Our MINDBODY team reveals their go-to shades for any style.
Download the app
Fitness memberships, workout classes, wellness services, beauty appointments and more.
Clean. Natural. Green. Nontoxic. Organic. It's easy to get overwhelmed by these wellness buzzwords. While we prioritize our physical and mental well-being, taking care of ourselves encompasses more than diet, meditation and exercise. We should be equally as discerning with the foods we're putting in our bodies as we are with products we are using and putting on our bodies.
When it comes to beauty products, steering clear of parabens and phthalates might be a no-brainer. But Decoding labels and marketing jargon isn't exactly easy, especially when there's a new "danger" or nontoxic product everywhere you turn! So, how do you know if your beauty and skincare routine is really safe?
At Ghost Democracy, we're helping you break down what clean beauty means to us, why it matters, and how it differs from natural, organic makeup—because who doesn't want to glow (and feel good) about what they use.
There isn't an "official" agreed-upon definition for clean beauty. Though many companies greenwash their products with labels like "natural" or "eco," that doesn't necessarily mean they're nontoxic. If you really want to find the safest skincare products, you have to take matters into your own hands —and that starts with looking at the list of ingredients.
To us, clean beauty means products made without ingredients that have harmful health effects. The U.S. restricts only 30 ingredients from being used in personal care and cosmetic products. Compare that to the EU, which has banned around 1,400. Now, you'll see why it's essential to look at each ingredient yourself and see what research (if any) has been done so that you can make the best decision for you.
Clean Beauty Tip: The Environmental Working Group's (EWG) Skin Deep Cosmetics Database can be a useful resource when reviewing ingredients in your beauty products. It's worth noting, though, that the EWG errs on the side of caution when it lacks information, so take its ratings with a grain of salt.
We know that some chemicals make their way into our bloodstreams through the skin, nose, and mouth. What we don't know is how much of these chemicals get absorbed or the long-term effects they have on our health. However, several common personal care ingredients have been linked to endocrine (or hormone) disruption and cancer, and many others contain irritants or potential allergens. At Ghost Democracy, we prefer to avoid these potentially harmful ingredients whenever possible, especially when there are so many effective clean beauty products that don't use them.
Another potential concern is body burden. Have you ever heard of it? From cleaning products to pollution, and, yes, beauty products, body burden is the total accumulation of chemicals in our body. By limiting our exposure to these potential toxins where we can—like by using clean skincare products—we may be able to lessen our overall chemical burden.
While, there's no single list of harmful ingredients to avoid, individual company's set their standards around what they will (or won't) allow in their skincare and beauty products. One consequence of the FDA having very little control over the personal care industry is that many brands get away without listing everything on the label. Seek out companies that are transparent about what goes into their products and don't hide behind the sticker.
At Ghost Democracy, we believe the best clean skincare products are paraben-free, phthalate-free, sulfate-free, formaldehyde-free, dye-free, and talc-free. That's a lot of free! We also suggest steering clear of the following when choosing what products you use:
- Added fragrance
- Essential oils
- Mineral oil
- Drying alcohols
- Polyethylene glycol
Instead, look for beauty products with nontoxic, science-backed ingredients such as glycolic acid (a powerful exfoliator), bakuchiol (a natural alternative to retinol), and niacinamide (vitamin B3, which soothes and strengthens skin).
Clean Beauty Tip: When looking at labels, watch out for broad names like "fragrance" or "perfume"—they may be hiding less-than-stellar ingredients under the disguise of it being a trade secret.
Organic makeup generally means that the ingredients used were grown without synthetic fertilizers and pesticides—but organic says nothing about the product's efficacy or its safety. A beauty product can be organic and still contain potentially toxic ingredients or allergens.
The same goes for the term natural.
In theory, natural cosmetics are made with non-synthetic, plant-based ingredients, but just putting "all-natural" on a label doesn't make it so (remember, companies can market their products however they want). Natural ingredients aren't necessarily safer or better for you.
When we talk about clean beauty, we're referring to skincare products that use safe, proven, non-irritating ingredients that actually work.
Clean beauty products are even better if they are vegan (no animal or animal-derived ingredients) and cruelty-free (never tested on animals). It's a win-win for Mother Earth... and you!
Things are weird. Times are changing. It seems like just when we’re starting to get a grip, there’s another surprise. When it comes to beauty, we've had to adapt on our own due to salon closures, keep an eye on preparations and protocol changes during those closures, try to know what we’re doing before booking an appointment once they reopened, and maybe even brave the journey back to the salon. Whether you live in a place where salons are open, you’ve experienced a second shutdown, or you straight up haven’t had a haircut since March, we can all probably agree that we’re expecting some differences in the salon and spa world thanks to COVID.
We wanted to gauge how everyone is thinking and feeling about all this, so we put out a poll on our Instagram, asking you all what you expect from beauty salons right now.
Here’s what you had to say...
53% of you have returned to the hair salon by now, while 47% of you have not. This makes sense, because every area of the country is different when it comes to cases, closures, and mandates, and every person is different when it comes to risk and safety.
While many hair salons have begun operating outdoors due to government regulations, 58% of you said you’re fine with getting your haircut indoors, while the other 42% are more comfortable keeping it outside.
58% of you said you’d rather go to your hair salon than have your stylist come to you. I get it, home is a safe space, probably shouldn’t let any outsiders in.
69% of you said you’re “totally!” going to tip more for services once you start receiving them again. During this time without our stylists and aestheticians, I think we all realized how much we need them and appreciate them, and many of us are willing to show them a little extra gratitude to make up for the time we spent apart.
But, most of you aren’t. 56% of you said you have not cut or colored your own or a friend’s hair, because it was too risky, while the other 44% just “had to!”
Only 29% of you have returned to nail salons, while the rest are sticking to at-home manicures. Maybe we’re all just getting really good at it? But probably, it’s because a lot of them are still closed down, or because it’s a little more difficult to get a pedicure outdoors (we need our massage chairs!).
Our last poll question asked about what differences you’ve all noticed when heading back to the salon, and you all had a lot to say...
It’s a beautiful thing to see how the salon and spa community has come together, taken precautions, and adjustments, all so they can continue to help us look and feel our best. If you haven’t spoken to your stylist lately (or even if you have), don’t forget to shoot them a thank you and let them know you appreciate them.