Nearly 40% of women have already switched to buying skincare products that are free of sulfates, parabens, and phthalates.
Source: NDP Group
If you are yet to make the shift to clean skincare and are confused about its semantics, then you have come to the right place.
Empress Naturals believes in not only bringing clean skincare to your doorstep but also building communities that understand its true meaning and value in any routine. In this blog, we will discuss the nuances of clean skincare and terminology often misinterpreted within the industry. We also discuss some ingredients that you must avoid and others that you can incorporate as you build your clean skincare routine. If you are looking for the A-Z’s of clean skincare, keep on reading!
WHAT IS CLEAN SKINCARE?
The beauty industry in the United States is notoriously unregulated. The latest laws that concern the safety of products are more than 80 years old; a number higher than the time most companies have dominated the market. As a result, the concept of ‘clean skincare’ is self-regulated which means most companies are allowed to define what their version of clean is and market it how they wish. In such scenarios, it can be difficult for a consumer to find skincare is truly clean and benefits their skin without having adverse effects.
Clean skincare, in its essence, is any and every product that does not contain harmful chemicals, preservatives, or ingredients that may show their effects in the short or long term. These ingredients are not limited to skincare and can be found in every cosmetic category ranging from feminine hygiene products to nail care. However, skincare products are where the bulk of these chemicals are found because they not only cut down on production costs but also appeal to customers when marketed correctly.
Moreover, unless a manufacturer volunteers, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has no authorization to recall toxic beauty products. While the European Union has banned over 1,000 substances commonly found in skincare products, the United States has only banned 11. Should you be worried? And where do you even begin on the journey to a more natural skincare routine?
CLEAN VS GREEN VS ORGANIC Skincare?
Often these words are used synonymously but mean completely different things. These words have yet to be defined objectively which means they are often used by companies to suit their convenience and appeal to mass audiences.
What is ‘CLEAN’ in skincare?
Clean Skincare refers to a beauty product that takes human and environmental health into account, with harmless elements serving as a baseline and plant-based compounds providing active outcomes.
What is ‘GREEN’ in skincare?
Green Skincare is also known as ‘eco-friendly’ skin care because it provides all the benefits needed for your skin without harming the environment or making use of excessive natural resources.
What is ‘ORGANIC’ in skincare?
To be USDA certified organic, skin care products must contain at least 95% organic ingredients. Products carrying the USDA Organic Seal must also meet handling and production standards, and the use of biotechnological ingredients is forbidden.
Empress Naturals is a USDA-certified organic skincare brand that is 100% committed to clean and green sourcing and manufacturing processes.
WHAT INGREDIENTS DO YOU NEED TO AVOID?
Most ingredients that you see listed on your product are chemicals that are unrecognizable or unpronounceable. How can you distinguish what is good for your skin and what isn't? Here are some ingredients you must avoid in your skincare because they do nothing to benefit your skin.
Parabens are a class of preservatives and antibacterial compounds that limit the formation of harmful germs and mold in skincare and cosmetics.
Parabens imitate estrogen in the human body, according to research, with evidence tying them to reproductive organ damage, thyroid disturbance, hormone-related malignancies, and obesity. Moreover, according to a study published in 2014, pregnant women who used skin care products had higher levels of parabens in their urine because of their high absorption capabilities.
While the European Commission has prohibited the use of many parabens in personal care products, including isopropyl-, isobutyl-, phenyl-, benzyl-, and pentylparabens, they remain legal for use in the United States.
Phthalates are often used in cosmetics and skincare to keep ingredients flexible till use. They also form the core ingredient that helps fragrances in skin care last longer. While fragrance in skincare has been used for centuries, they are also not mandatory to be disclosed and can cause skin irritation, trigger allergies, or asthma.
Phthalates are often found in ingredient lists abbreviated as, BBzP, DEHP, DBP, and DEP. Phthalates have been found to disrupt endocrine action with an increased risk for male reproductive development, cause obesity and type 2 diabetes, and a myriad of other long-term physical disorders.
Sulfates, PEGs, and other Ethoxylated Agents
Polyethylene glycols (PEGs), ceteareth, oleths, and sulfates are forms of ethoxylated agents. Sulfates produce bubbles and foam in cleansers such as shampoo. Some sulfates are manufactured, while others are obtained from sulfur, petroleum, and natural sources such as coconut and palm oil. PEG compounds are utilized in hair products as thickeners, solvents, and softeners, as well as certain moisturizers and base products.
Because sodium lauryl sulfate is a harsh cleanser, it has a negative image in the realm of hair care. While it is not immediately toxic, its composition can strip your hair and scalp of moisture and hydration. To protect your hair, sodium lauryl sulfate is occasionally transformed into sodium laureth sulfate by a process known as ethoxylation. This procedure produces 1,4-dioxane, a chemical that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) considers to be a potential human carcinogen.
Mineral Oils a.k.a Petroleum
Mineral oil is a petroleum-derived moisturizing substance that is commonly used in lip balms and face creams.
There are a thousand reasons why you should avoid petroleum products from an ecological point of view. However, there are certain health concerns: According to 2011 research, mineral oil is the most prevalent pollutant in the human body owing to its build-up over time, probably from cosmetics. The World Health Organization has classified untreated or moderately processed mineral oils used in industrial processes (not the cosmetic-grade sort used in lip balm) as carcinogenic.
