pose a threat to consumers in the cosmetic industry, up to 42% of mica is mined illegally by school-aged children in India. For more on this topic check out Mica: The Controversial Ingredient in Cosmetics
How to determine if a brand is clean
CleanBeauty101 coined the phrase “Cleanwashing” which is the false claim of a brand to produce clean cosmetics. This is common in the environmentally conscious and organic industries as well, known as “Greenwashing”.
The best way to ensure that a brand is being honest on the clean production is reading and understanding the ingredients. CleanBeauty101’s article, Are Your Cosmetics Really Clean? Here’s What to Look For, provides an extensive list of ingredients to be mindful of. In addition to that, they also provide a clean alternative to that ingredient.
How do you feel about clean cosmetics? Do you use any clean hair, makeup, or skin care products?