SAM+LEO: the first clean beauty and body products for Gen Z
It's impossible to be a consumer today and not have noticed the explosion of products claiming to be clean, non-toxic, free from chemicals, etc. If you've ever purchased a product claiming to be better for you, only to get home, do a little research, and find out it is, in fact, not much better than what you usually buy, you're not alone. Most consumers know that companies can pretty much label any product anything they want these days, but that doesn't make it any easier when you're staring down a long aisle of choices at your local big box store. So what does it actually mean to be a clean product, and how do you find them? We've written a short guide to get you started and included a few places you can dive further into the data. Most importantly, we've outlined what clean means at SAM+LEO so that you can always be confident in your purchase.
So what is a "clean" product?
One of the biggest challenges facing consumers who want to make more responsible consumption choices is the lack of clarity on what makes a product clean. Theoretically, a clean product is any product that is safe for use by humans (for its intended use) and contains no toxic ingredients. But who defines what is toxic? In the US, there is virtually no regulation of what can be used in beauty products. In fact, only 11 ingredients are banned by the FDA for use in cosmetics. When you compare this to the over 1300 ingredients prohibited by the EU in 2009, you can see US consumers' challenge. Additionally, no rules govern the use of terms like "clean," "safe," or "non-toxic" on packaging or marketing.
All of this data probably has you shaking your head and saying, "That's great, but you haven't actually answered my question." And technically, you'd be right because there isn't just one definition we can give you. Ultimately, what makes a product "clean" (or clean enough) comes down to your personal standards. To get you started, though, we've written down five ways to clean up your products.
Avoid the big 3: phthalates, parabens, and sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS).
If you're just starting your clean beauty journey, reading this for the first time from the shampoo aisle at a big box store, or just too busy to be bothered with research, this is the most basic way to get a better product. Some of the first to be recognized as problematic, these three ingredients tend to be the first brands to be classified as "clean”. Of course, that doesn't mean a product without these will check all the boxes of unwanted ingredients, but it does mean they're easier to find.
Be cautious with fragrance.
In beauty products, 'fragrance' can mean just about anything, and companies aren't required to disclose how they make their fragrances. Of course, not all fragrance is bad; you’ll just want to do your research beforehand. SAM+LEO is just one of many companies in the clean space who are choosing to be transparent in how they make their fragrances, so that you can be confident in using a scented product. The brand’s fragrance does not use any essential oils. While natural, they can be a serious irritant for those with sensitive skin. Therefore, we developed our own proprietary natural fragrance that is free from parabens, phthalates, ethyl alcohol, dyes, endocrine disruptors or other harsh chemicals.
If you’re ever in doubt over a brand’s fragrance policy, simply choose an unscented product.
Consider your values.
Most brands that aim for the "clean" label also fall under another category: vegan, cruelty-free, plastic-free, zero waste, etc. When comparing two products that both meet your needs, consider what else matters to you. Maybe you buy a product in 100% post-consumable recycled (PCR) material to reduce your virgin plastic consumption or buy a product in biodegradable packaging. It's rare to find a product that will check every box, so consider what matters most to you. You can learn more about the core values of SAM+LEO here.
Download an app.
A host of watchdog apps exist in the clean beauty space, and many of them allow you to simply scan the barcode of a product, making it easy-peasy to scan in-store and skip the beforehand research. For example, try out ThinkDirty, Cosmetics, or the EWG's Healthy Living. Just make sure you understand how the app you choose scores your products. Some base their score off the worst ingredient(s), while others give a score based on the average of all ingredients.
Stick with brands you trust.
If you've got a little more time on your hands, do some research. Find brands that stick to your values and always exclude the ingredients that worry you the most. That way, you'll know you will feel safe with any product you choose from them.
The SAM+LEO Commitment to Clean Beauty and Sustainability
SAM+LEO aims to be one of your trusted brands when shopping. Therefore, we are committed to the following standards:
- Reduce emissions and waste in landfills by using only environmentally friendly packaging and clean ingredients
- Promote gender awareness, destigmatize sex education, and provide access to gender resources
- Only make products free from parabens, sulfates, phthalates, ethyl alcohol, dyes, SLS, phenoxyethanol, benzalkonium chloride, formaldehyde, triclosan, lanolin, or endocrine disruptors
- A commitment to 100% vegan, 100% recyclable, 100% cruelty-free
- No baking soda
- No essential oils
If these sound like values you can get behind, we encourage you to sign up for notifications on our product launches. And in the meantime, we hope we've given you some valuable information to find safe products for your body and align with your values.