The latest buzzwords in beauty—sustainable, vegan, natural, organic, and clean—you may have heard these terms being loosely used in passing. However, have you given a thought to what clean beauty actually entails or have you ever thought of choosing your beauty products mindfully, and not just going by popularity, efficacy, and budget? It’s a given that it refers to toxin-free ‘clean’ products. But more than what you consume, it’s also about how you consume. Truly, clean beauty is a lifestyle that’s more than just about chemical-free products—it’s a holistic idea that ensures maximum beauty, minimum impact.
So, as we enter a new decade, here’s are five ways you can commit to clean beauty—and ultimately clean living.
Look for the expiry date
Do your skin a favour and toss out products that have already expired. Just like you wouldn’t consume expired food items, so should it be for beauty. In fact, in many cases, a product may even expire before its date, as Prerna Karidhal, founder of Qurez, a natural cosmetic brand warns. “If a product has changed colour, is runny or lumpy, has developed a foul smell or feels different on the skin than it did previously, it’s time to discard it.” She recommends that natural cosmetics should be used within 12 to 30 months from the date of manufacturing.
Red flag these ingredients
Make sure you don’t blindly buy products and keep a check on the ingredients listed on the package. Karidhal strongly recommends one should steer clear of toxic ingredients such as parabens, sulphates, phthalate, genetically modified (GMO) ingredients, artificial colours, artificial flavours and fragrances. “These toxic ingredients have been banned in many countries as they have been linked to serious diseases such as cancer and are known to cause reproductive harm. It goes without saying that it’s best to avoid them and opt for safe, chemical-free, natural products,” she says.
Look for these ingredients instead…
Natasha Shah founder of the natural beauty brand, The Nature's Co believes that any natural ingredient on a cosmetic label is a plus. “Plant-based oils, essential oils and vegetable butter are added advantages. But, one must do a patch test before using any product, as some people may be sensitive to specific natural ingredients too. Like many people have nut allergies, many are likely to react to ingredients like tomato and gram flour when applied on the face/body,” she shares. Karidhal also reminds us to look for labels such as ‘vegan’, ‘cruelty free’ and ‘organic.’ “Ingredients must be derived from plants, flowers and mineral origins found in nature. The manufacturing process of organic products should be such that it retains the integrity of the natural ingredients,” she adds.
It goes without saying that you can cause minimum impact by consuming lesser. Only buy products that you need—often hoarding products (especially makeup) leads to wastage as you don’t actually end up using as many products before the expiry date. Similarly, contrary to what many beauty tutorials would have you believe, your skin actually doesn’t need to be layered with product after product. Find out what you can swear by—and stick to it.
You can also adopt healthy habits—a small step is washing your hair less often. Shah offers her suggestion: “To keep hair washes to the minimum, one should avoid using conditioners and hair serums on the scalp area. It’s usually the scalp that gets oilier and then attracts dirt and dust. Avoid touching your hair too often as this can also make it greasy.” By following these easy tips, you can extend the gap between hair washes.
Karidhal also stresses on the quality of products: “Using good quality products will ensure the product is used less frequently. For example, a good hair shampoo should result in a non-greasy scalp for 72 hours after a wash—this can bring down the number of hair washes to two per week. Similarly, the effect of lipstick or kajal should be such that, it does not have to be reapplied multiple times during the day.”
All hail DIYS!
There’s no better way of ensuring chemical free products than by making them yourself, right? Turn to good ol’ grandma’s recipes instead of mindless purchasing. Want a natural scrub? Use gram flour and sandalwood! Want a face pack to calm inflammation? Use fuller’s earth! Want a natural lip balm? Use coconut oil or ghee! Karidhal recommends a pre-wash hair mask with ginger and coconut oil for deep conditioning, reducing hair fall and promoting hair growth. Similarly, she suggests applying cucumber, tomato and papaya on the skin as they act as natural peel offs.
Ultimately, it comes down to being conscious and aware of what you’re consuming. Simple lifestyle changes go a long way. For instance, Shah offers easy-to-follow tips like avoiding travel-sized products to reduce plastic consumption, returning plastic containers for recycling/ reusing and choosing brands that support veganism—important, as she draws attention to the brutality inflicted on animals during testing.
So, commit to doing your bit for clean living and opting for sustainable practices. Start small, but start somewhere, because every bit counts.