From Cleopatra to Queen Nefertiti – the powerful women of ancient Egypt seemed to love elaborate makeup and beauty rituals. But their bold and beautiful makeup hid a deadly secret: it was full of poisonous ingredients like lead – known to cause brain damage, birth defects, and eventually, death.
While the ancient Egyptians were unaware of lead’s toxic effects, you’ll be shocked to know that several big beauty brands still use lead and many other harmful ingredients to formulate their products today!
And this, my friends, is why we need the clean beauty revolution. More and more people around the world are choosing clean beauty products that are gentle, safe for the skin, and just as effective (if not more) than conventional cosmetics.
We believe that beauty and well-being should always go hand-in-hand, and that’s why we are incredibly passionate about supporting clean beauty at New Habitz.
Curious to know what exactly is clean beauty, what isn’t, and how to get started? We’ve covered it all in this blog!
What is Clean Beauty?
The term “clean beauty” is one that we see a lot. It isn’t protected by the organics industry, and the word “clean” can hold a lot of different meanings. This makes it easy to greenwash, so it’s important to stay vigilant and choose brands you know you can trust (like our vetted list of clean beauty brands)!
For us, clean beauty can be defined as beauty products that do not use ingredients that are harmful to human health or the environment. We think of clean beauty as beauty and skin products that use plant-based ingredients and are chemical-free, offer results that bring health and vitality to your skin.
When you’re choosing a skincare routine, we recommend that you look at the ingredient labels and make sure that what you’re putting on your skin isn’t full of harmful chemicals.
Why is Clean Beauty Important?
While checking the label sounds like common sense, the practices followed by the conventional beauty industry will have you thinking otherwise.
If you walk through the local drugstore today, you’ll see tons of labels from conventional beauty brands claiming clean – only to find that they’re sneaking harmful chemicals like parabens, phthalates, and synthetic fragrances into your cosmetics. These are toxic to our health in so many ways (more on that below). Several of these chemicals are known to be carcinogens, irritants, allergens and endocrine disruptors. Yet, they are used widely to formulate shampoos, body washes, perfumes, makeup and more.
Choosing truly clean beauty products is important because our skin (including the scalp) is our body’s largest organ. It’s responsible for helping us detox, protecting us, keeping our immune system in check, regulating our temperature, and giving us the sense of touch.
It can absorb up to a whopping 60% of the substances we apply directly into the bloodstream. This means we should be careful about what we’re choosing to apply and leave onto our skin for extended periods of time!
How To Spot Toxic Ingredients In Your Beauty Products
You may be wondering “are everyday cosmetics really that toxic if I apply only small amounts”? The answer is yes, because it all builds up. While some of these chemicals can irritate or harm your skin right away, others are more insidious – slowly accumulating in your body over time and harming your health in the long run.
Here’s a basic list of toxic ingredients that are most commonly used by conventional beauty companies. We strongly recommend avoiding products that include these ingredients on the label:
|Toxic Ingredients||How To Spot In On the Label||Commonly Used For||Found In||Why You Should Avoid Them|
|Sodium Laurel Sulfate||Look out for ‘Sodium Laurel Sulfate’||Cleansing agent in bath products||Shampoos, conditioners, soaps, shower gels||Known skin irritant, can dry out scalp and skin by stripping away natural oils|
|Parabens||Look out for ‘methyl-’, ‘ethyl-’, butyl-’, ‘propyl-’||Preservative to extend shelf life||Lotions, shampoos, foundation, sunscreens, bb creams, moisturisers etc.||Causes endocrine disruption, raising risk of breast cancer. Linked to immunotoxicity, neurotoxicity, and skin irritation.|
|Phthalates||Look out for ‘DBP’ (dibutyl phthalate), ‘BPA’ (bisphenol) and ‘DEP’ (diethyl phthalate)||Encourages skin absorption, extends fragrance shelf life||Nail polishes, sunscreens, lotions, makeup, deodorants||Although banned in EU, it’s found in many US products. Damages reproductive organs and development in both genders.|
|Aluminium Compounds||Look out for ‘Aluminum chlorohydrate’, and ‘Aluminium zirconium tetrachlorohydrex’||Stops sweat glands from releasing sweat||Antiperspirants||Repeated doses have neurotoxic effects – can cause anaemia and bone damage. May also mimic estrogen and raise risk of breast cancer.|
