What is Clean Beauty?

What is Clean Beauty?

Published September 15, 2023
Zakiella lipsticks shown in a wide range of shades with a text saying What is Clean Beauty?

Defining Clean Beauty: Everything You Need to Know

More and more, we find ourselves in search of beauty products that nourish and protect our skin while also caring for our planet. As the global interest in the clean beauty movement grows, we can find ourselves wondering what does clean beauty really mean?


Understanding Clean Beauty

At its core, clean beauty focuses on using safer ingredients in skincare, makeup, and personal care products. These ingredients should not present any harm to your health or the environment. Ideally, clean beauty emphasizes transparency, sustainable practices, and ethical sourcing, making environmentally-conscious consumers feel confident in their choices. We say ideally, because even in clean beauty, improvements can be made.


Clean vs. Natural vs. Organic Beauty

Clean beauty should not be confused with terms like "natural" and "organic." Understanding the differences is crucial for making informed decisions when choosing your beauty products.

Clean beauty – The main goal of clean beauty is to find a balance between natural ingredients and safe synthetics. Not everything that is natural is safe, and not everything that is synthetic is harmful. This pairing can result in better and safer products than using only one or the other. Clean beauty can also include organic ingredients.

Natural beauty – These products consist of only natural ingredients, such as plant oils and beeswax, and do not contain any synthetic chemicals. However, "natural" doesn't always imply "safe," so it is necessary to remain cautious when choosing products labeled as natural. Even if each ingredient separately is safe, the combination may not be a good product if it spoils quickly. Natural preservatives are often not as effective, but there are preservatives accepted in clean beauty which are effective.

Organic beauty – Organic products are made with ingredients obtained from organic farming, which does not use synthetic pesticides, GMOs, or chemical fertilizers. Organic agriculture has higher standards, including for the care of animals. This is important for ingredients like beeswax, as the bees have better conditions when raised under the organic standard.


Is Clean Beauty Perfect?

While clean beauty strives to use better ingredients than conventional cosmetics, it isn’t perfect. While there are more natural ingredients used, there are still unfortunately a lot of microplastic ingredients used. Looking at the ingredients of most lipglosses and you’ll find polybutene, polyisobutene, and more polymers among the first ingredients, even in clean beauty. These are considered to by microplastics, which harm our health and planet. It isn’t limited to only microbeads. These microplastics can take the form of liquids or powders, making them seem “invisible” unless you read the ingredients. When these plastics get into your body (for example after licking your lips wearing a lip gloss or lipstick), they can affect hormones as they can “act as a transport medium for harmful chemicals such as bisphenols, phthalates, […], and heavy metals, which are commonly used as additives in plastic production”. A good source for a list of microplastics to avoid is Beat The Microbead.

Microplastics aren't needed to make excellent products — Zakiella proves that. However, they are harder to formulate, and even harder to manufacture. However, it is worth investing in your health and the planet and choosing for products without these polymers.


Choosing Safer Clean Beauty

Here are some practical steps to help you transition to clean beauty:

Read labels and research ingredients to ensure products are safe and non-toxic.

Look for eco-friendly packaging and responsible sourcing practices.

• Prioritize transparency, opting for brands that are open about their processes and ingredients.

• Avoid ingredients like microplastics (polybutene, nylon-12, etc.), parabens, sulfates, phthalates, and synthetic fragrances.

We encourage you to join the clean beauty movement by making conscious choices and aligning with eco-friendly brands such as Zakiella that care for your skin and the earth.


About the author:

Zahra Kihel wearing matte red lipstick in the shade Rebelle by ZakiellaZahra Kihel is a passionate cosmetic formulator with over a decade of experience, as well as the co-founder of Zakiella, a clean beauty brand dedicated to creating high-quality makeup with natural and organic ingredients. She also holds an Honours Bachelor's degree with First Class Standing in business economics which she believes has helped contribute a unique dimension to her understanding of the beauty industry. When Zahra's not formulating innovative beauty blends, she loves spending time in the countryside.

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