Clean Beauty Basics

Understanding Clean Beauty

Clean beauty is a movement that prioritizes natural, non-toxic, and sustainable ingredients for effective skincare solutions. It has gained popularity as consumers become more conscious of the ingredients in their cosmetics and their potential impact on health and the environment. CoverGirl is often credited with originating the term in the 1960s, but the concept has evolved significantly since then.

Today, clean beauty products are free from harmful and unnecessary ingredients, such as parabens, synthetic fragrances, phthalates, and sulfates. They also prioritize eco-conscious packaging and ethical practices. Brands like Back to Earth Skin exemplify this approach, using only natural ingredients, essential oils, and a proprietary clay complex.


The clean beauty movement is not just about looking good; it’s about feeling good and protecting the planet. By avoiding harmful chemicals, clean beauty products benefit sensitive skin and promote environmental sustainability. The market for clean beauty is expected to grow significantly in the coming years, reflecting a broader trend towards wellness and self-care.

Switching to clean beauty products is a gradual process that requires education and experimentation. It’s essential to understand the ingredients in your cosmetics and make informed choices about what you put on your skin. The push for clean beauty has led to increased research and development of natural and plant-based ingredients, offering a wide range of options for consumers.

In summary, clean beauty is a movement towards greater transparency and accountability in the beauty industry. By prioritizing natural, non-toxic, and sustainable ingredients, clean beauty products provide effective skincare solutions without compromising health or the environment. As consumers become more conscious of their choices, clean beauty is poised to become the new standard in cosmetics.

Ingredients to Avoid

Clean beauty is all about using products that are free from harmful ingredients. Unfortunately, conventional beauty products often contain chemicals that can be detrimental to our health. In this section, we’ll discuss some of the most common harmful ingredients found in cosmetics and why you should avoid them.

Phthalates and Parabens

Phthalates are commonly found in fragranced products such as perfumes and shower gels. These chemicals can lead to reproductive and developmental issues. Parabens, on the other hand, are used as preservatives in cosmetics and may disrupt hormones, increasing the risk of breast cancer. To avoid these harmful chemicals, look for products labeled as “phthalate-free” and “paraben-free.” L’OrĂ©al and Unilever are two major companies that have taken steps to phase out these chemicals from their products.


Triclosan and Formaldehyde

Triclosan is found in some antibacterial products like toothpaste and can disrupt hormones while contributing to antibiotic resistance. Formaldehyde-releasing preservatives can cause allergies, skin irritation, and increase the risk of cancer. To avoid these chemicals, opt for products without triclosan and look for those labeled as “formaldehyde-free.”

Toluene and Benzene

Toluene, a neurotoxin, is commonly found in nail polish and can lead to health issues with prolonged exposure. Benzene, a known carcinogen, is present in many hair products, including drug-store and premium brands. Avoid products containing these chemicals to minimize your risk of health problems.

PFAS and Chemical Hair Straighteners

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are used to enhance the durability of cosmetics like waterproof mascara and dry shampoo. These chemicals can increase the risk of cancer and other health issues. In 2025, California will ban cosmetics containing PFAS, thanks to a law signed by Governor Gavin Newsom. Chemical hair straightening products may double the risk of cancer, so it’s best to avoid them as well.

By being aware of these harmful ingredients and choosing clean beauty products, you can protect your health and contribute to a more sustainable and eco-friendly cosmetics industry. Remember to always check product labels and opt for brands that prioritize clean and natural ingredients.

Clean Beauty Brands

Clean beauty is all about using products that are safe, eco-friendly, and made from natural ingredients. Many popular brands have embraced this movement, offering a wide range of products that cater to the clean beauty lifestyle. Here are some noteworthy clean beauty brands and their products.

Australian Botanicals

Australia is known for its unique botanical ingredients, and many Australian beauty brands, such as Aesop, use these in their products. These brands focus on sustainability and female-led leadership, making them a popular choice for clean beauty enthusiasts.

Tower 28

This brand is all about clean and non-toxic ingredients. Tower 28 complies with strict EU regulations for cosmetics, ensuring that their products are safe for use. Check out their website here.

