Updated: Feb 10
“Clean Beauty” products are likely the hottest trend for 2020. What is clean beauty? Why should I think it is important?
A clean beauty product is one that (1) is non-toxic and made without ingredients that have been linked to harmful health effects, and (2) has transparent labeling. Beware of companies marketing products using the words “natural,” “green,” eco-friendly” and so many others that we all know. These words have no single definition that can be used as a guideline when reviewing an ingredient list.
Here are some quick facts about government regulation of beauty and skin care products:
- The last piece of legislation on product safety, "The Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act," was passed in 1938. More than 80 years ago! It is the only protection in place for the personal care industry today. Unfortunately, it doesn’t do a very good job as it only requires companies to label products with directions for safe use.
- The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has only banned 11 ingredients, leaving thousands of known carcinogens and hormone disruptors up for use. In contrast, the European Union has already banned 1,328 chemicals from cosmetics — including propylparaben (you've seen references to "paraben free"), and quaternium-15, which is used in a variety of hair products and lotions — and they have also required pre-market safety assessments, mandatory registration and government authorization for the use of certain materials.
- Cosmetic products do not need FDA approval to come to market - the industry is self regulated. This explains why hundreds of new cosmetic brands emerge every single year.
- Ingredient lists aren’t always what they seem. Some ingredients have dozens of names, making it impossible for consumers to identify them.
The good news - the industry is slowly changing and succumbing to pressure from consumers who want more transparency into the ingredients in their products.
Suggested Reading: Stacy Malkan’s “Not Just a Pretty Face: The Ugly Side of the Beauty Industry”
[Here is a link to the book sold on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Not-Just-Pretty-Face-Industry/dp/0865715742/ref=sr_1_1?crid=21B8CVEZPKQ7D&keywords=not+just+a+pretty+face&qid=1579798908&s=books&sprefix=Not+just+a+pretty+fa%2Caps%2C150&sr=1-1 ]