WTF Does Clean Beauty Actually Mean?

Greetings Earthlings ✌︎

I was shopping at a certain big name beauty store the other day, buying makeup, skincare, and body care before a weekend getaway to Miami. I was excited to shop at this beauty store because they recently (in the past year or two) revealed a collection of “clean” products, which includes some new brands and some old but all fitting the criteria of “clean”. I wasn’t entirely sure what “clean” meant when going into it, but if it wasn't "dirty," I guess I was in.

Turns out that the FDA does a super bad job at regulating ingredients used in the beauty industry. There are over 1,300 ingredients banned from cosmetics in the E.U. because they're known irritants, lead to developmental problems, accumulate in the body overtime, may cause cancer, and other risks, BUT here in the United States, only 30 or so ingredients are banned... sorry to say, but it definitely feels like we're missing something.

I’ve come to understand that “clean” essentially means “non-toxic,” which essentially means "safe" - as in, safe for you to use. But shouldn’t every beauty, skincare, and haircare product be “non-toxic” and "safe"? Hard pass on lightly patting 4-6 drops of unsafe toxic serum into my skin 🙄

While in the store, I realized that even with the retailer's clean seal of approval, I still didn’t have all the information I needed in order to buy the beauty products that I wanted for this trip. Clean is a great start, but a clean beauty product isn't necessarily cruelty-free or vegan, nor is it necessarily natural or organic. I just wanted a couple of beach ready beauty buys that ticked all of the boxes that mattered to me, personally - but I walked away empty handed in the end. The experience made me re-realize how convoluted identifiers in the beauty industry have become. What are we paying for? I certainly don’t want to pay for animal cruelty, nor do I want to pay for toxic skincare. So why isn’t it easier to do that?

After my failed shopping trip and some seriously aggressive researching on the matter, we decided to make The Lunary's beauty care standards as clear as possible. We want you to rest assured that any beauty product you purchase from The Lunary fits our ethics and safety criteria, so you can purchase with confidence and ease. Honestly, it should be easy to buy ethically made and safe to wear beauty products.

Our beauty products are always clean, non-toxic, and safe. However, these terms are unregulated, meaning there's no set standard across the beauty industry and they can have different meanings depending on who you talk to.

At minimum, we’re defining non-toxic to mean the absence of the following ingredients:
  • Harmful Preservatives
  • Phthalates
  • Petroleum Related Products
  • Sulfates
  • Ethanolamines
  • Hydroquinones
  • Sunscreen Chemicals

    Read more about our Non Toxic Beauty Care Standards, and the ingredients we won't carry.

    We only carry brands that are 100% cruelty-free, and we don't carry any products with animal derived ingredients or by-products. This means our entire Beauty Care collection is cruelty-free, vegan, and non-toxic. Simple as that. 

    100% CRUELTY FREE. And no, the brands we carry are not sold in countries that require animal testing, like mainland China. Our brands source their ingredients ethically and make their products consciously, taking their partnerships, sourcing, and impact on the environment into consideration.

    VEGAN. We don’t carry any products made with animal ingredients, including beeswax, because we don't want to exploit or hurt any animals - it’s easier to keep a vegan standard across all of our products to ensure that. That means no beeswax, but don't worry, there’s a great plant based wax called "Candelilla" that functions similarly so there’s really no need. We also don’t carry any products which use animal squalene, collagen, or carmine (a red dye made from crushed bugs, ew).

    GREEN AND ETHICAL. The brands we carry are conscious of their impact on the earth, as well as their impact on people. They offer transparency, fair partnerships, ethical buying and sourcing, and sustainable, eco-conscious practices.

    We are not 100% natural or organic - although many of the brands that we carry are natural / do use organic ingredients. We’ll let you know which products or product ingredients are derived from nature, natural, or organic in the item description section. We'll also let you know if a product contains any watch-out ingredients in the same item description section.

    All of the brands we carry fit these criteria at a minimum - some brands will of course have more criteria that they abide by, but none will have less. We’ll update you if this list evolves in the future.

    Here are the brands we currently carry and why we love them:

    • ALDER NEW YORK - Effective, clean, cruelty free and vegan skincare brand that uses organic ingredients. Alder's products are packaged in recyclable BPA-free plastic and manufactured locally. Ingredients and packaging are sourced from the US whenever possible. 
    • AXIOLOGY BEAUTY - 100% Evil free (cruelty free) vegan lipstick with color pay off and lasting power - made from only 10 non toxic and natural ingredients! Axiology uses recycled packaging and donates a portion of sales to animal welfare programs. 
    • NOTO BOTANICS - Multi-use, gender fluid, and all natural skincare and makeup line that uses organic ingredients too. Cruelty-free, vegan, & charitable, NOTO donates a portion of sales from the Agender Oil to non profits supporting those in need, the arts, and equality. Products are packaged in eco-conscious, re-usable, and chic glass.
    • OY-L - Luxurious, all natural skin care and body care made from organic ingredients and packaged in eco-conscious, recyclable, and elevated glass containers. OY-L uses a zero synthetic chemical formulation and believes in a transparent philosophy, "Beauty Without Secrets." Products are cruelty-free and our selection is exclusively vegan. 15% of bath salt and body scrub sales are donated to Dysautonomia International. 
    I know we don’t currently carry every brand that fits into our criteria, but we’re hoping to grow our collection in order to provide you with more options of products that we love for their effectiveness and for their ethics.

    Friendly reminder - you don’t always have to be at level 100. If you’re prescribed meds by your derm or want to use that drug store acne medicine because its the only thing that will get rid of that re-appearing-every-time-I-have-PMS pimple on your chin, use them! Sometimes we have our tried and trues that we’re not willing to give up just yet, but if a clean swap exists, it's probably worth a try. If not, you can always write to your favorite brands and demand conscious and ethical behavior. As consumers, we hold the power. It’s real action like reaching out to the brands we interact with every day, which can actually make the biggest impact.