The Case for Clean Beauty
Today, June 4th, is National Clean Beauty Day! It is a day to celebrate, "beauty products that are clean and sustainable from the beginning of their life cycle to the end, while educating consumers to seek better product choices." Two of our core values are sustainability and safety. Using the best quality ingredients we can find and making all of our products in small batches, from start to finish, means that we have control over not only their efficacy, but also their ethicality, sustainability, and chemical makeup. What makes a product "clean"? The two main things to look for are effect on people and animals, and effect on the environment. A "clean" product does not carry biological risks of cancer, immunotoxicity, developmental or reproductive toxicity. It also can be shown to be nontoxic for the environment, without concern of bioaccumulation. This means that when you use your favorite HSCo products on your skin, they will do you no harm; and when they wash away down the drain, they will do our planet no harm.
Our products start with a base of natural and organic oils and shea butter, are fragranced with essential oils wherever possible, and do not contain animal products and are vegan-friendly (with the exception of The Balm, which uses beeswax). Read on for a deeper look at our choices and practices that contribute to ensuring the "cleanliness" of our products that keep you clean!
All of our products are Paraben-Free. Parabens are a family of chemical preservatives that have drawn attention in recent years for concerns surrounding their safety. Used since the early half of the 1900s, parabens were the subject of a 2004 study that found a potential link between them and cancer. However, studies in 1984 and in 2012 affirmed their safe use in proper amounts. Though the 2004 study has since been investigated and widely scrutinized, we have always figured that if there are natural alternatives, we would use them. Instead, we opt for natural preservatives like Sorbic Acid, Potassium Citrate, and Citric Acid wherever possible.
Sulfates are sulfur-based salts that provide cleaning products with the "suds" effect that many consumers take to be a sign that the product is working. Two types of synthetic sulfate-based chemicals that are problematic are sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) and sodium laureth sulfate (SLES). These sulfates are not considered "clean" because they can be irritating to the skin, eyes, and other organs, and because of their production processes, which sometimes rely on palm oil and always use petroleum. The use of both palm oil and petroleum contribute to environmental concerns including deforestation, pollution, biotoxicity (harmful when washed down the drain), and greenhouse gases. We do not use SLS or SLES in our products - instead, we choose alternative, ultra-mild surfactants (cleansers), and opt for Ammonium Laureth Sulfate to get the lather you love. The molecular structure of Ammonium Laureth Sulfate (which can be made without petroleum) is much larger than SLS/SLES, meaning that it does not penetrate skin and cause irritation like the others.
Who doesn't love a gentle exfoliation? The pretty, colorful beads in our Versatile Wash are Jojoba Oil Beads - not plastic. Plastic microbeads have become a big environmental problem over the past decade, as they have gained popularity among skincare companies as a physical exfoliant. These small bits of plastic get washed down the drain and break up into microplastics, which pollute our waterways and get consumed by aquatic life. Jojoba is an indigenous American shrub, from whose seeds a rich oil can be extracted. Our plant-based beads are made by hardening this oil into wax spheres, which biodegrade completely.
This one is kind of a bonus category - these "clean" products should come to you in "clean" packaging! When you receive a package from us in the mail, the cardboard box can of course be reused and/or recycled. Additional inner packaging material is required to keep everything safe and sound during transit and for this, we rely on cardboard separators and packing peanuts. However, these are not the polystyrene (plastic) packing peanuts of the past! We proudly use starch-based packing peanuts that dissolve in water, are environmentally friendly, and are even technically edible (we don't recommend it). You can reuse these peanuts, compost them, or dissolve & rinse them down the drain! We are mindful of our products' packaging and are always researching ways to make it more environmentally-friendly. That is why our bar soaps come in reusable (and compostable/biodegradable) linen bags, and all of our bottles are recyclable plastic.
We take Clean Beauty seriously around here, and we commit to keeping up-to-date with the latest research and innovations to continue bringing you products you can feel comfortable using!