By now, it’s likely you’ve heard the term ‘clean beauty’ online, on social media or on TV. While it may still be relatively new on your radar, the concept’s been around for quite some time. In a world with thousands of different natural, organic and green beauty brands available, there is a somewhat small number of truly ‘clean’ beauty brands that are produced without the use of harmful and unnecessary ingredients.
The concept of clean beauty has in recent years taken the cosmetics industry by storm. While the world was already seeing major growth in the sustainable and green beauty products markets pre-pandemic, the interest in natural and organic products soared during the last 18 months.
With a global shift towards better hygiene practices and better health, consumers have also started to demand to know more about the products they buy. They want to know what’s in them, how they are manufactured and where the ingredients are sourced from. This demand has prompted the launch of numerous new brands and products, and has given a major boost to existing ethical brands.
There has never been as big a shift towards natural, organic and sustainable beauty products as there is right now
But like all industries, this one is also open to grey areas. Terms like ‘clean’ and ‘natural’ are not strictly regulated, meaning some companies can use them unethically. To discern the clean from the not-so-clean, it’s important to understand the real meaning behind the terms.
What is ‘clean beauty’?
Clean beauty products are made without ingredients shown or suspected to harm human health. While you may be wondering “Isn’t that all products on shelf?” the answer is no. It is perfectly legal for conventional companies to use potentially harmful ingredients (in small doses) that can include known carcinogens, irritants, and endocrine disruptors. Clean beauty products are completely non-toxic, and free from a wide range of concerning ingredients, including (but not limited to): parabens, synthetic fragrances, talc, silica, formaldehyde and oxybenzone.
What does ‘natural’ and ‘organic’ mean?
Here’s where the lines can get somewhat blurred. The terms ‘organic’ and ‘natural’ are not interchangeable. Organic products contain ingredients that were grown organically, without the use of pesticides. Natural products contain natural ingredients, and are free from synthetic ingredients. Organic products are usually natural, but natural products are not necessarily organic.
Are natural and organic products ‘clean’? In theory, they should be, but because there aren’t strict guidelines prohibiting companies from using these terms, or regulating the products that make these claims, there are plenty of companies out there who market items as natural, when in fact, they only contain a small percentage of natural ingredients. Because of that, natural products are not necessarily clean. Certified organic products, on the other hand, should certainly be clean, as the very definition of organic pertains to avoiding harmful ingredients.
How can consumers make informed purchasing decisions?
The best way to make responsible shopping decisions is to arm yourself with as much knowledge as possible. Familiarize yourself with the names of potentially harmful ingredients, and when you’re out shopping, look at the ingredients list on a product. Marketing may be misleading, but ingredients lists are not. Know which ingredients to avoid.
If like us you prefer to shop local, one brand we know really is earth-friendly and clean is Earthsap. All their products are naturally-derived, non-toxic, free from irritants and biodegradable. They’re safe for your family, your pets and the environment, and because they’re biodegradable, they won’t cause any harm to aquatic life or marine plant growth. Made using pure plant oils and other natural ingredients, you’ll find no synthetic fragrances, irritants or allergens in Earthsap’s skin-and body care products; they’re completely chemical-free and gentle. And the same goes for the household cleaning range, which is free from dyes, chlorine bleach and other harmful chemicals.
Here are some we use regularly:
Earthsap Body Wash Tea Tree & Peppermint (R109)
If you’re looking for a cleansing tingle of freshness, and a blend of non-toxic natural ingredients, you’ve found your ideal body wash. Earthsap have blended tea tree oil, which is a potent antiseptic, with fresh and invigorating peppermint oil. The result is a foamy liquid body wash that not only leaves you feeling clean and fresh, but also gets the blood pumping and clears the mind.
Earthsap Roll-On Deodorant Lavender & Rosemary (R69.99)
A fragrant all-natural deodorant, this mild but effective natural roll-on is free of harsh synthetic ingredients and toxins. Earthsap deodorant allows your pores to breathe, and doesn’t block the sweat ducts, which makes it much safer and healthier than the ordinary, chemical-laden roll-ons you’ll find on supermarket shelves.
Earthsap Dishwashing Liquid (R54.99)
A strong dishwashing formula that gets your dishes sparkling clean. It cleans and degreases efficiently using only natural ingredients that do not pose any health risks and are safe for the planet. Kind to your hands and mild enough for sensitive skins, thanks to the plant-based ingredients and will leave no toxic residues or harmful chemicals on your dishes.
Earthsap Laundry Powder Eucalyptus & Rosemary (R199.00)
Essential oils of lavender, rosemary and eucalyptus have been added to this washing powder to give it excellent cleansing and refreshing properties. Earthsap Ultra Cleanse Laundry Powder is 100% natural and safe for the planet. The powder works to clean away dirt and stains, without the use of harsh toxins or optical brighteners.
Earthsap Pomegranate & Soy Shampoo and Conditioner (R89.99 each)
Enjoy a healthy head of hair with this nourishing all-natural shampoo and conditioner. Pomegranate and soy protein help to repair the hair, while calendula oil and coconut extract restore that much-needed moisture. Gentle, cleansing and 100% non-toxic, this shampoo blend is perfect for dry to normal hair, while the conditioner will put the shine back into damaged or dry hair. Fruity pomegranate adds a fresh citrus scent, plus it actually works to strengthen and renew your hair. Calendula and soy protein hydrate and nourish the hair, follicles and scalp. This duo is suitable for sensitive skin, and the perfect choice of conditioner if you’re looking to get rid of the dreaded frizz and dry split ends.
Earthsap products are available for purchase country-wide from health shops, select Spar stores, www.faithful-to-nature.co.za and Wellness Warehouse.