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Read the Label: What Is Clean Beauty?

With the rise of The Clean Beauty Movement, I’m sure you’ve been seeing these words everywhere. But what do these words even mean? And more importantly, does it even matter?

Clean. Organic. Natural.

With the rise of The Clean Beauty Movement, I’m sure you’ve been seeing these words everywhere. But what do these words even mean? And more importantly, does it even matter?

Birthed in the 2000s with the launch of plant-based British skincare lines, The Clean Beauty Movement was created to challenge the seemingly harmful synthetic ingredients found in traditional skincare. At its core, Clean Beauty gives consumers a chance to choose products that are safe and non-toxic, free from the harmful ingredients that previous generations had to endure because of a lack of scientific knowledge.

Problem is, there aren’t clear regulations on the use of the words “clean”, “organic”, and “natural”  on labels. Yes, that means anyone can claim their products are “clean” because neither the law nor FDA requires specific tests to demonstrate the safety of products or ingredients.

This is why it’s important to Read the Label to know and understand which ingredients are harmful and which are not. 

Don’t know what to look for? Here are the top 5 toxic ingredients to avoid:

  1. Parabens

While parabens can indeed make our products last longer, scientific studies suggest that it can also disrupt hormones in the body and harm fertility and reproductive organs, affect birth outcomes, and increase the risk of cancer.

But just because a product is paraben-free doesn’t mean it’s safe. 

Some brands have been replacing parabens with other synthetic preservatives that are equally, if not more, harmful. One clear example is methylis­othiazolinone also known as MIT or MI. Having been linked to lung toxicity, allergic reactions, and possible nerve damage, this known neurotoxin has been restricted in the European Union. 

Parabens and methylis­othiazolinone may be used in products such as shampoos, conditioners, body washes, moisturizers, lotions, sunscreens, makeup, hair color and shaving products. A cleaner option would be natural alternatives, such as corn-derived preservatives.

  • Talc

Commonly used in powder compacts, eyeshadows and blushes, talc is used to smooth products to prevent caking. However, The International Agency for Research on Cancer lists talc containing asbestos as carcinogenic to humans. Linked to endometrial and ovarian cancer, it is now restricted in the European Union. Some natural alternatives are mica and rice powder.

  • Fragrance

Some synthetic fragrances contain phthalates, a preservative believed to be an endocrine-disrupting chemical that can alter hormonal balance and possibly cause reproductive, developmental and other health issues. Potentially harmful, phthalates are now banned in the EU. A better alternative would be natural fragrance oils or essential oils.

  • Mineral Oil

Mineral oil is effective at locking in moisture. So effective that it clogs pores, increasing the risk of acne and blackheads. John Hopkins University also named mineral oil as the number two cause of aging next to sun exposure. It may also cause allergic reactions and dryness, as well as promote acne and other skin disorders.

Mineral oil is commonly found in lotions, ointments, creams and other products that aim to help reduce water loss from our skin. As an alternative, cocoa butter, virgin coconut oil, sunflower oil, avocado oil, passion fruit oil and castor oil may be used.

  • Formaldehyde

Classified by the EPA as a “probable human carcinogen”, formaldehyde may cause a burning sensation to the eyes, nose, and lungs at high concentrations. Some studies of humans exposed repeatedly to formaldehyde also found more cases of nose and throat cancer than expected. 

Best known for its preservative and anti-bacterial properties, some products that may contain formaldehyde include shampoos, conditioners, shower gels, liquid hand soaps, cream cleansers and hair straightening solutions. For natural alternatives, vegetable and fruit-derived preservatives may be used.

Remember: Truly natural products will often declare the percentage of naturalness of each product on the back label. Natural ingredients will also comprise most or all of the formulation, and will have the highest billing on the ingredients list, rather than just comprising the last few items on the listing. If you’re not sure if an ingredient on a product label is natural or safe, you can search for it on our Human Nature Natural Ingredients Directory.

Committed to providing safe, healthy and genuinely natural essentials, Human Nature guarantees the strictest standards for naturalness, human safety and environmental responsibility in our products, with all ingredients proven safe for human use by peer-reviewed third party scientific literature, biodegradable ingredients from renewable resources, and microbial safety 100x higher than the industry standard.

Formulated in our Natural Care Labs, all of our products are at least 95% natural, proudly Philippine-made, and developed by Filipino scientists using the latest technology in green chemistry and natural manufacturing.

100% against animal testing, Human Nature is also the first cosmetics and personal care company in the Philippines to be accredited truly cruelty-free by PETA, the world’s largest animal welfare organization. 

Here at Human Nature, we take our responsibility of being nature’s stewards very seriously. And our wish is that when you use Human Nature products, you find a sense of peace and purpose knowing that your everyday choices are as kind to your skin as they are to our planet.

It’s time to be a conscious consumer. Be safe. Be beautiful. Start with what you put on your skin.

Ready to #ShopGoodness? Human Nature products are available in Human Nature branches nationwide, at our Human Nature website, from Human Nature dealers, and major retailers like Robinsons Supermarket, The Marketplace, and Shopwise.

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Article by: Adelle Caspillo

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