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Beauty terms unpacked

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

Today’s consumer is faced with a myriad of potentially confusing beauty product categories – clean, green, organic, natural, plant-based, vegan, etc.

Clean beauty, for instance, has been trending over the past two years and can be broadly defined as being non-toxic.

Cathy Wynn, marketing head at Goodleaf, provides a more-depth definition: “Although non-toxic terminology isn’t regulated, it usually refers to cosmetic products that do not include ingredients that could potentially harm your body or irritate your skin (i.e. cause a toxic response) such as parabens, phthalates, oxybenzone and synthetic fragrances, to name a few.

“Clean beauty products can be a game changer for people with sensitive skin as they are free of the harmful ingredients that can irritate and sensitise the skin. Ethical brands that market their products as clean, also deliver on the principles of being environmentally friendly and cruelty-free.”

She goes on to explain that a green brand is not only sourced from nature but also follows environmentally sustainable and socially responsible business practices, while natural brands source ingredients from nature and are usually processed as little as possible to preserve their natural integrity.

“Then there is the term organic. Although many brands claim to be organic, only certified organic brands are strictly regulated and audited annually. To be labelled organic, the ingredients must be grown, processed and manufactured under strict guidelines that include things like no pesticides and elimination of certain chemicals.

“Vegan-certified brands are regulated and only these can claim that their products do not contain any animal ingredients or by-products and are not tested on animals. Plant-based skincare is typically vegan-based, but doesn’t strictly exclude all animal by-products – it may contain honey or beeswax, for example,” says Wynn.

Reverting back to the topic of clean skincare, she makes the point that what goes into a product is as important as what is left out. “Often ‘fillers’ are used to add bulk, texture or lubrication, or to extend shelf life and there are clear no-no’s on this list (see https://www.healthline.com/health/beauty-skin-care/ingredients-to-avoid-for-stress-free-skin-care.). Also, it’s important to note the order in which the ingredients are listed on the label as companies must label from largest to smallest in order of volume or weight. The higher up the ingredient, the more of it there is in the product.”

Wynn believes that beauty should be both clean and green and notes that Goodleaf recently launched its anti-stress range.

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