First we had clean eating, and then there was clean sleeping. Now? Say hello to clean beauty. But what the hell is it? Clean beauty means products that don’t contain any toxic ingredients – so really, it’s toxin-free beauty. It’s important to note that just because something is natural, doesn’t mean it’s clean – many natural ingredients are actually toxic (like lead or poison ivy), and many products containing the word ‘natural’ may actually be full of synthetic ingredients.
The same goes for organic beauty – this isn’t the same as toxin-free. There’s a lot of green-washing in the cosmetics industry, with words like ‘organic’, ‘green’ and ‘natural’ trying to trick you that you’re buying a better product than you are.
So, what are potential benefits of going ‘clean’ when to comes to beauty? Does ‘natural’ mean ‘clean’? Products that are free from parabens. Parabens are used in cosmetics to prolong shelf life and prevent bacteria growth. That sounds like a good thing, but some studies have linked them to a potential increased risk of cancer and other reproductive problems, as the chemicals in them mimic oestrogens. Look out for methyl-, ethyl-, propyl-, isopropyl-, butyl-, and isobutylparabens in your ingredients list, if the product isn’t labelled ‘paraben-free’.
There won’t be any potentially skin irritating ingredients Sodium lauryl sulphate (SLS) has been used in shampoo since the 1930s, as it traps oil-based dirt and creates a lather. There have been reports that SLS causes cancer but there is no direct evidence for this. The biggest risk is that it can be a skin irritant, but as it’s washed off when used in shampoo and face wash, there also isn’t that high a risk, according to Healthline. However, SLS is confirmed as harmful to aquatic life, according to Lush, so this may factor into your decision. You may have already noticed that products which fall under the ‘clean beauty’ category are a lot more expensive than their synthetic competitors. Many of us simply can’t afford these, so should we be worried about the products in our bathroom? There has been no conclusive evidence that these ingredients are definitely harmful, hence why they haven’t been banned. However, since 2016, EU legislation has limited the amount of parabens allowed in products, so if you’re concerned and on a budget, that should alleviate some of your fears, until further is done. If you are on that clean beauty hype though, your biggest problem will be sussing out which products you should buy – there’s very little regulation in the cosmetics industry, and there’s no law over who can use the word ‘clean’. So you’re going to have to do the legwork – by looking for SLS and parabens – yourself.
By Lisa Bowman
Luvbody products contain no Parabens or SLS.