What is “Clean Beauty”?

It seems like there are a lot of buzzwords floating around personal care products lately. Companies use terms like “organic”, “green”, and “all-natural” without any kind of standardized or universally accepted definitions. At Williams & Roy Salon, we pride ourselves on following environmentally safe practices, but we also definitely believe that keeping our clients educated and informed is the best way to meet their needs. We’re going to break down what it means when a company claims their products are “safe” or “clean” in order to help you understand what “Clean Beauty” really means.

Simply put, when we use the term “Clean Beauty,” we mean that all of the personal care products, i.e. what we use on our hair, face and body, are carefully formulated without ingredients that are either known or suspected to be harmful or toxic.

Did you know that the U.S. hasn’t regulated cosmetics, hair care products, or personal care items since the 1930’s? Essentially, manufacturers can make all sorts of false or dubious claims about their products and it’s all perfectly legal. For example, a bottle, jar, or package can print “100% Organic” on the label and as long as one ingredient is certified organic, they are technically following the rules. Don’t get caught up in labels and be wary of items that claim to be organic, all-natural, or hypoallergenic.

In the end, you should pay attention to the back of the label, the ingredient list, and not necessarily to trendy marketing words.

Here is a list of what we call the “Big Bads.” These are common ingredients that can be found in hair care, skincare, toothpaste, body wash, detergent, and body lotions that can cause allergic reactions, irritation, hormone and/or endocrine disruption, and even cancer.

  1. Paraben (especially propylparaben) is a common preservative used in many low-grade products and can cause irritation and/or hormonal disruption.
  2. Pthalates are used in artificial fragrance. Also look for “parfum” or “aroma”. These have been linked to endocrine disruption.
  3. Oxybenzone is used as a UV filter and can react with chlorine producing hazardous by products that can concentrate in swimming pools and wastewater treatment plants. It can also produce toxic reactions in coral and fish.
  4. Butylated Hydroxyanisole (BHA) used as a preservative and fragrance is a known carcinogen and has been linked to hormonal disruption.
  5. Formaldehyde is a preservative (embalming fluid anyone?) that is an allergen, irritant, carcinogen and hormone disruptor.
  6. Polyethylene (PEG’s) used as an emulsifier and surfactant (cleansing agent) that can cause irritation and a potential allergen.
  7. Sodium Laureth Sulfates (SLS) This one is a little tricky as it’s toxicity depends on the production. If it is synthetically produced, it can be contaminated with human carcinogens. The nature and source of these ingredients needs to be known before using products that contain it.
  8. Diethanolamine (DEA) is a pH adjuster that can be a carcinogen, hormone disruptor, and general irritant.

At Williams & Roy Salon, we carefully curate and vet all of the haircare lines that we offer so that we can ensure they are free from harmful ingredients and, of course, cruelty-free (absolutely no animal testing!). We will only partner with companies that make the integrity of their products a top priority. If you are interested in learning more about our “Clean Beauty” philosophy, one of our professional stylists would be happy to talk about it during your session. Contact us to schedule an appointment and don’t forget to check us out on Facebook and Instagram.


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