Let's be smart about Free From, Clean Beauty & other marketing statements.
Balanced factual evidence is needed when talking about cosmetic ingredients, and words used to describe products.
Free From and Clean may imply by default others without these claims are 'dirty' and may contain ingredients that are harmful.
Did you know that there is no set definition as to what 'Clean Beauty' actually means nor is there anything that mandates what a brand/product must strive to attain in order to make a claim like this? When you see a brand/product marketed as a 'Clean Beauty' product it could be fair to assume that that product is safer for you and the environment than those not claiming to be 'clean'. The problem with this is that, as mentioned earlier, there is no definition or standard as to what this means. What it does is encourage you to immediately assume the brand with the claim is better than the one without, however false that assumption may be.
'Free From' is still allowed to be used in Australia however it is no longer allowed in the EU. Why? Because by default it can imply that the ingredients listed Free From are harmful. Some companies say their products are free from ingredients that would never be used in that product anyway like gluten in a face spritz. Seriously! The implication being that gluten is an ingredient that is normally used in that product and that gluten is harmful. Another implication is that other brands may use that ingredient if they're not saying they don't. See the rabbit hole here?
Every ingredient used in cosmetics products have undergone stringent safety testing to ensure consumer safety. This is not to say that some people may not have a reaction to certain ingredients, what it is saying is that when used within very strict regulatory limits, each ingredient is deemed safe for usage whether it be a natural, organic or synthetic material.
Just because something is natural or organic does not mean it is safe nor does it mean that it is sustainably produced. Let's think about that for a bit.
Nuts are natural, doesn't mean they're safe for people with nut allergies. Water is natural, drinking it hydrates you but you can also drown in it. Essential Oils are natural, this does not mean all are sustainably produced. 1kg of Rose Essential Oil needs around 9000kgs of plant material! Does this sound sustainable to you? Quite often a synthetically producted material is more environmentally friendly than it's natural counterpart. This does not make the synthetically produced material less worthy than its natural/organic or certified organic doppleganger.
Marketing hype and misinformation readily available online with no factual scientific backed evidence is contributing to an amazing amount of consumer confusion and sadly does not look like slowing down any time soon. I put my hand up and own that in the past I had fallen for a lot of misinformation and must admit, it is no easy task to weed out the facts from the fiction. Misinformation seems to gather a lot of steam and has a life of its own that works it way into becoming real.
Let's be smart, just because the scientific and well researched result may not be what you want to hear or may not reflect what you want it to be does not make the fully qualified answer any less real.