Guide to Clean Beauty

The Debate Around Clean Beauty Continues…

Is it all just a marketing ploy?

If you’re like me, you may care deeply about what goes into and onto your body – especially if you think sustainability is important and want to improve your carbon footprint. If so, the idea of switching to clean beauty might seem like a no-brainer. However, it pays to do a little research before parting with your hard-earned cash.

The clean beauty movement has been gathering momentum for a while now, but there has been a lot of controversy regarding whether or not these beauty products are safe. Brands are switching from ‘toxic’ ingredients to more eco- and health-friendly options, and many of us have already begun the process of finding ‘cleaner’ products for our bodies and homes. But with its ever-growing popularity comes ever-growing criticism, so here, I’m going to delve into all things clean beauty. Read on and be more confident in your choices, make smarter purchases, and ultimately live a healthier lifestyle – with or without clean beauty.

So, What Is Clean Beauty? 

Each brand has its own definition of what clean beauty means for them as there is no one agreed-upon definition. For example, here are two brands’ visions of what clean beauty is.

Clean Beauty Box says: “Clean Beauty is defined by products that are mindfully created and produced without any proven or suspected toxic ingredients. Clean Beauty products include ingredients ethically sourced and are made with the health of our bodies and the environment in mind.”

Goop claims: “Clean, for us, means that a product that is made without a long (and ever-evolving) list of ingredients linked to harmful health effects, which can range from hormone disruption and cancer to plain old skin irritation. To name a few of the offenders we avoid: parabens, phthalates, PEGs, ethanolamines, chemical sunscreens, synthetic fragrance, BHT, and BHA.” 

The consensus is that clean beauty refers to products that are non-toxic, sustainable, and environmentally friendly. Contrary to what you might think, it does not necessarily mean the product has to be natural, organic, or green. The idea is that your product is rid of ingredients that are allegedly harmful to your health. 

Clean and Dirty ingredients

If a product contains what clean beauty brands consider to be ‘toxic’ or harmful to human health,  it’s classed as dirty, and each brand has a different dirty list. One example of a ‘dirty list’ includes:

  • Parabens 
  • Petrolatum
  • Phenoxyethanol
  • Siloxanes
  • Synthetic Fragrance
  • Triclosan
  • Formaldehyde
  • Phthalates

According to Michelle Wong (a cosmetic chemist, beauty scientist, and ingredient myth debunker), there is no such thing as a clean or dirty ingredient – what truly matters is exposure. Exposure depends on how much of an ingredient you have in the product, how much you use, and how you use the product. She explains quite simply that “clean beauty is basically telling you to never drink water in case you drown”. 

A lot of clean beauty brands may disagree with Michelle Wong. Brands like Goop or Clean Beauty Box have a great concept, much like other clean beauty brands. However, their marketing could scaremonger consumers and leave many of them worried about whether a product is ‘clean’ or not. A silver lining of this, though, is that consumers are now looking at ingredients and understanding how to be more eco-friendly

A Complete Guide to Clean Beauty

My Take on Clean Beauty  

Overall, clean beauty has a great concept and is paving the way for a more eco-friendly future for beauty. At the same time, there is little scientific evidence to support their ‘non-toxic’ claims, and thus I can’t say that I am truly on board with the movement.

My question to the clean beauty industry is, if such ingredients are considered ‘toxic’, then how are they legal? It’s not new for companies to start looking at what they are putting into their products, so why would such reputable companies – some with 30+ years of research and thousands of clinical trials – not consider the risk of the ingredients they use? Other things to keep in mind include that no toxicology reports have been done to support the evidence that clean beauty brands claim. Additionally, ‘clean beauty’ is not a regulated term and, as explained before, it has inconsistencies in its meaning. 

It’s true that people want cleaner formulas and that there is a huge demand for them. So, if that is what you want from your product or if you already use clean beauty brands that you love, then continue to use what works for you! Just remember that nothing is guaranteed to be risk-free, so don’t be fearful of using your favourite products because they aren’t considered ‘clean’. The entire product doesn’t need to be labelled clean or dirty.  

I do champion brands that help to fight climate change and, if clean beauty brands can commit, that’s great! However, beauty may not necessarily be the path you need to take to be greener. You can always go back to the basics and consume less, use refillable products, and buy brands that create change to contribute to a sustainable future.

What should you know before searching for the right product?

1. Educate yourself

Research product ingredients and consider science-backed evidence on whether that ingredient is good or not. If like me, you’re an ingredient buff, this website is your best friend! You can research any ingredient and it gives you an easy-to-read explanation. You can even type in your product and an ingredient, and it will tell you if your product contains ingredients you don’t want in there. 

2. Everything is a chemical

All matter is chemical, so don’t fear the word!

3. Don’t be guilt-tripped 

Don’t buy into clean beauty purely out of guilt as it is eco-friendly. Instead, look at what steps you can take to be more sustainable and choose products based on your needs – whether it’s a clean beauty brand or not.

My Beauty Brand Recommendation: 

I use products that work for me and I don’t fear that my products aren’t ‘clean’ as I have done my research and trust the brands I use. However, if I had to choose a clean beauty brand, I would choose Versed


Some of its pros include: 

  • Simple packaging
  • Refill pouches
  • Budget-friendly
  • Biodegradable formulas

Plus, I love how its website offers a skincare quiz where, instead of searching blindly, you can be guided to the right products for you. Below, I recommend two other brands if you want to make a change and become more eco-friendly. And if you want even more suggestions, visit earth.org, which has published a list of the best sustainable beauty brands in the industry.



