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Clean Beauty 101: Interpreting Beauty Products that Identify as “Clean”

Women have become increasingly investigative of the ingredients in their beauty products. In this age of information, a quick google search can dismantle the mystery behind ingredients we often see but can’t pronounce. Before the cosmetic companies began to coin their products as “paraben-free,” who knew what was a paraben was?? Thanks to organizations such as EWG and NHI, consumers have become educated about harmful toxins present in beauty products.

*Insert Clean Beauty Revolution*

Recently, some of our favorite beauty brands hit the market with “clean” beauty products… or so we thought? The top five ingredients listed on the label of a skincare product are roughly 35% of the product’s total composition. Perhaps you should take this into consideration the next time you’re paying for Water(Aqua). Of course H-2-O isn’t a bad thing; not only is it good for the body, it’s also the key ingredient behind your favorite body lotions and moisturizers. Unfortunately, water-based skincare greets us with the conundrum of validating the legitimacy of clean beauty products.


Products containing water require preservatives/mold inhibitors and PH adjusters to keep it from spoiling. These substances are created in laboratories and championed as “safe synthetics” by cosmetic companies. In doing so, it gives manufacturers a chance to sneak in some “dirty” ingredients under the radar. Many of which pass as "safe synthetics" such propylene glycol and tocopheryl acetate, both of which are harmful to the immune system according to the EWG.


When reaching for a bottle of olive oil in your kitchen cabinet, it accidentally tips over and spills all over yours arms. You squint as a golden drop splashes into your eye; most likely you’ll live to tell the tale without any injuries. Kitchen cabinet omitted, what if the bottle was filled with Triethanolamine?? Dimethicone 500?? Perhaps it wouldn’t be fatal if some got into your eye but it’s better not to take a chance. These substances require caution when handling so are these synthetics really safe? As for the products that include them, are they really clean?

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