Education, Physical Health, Wellness / Self-Care

The 411 on “Clean” Skincare

What is it and why isn’t it regulated?

words by: Natasha Marsh
May 6, 2021

If I had a dollar for every skincare brand that claimed it used “clean” ingredients, I’d be very rich. Ever since brands realized consumers want nontoxic products, they began bombarding us with labels like “organic,” “all natural,” “green,” and “clean.” It can be very overwhelming at times. The amount of misinformation and greenwashing in the grooming industry, or the act of misrepresenting an environmentally responsible public image, makes it hard to decipher what clean skincare actually is. To help you out, we’re doing a deep dive.


“Clean” Skincare

In short, clean skincare brands follow strict ingredient standards and only produce items that have non-harmful ingredients and chemicals, like oxybenzone, parabens and triclosan. We’ve been conditioned to think that all natural products are good for us. Similar to organic food products being healthy, that is not always the case. Clean products include nontoxic and noncontroversial products. These are 6 ingredients to look for in clean skincare products to get you started.


Why isn’t it regulated?

The main issue is the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) hasn’t defined “clean,” “natural,” “green,” or “organic.” Translation: brands are free to describe their products any way they want without having to prove it or go through authorization. And unfortunately, without regulations, brands have minimal incentive to research and back their claims with research. Instead, a handful of companies push out product as quickly as they can to see how the market reacts. The FDA hasn’t updated the Food, Drug and Cosmetics Act since 1938 and until they do, brands are free to run wild.


How do you know whose “Clean”?

For as many greenwashing skincare brands, there are just as many authentic, truthful ones — you have to do your own research and dig for the truth. Vet out what ingredients are safe and avoid products that contain harmful ones. Once again, our research led us to finding 6 key ingredients that are used in clean skincare products, they include: retinol, jojoba oil, magnesium ascorbyl phosphate, essential oils, hyaluronic acid and argan oil. It’s also important to remember to patch test your new skincare products.


Photo via Nuria