Clean Beauty 101 for Newbies
Updated: Sep 23
If you’re like me, you may find this whole Clean Beauty movement a bit overwhelming. What does ‘clean’ mean anyways?? I wasn’t even aware that my products were “dirty”! Finding a regular beauty product that works with my skin is hard enough as it is, now I’m supposed to go find all new ones that are non-toxic, too?? Well don’t fret, here’s the “No B.S.” guide to switching to all things Clean Beauty.
What is Clean Beauty?
A product is often labeled as ‘clean’ if it contains only non-toxic ingredients. Believe it or not though, there has not been a major law passed in the U.S. to regulate the ingredients used in personal care products since 1938! This means that a lot of the onus is put on us as consumers to decide what we deem ‘clean’. But the good news is that there are groups such as the Environmental Working Group's Skin Deep Database which can help you sort through all of the clutter. For an even quicker reference, see our tips for getting started and a few favorite products to start with below.
Where to Start
A great place to start with your clean beauty care routine is anything that sits on your skin for the duration of the day. One of the biggest culprits that is being investigated by the FDA is sunscreen. Since this is recommended to wear daily to prevent skin burns and skin cancer, it can be particularly worrisome if that same lotion could actually do harm. The one ingredient most often cited as worrisome is oxybenzone. In fact, The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) advises parents to avoid using sunscreens with oxybenzone on children. Look for sunblock, or mineral sunscreen, made with only one or two non-toxic ingredients, called zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. Our favorite brand for kids? Blue Lizard Sunscreen. This can work for adults too, but if you’re looking for other adult friendly options try ATTITUDE Mineral Sunscreen.
Other Tips for Clean Beauty Newbies to Consider
To make the switch a little more manageable, move to a clean product as you run out of things. This will help break down the hunt for something that is going to work for you into smaller chunks.
Shop at places that have great return policies - Beautycounter and Sephora, Clean At Sephora are great since everybody’s skin is different, and it may take you a couple of tries to find what works for you.
If money IS an object to you, look at this brand Weleda. It has many products on the EWG Skin Deep Database with the best ratings, and is very affordable.
Ready to Go to the Next Level?
If you’re sold and want to jump right in beyond sunscreen, we’d recommend two other switches: the first is eye cream, since it sits on your skin every night. The EWG Skin Deep Database has several that they have certified here. The second thing we would suggest is a mask or peel – our favorite is the Beautycounter resurfacing peel.
While this may not take all of the fuss out of joining the Clean Beauty movement, we hope this guide makes taking the first steps a little bit simpler.
Want to learn more?
Check out our episode on Clean Beauty: Episode 28: What's Up with Clean Beauty?
Our Clean Beauty Expert's guide for newbies: Clean Beauty 101: What You Need to Know + My Favorite Clean Beauty Products and Brands