Cleaning Up Clean Beauty
The clean beauty industry has become a trending topic in recent years, with many consumers opting for products that are supposedly free of harsh chemicals and harmful ingredients. However, behind the glossy marketing campaigns and seemingly pure packaging lies complex concerns.
The most significant barrier facing the clean beauty industry is the need for stricter regulation. While other sectors, such as food and drugs, are subject to strict rules by governing bodies such as the FDA, the beauty industry is largely unregulated. This gap has led to a plethora of products on the market claiming to be “clean” or “natural” without any standard definition of what those terms tangibly represent. In essence, the industry is largely self-regulated, with companies policing themselves.
Furthermore, some ‘clean beauty’ brands use fearmongering tactics to sell their products. They prey on the fear of harmful chemicals and toxins in traditional beauty products, convincing consumers that their products are the only safe options. This fearmongering is misleading and can be dangerous, as it can lead to consumers avoiding safe and effective products.
Social media has also played a role in perpetuating these myths and misinformation. Once an idea is spread, it becomes difficult to take it back, and the more shocking the idea, the quicker it spreads. For example, despite a lack of research-supported claims, the HBO Max documentary ‘Not So Pretty,’ funded by suspicious sources, sparked a mass discarding of products containing talc. This reaction without research has become a concerning trend, perpetuating myths and creating unnecessary fear among consumers.
The use of shock marketing in the clean beauty industry is worrying, with companies claiming that their products are the only safe options for consumers. They often use scare tactics to convince consumers that traditional beauty products contain carcinogenic chemicals. While it’s true that some conventional beauty products include potentially harmful ingredients, the fear and misinformation that some ‘clean’ companies spread are not supported by science. In fact, many ‘clean’ products contain ingredients that have not been thoroughly tested or regulated, leading to potential safety concerns.
The lack of regulation and the culture of reacting without researching has led to a dangerous cycle within the beauty industry. Companies adapt and accommodate new beliefs rather than re-educating their consumers, perpetuating myths to follow trends. Celebrity brands such as Haus Labs and Rare Beauty have launched talc-free powders along with the increasing misinformation on talc and its safety, sending the message to their enormous fanbases that the material is unsafe rather than re-educating audiences. This is not only unethical, but can also be harmful to consumers.
To address these issues, it’s crucial for consumers to look beyond the sensationalized claims and scrutinize the ingredients and safety of the products. Moreover, the industry needs to be more transparent and regulated, with standard definitions of terms like ‘clean’ and independent third-party certifications to ensure that products are safe and effective. By doing so, we can ensure that the clean beauty movement lives up to its promise of being truly clean, sustainable, and socially responsible.
In conclusion, while the clean beauty industry may seem like a needed breath of fresh air in the overcrowded beauty industry, it faces notable issues that must be addressed. By demanding more transparency and accountability from companies, we can work towards a cleaner, more sustainable future for the beauty industry.