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Clean Beauty Basics

November 21, 2017

Clean Beauty Basics

beauty products without harmful chemicals that you’ll actually love

I started caring about Clean Beauty in a roundabout way. I am a bit of a germaphobe, so I get a litttlleee particular about how clean certain things in my apartment, and parts of my body are.

For example, and, related to Clean Beauty I think this is the most telling example, for many years I used 3 or 4 different soaps in the shower, because I only wanted certain soaps to touch certain parts of my body.

I know, I’m a weirdo.

But seriously! With all the talk about aluminum in deodorant being cancerous, I did NOT want soap that touched my armpits to also touch other parts of my body – particularly orifices (openings into your body, like your nostrils).

However, as I’m sure you can tell, this was becoming a bit ridiculous, because I would often get the different soaps confused, would only allow my boyfriend to also use certain soaps, etc. Haha do you think I’m nuts yet??

Anyway, this was my entryway into Clean Beauty. I had just about had enough of this soap situation, and was looking into cleaner (but WORKING!) deodorant brands, when I found whole LINES of beauty products where I didn’t have to stress out about not ingesting scary ingredients in my lipstick and face lotion.

So here it goes! I’m going to go through key questions I hear about clean beauty – and let ya know what’s important, and what we can gloss over!

1. What does Clean Beauty mean?

By “Beauty” I mean anything you’re using in the shower, on your face, in your hair, and even in your home (e.g. and how you wash your clothes).

And by “Clean” I mean products that include only clean ingredients, that have been tested and are safe to use by humans. This often also means the products haven’t been tested on animals.

So, for example, these types of products can be:


  • Shampoo

  • Conditioner

  • Texture sprays

  • Hair spray

  • Hair dye


  • Bar soap

  • Body wash

  • Deodorant

  • Lotions

  • Body butters

  • Parfumes & fragrances

  • Sunscreen

  • Bubble bath

  • Nail polish


  • Lotions, moisturizers, and foundations

  • Powders

  • Eyeshadow

  • Eyeliner

  • Mascara

  • Lip gloss & lipstick

  • Anti-aging skincare

  • Toothpaste

  • Face masks


  • Air freshener

  • Detergent (for clothes & dishes)

  • Paint


  • Diaper creams

  • Moisturizers

  • Wipes

2. Why is Clean Beauty important?

What we put IN our bodies (food & drink) matter a lot, but what we put ON our bodies matters too. Women on average use 12 products daily – and consume over 7 pounds of lipstick (in their lifetimes) with toxic heavy metals.

The US hasn’t passed a major law to regulate the safety of ingredients used in personal care products since 1938. (Hint: that was a long time ago). Despite much scientific research showing how certain ingredients can cause a lot of harm – there remains no action taken.

Did you know that 80% of ingredients in beauty products have never been tested? And, in cosmetics, the European Union has restricted 1,400 harmful chemicals but the United States has only restricted 30?

It’s important! For your body now, and for your future.

3. What ingredients or chemicals should I stay away from in beauty products?

Every day, multiple times per day, the news headlines read that something is going to kill us. Am I right?! It is exhausting. One minute something is a lifesaver, and next minute it gives you cancer.

BeautyCounter (one of my go-to brands that only uses Clean Beauty products) has created a good comprehensive list, and I’m quoting them directly here. You can read more about it on their website!

Benzalkonium Chloride – Found in: sunscreens, moisturizers.

Butylatedhydroxy Anisole and Butylated Hydroxytoluene – Found in: lipsticks, moisturizers, diaper creams, and other cosmetics.

Coal tar hair dyes and other coal tar ingredients – Found in: hair dye, shampoo.

Ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA) – Found in: hair color, moisturizers.

Ethanolamines (MEA/DEA/TEA) – Found in: hair dyes, mascara, foundation, fragrances, sunscreens, dry cleaning solvents, paint, pharmaceuticals.

Formaldehyde – Found in shampoo, b
ody wash, bubble bath

Hydroquinone – Found in skin-lightening creams

Methylisothiazolinone and methylchloroisothiazolinone – Found in shampoo, conditioner, body wash

Oxybenzone – Found in sunscreen, moisturizer

Parabens (methyl-, isobutyl-, propyl- and others) – Found in shampoo, face cleanser, body wash, body lotion, foundation

Phthalates (DBP, DEHP, DEP and others) – Found in synthetic fragrance, nail polish, hairspray, and plastic materials

Polyethylene glycol (PEG compounds) – Found in creams, sunscreen, shampoo

Retinyl palmitate and Retinol (Vitamin A) – Found in moisturizer, anti-aging skincare

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate and Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLS and SLES) – Found in shampoo, body wash, bubble bath

Synthetic flavor or fragrance – Found in all types of cosmetics

Toluene – Found in nail polish

Triclosan and Triclocarban – Found in liquid soap, soap bars, toothpaste

4. Which brands use Clean Beauty or chemical free ingredients?

I’m sure there are more – but here is a quick & dirty list!

  • BareMinerals

  • BeautyCounter

  • Caudalie’s

  • Lilah B

  • Kopari

  • R&Co

  • RMS Beauty

5. Do I have to switch ALL of my products to Clean Beauty brands?

What a lot of my fave lifestyle & beauty bloggers say is to use the 80/20 rule – use clean beauty products 80% of the time. Basically this is saying if you have some products that you just can’t live without, keep em!

6. What are you favorite or go-to Clean Beauty products?

Let me first tell you about my skin & my hair:

  • My skin: I have super sensitive skin – I break out in hives often. This has happened since I was a kid. I typically need oil-free products for my face and don’t do well with a lot of fragrances.

  • My hair: I have pretty thin hair that’s typically a bit frizzy.

Here’s ma list for ya! These are products I LOVE and ACTUALLY USE every darn day. AND I’ve seen a dramatic difference in the health of my hair and skin. This sh*t works people!

Clean beauty hair products


My hair has never been more bright and smooth!


  • Bar soap – this one for daily, this one for detoxifying

  • Deodorant (I do use this daily, but you do have to reapply. And if you’re in a situation where it would be REALLY bad if you stank 😉 I’d recommend using an anti-perspirant that day)

  • Body butter

clean beauty face products


I feel so much more comfortable now using products without chemicals – especially lipstick and lip glosses where the product is literally entering my body!

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