Clean beauty is supposed to be an easy solve for your skin. Products marked as “clean” have everything your skin needs and none of the nasty extras it doesn’t, right? Unfortunately, the truth is more complicated. While a clean certification can offer you some assurances about what’s in a product, it can’t tell you the whole story.
In a world where it seems every beauty brand is flaunting the terms “green” and “natural”—terms the FDA doesn’t even define—it can be tricky to sort out what’s helpful from what might actually be harmful. Keep reading for five murky secrets about the bright world of clean beauty—and how BalmLabs’s definition of clean is grounded in science.
1. Your nose may love fragrance, but your skin doesn’t
Though the right scent may relax or invigorate you, in some cases, fragrance can irritate your skin. Even naturally derived fragrances, like essential oils, can trigger allergic reactions and eczema.
And fragrances aren’t something you can sleuth out and avoid. The FDA doesn’t require cosmetic companies to disclose ingredients they define as trade secrets—and this includes fragrance. So, you may never know what irritated you in the first place or if it’s coming at you in another product.
BalmLabs believes when a product is truly clean, it doesn’t contain any added fragrance—natural or synthetic.
2. Natural doesn’t automatically mean good for your skin
Why? Certain chemical compounds, including those derived from plants, may not be suitable for your particular skin type—especially at high concentrations. Many of your favorite “natural” beauty products may also contain clay or talc, which can have high arsenic, lead, and cadmium levels. These heavy metals can cause rashes, skin staining, hyperpigmentation, or allergic reactions.
Bottom line: a “natural” ingredient doesn’t necessarily determine its safety or its suitability, so choose clean beauty products that are transparent about their ingredients and are purposeful in their formulation.
“We believe in transparency, clean science, and purposeful formulation.”
3. Sustainable and natural don’t always align
Though natural extracts may seem like the most sustainable option, in some instances, they can be harder on the planet. Demand for natural extracts can increase the risk of enforced labour, deplete natural resources and exhaust communities’ natural resources. One example? Palm oil, often used in cosmetics and hair products, is widely believed to cause mass deforestation in tropical rainforests and loss of habitats for animals, including those at risk for extinction, such as orangutans and Sumatran tigers.
BalmLabs believes that a clean ingredient should be a sustainable one, whether it is plant-derived or synthetic.
4. Synthetic isn’t always a bad word
Synthetic ingredients are often called bio-identicals, and they can make a world of difference to your skin. Why? Because they are made the same way—in sterile conditions and without pesticides. Every. Single. Time.
This means powerful actives are calibrated to exactly the right potency, ensuring each formulation provides the consistency needed to deliver results.
5. All-natural products have a short shelf life
If you truly want to go all-natural, ensure you know exactly when your product was made and how it was transported and stored. Over time, especially with fluctuations in temperature, an “all-natural” product can grow bacterial that is not just gross but harmful to your skin.
The takeaway: You don’t have to stay in the dark about what’s in your products and their impact on your skin.
That’s why at BalmLabs, we believe in transparency, clean science, and purposeful formulation.
We clearly list the ingredients in our products and are always happy to answer questions about them. We are meticulous in choosing those ingredients, ensuring that their sourcing is sustainable and that they meet the leading standards for clean in our industry.
Our products are powered by plant-derived actives, but they aren’t all-natural—we include clean preservatives to ensure that they don’t grow bacteria that could be harmful to your skin. Why? Because our version of clean is driven by science, ensuring BalmLabs products are safe, effective and consistently deliver results.
Lastly, we believe in formulating with purpose—not a single ingredient goes into our products that doesn’t need to be there, including fragrance of any kind. When it comes to skincare, we wholeheartedly believe less is more.