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What is "clean beauty"?

Does clean beauty mean there is an unclean version of beauty? Are parabens good or bad? What does non-comedogenic mean? Is all-natural better or worse? Why are chemicals considered bad? Let's start with a simple question – what does 'clean beauty' really mean? That depends on whom you ask.

In a nutshell, clean beauty products are ones that don't contain any harmful ingredients that may aggravate your skin or cause a reaction. There isn't a one-size-fits-all list of ingredients you should avoid because everyone's skin is different. What works for you, may not work for your friend and vice versa. A good practice to have in place is to read the label on your products and keep an eye out for ingredients or components that may have caused your skin trouble in the past, and steer clear of those. However, I would recommend you do your own research and these podcasts are a good place for any beauty novice or expert to start.

I'm a big Estée Lalonde fan and still regret that I didn't discover her sooner. She's one of the most relatable content creators I follow on Instagram, and her podcast is no different. On this episode of The Estée Lalonde Show, she chats with Tata Harper (co-founder of Tata Harper Skincare) about all things green beauty. Tata talks about what clean beauty means to her, her 1,200-acre farm in Vermont where she and her team ideate and create each product and how natural ingredients are incorporated into her skincare line. Her own skincare regime (inspired by her mother's philosophy that 'consistency is key') is a lot simpler and easy to replicate than you would expect and I must warn you now though, that by the end of the episode, you will be very tempted to purchase something from her range of beautifully packaged products. If you're into bougie beauty, but want to invest in natural ingredients for your skincare, start by listening to this episode.

Sali Hughes is an icon in the beauty industry. She is currently The Guardian's beauty columnist, has written for Elle, Grazia, Stylist and also wrote the book on iconic beauty products of all time. On this podcast, she invites fellow skincare guru Caroline Hirons and cosmetic scientist Sam Farmer to debunk some of the most common myths we've heard about clean beauty. Right off the bat, we find out that we actually do need parabens in our products, products won't always be completely fragrance-free and we dive deeper into Hirons, Farmer and Hughes' love for squalane. A must-listen for any beauty enthusiast, even if you're already aboard the green beauty train.

Hosted by the former editor of Elle Canada, Jill Dunn and former beauty editor for Flare magazine, Carlene Higgins, the Breaking Beauty podcast is one of the OG beauty podcasts on the market. Over 150 episodes, they have covered major moments in beauty, spoken to founders from various beauty brands, celebrity makeup artists and several pros from the global beauty industry. In this episode, they talk to cosmetic chemist Jen Novakovich from The Eco Well about the myths and misinformation consumers get tangled in when it comes to clean beauty. Jen highlights the importance and relevance of cosmetic science in the beauty industry and resolves queries about the negative press around parabens, the concept of "chemical-free", and explores how much of a topical product is actually absorbed by our skin. A great episode for skincare geeks who like to understand the specific purpose of each ingredient in their beauty products.

Beauty expert, columnist and broadcaster Nicola Bonn opens up a debate about "Is the future of skincare clean?" with Immunicologie founder Karen Ballou. During the episode, Nicola and Karen also talk about Karen's own journey with cancer and how it prompted her to look into the ingredients she was putting into and on her body, and how this led to creating her own brand. Her perspective and approach to skincare evolved, and she pushed to create a brand with naturally sourced ingredients not only for patients but for all skincare enthusiasts who wanted a more natural product for themselves. Karen also talks about green clay and how it forms the base ingredient for her range of skincare products – the Vital Clay mask is a game-changer according to the internet. If you're looking for a crash course on clean beauty, this is the podcast for you.

While you're listening to these, why not browse through a list of clean beauty brands to explore more and take a step towards a "cleaner" beauty cabinet? Check these out here.


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