What does Clean Beauty really Mean? Decoding common toxins in skincare and our strict 'No List'.

What is Clean Beauty and Why is it important?

Clean Beauty in 2020 is not just a buzzword or a trend anymore, but a movement. It is a conscious choice to use products that are mindfully crafted and produced. To simply put it, it avoids the use of harmful toxins and chemicals that conventional skincare products such as soaps, shampoos and creams are full of. While it may be difficult to digest the fact that it is common practice for beauty brands to use ingredients that could potentially harm the body, it is even more alarming that they are legal in many countries, including ours. These toxins may seem harmless, but can severely damage the skin in the long term by upsetting its natural balance, disrupting hormone levels and causing cancer.

Clean Beauty, on the other hand, focuses on ethical and sustainable products that are created with zero compromises on quality or efficacy. It is a simple practice that uses safe and non-toxic ingredients that are good for us. Clean Beauty products are often confused with 'natural' or 'organic' products while they may not be all-natural and preservative-free. Clean Beauty at its core is simply synonymous with non-toxic beauty. As consumers, it is of paramount importance to educate ourselves about the commonly found toxins and to be cautious of what we use on ourselves. Sublime Life is born out of the mission to help consumers not only choose better products but make more conscious choices.

Watch the video below to know what Clean Beauty means to us and our philosophy.

What are the common toxins found in skincare and how do they harm us?

Common nasties found in skincare and cosmetic products can cause dire health problems in the long run. This is why, at Sublime Life we have a strict ‘No List’, that ensures that we only partner with brands that are free from the following toxins: 

This is an image showing harmful effects of Parabens on the health of the consumer

Parabens are a group of antimicrobial chemicals and preservatives that are used to extend the shelf life of a product and prevent the growth of unwanted bacteria in them. They are used in most skincare and makeup products, including deodorants. It has been scientifically proven by the International Journal of Molecular Science that Parabens can mimic estrogen in our bodies, which can lead to reproductive damage, thyroid disruption, obesity issues and hormone-related cancers.

Parabens are commonly found using the names Ethylparaben, Butylparaben, Methylparaben, Propylparaben in products.

This is an image showing harmful effects of Sulphates, SLS & SLES on the health of the consumer

Sulphates are compounds that are created using a combination of Petroleum and plant sources such as Coconut Oil or Palm Oil. They are  found in most personal care products using the abbreviations SLS or SLES. Not only is the Petroleum and Palm Oil production process a cause of concern for the environment, but also are detrimental to human health. Upon prolonged use, they can make the skin feel tight and cause irritation to the skin, eyes and lungs. If you have sensitive skin, Sulphates can clog up your pores and trigger acne too. It is best to avoid them in your shampoos and hair products too, as they can strip off the natural oils from your hair and make it dry and brittle.

Sodium Laureth Sulphate/ SLS/ SLES, Sodium Lauryl Sulphate, Ammonium Laureth Sulphate and Sodium Lauryl Ether Sulphate are different forms of this ingredient.

This is an image showing harmful effects of Mineral Oil on the health of the consumer

Mineral Oil is a colourless and odourless distillate of Petroleum, similar to Petroleum Jelly that is found in many creams, lotions, ointments and cosmetic products. It is contaminated with toxins that clog the pores and increase water loss from the skin. While it provides no substantial benefits to the skin, it is associated with multiple health concerns such as pneumonia, skin irritation and rashes.

Ingredients to look out for are liquid Paraffin, liquid Petroleum, Paraffin Oil or Petrolatum liquid.

This is an image showing harmful effects of Phthalates on the health of the consumer

Phthalates are plasticizing chemicals that are found in nail paints, hair sprays, shampoos, lotions and soaps that can disrupt the human endocrine and reproductive system, and hinder their development. They may also lead to obesity, type 2 diabetes, breast cancer, infertility or a reduced sperm count. They are generally used to help fragrances last longer, and to keep products pliable.

Look out for them in the form of DEP, DBP, DEHP or fragrances.

