What to Look for in Clean Skin Care
Dr. Susan Beck
Global Science Network member
The Importance of “Clean Beauty”
Ever since I learned there was such a thing, I have been a fanatical devotee of clean beauty products. It seemed silly to me to be so picky about every piece of organic fruit I ate or avoid bringing anything but the purest cleaning products into my home, but not be scrupulous about what I use on my skin. For me, “Clean Beauty” products needed to fulfill two criteria: no toxic ingredients and no animal testing. Simple. And since I always choose companies with strong core values, if I find products from a company that supports causes I believe in then I’m hooked. Finding beauty products that met my standards used to be tricky because they were few and far between. Now, like many industries, this one has proliferated creating a whole different challenge: How do I choose?
As a researcher I wanted to know what “clean beauty” means in 2019. I already shared what I’m seeking in a clean beauty line, so starting there I looked into the new generation of skin care offerings. The good news is that your expectations, like mine, have room to evolve. Even better, I discovered one brand, Nutriance Organic, of NeoLife, that stands out from the crowd.
Doing My Research
I analyzed the “clean” skin care lines of over 40 companies, scouring their claims about what is and isn’t in their products: they avoid using parabens and other undesirable ingredients, most are vegan or vegetarian and state that they’re cruelty free (not tested on animals). They use sustainable packaging and invest in causes such as combatting climate change through using alternative energy sources or planting trees. This is all to the good and to be expected.
However, I found that when touting their products some companies are more hype than substance. For example, I saw claims that lines were “organic”, but in fact the products aren’t certified organic and include only a small amount of organic ingredients. Or, some companies who did offer a few certified organic items in their skin care line didn’t maintain that commitment across the rest of their products. Then I found out something that really surprised me: Most clean skin care companies have not tested their products on humans. Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s fantastic they don’t test on animals, but the clinician in me can’t help wondering how can these companies back up their claims? How do they know if their specific formula really moisturizes, cleanses, or helps reduce the appearance of wrinkles if they don’t perform clinical tests on people?
This question led me to Nutriance Organic. Not only is the line completely vegan, they also checked my no-animal-testing box (because Nutriance Organic is made in France, and the European Union banned cosmetic testing on animals in 2013, the products are cruelty free). Purity of ingredients is my other must-have. Europe generally takes its cosmetics, and its organic label, very seriously. Every product in the Nutriance Organic line is certified organic by the European Ecocert under COSMOS®*. COSMOS enforces organic standards specifically defined for cosmetics that include:
Green Chemistry – with stringent limitations on toxicity and biodegradability
Strict water standards
Plant-based ingredients – must contain at least 95% with a minimum of 10% organic ingredients by weight originating from organic farming
Mineral-based ingredients – must be of natural origin
Packaging – must be environmentally friendly
Company sustainability – must have environmental and waste management plans for their manufacturers
Marketing claims – must be accurate and non-misleading.
And in order to get products certified organic by COSMOS, companies have to make sure their products are made without synthetic fragrances, parabens, phthalates or other toxic ingredients. Check, check, check.
But what really won me over was the fact that they have clinical research on humans for every single product in their line, all tested at leading research institutes in France to demonstrate and confirm effectiveness. Their ingredients were chosen expressly for their efficacy on human skin and in particular for their positive effects on the skin barrier function.
Ingredients include variety of innovative marine botanicals for skin elasticity, collagen production, hyaluronic acid stimulation and metalloproteinase inhibition, which play a role in wrinkle formation. The results are impressive:**
The clean beauty landscape has certainly changed since I was first introduced to it. Rightly, people are demanding more from the companies they trust with their skin care, and companies are upping their game. Nutriance Organic seems to be setting the bar high and setting themselves apart. And did I mention, NeoLife also have a Family Foundation that supports organizations around the world that provide food, shelter and medical services to children in need? I’m hooked.
Susan Beck, Ph.D., L.Ac., CNS earned a Ph.D. in Nutritional Science with a specialization in Oncology from Union Institute (Sacramento, California), and a master’s degree in Traditional Chinese Medicine from Five Branches University (Santa Cruz, California). She is a California licensed acupuncturist and a nationally certified acupuncturist. Dr. Beck is also a certified clinical nutritionist and has expertise in clinical trial design and management. She founded her own Health and Wellness clinic, created her own personalized nutrition protocols, and in her capacity as head of science and research for various companies, she has developed over 300 evidence-based products for the dietary supplement, nutraceutical, functional food/beverage, and cosmeceutical industries. In the natural products industry, she is known for her dedication to developing science-based products with a commitment to quality. Dr. Beck possesses a broad knowledge of modern nutritional science, especially as it applies to health and wellness as well as a deep knowledge of traditional medicines.
*COSMOS is a not-for-profit, independent organization based in Belgium that was created in 2017 to harmonize organic regulations specifically for cosmetics between 5 previously separate certifying European agencies: Ecocert Greenlife SAS (France), Cosmebio® (France), BDIH® (Germany), ICEA (Italy) and Soil Association ® (Great Britain).
**Product results may vary.