Generally speaking, clean beauty refers to cosmetic and skincare products made with non-toxic ingredients that are safe for our bodies and the environment. You may find that some of your go-to’s already fall into this category, like your Eco Tan Face Tan Water or Weleda Skin Food Body Butter (phew).
But pinning down exactly what makes a product safe is not easy. In Australia, cosmetics are subject to some pretty lax regulations. For example, there’s no single list of chemicals that are banned or restricted for cosmetic use. The Therapeutic Goods Administration governs products claiming to provide therapeutic benefit (e.g. sunscreen), and the Poisons Standard is a thing, but that’s about it.
Without any legal definition for what makes a product ‘clean’, brands are free to decide for themselves and label their products however they fancy.
The case is similar in the US, where the government has no power to recall toxic beauty products in a largely self-regulated industry. The sitch is only slightly better in Europe, where they’ve banned more than 1,000 chemicals from personal care products.
This all means that the secret to clean beauty rests with you. The first step is to get informed (look at you go), then take a closer look at what’s in the products you’re considering.
From a health perspective, common sense tells us that clean products prevail, especially when it comes to skincare. Think of it this way: the facial moisturiser and body oil you apply each morning will soak into your skin all day. Opting for clean alternatives gives you peace of mind that your products contain safe ingredients that nourish your body rather than toxic ones that might hurt it.
Since brands can set their own standards for ‘clean’, it’s important to zoom in on the ingredients list of products and use it to guide your buying.
A word to the wise: just because an ingredient is natural, doesn’t mean it’s necessarily better for you – or more effective – than something synthetic. For example, some essential oils may cause skin irritation or headaches, while hyaluronic acid is a lab-made undone skin staple that’s safe as houses.
The trick is to prioritise personal safety above all. Whether natural or synthetic, opt for ingredients that work best for your skin and jive with your personal beliefs and ethics.
A good way to pick the right clean beauty products is to be alert for widely considered ‘dirty’ ingredients.
From slightly suss to totes toxic, these are some of the top offenders to steer clear of:
Thanks to the rise of clean beauty, it’s now super easy to get your hands on thoughtfully formulated lotions and potions that are free of nasties. KORA Organics is a leader in this space with its ultra-rich Turmeric Glow Moisturizer flying off shelves. After something to plump and purify? MAAEMO’s Purifying Gel Cleanser is full of organic botanicals that do just that.
Want more clean beauty recs? We got you! Let’s take a gander at some Aussie brands making magic in this space.
Congrats – you’re now a clean beauty expert. Time to detox your skincare routine with carefully crafted, Aussie-made products that will do you a world of good.
With Afterpay, you can stock your beauty shelf with a fresh batch of healthy alternatives without worrying about upfront payments. Split your total into easy, interest-free instalments and get those questionable creams and sketchy sprays outta your life today.