The Real Side of Beauty: What’s in your Cosmetics?

Have you ever thought about all the ingredients in your cosmetics? The stuff that’s supposed to give you the ‘perfect glow’ and get rid of your spots? I didn’t either, until my best friend came to visit me and brought her own shampoo and cleanser that her grandma had handmade her.

I have always been well into my skincare, or rather my mission to become spot free. Always believing the newest and ‘best’ product on the market will finally be THE ONE to solve my problems. Surprise, surprise, nothing I have ever tried has made them fully disappear – maybe just temporarily made it better for a little while, but nothing has solved the problem. I’ve never had severe acne, but it’s always been something that annoys me and truth be said, it makes me feel less about my appearance. After a long chat and listening to my friend’s findings, she opened my eyes to a new world – for how could I believe that a product listing numerous ingredients we know nothing about to be good for my skin?

Currently there are 80,000 synthetic chemicals that aren’t fully tested in the beauty industry, nor a legal definition of “Natural” and “Organic” – meaning products don’t have to go through any regulations to mark their product as either of the terms we all value so much. Fragrances are also considered a trade-secret, where manufacturers are not required to list their specific fragrance ingredients on the product label. Instead, they can list ‘perfume’, which is a generic term potentially representing a dozen of chemicals. You have started to wonder now, right?

This is where the clean beauty movement started, as people now want to know what they’re putting on their skin. Last year the NDA Group reported a 10% growth in the clean beauty market, versus only 3.8% for mass and prestige products. So, what is the clean beauty movement?

When I started to research what clean beauty really was, I thought of it as very confusing – but then I came across Stacy Malkan and her exquisite work with the Safe Cosmetics campaign. Clean beauty is quite straight-forward, if you know the rules. The clean beauty-movement is about both natural and man-made ingredients, but it puts the focus on safety over source. A finger rule to know is that most clean beauty products avoid the use of parabens, sulphates, silicones, phthalates and synthetic fragrances. It’s all about using products with ingredients that are safe for you, as what you put on your skin also gets into your system. As I became more determent to look further into my own routines, I needed a simple way to help me understand all the different ingredients in products. After more research, I found a very simple way to do that – download Think Dirty. An app that was launched to understand the truths hiding in the beauty industry and help consumers be more informed of what their products contains.

‘Think Dirty empowers and educates the consumer on the cosmetics industry by allowing them to make an informed decision on what products to purchase’.

                                                                                      – Lily Tse, Founder and CEO.

As I went through my makeup and daily skin care products, I found that most of them had quite a few ‘dirties’ in their ingredient list and to be honest, I was shocked. I tested my micellar water, my BB cream from The Body Shop and my beloved Too Faced ‘Better Than Sex’ Mascara. Shocker – none of them are doing my skin much good…

 My Micellar water turned out to have two ‘dirties’ in its ingredient list.

The Think Dirty app rates your product based on its ingredients in a rank from 0-10. A score between 0-3 is clean, 4-7 is half ‘n’ half, 8-10 is dirty. It also tells you which ingredients aren’t safe and why, and then suggests better products.

My beloved mascara from Too Faced wasn’t very impressive either.

My most shocking discovery was my BB cream from The Body Shop, which is a brand I’ve initially always been a fan of as they don’t test on animals. However, on their ‘About us’ section on the brand’s website, it says they believe in their mission to enrich their products and our planet. My question is then, why are they using Polyester-1 in their products? This is a non-biodegradable ingredient that’s harming us and the planet…

After scanning more of my makeup and skincare I honestly found myself in disgust and decided to make a change in my own routine to make better choices for my body and the environment. The clean beauty movement is a statement, a query from society to make cosmetics and skincare products safer. I’m joining, are you?

If you want to download Think Dirty, you can find their website here.

Images:, Optimum7, Pexels, Tom Newton, Fast Company, Healthy Way, NDA Group, Think Dirty, Not Just a Pretty Face by Stacy Malkan.

Text: Lene Hille

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2018 Irina Gorskaia

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