The true meaning of ‘Clean Beauty’ and how to mindfully shop for non-toxic products
It’s no secret that we’re spoilt for choice when it comes to buying cosmetics and self-care products. There’s no shortage of brands and products out there vying for our attention, making promises that we all look for: radiance, bright complexion, glowing skin…the list goes on! However, in reality it really is too good to be true. Many mainstream beauty products are contaminated with toxic ingredients that actually have the opposite effect on your skin, making it extremely important to understand the concept of clean beauty and red flags for products that don’t fall within this category.
We reached out to the Founder of the boutique store and wellness space Prae, Bec Conforti, to learn about the true meaning of clean beauty, her product must-haves and some ingredients to steer clear of when shopping for beauty products.
Q: What does clean beauty mean to you? Why do you think it’s important?
A: Clean Beauty means to me buying and using products that have no harmful or synthetic ingredients in them – safe for people and the planet. I know there are a lot of brands out there that are guilty of “greenwashing” and labelling themselves as non-toxic or organic when they really aren’t, which is very misleading. That’s because the beauty industry is self-regulated, which means anyone can make a “clean beauty” claim with no oversight. So I think it’s very important to do your research on a brand and look at ingredients instead of getting too influenced by marketing.
I believe that clean beauty is so important because the amount of chemicals in products are so harmful to our health. There are so many brands out there these days that are creating amazing products that are 100% clean and full of active ingredients, which I believe work better than mainstream beauty products, so there’s no need to comprise anymore. It’s funny because people often comment on my skin and ask what my secret is, and honestly my secret is that I do not put a product on my skin that is toxic, and I do not inject myself with toxic ingredients either, and I feel like most people don’t believe me as there is this stigma that natural and organic products don’t work – trust me, they do!
Q: What are the consequences or risks of buying and using beauty products that aren’t ‘clean’?
A: I’m sure most people know that our skin is the largest organ of our body and whatever you put onto your skin absorbs into your bloodstream almost immediately. So if you are buying and using toxic beauty products they are directly affecting your health. I know this from experience, as I went through a period of chronic illness and acquired something called “Multiple Chemical Sensitivity,” so because my body was so toxic, it couldn’t handle the most minimal amounts of chemicals and my body would react so badly. It got to the point where I couldn’t even be around someone wearing perfume.
Most beauty products, including skincare, perfumes, makeup, deodorants, and so on, contain heavy metals and carcinogenic and endocrine-disrupting ingredients, which can cause hormone disruption, reproductive harm, allergies, cancers and weight gain, just to name a few. Seriously, who wants to take that risk?
I will also add that most brands who don’t have non-toxic values will usually test their products on animals – seriously?! So please do your research before buying next time.
What are your must have clean beauty products and why?
I am so blessed to have endless options from owning a store full of them but my must have clean beauty products are:
Edible Beauty No.1 Cleanser – It’s so rich, nourishing and hydrating.
Mukti’s Age Defiance Serum Range – I mix it up with the Vital C Elixir, Hyaluronic Serum, Day and Night Serum and the Eye Serum.
Mukti’s Omega Oil – For hydration and to lock in my serums overnight.
Edible Beauty’s Sheet Masks – These are incredible and perfect for the night before an event, they make your skin so bright and luminous after.
Biologi’s Hydration BF Body Serum – For soft and smooth skin.
Ayu’s Perfume oil – All the scents are devine but my personal favourite is Vala.
Ere Perez Oat Milk Foundation and Carrot Colour Pot – The Oat Milk Foundation is our staff’s cult product – its just so flawless and dewy. Also the Carrot Colour Pot in Harmony to add colour to lips and cheeks.
Inika’s Long Lash Mascara and Lipstick Crayon – The Long Lash mascara is my favourite and the lipstick crayon in Tan Nude colour.
Q: What are your daily clean beauty rituals?
A: Most days before I have a shower I will dry body brush to stimulate blood flow and to help remove toxins, followed by lathering my body in the Biologi Hydration BF Body Serum. Then I shower and cleanse my face. Afterwards, I apply the Mukti Vitamin C, Day and Eye Serum to my face, and use my Rose Quartz Gua Sha to massage the serums into my face and to help plump up my skin.
At night before bed, I remove my makeup with Micellar Rosewater and then I use a dermal roller on my face and apply my Hyaluronic night and eye serums, followed by the Omega Oil to lock in my serums at night for hydration.
Once a week I will use the Edible Beauty sheet masks while I sip on a tea in bed to brighten my skin and make it extra luminous.
Q: What are the signs or red flags people should look out for to identify whether a beauty product is clean or not?
A: I feel like any ingredient that you can’t really pronounce is not a clean ingredient. There are also a lot of other toxic ingredients that are abbreviated, so just please make sure to do your own research and Google any ingredient that you are a little sus on and what effect it will have on your body if you use them. The “Truth in Beauty” book by Mukti is my clean beauty bible and I always have this on hand to help me. The app “Think Dirty” is also another amazing tool to check on a scale of how toxic the products you are using are.
Ingredients that you should steer clear of are:
Parabens (also under the name of Methyl, Butyl, Propyl, or Benzyl) – found in just about all mainstream cosmetics, skincare products and deodorants.
Fragrances (also listed under perfume or parfum) – found in most mainstream cosmetics and personal care products.
Phthalates (sometimes named Bisphenol A or abbreviated as DEP, BBzP, DBP, BPA and DEHP) – found in most lipsticks, fragrances, deodorants, hair products, skin and body lotions, nail products, plastic packaging and house cosmetics.
Sulfates (sodium lauryl sulfate, sls, sles) – found in most personal care products that foam.
Formaldehyde (also named under DMDM hydantoin, Diazolidinyl urea, Imidzaolidinyl urea, Imidazolidinyl urea, Quaternium-15, Sodium hydroxymethylglycinate, 2-bromi-2-nitropropane-1, 3-idol (Bronopol)- Found in makeup, body lotions, hair straighteners, eyelash glues and nail polish.
Petroleum (also listed under Petroleum oil and jelly, Mineral oil and jelly, Liquid paraffin, Propylene glycol) – found in hair products, lip balms, mascara, eye makeup, lipsticks and moisturisers.
Oxybenzone (also named benzophenone, BP2, sulisobenzone) – Found in most sunscreens, moisturisers, nail polish, foundations, lip balm and shampoo and conditioners.
Hydroquinone – Found in skin lightening creams, cleansers, facial moisturisers, hair conditioners and fingernail coating products.
Talcum Powder or Talc – found in loose mineral makeup and pressed powder foundations.
Aluminium compounds – found in most deodorants and antiperspirants, and eye shadows.
Phenoxyethanol – found in most conventional sunscreens, makeup and skincare products.
If you enjoyed this article from Bec, click here to read our interview with her about her sustainable habits.