Clean Beauty

Clean Beauty – Part I: Intro

#CleanBeauty is a pretty trendy topic nowadays. But what does it really mean, or rather, what should we really be looking for with clean products? In my web browsing, I wasn’t able to find just one definition for clean beauty by a regulatory agency or otherwise. I was, however, able to grasp the general gist: Clean beauty implies products that have been created without any known toxic ingredients, proven or suspected, and that have been sourced and created with our health and the environment in mind. As a consumer population who pays close attention to what we are putting in our bodies, giving preference to foods with ingredients we can read and understand, shouldn’t we also be as diligent with what we apply on our skin? 

On the regulatory front, the FDA has no authority to require beauty companies to test their products for safety. Apart from some color additives, active ingredients that are classified as drugs, and a few prohibited substances, a beauty company can use any raw material or ingredient without government review or approval. According to dermatologists, descriptors such as “natural”, or “hypoallergenic”, that go a long way to promote a product, actually have very little medical meaning. Furthermore, just because a product is natural or organic does not mean it is nontoxic. There are plenty of synthetic, nontoxic ingredients.

OK, so now that we have a general definition and realization that it is up to us to discern what truly is clean, let’s arm ourselves with some useful resources to make the most informed decisions:

  1. This article from Mindful Momma is a great intro for anyone just starting to explore clean beauty products. It sums up how to best identify non-toxic beauty products, what to look for on labels and which ingredients to watch out for.
  2. The Environmental Working Groups’s (EWG) Skin Deep Cosmetics Database. I discovered Skin Deep during my first pregnancy – the first time I really thought about what I was putting on my skin. This is a great resource to find and research nontoxic sunscreens, skincare and makeup. I’ve also downloaded EWG’s Healthy Living App for easy access to their database for a wide variety of products. 
  3. Think Dirty is another app that I refer to when shopping. This not only lets me know how “dirty” my current products are, but helps me to find less toxic alternatives.

Since I became interested in clean beauty, about five years ago, the market has really changed and there are so many options to choose from. Out of this sea of options, there are two stores/vendors that I have come to trust and really associate with nontoxic beauty:

  1. Credo Beauty – When I first discovered Credo, I was so excited to have found what I called ‘the Sephora of Clean Beauty’. Since then, Sephora has highlighted their clean offerings, but Credo is still, in my opinion, the best marketplace to view a large variety of nontoxic makeup and skincare at once. Even if you decide not to shop from the site itself, you will be immersed in a whole new world of beauty brands. Try one of their gift sets to discover new brands without a large commitment. Credo has also expanded their brick and mortar locations across the country for those that prefer to try before they buy. I made it a priority to visit their SF location soon after they launched and just the same as Ulta and Sephora, it’s a beauty lovers’ paradise, only difference, its all clean 🙂
  2. Organic Bunny – I have been following OB’s blog for several years and I’ve seen her expand from a blog to an online store and subscription box service. Organic Bunny is the real deal – she not only talks the organic, green lifestyle talk, but she truly walks the walk, in all aspects of her life. I love how she has debunked the idea that natural beauty implies natural looking. She regularly displays vibrant, bold, and trendy makeup looks with nontoxic products. Definitely one to follow!

As I’ve alluded to in this post’s title, this will be a multi-part series where I will expand upon clean beauty, topic by topic. I hope to discuss nontoxic skincare, sunscreens, and deodorants in the next few segments, as these are areas where I have done a fair bit of research and have incorporated products on a daily basis. As far as color cosmetics go, I can’t say that I’ve really made a lot of headway in that department. It’s on my to-do list and any recommendations are appreciated! While I am very interested in clean  products, I do not live a fully nontoxic lifestyle, nor do I plan to in the near future. Like with most things, I practice moderation and through this series, hope to become better educated in an effort to reduce toxins in my family’s daily routine.



Note: I would to make it very clear that I am by no means an expert in the fields of makeup and beauty, much less clean makeup and beauty, so I apologize for any inaccuracies in advance! Please feel free to correct me so we can spread knowledge together 🙂

References used for this post:, NYMag, Art of Organics.


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