How does one define clean beauty anyway? To date, there’s no specific standard or regulation that helps to make this concept clear. Essentially, any product that contains no toxic ingredients passes the test. Ingredients considered harmful include (but are not limited to) parabens, phthalates, synthetic fragrances, and polyethylene glycol (PEG). I’m not saying that products with parabens and other chemicals are entirely bad for you – because those ingredients do serve a purpose – but there are some pros to doing without them. Personally, I’ll use anything that doesn’t fall into the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) high-hazard score range – preferably no more than a 4 – and doesn’t contain parabens and fragrances. Check an ingredient’s potential to cause harm here: www.cosdna.com and www.ewg.org.
Is a 100% clean beauty routine really do-able?
The answer is yes! You’ll find clean beauty products at local health and beauty stores, Sephora, and online platforms such as Cult Beauty and Net-A-Porter (both ship worldwide). The question you should ponder upon is whether it’s feasible for your skin type and financial situation.
Will it make a difference to your skin? To some, maybe not. But if you ask me, yes. At the end of the day, it’s good to know that most of the products I’m using on a daily basis do not contain anything toxic or harsh. I say most, as I sometimes have to try out products that aren’t as clean. Here’s a breakdown of my usual head-to-toe routine:
Step #1: Double cleanse
I start my routine with an oil-based cleanser to thoroughly remove makeup (like the All Clean Balm from Heimish is paraben-free and hypoallergenic). Next, I use the QV Gentle Foaming Cleanser that’s great for sensitive skin. These two cleansers do contain PEG in their formulation.
Step #2: Tone (weekly) ✓
I do this only once a week (sometimes twice) as toners contain active ingredients that could trigger my eczema. The Ordinary’s Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution doesn’t sting my skin. It’s also quite moisturising. All the brand’s products are free of a long list of harmful ingredients, so they’re worth checking out.
Step #3: Essence ✓
Products from Hada Labo do not contain parabens, mineral oil, fragrances, and dyes. I’d recommend the Premium Hydrating Lotion to those with uber dry skin.
Step #4: Serum
I’m currently using (and loving) the Hyaluronic Marine Hydration Booster from Dr Dennis Gross. It really plumps up your skin, even underneath makeup. The brand’s products are cruelty-free and mostly vegan.
Step #5: Moisturise ✓
The Ordinary’s Natural Moisturising Factor + HA is very thick (perfect for my skin type and works well when my eczema is flaring up) so I won’t suggest it to those with oily skin.
Step #6: Sun protection ✓
Huxley’s Sun Safe Cream is free of harmful chemicals, making it safe for the entire family. It’s gentle, hydrating, full of antioxidants, and aids in reducing irritation. This is now one of my favourite sunscreens!
Step #7: Mask (once a week) ✓
Lush’s Don’t Look At Me is made without harsh preservatives, so its shelf life is only about a month or two.
✓ = does not contain ingredients that fall under EWG’s high-hazard score