Good Light

Good Light not only offers clean beauty products but also donates 1% of sales to a nonprofit organization committed to ending homelessness among LGBTQIA+ youth. Learn more about their mission and products here.


Youthforia is an eco-conscious brand with playful packaging and a unique skincare testing process. They ensure the safety and effectiveness of their products by sleeping in them. Check out their innovative approach here.

As the natural beauty products market continues to grow, more brands are joining the clean beauty movement. By choosing these brands, you’re not only taking care of your skin but also supporting a more sustainable and ethical beauty industry. So, explore these clean beauty brands and discover the benefits of using natural, eco-friendly products.

DIY Clean Beauty Recipes

Embracing clean beauty is easier than you think, especially when you can create your own products at home. Homemade body washes, for example, are customizable, gentle, and chemical-free, catering to individual skin types. Plus, they are cost-effective, environmentally conscious, and allow for artistic expression.

Simple Homemade Body Wash Recipe

To start your DIY clean beauty journey, try making a basic homemade body wash with natural ingredients. You’ll need:

– 1 cup of unscented castile soap
– 1 cup of distilled water
– 1 tablespoon of honey
– 1 tablespoon of coconut oil
– 10-15 drops of essential oils (such as lavender or rosemary)

Simply mix all the ingredients together and pour into a reusable bottle. Voila! You’ve made your own chemical-free body wash that’s gentle on your skin.

Personalize Your Body Wash

One of the best things about DIY beauty products is the ability to personalize them. Essential oils can be added to your homemade body wash for aromatherapy benefits. For instance, lavender oil is known for its calming properties, while rosemary oil can help promote hair growth and reduce dandruff when used as a hair rinse.

More DIY Beauty Ideas

Homemade body wash is just the beginning.


You can also create face masks, scrubs, and makeup removers using household ingredients like honey, aloe vera, and coconut oil. These natural alternatives protect your skin without harmful chemicals.

Making your own clean beauty products not only leads to a more sustainable and personalized routine but also supports a movement towards a more diverse and inclusive beauty industry. By choosing to create your own products or support Black-owned and queer-owned beauty brands, you’re making a positive impact on the environment and marginalized communities.

In summary, DIY clean beauty recipes are an easy and effective way to transition to a healthier and more eco-friendly beauty routine. So, why not give it a try and experience the benefits for yourself?

Transitioning to Clean Beauty

Transitioning to a clean beauty routine can be a rewarding experience, both for your skin and the environment. With a few simple steps, you can make the switch to healthier, eco-friendly products that align with your values. Here are some tips to help you on your journey.

Start with Research

Before diving into clean beauty, it’s essential to understand the ingredients to avoid and the benefits of natural alternatives. Familiarize yourself with harmful chemicals commonly found in conventional beauty products, such as parabens, sulfates, and phthalates. The Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep database is an excellent resource for learning about the safety of cosmetic ingredients.

Read Labels Carefully

When shopping for clean beauty products, pay close attention to labels. Look for natural and organic ingredients, and avoid products containing harmful chemicals. Keep in mind that the term “clean beauty” is not regulated, so it’s crucial to do your due diligence.

Choose Sustainable Brands

Support clean beauty brands that prioritize sustainability and eco-friendliness. Many of these companies use recyclable packaging, source ingredients ethically, and avoid animal testing. Brands like Youth to the People are known for their commitment to clean and sustainable beauty.

Take it Slow

Switching to clean beauty products doesn’t have to happen overnight. Start by replacing one or two items in your routine, and gradually incorporate more clean products as you run out of your conventional ones. This approach allows you to test new products and find what works best for your skin.

Utilize Technology

Apps like Yuka can help you identify the potential health impacts of cosmetic products. Simply scan a product’s barcode, and the app will provide a rating based on its ingredients.

Embrace a Holistic Approach

Remember that clean beauty is just one aspect of a healthy lifestyle. Drinking enough water, eating a balanced diet, and getting regular exercise can improve your skin’s health and reduce the need for heavy makeup.

By following these tips, you’ll be well on your way to a cleaner, greener beauty routine that benefits both you and the planet.

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