For all its popularity in the beauty industry, the tricky thing about clean beauty is that it isn’t a regulated term and so there’s no set definition or requirement for it. What this technically means is that every brand can have their own interpretation of ingredients and practices, for some it may mean that their products are organic, for others it may mean that their products are vegan, and for some, it may mean that they don’t use a list of ingredients. The most telling (and helpful) way to figure out if a product is ‘clean’ is to go beyond the claims and look into the ingredients.
What is the difference between clean beauty, vegan beauty, and natural beauty?
Vegan beauty refers to products that are formulated without any animal by-products or ingredients that are sourced from animals. This is harder than we’d think as it includes beeswax, honey, lanolin, and tallow – all of which are commonly found in beauty products. However, just because a product is vegan doesn’t mean it’s clean as it can still contain concerning chemical ingredients. Just like how if a product is clean it doesn’t mean it’s vegan.
Natural beauty often refers to the integrity and purity of the ingredients, usually, this means they’re looking for products that use nature-derived ingredients.
Clean beauty typically refers to products that are formulated without a certain group of ingredients that are toxic or problematic. Those of which can include parabens, silicones, drying alcohols, sulfates (SLS and SLES), fragrances, and dyes. For all its popularity, clean beauty is still a niche category and yet it’s one that Singaporeans are interested in.
There aren’t many brands that can avoid the whole conglomerate of them, but for the most part, many primarily focus on parabens, phthalates, sulfates, and petrochemicals. These ingredients are commonly avoided because they can lower the risk of irritation and sensitivity. It’s important to note that clean doesn’t mean natural, natural doesn’t always mean better and there are synthetic ingredients that are safe as well.
To keep things simple, we’ve narrowed down a list of local clean beauty skincare brands that you can upgrade your routine with: from serums, cleansers, and even a lip balm. But if you’re new to this and rather dip your toes in for starters, consider prioritising the products that spend the most time on your skin like moisturisers or sunscreens.