The aroma of a sunshine paradise envelopes you and the heady feeling of being a good person gets your happy hormones flying.
You’ve adopted a ‘Clean Beauty’ regime!
Today I’d like to have a look into this current trend which has made such a mainstream splash and ask a couple of questions which we should all be asking before we commit to buying into it;
Is it best for the environment? Is it the best for my skin?
What does clean beauty even mean? Well, the main principles seem to be that the ingredients are organic, sustainable, vegan, natural and ethical. Or a mix of these. This is key, as there isn’t actually any regulation of the sector as yet. There are lots of buzz words here, and whilst some will shout out to each of us, lets be sure it is the ethics involved and not marketing that we are falling for.
There is evidence that organic and sustainable are in fact somewhat of a paradox - organic produce usually requires a greater area of land for the same quantity of produce, and so if we were to only produce organically we would need to clear greater areas for agriculture.
There is also the inclusion of these plant based ingredients to consider, whether organic or not, as they can themselves be damaging to the environment. One example is avacado. In Mexico, the production of avacado, in 2016, ran to 1.9m tonnes and consumed 564,000 hectares of land. It is grown as a monoculture, leaving land drained of nutrients, and is also an extremely thirsty crop - globally 1981 m3 per tonne. This is a huge amount, and leaves land with water stress which is environmentally harmful. Look into many of the other ingredients and you will find similar tales of environmental impact.
I have mentioned ingredients here for a reason. I think it is important to remember that no matter which way you decide to go with your skincare in terms of brand, each product will have a list of chemicals on the back which it contains. Some of which are listed there as an active ingredient which is included for its therapeutic benefits to the skin, and a variety of other ingredients which act as preservatives and vehicles so you can safely apply it. Then others to make the product smell nice, or in some cases to make you believe it adds value.
Right, so now I’d like to talk about laboratory produced ingredients. Chemicals if you like! Although let’s not forget. whatever your product contains on the ingredient list, they are all a chemical compound in one way or another. Chemicals are regulated in the cosmetic industry and so brands suggest their ‘natural’ products are healthier as a marketing tool.
In a high quality skin care brand, you will usually find a chemical compound that has been isolated and produced specifically for that product. Take Vitamin C as an example; we know it is l-Ascorbic acid which is the best form for skin care. This is manufactured synthetically and not squeezed from several tonnes of Jaffas. From one of the leading producers this cuts down on greenhouse gas emissions by 59% over other sources. It is interesting to note that synthetic and natural forms of Vitamin C are chemically identical, and there is evidence that the synthetic form is more readily absorbed by the body than the natural form. All with less waste! These products are stabilised to last longer too, so is it really environmentally better to replace one product every month or one every 6 months? This really is testament to the power of science.
That’s not to say nature doesn't provide. There are several naturally derived ingredients which have amazing benefits for your skin, but if they can be synthetically manufactured more economically and in a purer form then it makes sense that we have them in our products.
The power of a quality skincare product lies in its correct formulation, with the correct quantities of active ingredient, in a stable base which will preserve those ingredients and make sure they continue to work for you after you open the tube.
Having looked at a multitude of products from many brands, I would always guide my clients towards clinically proven, scientifically supported and most importantly effective in a real life skincare routine.
Go grab a banana, just don’t rub it on your face, its full of chemicals! 😜