Clean beauty is a fast growing trend as consumers become more and more educated every day about what they are putting on their bodies. Most people understand the importance of clean skincare since you are rubbing it into your skin but, clean haircare is just as important. Skin absorption rates vary greatly among different parts of the body; for example, the chemical absorption rate on your forehead and scalp is about four times greater than the absorption rate on your forearms.
Currently, there is no clean beauty standard in the US. The US FDA has only banned or restricted 11 chemicals from cosmetics vs. the EU law which bans 1,328 chemicals from cosmetics that are known or suspected to cause cancer, genetic mutation, reproductive harm or birth defects. Until our US standards are changed, it’s really up to each beauty brand to not include these harmful ingredients in their product formulas.
Globally, pretty much everyone agrees on the main no-no’s to watch out for -- and many brands have decided to avoid these potentially harmful ingredients, as there are a lot of naturally derived alternatives available today that can replace them.
What are sulfates?
Sulfates are a cleansing chemical used in a lot of beauty products. The purpose of having sulfates in shampoos is to remove all of the dirt and oils in your hair which allows for a cleaner scalp after a wash. It’s basically a detergent! Unfortunately, sulfates can be too effective when doing so. The result of using sulfates in shampoos can be irritation and redness, especially for those who have sensitive skin. In order to maintain a healthy scalp, it is essential to retain some of the natural oils your body produces. You don’t want the harsh sulfates stripping it away. Industry experts estimate that over 90% of shampoo formulations on the US market today contain the cleansing agents SLS and SLES.
What are parabens?
Parabens are a widely used preservative to prevent bacteria. Using products that contain parabens can lead to irritation, dryness, hair loss, and color fade. These harmful chemicals can enter through your body via your scalp which can lead to serious complications with hormones, and even cause cancer. However, it’s important to note that not all parabens are bad -- and many cosmetics brands use such small quantities that the EU and FDA do not deem them harmful.
What are phthalates?
The main purpose of phthalates is to create a fragrance in the product. Even though we all fall in love with our favorite scented products, it doesn’t mean we should be purchasing them. Researchers have found that phthalates are endocrine disruptors -- and can cause severe damage to the reproductive system for both men and women, and can stay in your body for up to two days. Phthalates are found in most shampoos, conditioners, mouses, and hairsprays.
And beauty brands are embracing transparency too. “All of Melixir products are paraben-free, and we put our full ingredients information on our product detail page. We believe that giving the information honestly is important because this empowers our customers to know what they put on.” Hana Lee, Founder of Melixir vegan skincare.
Melixir vegan skincare
Buffalo Gal Organic Skincare believes in blending nature with science to find natural alternatives to toxic ingredients: “From a brand perspective, we are always searching out the best ways to create products that have efficacy, multitasking benefits and a complete feel good experience without the toxic load that can happen with the use of ingredients like parabens, sulfates and phthalates. As a formulator, it's always been important to me personally to bridge the world of synthetic science in a lab to the natural product industry and bring alternatives that work with the body and not against it. Nature provides us with the perfect solution to our beauty needs and we try to harness that goodness into products that create results without the fear of layered toxicity to the body. It's important to us to be able to give the customer the experience that they have come to know from traditional beauty, but without the worry factor that the product they are using is safe for them or their families.” Kasia Cummings, Founder, Buffalo Gal Organic Skincare.
As well as potentially harming your health, many beauty product ingredients can also cause damage to the environment. It’s a concern for Elizabeth Kost, CEO of Fog & Tree plant-based personal care products, “For us, at Fog & Tree, it’s more about being stewards of the earth. Chemicals like sulfates and parabens get washed down the drain and leached into our waterways, poisoning the planet. There is no reason why we as brand producers should still be using these compounds in our products when there are so many plant-based alternatives out there.”
If this all seems overwhelming, there are tools that can help you get more transparency around your beauty products. From Think Dirty, an app that helps you learn about the potentially toxic ingredients in your cosmetics and personal care products to Beauty Buddy, an app that gives honest reviews about products you use, you can ensure you are using the safest and the most effective products on the market.
Beauty Buddy app
“Consumers are becoming more and more aware of the importance of the ingredients in their beauty and cosmetic products for a number of reasons including the potential impact on their skin, to their health and the environment. At Beauty Buddy, we are seeing a noticeable increase in the number of people viewing the ingredients section of products on the app. Beauty Buddy’s goal is to provide all of the information consumers require to make the right beauty choice for them.” Ciara O’Hagan, Beauty Buddy.
MASAMI cares about our consumers and their hair! That's why we chose to take the natural route by using ingredients such as our hero ocean botanical Mekabu, laminaria japonica, blueberry extract, aloe and grapeseed oil. All MASAMI products have no sulfates, parabens and phthalates. (A list of all of our ingredients are on our site product pages.) Plus, we’re vegan and cruelty-free.
We believe that education is the best defense against harmful ingredients. Taking a few minutes to read the ingredients that are in your products can prevent health issues and potentially save your life. It’s worth the effort to read the labels on your haircare products to find products that are clean and high performing - like MASAMI!