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Reevaluating Clean Beauty

At Scratch Goods, science and simplicity is behind every product we create. Our simple formulas have often placed us under the umbrella term ‘clean beauty,’ which we really used to embrace. During our formative years, we came to understand ‘clean beauty’ as a more natural answer to mass-produced brands with complicated formulas and confusing routines. We committed to more straightforward, quality ingredients and basic products that were easier to navigate. Clean beauty sounded great! We were proudly in that camp.

The start of the clean beauty movement was understandable - reading a list of ingredients on beauty products could be the stuff of nightmares. Siloxanes. Phthalates. Parabens. Tetrasodium EDTA. Which of these were ok again? Which were toxic? They’re definitely all confusing. A study linking a common skincare preservative to cancer would be published, then repeated in several articles, before that common ingredient was removed from the proverbial ‘safe list.’  Another study about hormone disruption would gain traction, make its rounds through the media outlets, and soon an entire category of products were deemed ‘toxic.’ Whether these claims were all valid or not seemed to matter less and less. Further investigation would often invalidate the initial claims - concentrations being tested were impossibly bigger than real-life applications, or attempts to duplicate the study would never be successful. But the ideas were out there, even if the supporting science wasn’t, and the trend was quickly on a roll.

Before we knew it, consumers found themselves afraid of all ‘chemicals,’ which is a pretty scary place to be (especially since everything is a chemical, at some level). What started as a movement to simplify and keep us safe has probably gone too far, sometimes veering into pseudo-science and definitely preying on consumer’s fears. This has not gone unnoticed by the large corporations who are now profiting from this same language. We’re now bombarded with marketing terms like ‘clean,’ ‘green,’ and ‘natural,’ which are wholly unregulated by the FDA, and therefore meaningless. We might be back where we started in terms of label confusion.

If we’re not ‘clean beauty,’ what are we?

All products from Scratch Goods are made by hand, in small batches in Chicago, by some of our favorite people. Inside is a focus on intentional, food-grade ingredients. Local honey, fresh turmeric, sustainably-farmed jojoba and organic sunflower oils, from sources we trust and farmers we can chat with. We are rooted in simple, effective formulas that can help us learn our own skin’s likes and dislikes, not jump blindly into new brands hoping that the next ‘proprietary blend’ doesn’t break us out. These things all make for gentle products that are less likely to irritate, and more likely to become a calming ritual.

All of this could definitely still be considered ‘clean beauty,’ but we’re not sure that’s our slant anymore. We’re not here to scare you away from that mild drugstore cleanser that has worked for you for years. We won’t demonize that hand lotion that reminds you of your mom, or tell you that a hint of fragrance will surely ruin your skin. If clean beauty is scaring people away from ‘dirty’ beauty, we don’t want to participate. We’re all under enough stress already - let’s use reason, listen to science, and not frighten people away from their own soap.

Instead, we want to provide you with honest skincare that has a backbone of education, science, and transparency, without the hype of curing disease or perfecting anything. We’ll weigh in on other skincare hype, focusing on science, practicality, and managing unhealthy expectations of our skin and ourselves. Stay tuned here for more of these honest conversations on self-care and our new alternative version of ‘clean beauty.’ Thanks for following along!
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