|Synthetic Fragrance||Look out for ‘Parfum’ or ‘Fragrance’||Adds fragrance to products||Deodorants, perfumes, scented soaps||Can be known hormone disrupters, allergens and skin irritants. Extended exposure can cause immunotoxicity.|
|Formaldehyde||Look out for ‘Formaldehyde’, ‘Sodium ‘Hydroxymethylglycinate’, ‘Quanternium-15’, ‘DMDM hydantoin’, and ‘Imidazolidinyl Urea’||Preservative to extend shelf life||Hair smoothing products, nail polishes||It is a well-known carcinogen, causes skin irritation and is also linked to liver toxicity. Can cause severe allergies with extended exposure.|
|SLS, SLES, ALS||Look out for BHT (butylated hydroxytoluene) and BHA (butylated hydroxianisole)||Preserves cosmetics||Lipsticks, moisturisers||Quite dangerous – known to cause liver, stomach damage, and skin depigmentation.|
|Petrolatum||Look out for ‘Mineral oil’ or ‘Petroleum Jelly’||Used as emollient||Used in 1 out of every 14 personal care products – lip balms, face creams and more||Contaminant of human body – accumulates over time|
Why We Support Clean Beauty Products
If the list shown above scared you, we have good news. There is a rising tide of awe-inspiring clean beauty brands that have resolved to only use safe, effective and natural ingredients in their products. And we are proud to showcase these amazing clean beauty brands as part of the New Habitz store!
From clean cosmetics, personal care, fragrance and more – nearly every beauty product you can think of now has a toxic-free, natural, and nourishing alternative! So no one should have to compromise their health to enjoy beauty products.
How To Get Started With a Clean Beauty Routine In 4 Easy Steps
If you’re thinking of trying out clean beauty products, here’s a warm welcome hug from us! Any day is a great day to make a change.
Don’t put pressure on yourself to replace ALL your products overnight. Doing that can be overwhelming (not to mention expensive), and Rome wasn’t built in a day! The key to any new habit is to start small, and stay consistent.
Step 1: Swap One Daily Clean Beauty Basic
Start by swapping one beauty or personal care product that you use on a daily basis. Here’s some great options to help you make the shift:
- Upgrade your antiperspirant to the all natural deodorant in marigold from Flow Cosmetics.
- Try a new facial cleanser, like the Carrot Oil Cleanser from Food for Skin
Step 2: Swap Full-Body Products
Next, swap the product that you use on the largest area of your skin – this could be a shower gel, moisturiser, or soap.
- Try a vegan honey bar from BlokZeep instead of choosing the cheapest body wash on the shelf
- Switch to a body oil. Pro tip: the Anti-Striae Oil from Petit&Jolie is made for stretch marks, but it’s great for rejuvenating any tired and stressed skin!
Step 3: Replace Products That Stay On Longest
Your next step could be switching the products that end up staying on your skin the longest.
- Like wearing lipstick and eye makeup all day long? Try migrating to Vegan Makeup products!
- Chapstick obsession? Switch to a nightly moisturizing lip balm from Trew
- Your daily sunscreen product needs to be reapplied. Choose something moisturizing and protectant for your skin like ABloom’s Organic Luminous SPF 30+ Cream!
Step 4: Target Sensitive Regions
Once you are comfortable with your daily products, you can slowly start swapping products that you use on more sensitive and intimate parts of your body. From there, you’ll start to find that replacing your products with clean beauty is simple!
Ultimately, You’re in Charge of Your Clean Beauty Journey
The journey to fully embracing clean beauty is a beautiful and important one. Because it puts your safety, joy, and health at the forefront. With the dangers of harmful beauty ingredients becoming public knowledge, it is time that we vote with our money and compel the conventional beauty industry to see that they can no longer harm our health in the name of beauty. Thankfully, clean beauty brands are here to stay and have offered us powerful alternatives that respect our needs, wishes and health!
- What ages hair? Effects of sodium laurel sulfate?
- What are parabens, and why they don’t belong in cosmetics
- EWG Skin Deep® | What is Propylparaben
- Phthalates – Safe Cosmetics
- The health effects of aluminum exposure
- Is Deodorant Harmful for Your Health?
- Fragrance compounds: The wolves in sheep’s clothing
- The use of formaldehyde in cosmetics
- Final report on the safety assessment of BHT(1)
- (PDF) Evidence for cosmetics as a source of mineral oil contamination in women