Hydroquinone is a bleaching chemical, applied externally, present in skin-lightening creams and serums, and is used to treat hyperpigmentation. It is available over the counter at 2% doses, but higher formulations are only available via prescription.
Hydroquinone has been associated with some malignancies, lowered immunological response, aberrant adrenal gland function, and a skin disorder known as ochronosis. The European Union, Japan, and Australia have all prohibited the substance due to the perceived risk.
Talc, a mineral composed of magnesium, hydrogen, silicon, and oxygen, is a popular component in face powders and eye shadows.
The issue is that unpurified talc can be laced with asbestos, a proven human carcinogen. The FDA has in the past recalled multiple products from companies for selling products that contain talc and have been contaminated with asbestos. There has also been an urge by the community to the Congress to enact new cosmetic laws that promote safety testing in beauty products.
WHAT ARE SOME GOOD INGREDIENTS FOR YOUR SKIN?
Carrier oils commonly include fat-soluble vitamins, antioxidants, minerals, and other elements that enhance the appearance and texture of skin and hair by increasing moisture, calming irritation, and minimizing the effects of dehydration. The Carrier Oil selected is determined by the intended outcome. Some carrier oils include Rosehip Seed Oil, Prickly Pear Seed Oil, Frankincense, and Argan Oil.
Argan Oil is produced from the seeds of the Argan tree's fruit. Argan oil is mostly made up of fatty acids and other phenolic components. The bulk of argan oil's fat content is made up of oleic and linoleic acid. Linoleic acid, or omega-6, accounts for around 29-36 percent of the fatty acid composition of argan oil, making it a strong source of this critical vitamin.
It has multiple skin benefits including antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, anti-aging properties, wound healing, and so on. You can read more about the benefits of Argan Oil here.
Rosehip Seed Oil
This 'Queen of Natural Skincare' is derived from the seeds of Rosa rubiginosa, which grows in the southern Andes and is usually found in Chile, or Rosa canina, a wild rose species found throughout Europe, western Asia, and the northwestern parts of Africa.
Rosehip seed oil is extracted from the rose plant's seeds. Because of its thin consistency and excellent skin-absorbing capabilities, this oil may be used as a carrier oil that can be efficiently blended and utilized with other products or powerful essential oils.
Rosehip seed oil permeates your skin to regulate and reduce oil production, which unclogs pores. The appearance of age spots, blemishes, stretch marks, and scars can also be reduced with consistent use. You can read more about the benefits of RoseHip Seed Oil here.
Frankincense oil is derived from the resin of the Boswellia Serrata trees. Also known as olibanum, it is a prominent type of oil used in therapy that can provide several health advantages such as relieving chronic stress and anxiety, lowering pain and inflammation, and increasing immunity.
Frankincense can strengthen and enhance skin tone and skin elasticity, defend against infections or blemishes, and anti-age. It has the potential to tone and lift skin, minimize the appearance of scars and breakouts, and cure wounds. It may also help to fade stretch marks, surgical scars, or pregnancy marks, as well as treat dry or damaged skin. According to a study published in 2013, Frankincense Oil decreases redness and irritation while also providing a more even skin tone.
You can find Frankincense in Empress Naturals’ Anti-Aging Serum.
Prickly Pear Oil
Alongside Rosehip Seed Oil and Argan Oil, Prickly Pear Oil is a must-have in the cosmetic inventory of skincare aficionados. This multipurpose facial oil works miraculously on the face, loving and nourishing it to restore the former splendor of dry and aging skin.
With its presence in practically all skin care products, this hydrating oil, also known as Indian fig is making a ramp walk across the skincare business. You can read more about the benefits of Prickly Pear Oil here.
HOW CAN YOU BUILD YOUR CLEAN SKINCARE ROUTINE?
- Read the ingredient label on the product: Read the ingredient label at the back of your product to make sure it does not contain any harmful or toxic ingredients. A simple internet search might be very useful to understand the pros and cons of any ingredient. Consult your doctors if you are not sure about certain ingredients and how they might react with your skin and bodily processes. You can also check for harmful ingredients on the Environmental Working Groups’ Skin Deep Database.
- Don't be misled by natural and organic promises: The un-regulatory nature of the industry leaves a lot to the personal discretion of companies. Words like ‘organic’, ‘natural’, or ‘cruelty-free’ might not reflect the true nature of the brand's philosophy. Look for brands that make the effort to get third-party certified because their products undergo rigorous testing before they can be labeled as safe. Empress Naturals, for instance, is certified organic by the USDA.
Empress Naturals is a USDA Certified Organic and The Leaping Bunny certified cruelty-free skincare company that is committed to only providing customers with clean skincare that benefits their skin as well as the environment. Our best-sellers, the Anti-Aging Face Serum and Luxe Night Elixir are a powerful duo of antioxidants that heal your skin from within.
All our ingredients are sourced straight from the best farms across the world and brought to your doorstep untouched. We believe that skincare needs to be about more than just your skin, which is why our ingredients do not cause any detrimental side effects to your long-term health.
Anti-Aging Face Serum
An exquisite composition of two cherished oils, Rosehip Seed Oil and Frankincense, provides an aromatic and sensuous skincare experience.
Luxe Night Elixir
A synergistic amalgam of vitamins that are nutrient-dense that combat signs of aging with a highly effective and long-lasting formula.
Clean skincare is definitely the future of skincare. Make your switch today!