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Clean Beauty: Ethical, Sustainable & Non-Toxic Skincare We All Need

by Sandy Taylor

Adopting a skincare routine is important for one’s health and well-being just as much as a nutritious diet, hydration, exercise and good sleep. Still, in a world of skincare, it might feel somewhat overwhelming to choose the ideal brands and products, and separate the good from the bad. If this sounds like you, then this blog post can help you out, the focus being on clean beauty which encompasses ethical, sustainable, and non-toxic properties.

What Does Clean Beauty Mean?

Standing out from traditional beauty, the trend of clean beauty (even though not really new as the term has been around since the 1970s) took the world by storm in the last three years or so. This happened as due to the conscious principles it’s based on as well as the quality ingredients used which wise consumers are aware of.

Since the cosmetics industry is highly profitable, as it has blown up to be worth $532 billion, it’s only natural for it to be competitive too. This would explain why there’s such a vast assortment of products on the market, even when it’s the case with clean beauty.

If you want to avoid falling prey to greenwashing, and enrich your skincare collection with products from brands that are true value for money, pay attention to how ethical, sustainable and chemical-free they are.

A Word on Ethical Beauty

Simply said, ethical beauty refers to the range of ethical beauty products that haven’t been tested on animals throughout their development and manufacture. This includes products such as bodywash, shampoo, deodorant, lipstick, toner, serum, cleanser, concealer, primer, and even makeup tools like brushes.

Animal testing is unfortunately still done today on helpless rats, mice, rabbits, guinea pigs, and in some cases even monkeys, cats and dogs, to determine whether the ingredients are harmful or not prior to being used in beauty care. Such testing includes exposing them to toxic chemicals by applying them in the eyes or directly on their skin after shaving them, force-feeding them, injecting them in the muscles or abdomen, and forcing them to inhale.

These animals are usually bred in labs for the sole purpose of testing, and they die suffering excruciating pain in cases of euthanasia like CO2 asphyxiation, neck-breaking and decapitation. Finding out about the ugly side of beauty industry raises the following question: Is beauty worth such suffering?

The answer of course is negative. And yet, as harsh as it may seem, many of us indirectly support animal cruelty because of not being informed enough about the animal testing involved in certain cosmetics, haircare, bath and body care that end up in our shopping carts. Cruelty-free is the alternative that can provide us with peace of mind, regardless whether we’re vegans or not.

Choosing Your Ethical Products

As mentioned earlier in the blog post, there are far too many brands on the market that might or mightn’t be cruelty-free. To be on the safe side, first and foremost it’s important to check the label for a bunny logo (there are three official logos from Leaping Bunny, PETA, Choose Cruelty-Free) on each and every product.

If the logo seems odd, do your homework and see whether it’s a fake and not a certified one. Additionally, look for stores and retailers that are trustworthy with their ranges of ethical beauty products, and download some cruelty-free apps for your smartphone. In case you want to take things further and count on the help of social networks, it’s easy to contact the brands directly and ask them a question or two.

A Word on Sustainable Beauty

Sustainability isn’t just a buzzword we hear, then forget the next moment. It’s here to stay, given that the popularity behind sustainability has allowed it to enter various realms of our lives, from housing, to nutrition, and different industries.

Beauty is no exception, now that we see countless products branded as sustainable. But what does it exactly mean? Well, to explain it simply, such cosmetics and personal care items are eco-friendly as they consist of natural ingredients that come from renewable sources and are safe for people and the environment.

By making the decision to replace traditional products with green and ethical beauty, you’re not only helping yourself by getting the benefits of natural and safe active ingredients, but the planet too. In a broader sense, this also helps with better managing of the resources, especially water since the traditional counterpart consists greatly of water which goes to show why the focus with green brands is on “waterless” or “water-free” beauty care.

In a world where about 25% of the population faces water crisis, this has a great impact, to say the least. And then there’s also the aspect of waste. Unlike commercial brands, the natural ones tend to minimize their waste by opting for minimal packaging as well as the use of biodegradable and/or recycled materials for the said packaging.

Moreover, such brands are also worth the investment because sustainability also refers to ethical manufacturing methods. In other words, the workers involved in the sourcing of the ingredients and the production of the products are treated fairly and safely. So besides the environmental, ethical beauty products also have a beneficial social impact.

A Word on Non-Toxic Beauty

If you care about your health, then you should be aware of the danger that lurks in traditional skincare. Some of the harmful ingredients that find their way in them are parabens, SLS, phthalates, synthetic fragrances, artificial colors, formaldehyde, lead, aluminum, triclosan, and DEA.

Most of these badly affect our endocrine system, in addition to causing skin allergies and redness, headaches, difficulty breathing, wheezing, joint pain, birth defects, and possibly increasing the risk of cancer. Sounds scary, right? Well, the risks further increase with continuous exposure to them.

Considering our skin is highly absorbent, the products we use don’t just stay on the surface, but penetrate deeper in the layers, making their way through the bloodstream, and into our organs. This shouldn’t scare you to the point of giving up skincare altogether, but rather make you more mindful with the products you buy.

Instead of choosing conventional, opt for non-toxic ethical personal-care products like natural deodorants, conditioners, masks, moisturizers and the like, as they can provide you with various benefits. Some of these include increased efficacy due to the natural ingredients, natural fragrance, and reduced chances of skin irritation.

Still, same as with being mindful with how to use essential oils, one should be cautious with skincare even when it consists of organic ingredients. The reason for this is you may not be aware you’re allergic to an ingredient (skin allergies develop at any stage in life), which requires always patch testing first. And make sure you always read the label!

About the Author

Nadezhda Kjoseva is a skincare addict that never leaves her home without an SPF factor, and buys only cruelty-free products. Her friends call her a skincare guru and they can’t buy a beauty product without her advice. She is not only a writer in the beauty world, but she also loves writing on health, lifestyle, and fashion topics.

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