What is the Clean Personal Care Movement, and How do I Get in on it?

What is the Clean Personal Care Movement

Have you ever walked down the personal care aisle at the store or just seen ads online for personal care products and felt bombarded by all the types of products and their labels?

Yeah, us too.

One of the labels that has absolutely dominated the industry since the late 2000s is that of “clean”... and no, we aren’t just talking about natural soap and body wash for getting clean in the shower (although we’re big fans of those).

With all the smoke and mirrors that come with the personal care industry, there is a lot of confusion with what “clean” actually means? What’s the difference between “clean,” “green,” and “non-toxic” products? Well, that’s what we’re here for: to uncover the mysteries of life…or at least the mysteries of clean products, but didn’t it sound so much nicer the first way?

What does “clean” mean?

When we’re not talking about taking a shower or a tidy room, clean can be a bit of a confusing word. In the context of the personal care industry, “clean” typically means that the product is made with listed ingredients that are safe, non-toxic, and free of disruptive hormones. You’d think that would be a given, right? If you’re putting it on your face, shouldn’t it be healthy and safe?

Well, not always. The personal care industry of old typically created products with recipes that functioned as advertised, were cheap to produce, and gave the brand the most bang for its buck. This still happens today, too. But in the 2010s, certain brands that used the label of clean started to gain traction with the public, and with their popularity, confusion over the word “clean” started to grow. Not all clean brands define clean the same way, but the common denominator is that clean products don’t put your health and well-being at risk when you use them.

What’s the opposite of “clean”?

Dirty, right? Personal care products and brands that haven’t hopped on the clean train with the cool crowd tend to include a lot of nasty stuff in their recipes. We wanted to clue you in on two types of downright harmful ingredients that the personal care industry has deemed just fine for your face.

Carcinogens- Remember high school health class when they gave us all the scary talk about why cigarettes are bad? Well, in case that was a long time ago (no judgment here), carcinogens are one of the bad things in cigs…but guess what? The personal care industry uses them, too, and no one talks about it.

You may be wondering, what’s a carcinogen? It’s a big, science-y word referring to anything that can cause cancer. That’s right, you may have been slathering cancer-causing ingredients on your face for years and never thought about it. If we warn everyone about them with cigarettes, why aren’t we sounding an alarm for personal care products?

Hormone and Endocrine Disruptors- We tend to think about hormones when we’re talking about puberty or pregnancy or having *the talk*, but the reality is that we are constantly functioning because of our hormones and how they cycle through us our whole lives. While helping us grow and mature, they help us wake up in the morning, regulate our mood, and fall asleep at night.

But some ingredients found in the products of today get in the way of how our hormones regulate themselves and our bodily functions. These disruptors have been linked to reproductive disorders for both males and females, obesity, diabetes, neurological problems, and certain types of cancer. Who wants that? Best to avoid these any way you can.

What’s the difference between “clean” and “green”?

While the two words rhyme and work ever so nicely together, not all products that are considered “clean” are “green” and vice-versa. “Green” includes all-natural, organic, or naturally-derived ingredients. While creating products in this manner can also mean that they are clean, not all clean products have to conform to this way of production. Synthetic and man-made ingredients can still be clean, safe, and non-toxic.

It’s pretty reasonable to think that natural means clean and synthetic means dirty, but let’s have a little story time, shall we?

Long, long, long ago, back in ancient Rome, they used lead as makeup. Lead is indeed all-natural, but it shouldn’t be in makeup, water, or paint and can basically poison you. The French did the same thing, slathering it all over their faces. This was before the synthetic production of personal care products, and yet, this makeup was far from clean.

The long and the short? Clean doesn’t have to be all-natural, and all-natural doesn’t always mean clean.

How do I get in on the clean movement?

AMAZING question, and we’re so glad you asked.

The clean personal care movement is all about making changes over time to cut out the harmful ingredients that put us at risk. The best thing you can do is check out your shower, your medicine cabinet, your overnight bag—anywhere you keep your care products—and read the product labels. Look up what these ingredients in your soap, body wash, conditioner, etc. do to your body, for better or for worse.

Try to replace products that have ingredients that are known carcinogens or disruptors with clean products and brands. You can find great resources online that tell you more about common ingredients.

Can’t find clear and transparent labels and ingredient lists? Yeah, not a great sign, and not clean care-approved. You should know what you are putting on your body and what it does to you…if you don’t know, what is being hidden?

Here at Packer’s Pine we’re part of the clean and green personal care movements. We’ve been on board for years with clean, nature-based products for your care routine, like pine tar bar soap, shampoo, conditioner, and body wash. Whether it’s by switching to our products or just being more aware of the ingredients you put on your body, we encourage you to “get clean” with safe, sustainable, non-toxic ingredients.