August 17 2020
What Does Clean Beauty Really Mean to Us?
It feels like “clean beauty” can mean, well, almost anything these days.
Since it’s a relatively new idea in the beauty industry, there’s no official definition yet, making the whole thing really confusing for everyone.
Basically, at the heart of it all, “clean” means “formulated without harmful ingredients.” But even that can mean any number of things.
The good news is companies are starting to set their own clean beauty standards, which makes the searching and buying process a little easier. Transparent ingredient lists are becoming more and more popular in the cosmetics world.
And today, we’re going to talk about how M2U NYC fits into the clean beauty industry.
Our clean beauty standards
When it comes to clean beauty, our standards are almost exactly the same as Target’s (which makes us all the more excited to be part of the Target Takeoff program this year!).
Their ingredients blacklist includes:
● Nonylphenol ethoxylates (NPEs)
● Retinyl palmitate
● BHA & BHT
You’ll not find any of these nasty ingredients in our makeup. Why? Because they’re linked to a wide range of health concerns.
We believe that your health and well-being are the top priority. And we want you to look and feel like your best self in our makeup. How can you feel good in your skin or enjoy your makeup if it’s literally hurting you?
Not only do these ingredients affect you and your health, but they’re also extremely toxic to aquatic life. When you wash your face at the end of the day, these ingredients go down your drain, pour into our lakes and oceans, and end up disrupting entire ecosystems.
When it comes to clean makeup, we really pride ourselves on being 100% paraben-free. Parabens are used to increase the shelf life of products — but they come at a ridiculously high cost. These chemicals can cause tons of health issues, from skin irritation to fertility issues and cancer.
Yeah — we’ll pass
Does clean beauty mean vegan, cruelty-free, organic, and natural?
Short answer, no.
Clean beauty products don’t have to be vegan, cruelty-free, natural, or organic.
This is where it gets a little complicated. All of these terms have their own very specific definitions. And some of these terms are regulated, while others aren’t at all.
Here’s a quick little cheat sheet:
● Vegan means formulated without any animal products or by-products.
● Cruelty-free means created without any animal testing.
● Organic (an FDA-regulated term) means all of the ingredients are farmed naturally. There has to be a certain amount of organic material in the product to be labeled organic — this percentage varies across the U.S.
● Natural (not regulated at all, really) means formulated with ingredients directly from nature.
It’s all kind of a mess. Which makes it really hard to find products that are the real deal.
For now, your best bet is to go through the ingredients list, keeping an eye out for any of the names on the blacklist. That way you can be 100% sure you’re safe. Some brands also have seals, like USDA Organic and PETA Certified Vegan and Cruelty-free (the one we have!), that make it a little easier to spot legit vegan, cruelty-free, and organic products.
Be sure to watch out for greenwashing — a lot of products simply have the word “natural” or “organic” on them, which doesn’t necessarily mean anything at all. Some beauty brands use these words to trick people into buying their products, and they’re usually chock-full of gross, dangerous ingredients.
When in doubt, always double-check the ingredients list yourself.
Synthetic ingredients… yay or nay?
Listen. Synthetics sometimes get a bad rep in the beauty industry. Contrary to what you might’ve heard, there are plenty of safe synthetics out there.
Man-made ingredients aren’t as scary as a lot of people think they are. And they’re not always worse than naturally-derived ingredients. In fact, some well-made synthetics are identical to their natural counterparts on the molecular level.
A lot of synthetic ingredients have insane benefits. Not only are they sustainably sourced, but they also create consistency across products.
The demand for natural products is super high right now, and natural ingredients are being collected quickly and in the cheapest way possible — which often ends up destroying the source. The harvesting of palm oil, for example, is detrimental to the health of rainforests and animal habitats.
And when it comes to all-natural products, there are a ton of unknown variables. Plant health and harvesting time can literally change the chemical composition of the ingredient, meaning it won’t be the same every time. This puts you at risk of different reactions to different batches of the same product, which is especially scary when it comes to the things you put on your face.
Synthetic ingredients are created in a lab, which doesn’t negatively impact the source. And since they’re exactly the same every time, there’s no room for error or unknown factors.
Preservatives are another no-no word in the beauty industry. But, some preservatives are totally safe and even necessary to your health and the life of your product.
A lot of natural beauty products have a very short shelf life. While that’s no big deal, a lot of the time you’re not even halfway through the product by the time it expires. And you don’t want to let $60 worth of product go to waste, so you use it past the expiration date.
You’re not alone — we’ve all been there.
Without safe preservatives, micro bacteria and mold start to grow in your products. And slathering that spoiled stuff all over your face can result in serious problems, like skin infections and respiratory issues.
Remember. Clean beauty means formulated without any harmful ingredients. So, as long as the synthetics aren’t known to cause health issues, you’re still using clean beauty products!
Not everything is what it seems, is it? We don’t know why clean beauty has to be so complicated either. But, until it develops a little more, we’re stuck with these confusing, half-definitions of the term.
You can sleep easy knowing that M2U’s products are PETA certified vegan and cruelty-free, and don’t compromise your health. Because to us, that’s the most important thing.