A Guide to Clean Beauty

When it comes to our skin, we learn to take precious care of it with various products, routines and beauty buys. The real question is – are we making the right purchases? Are the products in our collection worthy? It can be overwhelming to stop buying certain ingredients cold turkey, but it’s a bit easier when you have a better understanding on hard NO’s that you don’t want touching your skin.

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I love how companies like Sephora are starting to see the importance of clean beauty and it’s actually something I’m especially passionate about after learning more about the skincare industry and realizing that so many top brands are actually the ones that create products with harmful ingredients. I’m by no means the perfect “clean beauty user” and still have a LONG way to go before I can confidently say that everything I use is 100% safe, but we gotta start somewhere!

Before you start trashing every product on your shelves, it’s best to look closely at the ingredients individually. I started researching about a year ago and there’s definitely several that are hard NO’s no matter where you look but Sephora’s Clean Beauty Products page is a great starting point to bring you a list of the most common “dirty” ingredients.

Sulfates: Sodium lauryl sulfate aka SLS – Typically found in shampoo, body wash, foundation, mouthwash and toothpaste (creates foaming action while brushing). Known to cause skin irritation, canker sores and can strip your skin or hair’s natural oil balance, drying out that area completely especially with bath products used on your scalp – not to mention it’s a known culprit for cystic acne around the mouth and chin. Quickly becoming a hard NO for me.

Sulfates: Sodium laureth ether sulfate aka SLES – Milder than SLS, but still irritating on the skin so if you tend to get clogged pores (me) or are prone to acne, it’s best to stay away from it whenever possible.

Parabens – Typically found in makeup, moisturizers, shampoos and shaving products. The FDA continues to research the longterm impact on overall health, but as of now they have not officially ruled it harmful. If you’re looking for natural, organic products, it’s probably best to look for those that are paraben-free aka preservative-free. There are several parabens used for different things so this is one ingredient that can get really confusing to understand, but know it’s used to keep products free of mold and bacteria. As with any ingredient, if you use a product with parabens and it’s causing irritation/stinging, you should definitely stop using it ASAP.

Oxybenzone – One of the highest-risk chemicals that’s found in sunscreen. This was my biggest wakeup call of 2018. I started investing in more expensive sunscreens like Farmacy’s Green Screen SPF 30 Sunscreen and Biossance’s Squalane + Mineral SPF 45 Sunscreen to ensure it did NOT have oxybenzone.

Between the two, Farmacy is amazing, light weight and comfortable plus it doesn’t make me breakout. Oxybenzone is a hard NO for me now that I know how dangerous the chemical can be to the reproductive system. Totally worth the extra money having the reassurance that the sunscreen I use, which is meant to protect my skin, is not actually hurting it. Unfortunately, most sunscreens found at the drugstore have Oxybenzone in their ingredients.

Formaldehyde and Phythalates – Commonly found in nail polishes and can cause things like headaches and respiratory problems. Nail polish brands like OPI have started to commit to removing the toxic chemical from their nail polishes. Pregnant women should definitely avoid it by staying away from nail products as it’s linked to birth defects.

Fragrance – It’s been added to makeup and skincare products for so long that it can sometimes be a factor forgotten, but it’s not only irritating on the skin but can cause headaches if too scented. I was inspired to slowly remove this from most of my makeup and skincare products when I saw Tati’s latest Youtube video. It can cause breakouts and general redness that is not fun to experience and, in my opinion, not worth the fancy smell that it can give a product.

Some of my favorite clean skincare brands of 2018 include: Boscia, Biossance, Farmacy and Drunk Elephant. I spent all of this year really exploring the skincare world and I can totally and confidently vouch that these are amazing companies to purchase from.

My favorite clean skincare products are:

Boscia’s Black Charcoal Mask

Biossance’s Squalane + Micronutrient Fine Mist

Biossance facial oils – Try samples for FREE + $5 shipping

Farmacy’s Green Screen SPF 30 Sunscreen

Farmacy’s Honey Drop Moisturizer

Drunk Elephant’s Babyfacial

My 2019 goal is to explore makeup brands next so stay tuned! For more first impressions,  follow me on Instagram @thebeautyaisleblog ❤️

Safe skin headed your way! xx


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