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The Problem with Clean Beauty

The Problem with Clean Beauty

The problem with ‘clean beauty’

‘Cleanwashing’ is a term floating around the beauty halls and online stores. It’s a dangerous and misleading term used to describe when a product is marketed to appear ‘cleaner’ than what it actually is.  But why is it allowed? And how can you protect yourself?

 Picture this: you’re in a rush, trying to replace your shampoo that ran out that morning.  Speeding into the store you eye an array of products screaming at you to grace your shower with their presence.  You simply want a product that will wash your hair, leave it looking silky, smelling fresh and have caused no risk of harm to your body or the environment.  There it is, a beautifully designed bottle stating loudly on the front, ‘free from SLS’.  Perfect.  Right?!  Not necessarily.

Just because a product states it is ‘free from SLS’, does not automatically make is free from parabens or Triclosan for example.

The cleverly designed botanical print bottle and well-placed ‘free from’ statement can play tricks with your busy mind and lead you into believing that a product or brand represents a ‘clean beauty’ product when in fact it is far from this.

The issue of regulation…

There are significant issues at play.  One of which is the industry’s reluctance to provide a clear definition for what constitutes a clean beauty product.

“In defining ‘clean’ it is implying that other products are ‘dirty’!”

This leave the doors open to brands to decide for themselves what clean is and the consumer is left with a vast array of confusing variations.

As a clean beauty brand founder, I find this very frustrating.  If I want to eat organic food, I can walk into a supermarket and select organic goods, which I can trust have conformed to the standards for organic that have been set by the food standards agency.  The FSA haven’t said that they can’t define and protect consumer of organic because it implies that non-organic is harmful.  That is for the consumer to decide.  Their role is simply to standardise and ensure quality on both sides.  They also have a role to play in introducing competition to a marketplace to ensure that it remains effective and open for consumer decision.  Isn’t that simple?!

In their reluctance to come up with a definition, they are actually doing a disservice to the consumer and clean beauty brands that want to operate transparently.  Allowing so many variations to exist is utterly confusing as a consumer.  Clarity is long overdue.

Safe levels of exposure…

Are there really any safe levels of exposure?!  According to the regulators there are. And ingredient regulation is based upon a level deemed the safe amount of exposure in one single use of a single product. 


“Safe doses currently do not take into account the risk of repeated, long-term exposure to one or more chemicals, the way in which they accumulate in the body, or the way they influence each other. Studies have shown chemicals to be carcinogenic (cancer-causing) decades after they have been released into the environment (DDT, BHA, and recently Glyphosate, etc.).”

The issue is that for creatures of habit, using the same product year upon year can lead to a build-up of nasty toxin residue, that the body is unable to effectively remove due to the constant bombardment.  We just keep innocently topping it up, every single day. 

The issue of science…

“Clean beauty products are not real and disregard science”  

Science and clean beauty do not operate in exclusivity.  As with all beauty product formulation, clean beauty leans into science to capture the benefits of natural, plant derived ingredients and create a product that allows the end user to benefit from the natural properties.

“Clean beauty products are not formulated by a bunch of hippies stuffing flowers into bottles.”

There is a growing argument from the world of cheap, synthetically derived products that state that clean beauty is a fad and disregards any scientific knowledge we have.    

The issue the clean beauty movement has with these statements is that firstly, science is very much a partner to clean beauty (it is where science meets nature).

“Clean Beauty is where science meets nature to harness real goodness.”

Secondly, our scientific knowledge of how ingredients interact with the human body is constantly evolving.  To ignore this fact is both ignorant and dangerous.  Just because we believed something to be true 10 years ago, does not make it true today.  Our knowledge does not remain static. 

“Cigarettes were first sold as a health product!”

It is true, cigarettes were at first marketed as a health product and smoked freely as such.  I felt you cringe reading that! 

As our scientific knowledge evolves, so too should the associated formulation and regulation.  We know that there are still ingredients permitted that could cause significant harm to human health. Yes, they are currently permitted.  But should they be?  Not at all. 

The moral of the story is, educate yourself and be aware.  Take control of your own health by making choices that you feel comfortable with.

So where do you start?

So, the first step is to get knowledgeable.  I regularly share my list of the top 10 most toxic ingredients to avoid in your beauty products.  These are:

  • Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) / Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES)
  • Parabens
  • Phthalates
  • Propylene Glycol
  • Triclosan
  • Formaldehyde
  • Toluene
  • Sunscreen Chemicals
  • Parfum / Synthetic Fragrances
  • Synthetic Colours

 The benefits of making the shift to clean beauty products are enormous! 

  • Products free from inhibiting ingredients encourage your body to function most effectively.
  • Clean beauty products are safer for the environment.
  • Many clean beauty products can be multi-used on the body. They hare made from safe, naturally derived plant-based ingredients that often have multiple benefits to the body.
  • In choosing clean beauty products you are supporting a global shift towards more sustainable, greener and cleaner practices.

 Let me know how you get on – I love to receive emails from our Sakrid tribe.  Email me at:


We make good products, using good ingredients, that are good for you and good for our planet. All good things - We are Sakrid.



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