One of the biggest beauty trends that has emerged this year, is the clean beauty trend. With everybody talking about organic, toxic-free products, do we really know what clean beauty means, or have we lost the narrative?
The latest fad in the beauty industry seems to be the clean beauty movement. While everybody has a different understanding of what clean beauty actually is, experts from the field talk about the movement, how to start practising clean beauty and everything else one needs, to educate themselves about the concept before delving into it.
So, what exactly is clean beauty? While clean beauty is often used as a blanket term to describe products that are organic, Vasundhara Patni, Founder of Kiro believes, “Products that are free from any potential damage on human health are “Clean Beauty’ products. At the same time, natural products are not always safe. Likewise, just because an ingredient is synthetic or chemically derived, it does not mean it is unsafe,” she says. Add to this, Founder of Auravedic, Amrita Alexander adds that the product doesn’t necessarily need to be organic, preservative-free or all-natural, for that matter! “A clean beauty product must contain only safe, non-toxic ingredients,” she adds.
If one wants to get on the clean beauty bandwagon, how do they start? Various phrases like clean beauty, safe beauty, etc. are used very loosely in every industry today. Vasundhara Patni believes that the only way to get it right is to “Read the fine print and understand the entire ingredient list to make sure that harmful raw materials are not used and the products are safe to apply on the body.” She also goes on to explain that the stereotype that “clean” as a word is very often used synonymous to natural, needs to change. “Witch hazel is one natural ingredient that may not always be good for your skin, whereas hyaluronic acid, Vitamin C and E, which are chemically derived are good examples of chemicals that are beneficial and good for the skin,” says Patni. Amit Sarda, MD of Soulflower, a clean beauty brand, believes that educating yourself is the way to proceed. “Educate yourself on what sort of ingredients you want to avoid and make informed purchasing decisions,” he says about taking into consideration what suits your skin and what doesn’t.
What are some ingredients that need to be avoided, and why? Two main ingredients according to Madhur Acharya, Senior Manager – Business Development at WOW Skin Science, are are Parabens and Sulphates. “Parabens are chemicals that have been used since the 1950s to prevent bacteria and act as a preservative. Sulphates are irritants that are used to generate lather in shampoos and soaps. These two elements are usually added for that extra inch of perseverance.” However, it doesn’t take long for these ingredients to penetrate, disrupting the natural film of our skin causing internal damage to the hormones, further disturbing one’s reproductive wavelength and the outcome of it is displayed on our external skin layer leading to skin troubles, he believes. Vasundhara Patni also believes that Formaldehyde is widely found in cosmetics and is known to cause allergic skin reaction and rashes. “It can be absorbed into the skin and it is also known to be a human carcinogen,” she says. “Diethanolamine is an ingredient banned in many countries. It’s been shown to be carcinogenic to the human body. Yet it’s still used in many cosmetics as a pH level adjuster. It’s also used to make some beauty products thicker or foamier,” reveals Amrita Alexander. Apart from these, “Some of the most common beauty ingredients that should be avoided are refined petroleum, phthalates, sodium lauryl sulfate, artificial fragrance, synthetic colours, triclosan, lead, alcohol to name a few. These ingredients are hormone disruptors, carcinogens or allergens. They are not safe to use and are listed as toxic by environmental agencies,” adds Amit Sarda who also states that while these products might make your skin and hair shiny in the long run they are damaging and causes serious issues.
What are some things to be aware of when opting for clean beauty products? The most important thing according to Madhur Acharya of WOW Skin Science is to “Avoid getting carried away with tags like all-natural and organic if the ingredients are not listed in there.” Vasundhara adds, “Clean beauty or living is a mindset and it can take some time to implement and execute into your daily lifestyle. It definitely cannot be changed overnight and hence it is important to give yourself some time and take it step by step.” The founder of Kiro also believes that it is important to not put pressure on oneself to make a change happen overnight. To find out about the ingredients Amrita Alexander of Auravedic suggests that one check the local government guidelines. “Fragrance in cosmetics is used as a loophole to hide toxic ingredients so beware of the percentage of fragrance used,” she warns.
To conclude, Amit Sarda of Soulflower chips in, “It will take a little time for your skin and hair to adapt to the product. Give it that time. You are on your way to healthy-looking skin and hair. Clean beauty involves no compromises in terms of quality, efficacy, or luxury.”
What are your thoughts on the clean beauty movement? Comment below and let us know.
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