Green your routine: Clean beauty 101

March 18, 2020 No Comments

Clean beauty has certainly been on a steep rise to the mainstream in the last few years. Thanks to organizations like Environmental Working Group and brands such as Beauty Counter for fiercely leading the way and contributing to researching cosmetic and personal care ingredients, we have come a loooong way since just a couple decades ago. But if the idea of clean beauty is new to you, or something you never really thought twice about, read on and see for yourself why it is SO important to know what you are putting on your body. We’re also giving you some simple tips to get yourself started.

I grew up thinking that if a product was sold on the shelves of our drugstores, it MUST be safe. This is America! Our government (and FDA) would never allow toxic or harmful products to be sold here, no way!


Personal care products are manufactured with 10,500 unique chemical ingredients, some of which are known or suspected carcinogens, toxic to the reproductive system or known to disrupt the endocrine system. Though some companies make products that are safe to eat, others choose to use dangerous ingredients like coal tar and formaldehyde, both human carcinogens, and lead acetate, a developmental toxin.

No premarket safety testing is required for the industrial chemicals that go into personal care products or the chemical industry as a whole. According to the Office of Cosmetics and Colors at the federal Food and Drug Administration, ” … a cosmetic manufacturer may use almost any raw material as a cosmetic ingredient and market the product without an approval from FDA.” (FDA 2012) The FDA does no systematic reviews of safety, instead authorizing the cosmetics industry to self-police ingredient safety through its Cosmetics Ingredient Review panel. Over its 36 years, this industry panel has rejected only 11 ingredients as unsafe in cosmetics (CIR 2012). By contrast, the European Union has banned hundreds [actually over 1,300 to date] of chemicals in cosmetics (European Commission 2012).”

The skin is the largest organ of our body. Everything you put on it is likely ending up in it. The thought of all those nasty chemicals soaking into your skin is enough to make you want to go full mountain man and stop showering altogether. But that would be gross.. So what is there to do about it? We have to do our own homework. Luckily several organizations and brands have taken the guesswork out of it for us! I recommend starting with the EWG’s Skin Deep database. You can look up products you are already using to see how their ingredients measure up, or even look up individual ingredients. Need a replacement for that sunscreen that scored a 1 out of 10? You can also look up product suggestions (and their ratings) right on their website as well. They even have an app with a barcode scanner that you can use while shopping at your local store! It’s truly the most incredible resource.

I certainly wish I had this information at my fingertips when I was a kid. But it’s never too late to clean up your (beauty) act! There are SOOO many stellar non-toxic brands out there these days, and I have found that most of the clean products are way more effective than the chemical filled junk of yesterday. Ready to start reading your labels? This post is just the first of our “Green Your Routine” segment, so stay tuned as we dive into our favorite clean and sustainable beauty brands.


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Behind the blog

Behind the blog


Hiii, I'm Justine-- marine bio nerd, dog mom, bikini addict, amateur home chef, photographer.. and the designer + sea-EO behind Pelican House. With every bit of my soul, I love the ocean and all the life it holds, and it continues to inspire every aspect of my life. I first created Pelican House as a blog, named after the 100 year old beach bungalow (that's a fancy word for "adorable tiny shack") we call home. It has since evolved into a conscious lifestyle + bikini brand, inspired by my seaside life here in Santa Cruz where there's always sand in my pockets and a salty breeze coming through the front door. When I'm not working on making bikinis, I'm blogging about whatever is inspiring me that week. Be it a recipe, a piece of clothing, or an organic makeup company. Whether you are a fellow Californian or live thousands of miles away, I hope this blog makes you feel right at home in the California sunshine!

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