Clean Beauty: What the cosmetic industry doesn’t want you to know

skincare items

What do parabens, phthalates, talc, fragrances, formaldehyde, and benzene all have in common?


Well, aside from sounding incredibly terrifying…. They’re all endocrine disruptors and are linked to a number of unwanted, and sometimes even life threatening, issues.


Yet these are the ingredients we often see listed on the back of our cosmetic skin care products. It’s madness.


However, in recent years, we’ve started to see a shift… Beauty brands have been paying close attention to the ingredients used to create their products. Some of them have done away with any ingredients that have been shown or suspected to cause harm to the human body altogether.


They call it the “clean beauty movement”, and more and more beauty brands are jumping on board. We couldn’t be more excited!


But clean ingredients are only a piece of the puzzle when it comes to clean beauty products.


As it turns out, the beauty industry has long been criticized for more than just containing incredibly harmful, and even toxic ingredients…


They’ve also been criticized for their misleading and false claims, dishonest advertisements, ecologically unfriendly packaging, and most of all, unethical animal testing.


But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. Let’s first discuss…

What is clean beauty?

Clean beauty simply means beauty products that are made without harmful ingredients that can irritate the skin. That’s it! Nothing else.


In fact, clean beauty doesn’t even mean natural ingredients.


You see, “clean ingredients” doesn’t necessarily mean that a product is chemical-free, it just means that the ingredients in the beauty or skin care product are cleaner than other harsh, more toxic, man-made ingredients. (We’re talkin’ ingredients like formaldehyde and parabens.)


The Washington Post said it best: “Natural can be clean, but clean is not always natural.”


We get it… not every beauty or skin care product on the market can be created with purely natural ingredients. For that reason, we do appreciate the fact that beauty brands are looking for cleaner alternatives to their formulation processes.


But the issue is that prolonged exposure to even less harsh chemicals can still wreak havoc on your overall health. Think: fragrances and parfums.


You see, these two words are umbrella terms to cover up an array of other potentially toxic chemicals. And the more you apply those products on your body, the more your body will have to filter them out. Even many clean beauty products contain these umbrella terms.


But like we mentioned earlier, using cleaner ingredients is just one piece of the puzzle. Have you ever wondered how the beauty industry has dubbed which ingredients are safe for humans and which are not?

The Clean Beauty Movement and Cosmetic Animal Testing

Animal testing is where reserachers will test a product, medication, chemical, or ingredient on a helpless animal. They do this to assess the product or ingredient’s effects, both good and bad.


As we mentioned above, prolonged exposure to certain ingredients can wreak havoc on your system, so just imagine what those ingredients are doing to an animal who is much smaller and more sensitive than you.


Sadly, most of the testing procedures cause tremendous suffering and stress on the animal. And most of the animals are either killed or re-used for the next experiment until they, too, die.


That said, many beauty brands and companies heavily rely on animal testing before they lauch their beauty products. Even many clean beauty brands are guilty of this practice.


And it doesn’t help that the FDA advises cosmetic manufacturers to “employ whatever testing is appropriate and effective for substantiating the safety of their products.”


But here’s the issue… Animals don’t actually respond the same way as humans do to certain cosmetic ingredients and chemicals. This means that most animal tests are unreliable and ineffective when it comes to determining whether or not a cosmetic is safe for humans.


Yet the FDA still states, “Animal testing by manufacturers seeking to market new products may be used to establish product safety.”


Thankfully, the FDA isn’t all bad. Animal testing is not required to determine if a cosmetic is safe to sell in the U.S. So, they do support other humane methods and alternatives to animal testing, as long as they’re effective.


Still, animal testing is not yet banned in the United States. But that doesn’t mean it’s not heading in that direction.


As it turns out, several U.S. states have passed laws to ban/limit cosmetic animal testing. Those states include: California, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Nevada, New Jersey, and Virginia.


Cosmetic products that contain clean ingredients and have not been tested on animals are considered more than clean beauty products, they’re known as clean and cruelty free.



How are cruelty free products tested?

True cruelty-free products are tested on human cell cultures and tissues, human volunteers, or through computer models that replicate the response of the human body—which scientists call “organs-on-chips”.


These testing methods serve to be more reliable and effective. But there’s just one issue… The term “cruelty free” is not regulated.


Many of the ingredients used in cosmetics have been tested on animals in the past. So, any beauty brand could use those previously tested raw materials/ingredients in their cosmetic products and still claim they’re cruelty free by suggesting that their products are not currently being tested on animals.


It’s confusing and a bit complicated to say the least. But the good news is that many beauty brands are making the shift towards cruelty free practices and more ethical standards in their overall formulation processes.

Why switch to clean, all natural, cruelty free brands?

Yes, there is very little regulation in the beauty industry, and that includes the clean beauty movement as well. But as we’ve mentioned throughout this article, there are some beauty brands that truly want to make a difference, and that’s why they adopt cleaner and more ethical beauty standards.


By making the switch to truly clean beauty products that are also truly cruelty free, you’re not only limiting your exposure to toxic ingredients, but you’re also helping to put a stop to animal testing.


Not to mention, more and more truly clean beauty brands are avoiding ecologically unfriendly packaging as well. Which helps limit unnecessary waste.


True clean beauty brands will do everything in their power to self regulate. This means you’ll likely find more “all natural” ingredients listed on their beauty/skin care product labels. And that’s what you truly want to see.


Because clean beauty should be about more than just changing a few ingredients. It’s about improving the world we live in by choosing more all natural ingredients, producing environmentally friendly packaging, and steering clear from unethical cosmetic animal testing.


The more you can support all natural, cruelty free, and truly clean beauty brands, the better you’ll feel in the long run.


Just be sure to thoroughly research the beauty brand before you buy their products. And remember that animal testing is not a requirment in the Unitied States, so there are testing alternatives out there to determine the safety of a cosmetic product. You just need to look for them.


If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to reach out to our Alki team. We’re happy to help in any way we can!

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Ingredient Information

Sodium Bicarbonate & Citric Acid: Otherwise known as baking soda and Vitamin C. These two ingredients combined create the “fizzy” effect of a bath bomb.

Epsom Salt: Epsom salt baths can help soften rough or dry skin and can exfoliate dead skin cells. It also aids in reducing soreness & pain.

Corn Starch: Corn starch manages the fizzing reaction of the ingredients; so if you drop your bath bomb in the water, it will not “explode”!

Sunflower Oil: Sunflower oil is a non-comedogenic carrier oil which is highly absorbent. In short: sunflower oil won’t clog your pores. Additionally, it is non-irritating for most people and can be used on all skin types.

Water: What scientists refer to as H20.

Organic Hemp-Derived Cannabidiol (CBD): CBD is a naturally occurring & non-intoxicating cannabinoid (chemical compound) found in both hemp and cannabis plants.

Aromatherapy Oils: Aromatherapy is simply the combination of essential oils for therapeutic benefit. When inhaled, the molecules in essential oils work their way from the olfactory nerves directly to the brain and can positively impact the amygdala, which is the emotional center of the brain.

Sodium Lauryl Sulfoacetate (SLSA): SLSa is derived from coconut and palm oils. SLSa is safe and skin-friendly.

Mica Powder: The biggest benefit of mica is its ability to create a natural shimmery finish, since it can be milled to a fine powder. It is naturally produced and safe to use on almost all skin types.

Polysorbate 80: A vegetable-sourced emulsifier that is skin-safe. Polysorbate 80 helps ingredients mix throughout the water instead of separating, which will make your bath bomb experience even better!