Louise Dartford is a make up artist, beauty writer and blogger and she’s a renowned expert in green beauty.
Clean beauty seems to be a bit of a buzz-word at the moment. It’s starting to pop up everywhere – in the glossies, the Sunday supplements and of course across your favourite Instagram account. But what does it actually mean and how or is it different to natural or organic beauty for example? I’ve always described myself as ‘greening’ my kit – so is that different to ‘cleaning’ my kit up?
Clean beauty is essentially about using products that avoid the harsher synthetic ingredients that may be detrimental to the health of our skin, but also perhaps to our wellbeing. For these products to be completely clean, they need to contain the best possible ingredients for your skin, and that be it. Many of the big ‘conventional’ brands are bulked out with cheap fillers such as mineral oil that literally have no nutritional value, not to mention bad for the environment.
Nature can be extremely potent and used properly, that can be all we need. Using ingredients that are as close to their natural state as possible, generally means they are going to be better for us, like food. The more an ingredient has been processed, the more its properties are going to have been tampered with and lost. Except for mineral oil by the way that needs to cleaned at least a gazillion times to make it deemed safe. Also just because something is from nature, it doesn’t mean someone won’t react; far from it, someone will always be allergic or sensitive to something.
In my eyes, clean beauty is about leaving out the negative ingredients and packing in the positive ones that are going to boost our skin. Active plant based ingredients are what we want in order to see results. This doesn’t automatically mean natural and organic for all brands claiming to be clean however. These two in themselves are different and this is where it can get confusing. There are so many different names – natural, green, eco, non-toxic for example. Aren’t they all the same I hear you ask?? I’m afraid not, each can have their different very varying standards, and then there are those brands masquerading as clean to make things even more confusing!
I would say recently that clean beauty has become the umbrella term for a lot of the terms above. It’s true, they may differ in some ways but they will also share a lot of the same values. Bonafida clean brands will use responsible well-sourced ingredients that are organic and Fairtrade where possible, and they will leave out the harsher synthetic ones. Their whole production process should have a minimal environmental impact, and workers looked after too. The packaging will be well thought about - usually recycled and/or recyclable thus keeping the carbon footprint low. Some products may be vegan, while others will harness the power of organic beeswax and do all they can to save the bees. Brands will obviously have stronger credentials in different areas. Animal testing is a no-no full stop.
It is up to you to decide what you care the most about and then choose your products accordingly. Unfortunately organic/natural/clean beauty is not regulated so there may be a little bit of research involved when choosing what products are right for you. If it becomes a bit much, look for certified logos such as the Soil Association to help you make the right choices. Luckily there are some amazing clean beauty brands out there so it’s never been a better time to switch.
Make-up is definitely harder to change over than skincare. Of course skincare needs to perform well, but make-up tends to be more complicated. It needs to have great pigment and a great texture that blends well and it needs to have longevity, amongst other things. One of my favourite brands is RMS and they are probably as clean as they come – unless of course you’re mixing your own cheek colour yourself with beetroot. Raw, cold-pressed organic coconut oil is the key ingredient in this range so the majority of products are cream based, which makes them really easy to use. The Living Luminizer is a hero product and everyone should try it – use it anywhere that needs some radiance. The newer Master Mixer does the same but with more of a golden tone. The Eye Polishes are also a favourite with very wearable, flattering colours.
I think every woman should have at least one cream blusher in her make-up kit. This one small product can make a huge difference to any complexion, adding a healthy glow instantly. Tata Harper’s Lip & Cheek Tint is an on-going favourite of mine, Very Charming is a lovely brightening pink. Or going back to the beetroot, Ere Perez’s Beautiful Beetroot Cheek & Lip Tint gives a great rosy glow – a little goes a long way, blend quickly and do one cheek at a time!
Mascara is definitely harder to do naturally. Unfortunately those lash thickening and ultra boosting properties in the glossy ads usually come from synthetic fillers and plastics; however it is changing and natural mascara is getting better and better. My current favourite is from W3LL PEOPLE, which gives a good full lash that lasts – you can go out in the rain in this one!! Natural mascaras will vary massively in their ingredients, so again it is up to you to decide what ingredients you will allow in your regime.
Ultimately choosing clean beauty is a really positive thing. It is definitely about taking your time and finding out what works for your skin as well as your beliefs. There is no one size fits all, but the products available now are wonderful. You’ll enjoy using them as you see the benefits for your skin but also knowing they’re doing good in other ways will give you a glow too.