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What’s the Clean Concept?

While there isn't a singular definition, the clean beauty movement embraces both natural and man-made ingredients, putting the focus on safety over source. Not all “natural” ingredients are safe (i.e. lead or poison ivy) and not all synthetic ingredients are unsafe. Most clean beauty products avoid the use of ingredients like parabens, sulfates, silicones, phthalates and synthetic fragrances while still delivering results.

The personal care industry is effectively unregulated, which means that companies are essentially free to do whatever they want, with no government oversight i.e. even use toxic ingredients which might be known carcinogens and endocrine disruptors Because it’s a free-for-all, companies can use whatever adjectives they’d like when it comes to marketing their products—natural, green, eco etc.

What should we know?

Some of the key elements to know with regards to “Clean beauty”:


  • Cosmetic companies are not required to disclose ingredients that are considered trade secrets, namely fragrance. This loophole means that any skincare, makeup, or bath product can contain multiple toxic ingredients with no mention of them so long as they are considered part of the fragrance formula (which doesn’t just include scent, but also color, and experiential elements like how the fragrance sticks to your skin)


  • Chemicals that have the ability to mimic the body’s hormones are classified as endocrine disruptors. They include the ingredient class parabens (a routinely used preservative like butylparaben), and chemical sunscreens (which are often in moisturizers and creams, too, or fall under the guise of fragrance). As the name suggests, endocrine disruptors mess with the endocrine system, which regulates our body’s essential rhythms (like our metabolism, mood, and reproductive processes).Endocrine disruptors have been linked to severe, long-term health damage, including reproductive issues, birth defects, metabolic problems, and cancer.


  • Ingredients that are known carcinogens—meaning they can cause cancer- are frequently put into personal care products, and it’s completely legal to do so. A main carcinogen to be aware of is formaldehyde, which is used as a preservative in makeup, hair, body, and skincare products. To make matters worse, formadelhyde is never listed on labels; what is listed is the chemicals in formulas that release formaldehyde (when added to water, they slowly decompose, forming molecules of formaldehyde).

What does it mean for us?

Most players are revising their formulations, removing controversial substances and, at the same time, shortening their lists of ingredients to make them easier to understand. The wave of “free from” promises for parabens, preservatives, phthalates, silicone, colorings, fragrances… has hit the industry! 

But, let us not forget that a preservative is a substance designed to prevent the development of microorganisms. And so, if the principal component of most cosmetic formulas is water, to which we add the elements of air and heat found in a bathroom, then we create the perfect conditions for microbial proliferation! If preservatives are no longer welcome, then we face the challenge of protecting formulas that are a lot more fragile than they used to be. As the market isn’t ready to accept the daily single-use format, containers are now even more critical than ever. Preservation with regard to shelf life and use is now in the hands of the synergistic abilities of the packaging to provide a real barrier against contamination and oxidation. Mistrust of preservatives has finally opened the door to greater transparency. While the precautionary principle already applies to the regulatory authorities, manufacturers are now banking on innovation when it comes to their packaging.

How Aptar Beauty and home can help?

Aptar has been associated with a global phenomenon of “Airless technology’ for over 3 decades now. It’s a technology which features a pump system that prevents air from entering the system and thereby the formula – thus avoiding contamination and oxidation. This innovation has made it possible to develop formulas with fewer and fewer chemical preservatives.The packaging’s ability to protect the formula has improved dramatically through inventive mechanics. After Irresistible, the first fully airtight pump able to protect preservative-free formulas launched in 2015, Aptar has written a new page for the history books on packaging innovation with Skin Protect.

Source: Secondary and Published data.