clean beauty

We’ve heard the clean beauty spiel — how good it is for our skin, and how important it is to feed the largest organ in your body the very best. But unlike food, where it’s easier to pick “real food” like fruits, vegetables and meat from its processed counterparts, like canned products, and salt and preservatives-laden deli meat, switching to clean beauty can be a little bit harder.

It Involves Label-Reading

Cheryl Yong, founder of Peau Peau Beauty, a website that curates and stocks clean beauty products, gives us the lowdown, “Start by reading ingredient lists – think of it as akin to reading food labels! It’s important to understand what goes into product, so that you learn to ignore marketing claims like “natural” and “organic”, and recognise anything that looks questionable. 

This takes time, research and patience, so having a habit of googling products and running ingredient lists through databases like EWG and Think Dirty helps to assess ingredients and highlight any potential concerns.” This gives you more excuses to spend more time at Sephora, of course. Think Dirty has a nifty app that you can look up products on-the-go, although not all niche and Asian products are on it. It’s a good start, though.

 Artist-producer Vanessa Fernandez has found herself switching to cleaner alternatives of the products in her beauty arsenal. “The thing to recognise is that not all “natural” products are good for your skin or skin type, it’s more important to choose brands that have great formulas without harmful chemicals,” she advises. For anybody curious about the difference between clean and natural beauty, Vanessa recommends checking out this video.

Easy does it

As exciting as it seems to sweep everything off your bathroom counter and start from scratch, it’s about easing into the process. Cheryl says, “Transitioning to a ‘clean’ routine is a big commitment, so it’s best to ease into it by considering your priorities and decide which products you can afford to replace first. 

Pick a category, like hair or skincare, and start swapping out one product at a time. For people with dry and/or sensitive skin, one product to consider starting with is cleanser, whether for face or body. Look out for cleansers that are free from alcohol, artificial colouring and fragrance, and in particular sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), which is a foaming agent to help products cleanse more thoroughly, but can be harsh and potentially sensitise and irritate skin.”

What gives?

When you’re used to things working a certain way, switching to a different version may throw you off. Likewise, when it comes to cleaner beauty products, some things may work differently than what you’ve been used to your whole life. 

“Clean” mascaras are notorious for this, and Vanessa agrees, “I tried the RMS, Lilly Lolo mascaras and they really just couldn’t give any volume, which is what I need.” 

There’s more good than bad at the end of the day

Switching to clean beauty means, according Cheryl that you would have eliminated “your exposure to [known] toxins, lowering your risk of exposure to cancer-causing and hormone-disrupting ingredients. Shifting to a clean beauty routine can be particularly beneficial, particularly to those with sensitive, sensitised or problematic skin. You should notice less skin irritation, redness and skin reactions, since you will have filtered out some key allergens and irritants.”