Here's how we define clean beauty by avoiding these questionable ingredients

When it comes to skin care, there’s very (and we mean very) little regulation. That may not seem like a big deal — it’s just lip stains and serums, right? — but some pretty gross, potentially harmful stuff could be sneaking into your beauty and grooming products.

There are legal definitions and rules around food, but there’s really nothing like that for beauty products, despite the fact that the products we apply to our skin can be easily absorbed into our internal systems, much the same way we take in valuable nutrients (and toxic chemicals) by eating food.

Manufacturers slap plenty of soothing terms on their packaging to get us to think what’s inside is genuinely good for us. But words like natural and green have no real definition. The manufacturer can use these terms no matter what’s inside.

Companies typically use the term green to indicate they believe in environmentally friendly packaging, products and low-impact production methods, but there’s no legal definition that binds them to this. Natural tends to imply that the manufacturer shies away from artificial colors and ingredients, but again, there’s no oversight — anyone can claim a product is natural, and there are no consequences if it’s, well, not.

This is why we have to take control of the situation ourselves. That’s what we mean when we say we believe in clean beauty. We’re all about taking a healthy, eyebrow-raised approach to the products we come in contact with. We look through all the individual ingredients in each product and check ’em out: What studies have been done on these? Are there any red flags? Should we wait for more research to come in before slapping these on our skin?

True clean beauty products are created without the use of ingredients that may be problematic for our bodies. For instance, certain ingredients are banned in the EU because they’re potential carcinogens (read: cancer-causers) or hormone disruptors (which may also cause certain cancers and can be a problem for anyone who may want to get pregnant).

If you’re like us, you’d probably rather avoid an ingredient that’s potentially toxic than dive in and hope for the best. That said, many manufacturers are now claiming lots of products are “clean” when they’re really not. That’s why it’s up to us to do the digging ourselves, checking each ingredient and making sure it’s something we want to put on our body.

While the list of stuff we don’t use grows all the time, we generally believe it’s wise to avoid parabens, phthalates, BHA and BHT. But we’re also all about focusing on the positive: cruelty-free productsorganic ingredients, and good, clean, accessible beauty.