What Does “Clean” Beauty Mean?


Clean beauty is toxin-free beauty, and though you may not be familiar with the term outright, it’s likely you already know what it really is: the movement toward paraben-free, phthalate-free, general “gunk”-free products. 

Be wary of any terms related to this type of movement, like “all natural,” “organic,” “green,” etc. The only one of those terms that is regulated in a broad sense is organic, and there’s not a current industry standard for these terms in skincare and makeup. This is not to say that there aren’t lines out there that truly are legitimately all natural. There are! The problem is that because there’s no one regulating that across the board, people who would seek to capitalize on the desire for more natural products have coopted that phrase and can use it unchecked to describe anything with any percentage plant-derived ingredients. One bad label ruins the whole bunch, you could say.

Some of our favorite “clean” products. 

So no, “clean” beauty isn’t regulated. However, when something touts itself as “clean,” theoretically, you should be able to easily understand the ingredients, even if they’re listed under the chemical name instead of the basic ingredient. (For example, “alpha tocopherol,” instead of “Vitamin E.”) It should be kept free of the toxic ingredients that may eventually cause health issues, like keeping your in-salon straightening treatment free of formaldehyde.

When picking your products, I think it’s wise to identify what specific things you’re hoping to avoid. I’ll use allergies as an example: often, a customer will come in and tell me they want a sunscreen moisturizer, but that they’re usually allergic to them. Only a handful of times has a person with that complaint come in knowing what exactly they’re allergic to. When we know what ingredients we’d like in skincare or makeup, or which ones we’re hoping to avoid, it makes it easier to find products appropriate for the customer’s needs, whether the request stems from allergies, skincare goals, or the “clean” movement.

If you’re concerned about what products should or shouldn’t be used for your individual health and beauty needs, we would love to offer more specific guidance. Call us at 703-299-9652 to make an appointment for a consultation.

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