This is an image showing harmful effects of Chemical Sunscreens on the health of the consumer

Chemical sunscreens have active ingredients that are non-natural, chemical compounds that absorb UV rays and convert them into heat, which is then released from the skin. This can lead to clogged pores, increased redness, brown spots or discolouration, cellular damage or skin irritation. This ingredient is not only found in sunscreens, but also in creams, makeup products and lip balms that boast of SPF protection.

It is best to steer clear of the ingredients Oxybenzone, Octonoxate, Padimate O, and Benzophenone. 

This is an image showing harmful effects of Aluminium on the health of the consumer

Aluminium is a common compound that we all may be familiar with, having used it in the form of cans, foil, kitchen utensils, etc. However, when used in shampoos, lotions and deodorants, it can have adverse health effects. It is generally used in antiperspirants to stop the sweat ducts from releasing heat to the skin's surface. This process can disturb the natural hormonal balance in the body, and lead to breast cancer, bone disorders and Alzheimer's disease.

It is best to avoid products with the ingredients Aluminium Chlorohydrate, Aluminium Chloride or Alumina on their labels.

This is an image showing harmful effects of Heavy Metals on the health of the consumer

No, this is not the heavy rock music we love to groove to! Heavy metals are any metallic chemical elements, which are toxic and poisonous in the lowest of concentrations. These include metals such as Lead, Arsenic, Mercury, Zinc, Chromium and Iron, which are dangerous owing to their tendency to bioaccumulate. Bioaccumulation is essentially an increase in the concentration of a chemical in a biological organism (such as humans) over time, in comparison to the chemical's concentration in the environment. These are normally used in sunscreens, lip products, moisturisers, nail polishes, blushes etc and can lead to cancer, developmental, reproductive and organ system toxicity.

When decoding a product label, stay away from Lead Acetate, Chromium, Thimerosal and Sodium Hexametaphosphate.

This is an image of resorcinol

Resorcinol is a compound that is commonly found in hair dyes, where it manifests as a hair colourant. It has been proven to cause skin sensitisation and allergies, which can lead to the contraction of dermatitis. The Cosmetic Ingredient Review Report confirms that this particular ingredient is a human skin toxicant and when inhaled, it can get deeply absorbed into the skin and cause severe irritation to the nose, throat and lungs. 

This compound is not only toxic to human health, but also to the environment and aquatic life as it leads to endocrine disruption in their bodies. So we steer clear from this, always!

This is an image of coal tar

Coal Tar is a keratoplastic, which is heavily utilised by the personal care industry in products to treat both dandruff and psoriasis - a condition where skin cells build up and cause itchy and dry patches.  It is also often used as a dye in lipsticks. Moreover, the CIR has claimed that Coal Tar causes adverse biological effects when used in OTC anti-dandruff products, which is currently being reviewed by the FDA. 

The 2008 Cosmetic Ingredient Review Report has proved that this ingredient is an allergen as well as an irritant. Moreover, The PAH (Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons) found in Coal Tar is carcinogenic towards humans and can prove to be extremely harmful.

This is an image of Toluene

Toluene is popularly used as an antioxidant or as a solvent in nail polish removers. Daily exposure to this ingredient can cause its accumulation in fat tissues, which can ultimately lead to dizziness, headache or even vision impairment. Toluene can lead to temporary damage of the nervous system too. Something we would definitely want to avoid.

Animal fat includes compounds like glycerides, sterols and phospholipids. They are a favourite in the cosmetics industry typically being used in emollients, as texture enhancers and when mixed with glycerin - as cleansing agents. As our pledge towards Clean Beauty is of utmost importance, none of our products contain animal fat or lipids.




In today’s day and age, it is best to be mindful of what we are putting on our skin, and be aware of cleaner alternatives out there. Clean Beauty is essentially an ingredient game, so decoding a product’s ingredient label carefully can go a long way. Remember, staying safe while looking at your best and consuming the best is the underlying philosophy of Clean Beauty. 

- By Krisha Jhaveri 

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