Share This Article
The notion of clean beauty has been around for some time, but it has undoubtedly now become somewhat of a revolution, thanks to the likes of Gwyneth Paltrow and Goop et al. But what exactly is clean beauty? And is it the same as green beauty? And where does it fit in with the likes of natural, all-natural, plant-based, vegan and organic skincare and cosmetics? It’s not surprising that even the conscious beauty consumer may find the choices a little confusing.
So where does that leave the beauty buyer who wants to make the switch to clean and green?
Know your greens
· In a nutshell, clean beauty products are non-toxic. Non-toxic terminology isn’t regulated, but it usually refers to cosmetic products that do not include ingredients that could potentially harm your body or irritate your skin (i.e., cause a toxic response) such as parabens, phthalates, oxybenzone and synthetic fragrances, to name a few. “Clean beauty products can be a game changer for people with sensitive skin as they are free of the harmful ingredients that can irritate and sensitise the skin,” says Cathy Wynn, Marketing Head at Goodleaf. Most ethical brands that market their products as clean, also deliver on the principles of being environmentally friendly and cruelty-free.
· Natural brands source ingredients from nature and the ingredients are usually processed as little as possible to preserve their natural integrity.
· A green brand is more encompassing – it not only sources from nature, but also follows environmentally sustainable and socially responsible business practices.
· While many brands claim to be organic, only certified organic brands are strictly regulated and audited annually. To be labelled organic, the ingredients must be grown, processed and manufactured under strict guidelines that include things like no pesticides and elimination of certain chemicals.
· Only vegan certified brands are regulated and only these can claim that their products do not contain any animal ingredients or by-products, and are not tested on animals. Plant-based skincare is typically vegan-based but doesn’t strictly exclude all animal by-products (it may contain honey or beeswax, for example).
Familiarise yourself with ingredient lists
Clean skincare should never contain sulphates, parabens, silicone, dyes, fragrances or toxins. In addition, what goes into a product is as important as what is left out. Often ‘fillers’ are used to add bulk, texture or lubrication or to extend shelf life and there are clear no-no’s on this list (see https://www.healthline.com/health/beauty-skin-care/ingredients-to-avoid-for-stress-free-skin-care.) Also note the order in which the ingredients are listed on the label as companies must label from largest to smallest in order of volume or weight. The higher up the ingredient, the more of it there is in the product.
The good news is that good things have come out of the confusion and conscious conversations, mainly a more educated consumer and a more responsible industry.
The recently launched Goodleaf anti-stress range is South Africa’s first fully internationally certified skincare range. All the products are clean – formulated without sulphates, parabens, silicone, formaldehydes, dyes, fragrances or toxins. In addition to the ethical and sustainable sourcing of organic and biodegradable ingredients as required and certified by international regulatory body COSMOS Organic, the packaging has received a complete overhaul, with an 85% reduction in plastic and the incorporation of more sustainable materials. These changes won approval from international skincare bodies.
“We believe beauty should be both clean and green,” says Wynn, “and Goodleaf is proud to be able to reduce the impact of stress on your skin, without adding stress to the planet.” The products combine well known natural anti-inflammatories like CBD and devil’s claw with hydrating ingredients such as hemp seed and African botanicals, and functional scents including patchouli and rose geranium. Many of the African botanicals are sourced from a community on the banks of the Thuleka River in KwaZulu-Natal. The sustainable harvesting of botanicals creates jobs for women in the community and income that can be ploughed back into the community development projects such as clean drinking water, food, gardens and creches.
The Goodleaf Anti-Stress Skincare range is available online or in select stores: https://goodleaf.co.za/