A Chemist Answers All My Questions About Clean Beauty

Clean beauty; a trend or a necessity? As someone who never truly understood it, I turned to an expert to help answer my most pressing questions.
korahkorah
Mar. 12, 2020
campaign, cherie
Cherie is an online community of beauty lovers sharing their stories, whether that's their favorite products, makeup tutorials, or skincare routines. Download the app today to be a part of #BeautyWithoutBarriers and show the world what beauty means to you! When it comes to clean beauty, I have a hard time knowing what's right and what's wrong. How can I tell what makes a $20 face wash with clean ingredients so much healthier than a $2 one? They both say they'll clear my skin, so of course I'll opt for the more affordable one. As clean beauty is starting to make its way into more and more marketing, I really wanted to know; is this a trend or necessity? What exactly makes beauty clean? I turned to an expert for these answers, Dr. Barbara Olioso, aka The Green Chemist. With 20 years experience in developing natural and organic cosmetics, she loves to teach people all about clean beauty. Here's what I learned about clean beauty when I sat down and spoke with her:Q: So, what makes clean beauty clean? A: Clean beauty is about protecting your health and the earth's. "You need different criteria, in my opinion, to classify clean beauty as clean than what the mainstream media is saying. Clean beauty originally started with the criteria that it's got to be safer than conventional cosmetics. That is a good criterion — but how can you have personal health if the environment you live in is not healthy? We very much depend on that, so you must include other criteria on top of your own personal safety. For example, the end of life of a beauty product; what happens to the cosmetic ingredients in a beauty product once it ends up in the water system? Then, if you want to really push it further, you can think about ethics and you can think about animal testing and maybe fair trade. There is not an official definition of clean, but most brands interpret it as being extra safe and extra sensitive in the way the formula is built. The complexity and the evolution behind clean is not just about our own health, but it's strictly connected to environmental health as well. We need to embrace additional criteria. Clean beauty is about being extra careful and extra cautious about the ingredients you put on your skin and what ingredients you release into the environment."Q: What are some ingredients we need to be cautious about using? Why?A: Silicons, fragrance, the list goes on and on."Silicons are classified as safe for skin, and can be very helpful in terms of some skin conditions. But, if you don't have such conditions, why are you using silicons that aren't biodegradable? They have their benefits, but in my opinion we need to be thinking about the health of the environment, and there isn't enough evidence to prove silicons have a positive environmental impact. Once they are released into the water system, it's not known what happens to silicons and that's dangerous. We need to understand more about the end of life of silicons and the environment." "If you think you have sensitive skin, avoid ingredients like fragrance. Even though fragrance can make you feel good, if you have very sensitive skin it's best to avoid it. Use fragrance-free products."Q: What's the biggest piece of advice you would give to someone considering switching to a clean beauty regime?A: Know yourself, know your skin."If you are a teenager and you have oily, breakout-prone skin, you will need products that will balance your skin oil content and will break apart the keratinocytes in your skin and so on. You will need antibacterial ingredients as well. However, if you were to use these same products on a more mature woman, she would likely have a skin reaction because, even though ingredients like salicylic acid are found in willow tree bark, she will have redness and it will not be good for her skin. My suggestion is to be wise about the types of products you are using on your skin and to know your skin so you can find the products that will fit your skin needs the most." "Usually the tendency is "let's avoid a, b, c." But, it should start with your own skin and your own needs. For people who are vegan, the most important thing is to avoid animal-derived ingredients and animal testing. But ideally, you have to learn your skin and work with a skincare professional to get to know your skin."A note on professional advice that isn't so clean..."Unfortunately, most dermatologists are more into sillicon-rich products because they can be helpful for skin, but they aren't considering the environmental impact, so it's quite tricky to find guidance that fits both the skin needs and the environmental needs. I've worked with their dermatologists in the past and I know they use petrochemical loaded products."The benefits of making the switchClean beauty products are milder products. Depending on the brand, there is a personal benefit because you're using a milder product and you're more in harmony with nature.
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