Do you know what’s in your beauty products?
When it comes to shopping for skincare and makeup products, we sometimes buy them without even thinking about their ingredients. However, some of the products that line the shelves in our stores have harmful ingredients. Such ingredients can include, formaldehyde, mineral oil, phtalates, parabens, talc, and countless others. These additives lurking in our beauty products can negatively impact our health in the long run. They can also be damaging to our environment, as these ingredients are often washed down the drain and then pollute our waterways.
What’s worse is that the FDA has very limited regulations for the beauty industry. Cosmetics companies produce millions of products every year that go straight from manufacturing facilities into stores, with little to no government review. In fact, there’s only 11 ingredients that the FDA has banned in our cosmetic products. Meanwhile, Europe has banned and restricted more than 1,300 chemicals. In comparison, regulations in the U.S. fall extremely short for consumer safety. Thus, we are responsible for determining which products are safe for our use.
What is “clean” beauty?
I always make sure to read the label and ingredients of every product I buy. This is especially important, as companies use words like “organic” or “natural” on the packaging to make you think you’re buying a product that is safe to use on your skin. However, you still need to read what is actually in those products. As a general rule of thumb, if the list of ingredients is extremely long and full of words that you can’t even pronounce, you should probably put that product back on the shelf.
Truly “clean” products will never leave you confused or second-guessing what’s actually in them. Since there’s no legal or official definition, how do we define “clean” beauty? At the root, clean beauty is supposed to be simple. Ultimately, products that are “clean” have non-toxic ingredients and are transparent. However, even with this definition in mind, it is still a lot for consumers to have to decide which brands to trust and use.
How to decide which products to buy?
The good news is that there are now many companies who make it easier for consumers to find clean products. I have two methods for helping me decide which products are not only safe for my skin, but also better for our planet.
Method 1 – Shopping In-Person
When shopping in-person, the Think Dirty app is my best friend. With this app, you can scan the barcode of nearly any beauty product in the store and it will pull up an overall rating of the product, rate each ingredient, and shows reviews of the item. The product and ingredients receive a rating between 0 and 10. Their “dirty meter” rates products with the following scale:
- 0-3: Does not contain any ingredients with a documented potential negative health impact
- 4-7: Contains ingredients that have potential moderate negative long-term health effects
- 8-10: Product’s ingredients have potential serious negative long-term health effects
This app makes it easy to decide which products you should put back on the shelf and which ones to bring home with you. I personally try to only purchase products that fall within the first category of scoring between a 0 and 3. Think Dirty also makes it easy to find clean alternatives to your favorite beauty products with the “their picks” section on the app. This app makes clean beauty so much easier to obtain!
Method 2 – Shopping Online
My go-to retailer when shopping for clean beauty products online is Credo Beauty. To start off, Credo bans over 2,700 ingredients from the products they carry. Their standard of clean involves health, sustainability and ethical concerns, while also pushing for transparency. They carry over 130 brands with product categories ranging from skincare, makeup, hair, body, fragrance, and more. Another bonus, all of their products are cruelty-free! Credo also has a recycling program where you can bring your empty beauty products (from Credo or not) in to the store to be recycled, while also earning additional reward points.
Credo’s clean beauty standard, makes them the perfect place to shop online for any of your beauty needs. For the last year, I’ve only shopped brands and products that are offered at Credo Beauty because I know I can trust that these products are safe for myself and the earth.
I hope that this has helped you understand what “clean” beauty really is and how to shop for it. As consumers, it’s important that we start realizing not every product out there is good for us. With an industry that has such limited regulations, it is up to us to define our own standard of clean.
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