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Clean skincare, green skincare, natural skincare – are they the same thing?

‘Clean’, ‘green’ and ‘natural’ are more than buzzwords when it comes to beauty products. These terms are not interchangeable. Due to misinformation and ‘greenwashing’, it is now more important than ever to educate ourselves and wise up to what exactly these terms entail, as well as what they have to offer.

‘Clean’ products are free of toxic ingredients, both natural and man-made. These include parabens, phthalates, talc, and formaldehyde – to name a few. Their focus will be to formulate products using ingredients which are proven to be safe. The shift towards ‘clean beauty’ are driven by a few factors. An obsession with wellness and detoxification, both in terms of diet and products, is fueling a demand for stripped-back, ‘clean’ ingredients. Consumers are becoming more knowledgeable about possible irritations caused by synthetic ingredients in fragrances and preservatives and are reading labels more carefully. The second factor is the rise in sensitive skin. Dermatologists are reporting a growing phenomenon of sensitised skin caused by increased exposure to pollution, stress and digital aggressors. Skin sensitivity has become the new buzz topic, ahead of anti-ageing, driving a shift towards caring for skin with natural and honest ingredients.

‘Green’ products are made sustainably and will not harm the earth through their manufacturing or recycling, ensuring its business practices are environmentally sustainable and socially responsible. The rise in green products comes as no surprise as we are all striving to reduce pollution and waste. Being environmentally responsible has never been higher on our agendas.

‘Natural’ products source their ingredients from nature; utilising botanical oils, extracts and butters, natural salts and everything in between. The classic definition of natural skin care is based on using botanically sourced ingredients currently existing in or formed by nature, without the use of synthetic chemicals, and manufactured in such a way to preserve the integrity of the ingredients. Truly natural brands will usually strive to be clean (not all natural ingredients are safe!).

Many brands will adopt two or more of the above principles, but it is imperative we understand the differences between the three so that we are able to make informed decisions.

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