If you’re anything like us, you’re frustrated by the lack of transparency that can happen in the beauty and wellness industries. While we all want to participate in the growing movement for ethical and clean products, we're busy people—we don’t have time to vet extensive and complex ingredients lists or research individual products and companies before buying.
We often find ourselves asking, why isn’t there a global standard for “clean” products and ingredients? Where should we place our consumer trust to get both clean, ethical products and clinically proven results?
What does “clean” really mean?
Remember your college roommate? Did you find yourself wishing they were neater, or were you the one always being asked to pick up after themselves?
The point is, we all have different standards of “clean.” The same is true for the beauty and wellness industries. While Canadian regulations monitor and limit the levels of specific ingredients—like preservatives, cleansing agents, and fragrances—global regulations regarding what constitutes “toxic” ingredients are inconsistent.
“Clean” has also become nearly synonymous with “green,” but: A) Natural ingredients aren’t necessarily safer, and B) Greenwashing is a marketing tactic used by companies to exhibit an ecologically responsible public image while more nefarious schemes go on behind the scenes.
So, like with your college roommate, “clean” is a relative term.
What ingredients are most toxic?
According to Canadian regulations, the ingredients to watch out for can be grouped into the following four categories:
We all love a good candle or scented body wash, but “fragrance” is a loose term used to describe over 3,000 chemicals that don’t have to be disclosed to consumers. You especially have to watch out for artificial fragrances, which are made with chemical preservatives and solvents that commonly cause skin irritation.
Yes, you read that right. The same chemical used to preserve dead bodies is commonly found in various hair and skin products. Ingesting formaldehyde in large doses is lethal, and while you’re probably not eating or drinking these particular self-care products, it can be absorbed through the skin.
Don’t see formaldehyde in a product’s ingredients list? You might find it listed as “methylene glycol” or “formalin” instead, so watch out.
Parabens is another group of chemicals commonly used as preservatives in makeup and skincare products. A few of the most common include butylparaben, propylparaben, methylparaben and isobutylparaben.
The chemical mimics estrogen, and when it gets absorbed through our skin, it can interfere with our hormones. Studies have found that parabens can cause reproductive issues and researchers are studying a possible link to breast cancer, too.
Also known as the “forever chemicals,” PFAS (or perfluoroalky and polyfluoroalkyl substances) are found in foundations, waterproof mascaras, and long-wear lipsticks. When used regularly, it’s said that these chemicals can bioaccumulate in the body. They’ve also been linked to hormone disruption, thyroid disease, and cancer.
How our partners stack up
At Venturepark, we are committed to working with brands we believe in and that help make our Park (i.e., the world) a better, greener place.
Here’s the inside scoop on how our partner brands keep it clean:
Province Apothecary is a tried and trusted company-wide favourite, and for good reason. It’s committed to using only high-quality, certified organic ingredients, and you can find a full list with descriptions on the company’s website.
We all know how tough it is to find clinically proven, green and clean products. Look no further than Graydon Skincare: effective, clinically formulated products made with clean, plant-powered ingredients.
Clean eating is a no-brainer. The same goes for our vitamins and supplements. (Do you really know what’s in your protein powder?) Aura Nutrition is a holistic wellness brand with wide-ranging products that are safe and healthy.
Just like with Aura Nutrition, K Nutri’s ingredients lists are simple and straightforward. You don’t have to worry about toxins and other harmful ingredients hiding behind vague umbrella terms.
A brand that prioritizes providing clients with maximum value? That’s what we like to hear. AOB’s products are scented with natural oils and do not contain any of the harmful ingredients listed above.
We’re fortunate to have partners that value transparency and ethical business practices—and that know what it really means to be clean!