In past years, clean beauty has transformed from a trendy buzzword into a full-blown movement that empowers users to understand what it is they are putting on their skin. However, because of its rapid growth and popularity, it can often be difficult to ascertain which products fall into the clean beauty category and which are being purposefully greenwashed in order to appear so.
Clean beauty is complex, and we can guess that the reason you’re here is to understand it a little better. So, we’re going to break it down for you. We’ll discuss all aspects of clean beauty, from what it is and why it’s important, to the ingredients you should generally avoid when choosing a beauty product and how Hunter Lab is remaining committed to producing clean beauty products.
What is clean beauty?
Clean beauty has widely become associated with non-toxic, natural, organic and/or vegan beauty, and brands that claim the “clean beauty” stamp often also claim ethical and cruelty-free production, as well as sustainable ingredient sourcing.
Clean beauty products are generally devoid of potentially harmful ingredients, including parabens, heavy metals, fragrance, talc and phthalates (don’t worry, there’ll be more on these buzzwords later).
Translation: clean beauty is generally better for both people and the planet, as well as for your skin.
Why is clean beauty important?
The clean beauty movement is a response to the growing concerns about the safety of the ingredients used in cosmetic products within the beauty industry. Clean beauty in itself is important as the products that fit into this category are generally formulated with more natural and cleaner ingredients. Skin is the most porous organ we have, so being aware of what we put onto our skin–and, in turn, into our body–is where the importance of clean beauty lies.
How do you know if a beauty product is clean?
We’ve said it once and we’ll say it again: clean beauty is complex. Clean beauty products generally favour natural ingredients, however they can also contain synthetic ingredients that have been deemed safe for both people and the planet. When trying to determine if a product is “clean”, consider the certifications (if any) that the product has, and understand the ingredients stated on the ingredients list.
As a general rule of thumb, avoid products containing:
- Heavy metals
- Synthetic fragrance
- Palm oil
What ingredients should be avoided?
Parabens are used as preservatives in cosmetic products, as well as in foods and drugs, because they prevent the growth of bacteria and mould. However, because they can act like oestrogen when in the body, parabens can disrupt the “hormone systems affecting male and female reproductive system functioning, reproductive development, fertility and birth outcomes.”
Heavy metals, also known as toxic metals, are often present in cosmetics and beauty products, and include arsenic, cadmium, chromium, cobalt, lead, mercury, aluminium and nickel. They are often found in cosmetics like foundations, nail polish, eye shadows and lipsticks–according to two FDA surveys, compact products such as eye shadow, blushes and powders contained more heavy metals than other types of cosmetics–and beauty products such as toothpaste, moisturiser and sunscreen.
Talc is a common ingredient used in cosmetic products due to its silky texture, its ability to absorb oil and to prevent caking, and because it makes makeup more translucent. Talc is generally considered safe, however if it is absorbed or ingested into the lungs, it can cause asthma, bronchitis or talcosis.
Similar to parabens, phthalates are chemicals used to preserve and increase the longevity of items such as food and cosmetics. Common phthalates have been associated with adversely affecting hormonal balance in humans, a decreased count and quality of sperm in males, and the development of obesity in children.
Synthetic fragrances are fragrances created to mimic natural scents. Although synthetic fragrances last longer than natural fragrances and are often cheaper to purchase, synthetic fragrances can cause rashes and skin irritations, and can also contain toxic ingredients including phthalates and other ingredients that should be avoided where possible.
A clean beauty glossary.
The “green” movement is a push for more eco-friendly, sustainable and clean processes within the beauty (or any) industry, and can encompass everything from environmentally-friendly packaging options to sustainable ingredient sourcing.
An ethical supply chain is a supply chain without any form of abuse or exploitation to people or the planet, from the sourcing of the ingredients to the physical creation of the product.
Sustainability in the beauty industry is often associated with the way in which the ingredients are harvested and sourced, as well as the materials used to package the products. It is also worth noting that “natural” and “sustainable” are not one and the same. For instance, palm oil is a natural product that is used in a huge variety of beauty products, however unsustainable palm oil production is having extremely detrimental consequences on the environment.
Veganism is a lifestyle in which all forms of animal products, from food products like meat and eggs to general goods such as leather and beeswax wraps, are boycotted. Vegan beauty products are free from any animal products, including honey, beeswax, and dairy, and are not tested on animals in any shape or form.
The general definition of natural is “as found in nature and not involving anything made or done by people.” In terms of beauty, natural beauty products contain natural or botanical ingredients, and are generally free from harmful chemicals or synthetic ingredients.
If a product is organic, it has been produced without the use of chemical fertilisers, pesticides, or other harmful chemicals. The best way to tell if a skincare product is actually organic is to check if it has any legitimate organic certifications, such as an ACO (Australian Certified Organic) certification.
If something is synthetic, it is “made by a synthetic, or chemical, process” or is a “substance or product made by chemical synthesis, as plastics or artificial fibers.” Examples of synthetic ingredients in the beauty industry include synthetic colours or fragrances, sulphates and phthalates.
Be mindful of greenwashing in your hunt for clean beauty. Greenwashing is a tactic employed by companies to mislead consumers into thinking a certain product is more environmentally-friendly than it actually is through the use of environmental imagery, misleading labels, and hiding tradeoffs. If in doubt, do your own research.
Hunter Lab’s commitment to clean beauty.
Hunter Lab’s formulation team ensures their next generation skincare remains firmly within the clean beauty category by utilising only the best natural ingredients, creating safe and effective formulations, and sourcing ingredients and other products sustainably.
Clean Formula Commitment
To ensure their products are as safe on the skin as they are effective, Hunter Lab’s formulas are made without skin-irritating ingredients, and are free from nasty and harmful synthetic fillers.
Hunter Lab sources only the world’s most effective botanical ingredients that are currently existing in or formed by nature. These natural ingredients include (but are not limited to) argan oil, black clay, hemp seed oil, shea butter and zinc oxide, and are chosen for their ability to support the skin’s integrity and biology, and to provide high-performing and optimal results for the user.
Hunter Lab is committed to sustainability. The ingredients are sourced transparently, ethically and sustainably, and the team knows where each ingredient is grown, harvested and sourced from. As for the packaging, their shipping boxes are made from 100% recycled and recyclable materials, their packing tape is 100% recycled, and their cartons are FSC certified and recyclable. What’s more, you can recycle your empty Hunter Lab bottles and tubes at David Jones through Beauty Cycle.
Hunter Lab’s skincare products are free from animal cruelty. Hunter Lab does not test the formulas on animals, nor use ingredients with a recent history of animal testing. Most of the natural skincare range is also vegan-friendly, with the exception of few products containing sustainably-harvested honey and beeswax.
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