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Is Clean Beauty a Hoax? What to Know in 2023

Have you wondered what clean beauty precisely entails? You are not alone! Buzzwords in the beauty industry get quickly overwhelming. The term is ubiquitous in brand marketing, whether big or small. So, is clean beauty a hoax? What is it exactly? Stay till the end to get closure.


What Is Clean Beauty?


Over the last decades, inclinations to healthier lifestyles have greatly been reflected in the beauty and personal care consumer behaviors and purchase decisions. Clean beauty is among the multiple designations brands use to communicate their product formulation standards.


According to The Good Face Project, clean beauty encompasses products with safe ingredients for humans and the environment and transparent labeling.


While clean beauty promises formulations with ingredients sourced from different origins, its key requirement is non-toxicity. It's a prevailing misconception that natural ingredients are inherently safe while man-made ones are hazardous. However, clean ingredients may be natural, organic, or synthetic, provided they do not pose health risks.


Furthermore, a clean brand prioritizes transparent labeling, ensuring no undisclosed components are present for consumer appraisal. This transparency is essential for informed consumer choices and aligns with the core principles of clean beauty.


Is Clean Beauty Regulated?


Unfortunately, clean beauty has no regulatory bearing, much like other FDA-unregulated terms such as natural, organic, cruelty-free, etc.


This lack of standardized regulation means no universally accepted definition of what constitutes a “clean” beauty product.


Consumers must rely on individual brands' claims and ingredient lists, which vary widely regarding their transparency and adherence to clean beauty principles.


After all, the onus remains on consumers to decide which brand fulfills the clean beauty requirements based on knowledge, preferences, and loyalty.


So, is Clean Beauty a Hoax?


Whether clean beauty is a hoax or not is complex and nuanced, and the answer largely depends on how you approach and interpret the concept.


Clean beauty mainly faces criticism for the absence of regulatory guidelines mentioned earlier. Some consumers are wary of brands making greenwashing claims, such as natural or organic, to convey product safety when their formulations do not measure up. Many have concerns about false and misleading claims about the safety and purity of product ingredients.


In contrast, advocates argue that clean beauty promotes safer, transparent products, expressing concerns about harmful ingredients linked to health issues. Nevertheless, the safety of cosmetics and skincare ingredients is a subject of ongoing scientific research, and associated risks may not be as clear-cut as some clean beauty proponents imply.


One good example is parabens, synthetic preservatives used since the 1920s. In research studies, parabens have been shown to possess hormone-disruptive functions. However, the FDA has not made conclusive statements on parabens safety concerns.


In addition, arguments favoring the clean beauty movement also applaud the environmentally conscious practices involved. Many clean beauty brands emphasize sustainable and environmentally friendly practices, aligning with the growing concern for the planet's health. They purport that this aspect of clean beauty contributes positively to the industry.


In our opinion, clean beauty will remain a matter of debate and perspective as long as regulations lack to support or deny claims. Different brands and organizations may have varying criteria for what they consider clean. As a result, reaching a consensus will remain a hurdle.


What Ingredients Are Shunned in Clean Beauty?


Ingredients a clean beauty brand may want to avoid because they have a “bad rep” are the following:


Parabens: Synthetic preservatives concerning hormone disruption and links to breast cancer.


Phthalates: Used in fragrances, they are avoided due to potential endocrine disruption and reproductive toxicity.


Formaldehyde: Found in some products, it's a known human carcinogen.


Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLS): Used in cleansing products, they can irritate the skin and eyes.


BHA (Butylated Hydroxyanisole) and BHT (Butylated Hydroxytoluene): Synthetic antioxidants with concerns about carcinogenicity and potential endocrine hormone disruption.


Synthetic Fragrances: Often contain undisclosed chemicals, causing allergies and irritation.


Polyethylene (PEGs) Compounds: Used in cosmetics, they can be contaminated with harmful impurities.


Triclosan: An antibacterial agent linked to skin and eye inflammation and a threat to aquatic ecosystems.


Talc: Found in some cosmetics, with concerns about asbestos contamination and ovarian cancer.

How Do You Formulate a Clean Beauty Product Line?


If you are a brand or product formulator desiring to create your clean beauty product line, look no further!


Keeping product safety in mind, Freelance Formulations will help you make formulations using the purest form of quality ingredients. In addition, with our value-added services in testing, you can create proven, non-toxic products of substantiated clinical efficacy.


Contact us today to get started!







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