Does CLEAN beauty really work – and what does it mean? Experts explain

Does CLEAN beauty really work – and what does it mean? Dermatologists and beauty experts weigh in on the makeup trend

  •  Clean beauty is the latest trend at Sephora but it’s not FDA approved
  •  Makeup artists, brand owners and dermatologists weigh in on the definition 
  •  The industry has exploded with products since these clean beauty vets started

Clean beauty might have started out with organic products exclusively found at hard-to-find specialty stores, but it’s now become a buzzword worldwide.

Sephora has entire sections devoted to clean beauty, mini-chains like Credo offer up luxurious products that tout their organic ingredients, and even mainstream beauty brands are dipping their toe into the wildly popular category.

However, the FDA has not defined the term yet, leading some critics on social media to speak out against clean beauty products. 

Despite the critics, there are plenty of beauty veterans who have created clean, safe lines that are open about the ingredients they use and the benefits, as well as dermatologists who recommend the products for sensitive skin.

FEMAIL talked to makeup artists, clean beauty brand founders, cosmetic chemists, and dermatologists to find out what the definition of the movement truly is. 

Clean beauty is all the buzz, but lots of shoppers are buying up products without knowing what the term means

How do you define clean beauty?

What is clean beauty? Dr. Margarita Lolis explains 

  • The board-certified dermatologist says the definition of clean beauty is ‘open to interpretation’
  • Since the FDA hasn’t defined the term, it ‘can mean many different things since brands set their own definition’ 
  • These are nontoxic products made without hormone disruptors, carcinogens and anything that knowingly causes skin irritation
  • Clean beauty brands do not use formaldehyde, parabens, phthalates or sulfate and are often biodegradable, sustainable and cruelty-free
  • Clean beauty is more likely to not irritate the skin, which makes it better for people with sensitive skin  

Dermatologist Dr. Margarita Lolis, MD says the definition of clean beauty is ‘open to interpretation.’

‘The FDA has not defined this term yet, so whenever you see products that are clean, it can mean many different things since brands set their own definition,’ she said.

The New Jersey-based dermatologist says the term usually involves ‘products… made of nontoxic [ingredients] or [without] harmful chemicals such as hormone disruptors, carcinogens and anything that knowingly causes skin irritation.’ It is also made without using ingredients like formaldehyde, parabens, phthalates, and sulfates.

Often clean can also mean biodegradable and cruelty-free, and certain brands have certifications to guarantee they don’t use specific ingredients.

Dr. Lolis explains that these products are more likely to not irritate the skin, which is better for people with sensitive skin, but warns ‘this does not mean that they are just as effective,’ depending on the brand. 

Kirsten Kjaer Weis, based in New York, worked as a makeup artist for many years for publications like Vogue before founding her own luxury-focused natural beauty line, Kjaer Weis. 

She works directly with honey farmers to harvest ingredients, creating sleek biodegradable packaging, and making sure everything is sustainable and organic instead of synthetic. 

The makeup artist explains that clean beauty is ‘categorized by removing harsh chemicals and synthetics from beauty products, which have shown to be harmful for the human body.’ 

Kirsten Kjaer Weis grew up on a farm in Denmark, which taught her the importance of using natural ingredients in skincare and makeup 

Kirsten describes clean beauty products as not about removing ingredients but instead about ‘adding more wellness, more vitality to a product, understanding that the skin is our biggest organ and it matters what gets applied, in a similar fashion to what we eat.’

‘Typically, sensitive skin has a lower tolerance for harsher ingredients, I like to think of it as having superior boundaries to what is acceptable,’ Kirsten explains. 

‘My experience is that natural, high vibrating ingredients have a resonance, a recognition with the human body that is natural and efficient.’

New York City-based medical and aesthetic dermatologist Kiran Mian, DO, FAAD, explains: ‘The problem with the term clean beauty is that there is no set definition or criteria.’

Many times, ingredients may have carcinogenic potential at a certain level, but are safe below a threshold,’ Dr. Mian adds. 

‘Clean beauty products veer away from using potentially harmful ingredients.

‘This can be a problem in the industry because, although intention is good, these terms are often used for marketing purposes, to drive sales whether a product is effective or not.’

Why are more brands venturing into the clean beauty space? 

Rose-Marie Swift is a pioneer in the clean beauty space after founding her brand RMS in 2009

New York-based Rose-Marie Swift, who worked as a makeup artist for 30 years, is the founder of RMS Beauty, one of the pioneers in the clean beauty space known for its luxurious, sustainability-focused products.

The celebrity MUA founded RMS in 2009 in an effort to ‘clean up the industry and set a higher standard for beauty.

”When I first started there were a lot of raised eyebrows and eye rolling to say the least,’ Rose-Marie told Despite the initial pushback, Rose-Marie ‘educated’ people who ‘started opening their eyes,’ especially when they started to notice ‘the correlation between food and makeup’ and thought about what’s healthier over time.

Rose-Marie says she now sees many brands venturing into clean beauty ‘as the industry is being exposed for so many ingredients that are under scientific scrutiny, due to their endocrine disruptors and unhealthy synthetic ingredients.’

Why are more people turning to clean beauty products?

Rose-Marie thinks clean beauty is ‘better for the consumer, as more people are experiencing problems with some products they use daily and the skin is rebelling.’

Krupa Koestline started working with clean beauty brands as a cosmetic chemist

Krupa Koestline, the Orlando, Florida-based cosmetic chemist who founded the clean beauty-focused KKT Consultants, shifted her focus to clean beauty before it was a term a decade ago when she noticed ‘a lack of transparency in conventional beauty and wanted to focus on formulating products without any questionable concerns to the skin, overall health, or the environment.’

‘With the increase in popularity of healthy foods and stores like Whole Foods and Erewhon, naturally, that focus shifts to what people are applying on their skin,’ Krupa says. 

‘For a long time “clean” beauty products were also seen as not as effective or cosmetically elegant,’ Krupa explained, hypothesizing that a shift to clean beauty has been because of ‘social media exposure, people developing more allergies, or people with health conditions speaking up to question conventional beauty.’ 

According to Krupa, there’s now a ‘demand for more transparency in beauty,’ and a ‘focus on clean ingredient sourcing and extraction methods,’ which ‘allows cosmetic chemists to create more innovative formulas that are as effective and cosmetically elegant as any conventional product.’

Dr. Mian explains ‘a product’s effectiveness depends on its active ingredients and absorption into the skin’

What ingredients should people avoid?

Dr. Mian advises checking the ingredients list for potential allergens or irritants, as well as patch testing on the inner wrist and waiting 24 hours for a reaction. 

‘Not everything found in nature is good or healthy for your skin, like poison ivy, for example,’ Krupa says, calling it ‘natural but highly irritating.’

‘For those with very sensitive skin, I would recommend using simple products with a short ingredient list that are clean,’ Krupa says, urging people to ‘avoid ingredients that are commonly irritating, like fragrances and dyes.’

Krupa also says it’s best for people with sensitive skin to ‘avoid botanic extracts that can be irritating, like cinnamic alcohol, linalool, and limonene,’ but notes that ‘not all essential oils are irritating,’ with blue tansy an example of a calming ingredient. 

Source: Read Full Article