What I love about Lush is its fun, quirky packaging and vision to leave the world a lusher place. Some of the other pros include:

  • Fighting animal testing
  • Charitable donations and encouraging customers to support donations through sales of certain products
  • 50% of products have zero packaging, this is what Lush considers to be ‘naked’



I like that BYBI is very similar to Lush, is pro-planet, and wants to make a change as its ingredients don’t come at a cost to our planet. Other pros:

  • It considers the harvesting process, source location, transport, and packaging
  • It uses upcycled ingredients in over 50% of the products
  • The packaging comes with a free returns labels so you can return it to be sterilised and reused
  • It transports everything using electric vehicles 

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The Skincare Routine for Oily & Acne Prone Skin

Create More Sebum

The Basics

It’s natural to follow a morning skin care routine in this era of information, influencers, famous dermatologists, and techniques, tools and products being launched in the market everyday. With skincare routines that we should follow every morning (and night), we’ve really got to figure out what skin we are catering to.

Having oily skin and being satisfied with our early morning routine can be a challenge. Managing oily skin requires a consistent skincare routine that focuses on balancing sebum production and maintaining a healthy complexion. Start by cleansing your face twice a day with a gel-based or foam cleanser to remove excess oil and impurities. Incorporate a toner containing ingredients like salicylic acid or witch hazel to help control oil and minimize pores. Apply a lightweight, oil-free moisturizer to keep the skin hydrated without adding extra shine. Use a clay mask once or twice a week to absorb excess oil and unclog pores. Apply an oil-free sunscreen to protect your skin from harmful UV rays.

How Do I Know if I Have Oily Skin?

If you’ve been wondering what your skin type is, here’s a quick checklist: dry skin produces too little oil, normal skin has a good balance of oil, while oily skin produces an oversupply of natural oils. No wonder dirt and bacteria can get trapped in the skin, resulting in blackheads, whiteheads, and pimples, which are among the most common characteristics of oily skin!

The signs and symptoms of oily skin are very simple to identify. You will see a shine (not to be confused with a glow) on your skin that is very oily to the touch. You’ll tend to notice open or clogged pores, concentrated in the oilier areas of the face. There will be those dreaded whiteheads and blackheads popping out from time to time. And then of course there are the regular breakouts – a huge symptom of oily skin. On a serious note, some women also have a tendency to get pimples on the chest and back. Dull-looking skin especially during that time of the month is quite usual.

Step-By-Step Routine for Oily Skin

We have scouted for a lot of information and our endeavour is to simplify this process to the T (zone)!

Step 1: Cleanser – Get yourself a gentle cleaner. Possibly, one from your dermatologist or at least a dermatologist recommended one off the shelf. We would recommend that you try out a cleanser that’s formulated with ingredients like salicylic acid or tea tree oil, which help to control oil production and unclog pores.

Step 2: Toner – For oily skin, this is an important step. The idea is to gently remove any residue post the cleanser. It’s a subtle message to your skin that it’s time to balance the pH levels. Since the skin is an intelligent organ, it will understand the command of a good toner and will start the process of refining the appearance of your pores. We suggest the use of alcohol-free toners with ingredients like witch hazel or niacinamide.

Step 3: Moisturiser – Counterintuitive, but integral. Women with oily skin shouldn’t skip a moisturiser. The key is to go with a lightweight, oil-free moisturizer that won’t clog your pores. Your skin essentially requires adequate hydration. Look for ingredients like hyaluronic acid or gel-based formulas to keep your skin moisturized without adding extra shine. Dubai is famous for world-class dermatology and treatments, so getting a lab-tested doctor-recommended hyaluronic acid formula is pretty easy in the region.  

Step 4: SPF – Did you know that you need more SPF if you travel by air frequently?! Well, it’s true. Oily skin needs to be protected from harmful UV rays and this can be done simply by applying a broad-spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF 30 or 50. Choose oil-free or mattifying formulas to avoid adding excess shine to your skin. Remember to reapply throughout the day if needed. And don’t forget to put it in your carry-on for those flights!


Dragon Blood Sage

AED 7d.00


Sleep Essential Oil Roller

AED 75.00


Relax Essential Oil Mist

AED 95.00


Amazonite Bracelet

AED 300.00


Aromatherapy Kit

AED 442.00


PMS Relief Kit

AED 370.00


Rose Quartz Crystal Water Bottle

AED 280.00

Lessen Your Stress

Keep in mind that oily skin requires just as much care as any other skin type. While you have to find a variety of products and develop your own morning and evening skincare routine, it’s important to remember what to avoid.

Heavy and greasy products, over-cleansing, harsh cleansers that dry out your skin, and excessive exfoliation at the salon while getting your nails done is a bad idea. The worst thing you can do is touch your face constantly. That’s a BIG no-no! Lastly, don’t forget to incorporate a good diet, lessen your stress, hydrate your skin and sleep well!


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Your Female Email

Gaggler your inbox for a 10% discount on your first order!
By clicking ‘Subscribe’ you agree to receive emails from The Gaggler and accept our privacy policy and terms of use.
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