by Sue Perez | Featured Contributor
When I use lip balm I like my lips to feel hydrated so I never use anything that has petrolatum. That ingredient is essentially what is in Vaseline, and it’s used in diaper rash ointment because it’s an excellent barrier against moisture. I always look for essential oils inside products and will often add a few drops to my favorite body lotion for the aromatic and therapeutic benefits. Who doesn’t love using shampoo that smells amazing or body washes and body scrubs with essential oils and natural ingredients? Clean beauty is something I personally shop for and lately it’s all the buzz.
Beauty Q & A
I attended a women’s networking event in midtown Manhattan. I’ve attended many but this one was different. Firstly the organizer held it in her amazing apartment and had these adorable name tags for everyone held on a string with clothespins so when you entered you could just grab yours. She was busy in the kitchen with her assistant setting up the charcuterie platter when I arrived but popped out to greet me with a huge smile and asked me what kind of wine I preferred I felt as if I already knew her and she insisted that I make myself comfortable. One by one these fabulous women arrived. Each of them unique in their summer fashionable New York City vibes kind of way. Handing me a glass of Prosecco she asked me what kind of work I do and as soon as she learned that I’m a makeup professional she began introducing me to whom she knew in the group. Other women who worked in fashion and photography, one woman who leads a businesswomen only retreat in the Hamptons, my lovely host was immediately connecting the dots. We sipped from our glasses and chatted. When I shared my expertise of being a Television makeup artist everyone had questions. Beauty is always a hot topic for women but the questions had more to do with ingredients and brands. They wanted to know what I liked and what I used. They confessed not knowing what products were the best anymore and asked for my opinion on micellar cleansing water. Naturally being an Aesthetician I have some knowledge on ingredients but truthfully there are just so many brands out there, and new ones all the time. But one thing was unanimous they all used very little or few products if any and wanted to use green products or organic if they could. Basically, Clean Beauty products, but what exactly does that mean?
Non-Toxic = Less harmful
In the simplest terms it means using cosmetics and products that are non-toxic and who usually don’t have a laundry list of ingredients linked to harmful health side effects. One of the reasons I chose to study at Aveda Institute was because the brand partnered with cooperatives globally. These partnerships worked together to produce and procure organic ingredients and sustainable packaging. But the true definition of clean beauty changes depending on whom you ask because “natural” and “green” are not regulated terms. The best thing you can do when you are shopping is to look for labels on the box. A stamp that has beauty seals like EWG Verified, USDA Organic and Ecocert are the best ones. Below is a list of the top offenders.
The Bad Guys
The following list of ingredients cause side effects that can range from simple skin irritation to hormone disruption all the way to various forms of cancer.
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate
Oxybenzone, Avobenzone, Octinoxate (sunscreens)
Don’t Be Cruel
It’s definitely beneficial to look for safer personal care beauty products. So many more brands both prestige and over the counter drug store brands are selling clean beauty products now too. But there can be a price disparity and it may have to do with the expensive process of getting clean products certified. It can also be a lengthy process, which increases the price of product. In my book Beneath The Makeup – 12 lessons to Empower and Inspire You, I list some of my favorite brands for makeup and skincare. Keeping in mind I also prefer using products that are cruelty free which is another disparaging truth about the beauty industry, with many companies still testing on animals. I learned while researching my book that ALL the beauty, makeup and skincare products made in China are tested on animals because… it’s the law. OUCH!
Cheap Verses Chic
So I checked a big box store and found clean beauty 1.0 oz. facial oil for $25.49. It has no dye, Parabens, added fragrance, dyes and it’s organic and cruelty free. Then I compared that to a prestige retailer who makes a similar product, makes all the same claims and it’s same size 1.0 oz. It has 9 powerhouse essential fatty acids and sells for $168.00! Luxe Beauty, Designer Beauty, even that comes labeled under Clean Beauty. With demand comes the realization that companies can ask for a high price and get away with it. The cosmetics industry is generally marked up by 60-80%. Lets not overlook all the counterfeit and fake beauty products that have infiltrated Amazon, Target and other retailers. It can be downright dangerous! You should know what your paying for.
What matters really is that you find products you care about that work for you and that are safe too. I started buying organic food and so did my neighbor. Once we passed each other in the lobby and I could tell by his brown paper grocery bags he was just organic food shopping, so I joked with him about the extra “Green” spending and he joked right back. “Better to pay for it now than later on in medical bills” I suppose that is one way to look at it.