A Sephora Addict Goes Clean - Part 1

A few months ago, I decided to shake up my skincare and makeup collection in favour of ‘clean’ beauty products. I will be publishing a series of posts that will cover my AM/PM routines, the reasoning behind each step, why I’ve chosen particular brands and the difference between chemical and natural sunscreen.

Since there is no official definition of clean beauty, for the purpose of this series of posts, ‘clean’ products refer to items that contain non-toxic ingredients - whether this is purely natural ingredients such as Aloe Vera Extract, or lab-made safe ingredients typically with plant extracts. It was also important for me personally to choose products that were cruelty-free and not tested on animals.

I’d understood the benefit of adopting a clean beauty routine for a while, but as a beauty addict, I was reluctant to tear myself away from cult status products from Sephora (R.I.P. my Better Than Sex mascara and Nars Orgasm Blush) for the items mainstream bloggers and vloggers weren’t talking about. The ones that they weren’t pushing or supposedly using religiously every day.

There is a growing public concern that the personal care industry is virtually unregulated, allowing companies to fill their products with potentially toxic chemicals and substances that have been linked to cancer, endocrine disruption and a host of other issues. In the absence of regulations, companies can “greenwash” consumers by using phrases like “organic,” “natural,” or “green,” when their products contain the contrary. Importantly there are far fewer requirements that a company must meet to use those words in their packaging or advertising.

The EU Cosmetic Regulation ERC 12232009 was introduced in Europe in 2013 to protect consumers from potentially harmful products and ingredients. However, as of the withdrawal date of 29th March, the EU rules on cosmetic products will no longer apply to the UK. The UK Government has made no commitment to keep aligned with EU chemical rules.

According to a recent article by The Guardian, The EU bans 1,328 chemicals from use in cosmetics – including formaldehyde, asbestos, and coal tar – that are known or suspected to cause cancer, genetic mutation, reproductive harm or birth defects. The US Food & Drugs Administration (FDA), by comparison, has only banned or restricted 11.

Our skin is our largest organ*, so it is crucial to pay attention to the products we subject it to.

*whilst traditionally, we would naturally think of a heart or kidney when we talk about organs, the definition of an organ is ‘a biological structure composed of at least 2 or more tissue types’. Thus the skin’s total weight and surface area results classify it as the largest.

Over the past few months, I’ve tried a few different clean brands and products, researching and reading about various ingredients and their toxicity rating - resources like EWG’s Skin Deep and the app Think Dirty are really great tools for this. As I learn and test more clean beauty and skincare products, my regimes will refine and change over time. However, for those Sephora junkies like me, the products I list below, and their justifications might provide you with some inspiration if you’re thinking of replacing your daily rotation of products with clean alternatives. Over time, you can achieve a beauty collection without breaking the bank!

The next post will detail my exact AM/PM skincare regime. Until then, drop me a note if you want to share your thoughts on clean beauty!