Why is clean beauty so important?
In a nutshell it comes down to not sacrificing your health for beauty.
Your skin is your largest organ and it absorbs up to 60% of what you put onto it, into your bloodstream. A lot of importance is placed on avoiding pesticides and processed foods in our diets, yet we often don’t think about the toxic chemicals in our everyday beauty products that can be equally harmful to our bodies.
Searching for a safe beauty product can open up a can of worms. What is considered a toxic ingredient depends on the country the product is manufactured in. Currently there are approximately 1400 banned ingredients in the EU, 600 banned ingredients in Canada and only 30 banned ingredients in the USA. In New Zealand and Australia there is no list of banned cosmetic ingredients, so we must look to these other countries for guidance.
The cosmetic industry is unregulated which means there is no global standard, government or third party-certified definition of such terms as natural, eco and green.
The term organic, however, is one term that must meet a defined standard issued by a specific organisation – such as USDA Organic, EcoCert in France and Biogro in NZ.
But even the term organic isn’t necessarily the single good standard for beauty, because organic ingredients on their own don’t ensure a product’s performance, or even safety.
Adding to this confusion, cosmetics companies can promote a product as natural or green by using evocative imagery and wording on the label, but the ingredients label on the back don’t need to reflect this. The company can market themselves as ‘green’ and ‘environmentally friendly’ when they in fact employ practices that actually harm the environment. This is termed ‘green washing’ and it’s super smart marketing.
As a consumer you can do your own research before purchasing a beauty product by referring to these databases that have researched and rated 1000’s of cosmetic and skincare ingredients:
You can also ask questions of the brand before you buy a beauty product if you are unsure about the ingredients it contains. If the brand is unwilling to be transparent with regards to their ingredients and the sourcing of their ingredients then they do not want to share this information with the public. Which should ring alarm bells.
Why should you be concerned?
It is estimated that by the time most women leave home for work each day, we have put onto our skin at least a dozen body products and cosmetics; each of which contain a dozen or more chemical ingredients – from our toothpaste, to our body wash, moisturiser, make up, and deodorant. A woman may begin using these products as a teenager and continue to use them into her 70’s. This makes the amount of toxins her body has to process over a lifetime quite a phenomenal number.
According to the EWG Skindeep survey, 12.2 million adults – one of every 13 women and one of every 23 men – are exposed to ingredients that are known or probable human carcinogens every day through their use of personal care products. One of every 24 women, 4.3 million women altogether, are exposed daily to personal care product ingredients that are known or probable reproductive and developmental toxins, linked to impaired fertility or developmental harm for a baby in the womb or a child.
These statistics do not account for exposures to phthalates that testing shows appear in an estimated three quarters of all personal care products but that, as components of fragrance, are not listed on product ingredient labels (EWG et al. 2002).’
Of particular concern are the group of ingredients known as endocrine disruptors.
‘Endocrine disruptors are chemicals that may interfere with the body’s endocrine system and produce adverse developmental, reproductive, neurological, and immune effects in both humans and wildlife.’ - National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.
Early exposure to EDCS has been found to cross the placenta and can be transferred via human breast milk. This early exposure has been linked to developmental abnormalities and may increase the risk for a variety of diseases and adverse health issues later-in-life. Including alterations in sperm quality and fertility, abnormalities in sex organs, endometriosis, early puberty, altered nervous system function, immune function, certain cancers, respiratory problems, metabolic issues, diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular problems, growth, neurological and learning disabilities, and more.
Ingredients to avoid in skincare and beauty products
The solution to avoiding exposure to EDCs and other harmful chemicals is to choose products made with only safe ingredients, whether it be your household cleaners, your skincare or your cosmetics.
The Biddy + May No Go List provides information on ingredients that you will never find in any of the beauty products we stock. We have taken out the confusion for you by only selecting products and brands that avoid ALL toxic and harmful ingredients.
Still need convincing? Here are two ingredients on our list that are a definite no go.
- Phthalates (pronounced THAL-ates) are linked to endocrine disruption, developmental and reproductive toxicity, and cancer. They have been banned from cosmetics in the European Union, but still remain prevalent in U.S. cosmetic products. They can be found in colour cosmetics, fragranced lotions, body washes, hair care products and nail polish.
- Resorcinol is commonly used in hair dyes and acne medication. In higher doses it is toxic and can disrupt the function of the central nervous system and lead to respiratory problems. It has also been shown to disrupt the endocrine system, specifically thyroid function. It can be found most commonly in hair dyes, shampoos, lotions, peels and in products used to treat acne, eczema and other dermatological issues.
The next time you go to buy a conventional beauty brand, look at where it is made and read the ingredients list – you may be unpleasantly surprised at what you find.
What clean beauty means to us
Biddy + May uses the term 'clean’ because it takes into account human health and environmental health. To us clean skincare and makeup products do no harm, they use nutrient-dense ingredients that nourish and look after your skin and safe synthetics if absolutely necessary for preservation or effectiveness.
And all products we stock must come from completely cruelty free beauty brands.
It can be overwhelming to consider changing your entire beauty regime and we don’t suggest you throw away all your products at once. Just start small. Make the switch to natural skincare with products you use the most, such as your cleanser, moisturiser or deodorant. Then perhaps look at switching out other items as they run out.
Start your healthy beauty journey here, SHOP our collections.
We are here to help with any questions you may have. Connect here.
Join our subscriber list below and get your FREE Clean Beauty Guide.