Wellness is more than skin deep – why clean beauty matters

Our founder explains the importance of pure organic ingredients…

As a doctor, I’m acutely aware of the impact of chemicals and environmental toxins on health. Common chemicals in our personal care and household products are significant sources of exposure. The health impacts are not small; some of these chemicals have been definitively linked to cancer, endocrine disruption, asthma, allergy, and more.

Prevention and wellness are the heart of my approach to health. I don’t want these chemicals on or in my body, nor do I want patients, friends, or family exposed to anything that increases their risk for cancer! Yet, for many people the fact that our everyday products can be dangerous is new information. We’ve assumed they are safe because the products are on the shelves of our favorite stores, but that’s not a guarantee.

So who do you trust? How do you know if your products are clean? Some people ask: “well, what about the FDA? Don’t they regulate and approve consumer products?” While FDA is charged with protecting consumers, their reach does not go far enough. The 80 years old Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetics Act (FFDCA) includes 112 pages of standards for food and drugs, but just two pages for cosmetic safety, which haven’t been meaningfully updated since its creation, even though humans have created thousands of new chemicals over the last 80 years!1

Did you know the EU bans over 1300 chemicals from use in skincare products while the US only bans 11? I don’t want to instill fear by shining a spotlight on the lack of regulation and prevalence of carcinogens; instead let this be a wakeup call. I want consumers to get educated and empowered so that they can proactively choose non-toxic options.

Wellness is often about subtraction rather than addition.

An Environmental Working Group consumer survey found that, on average, women use 12 personal care products daily, and men use an average of 6 products a day.  The result being that on a daily basis, we could easily be exposing ourselves to more than 100 unique ingredients.2

The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), part of the World Health Organization, is the group charged with coordinating and disseminating international research to understand the risk of exposure. Currently, the IARC lists 113 chemicals as “known human carcinogens” plus countless others for which research hasn’t been completed.3 A carcinogen is a substance known to cause cancer. Clearly, personal care products should contain ZERO of these chemicals, yet many do.

When I formulated the Halcyon Botanics line, one of my intentions was to make products that make it easy and pleasant to change these statistics. Halcyon formulas include only scientifically potent and pure ingredients. They are free of phthalates, parabens, solvents, and non-organic oils, and we have each batch independently tested just to be double sure. We share these results on our website, where anyone can view the Certificates of Analysis (COA). 

What are the worst offenders? 

Phthalates & parabens – phthalates are banned throughout the EU, while parabens are restricted in some European countries. There is a robust amount of data showing that phthalates & parabens disrupt hormones and cause reproductive and developmental issues, meaning they should be on the “absolutely not” list for people of reproductive age! They mimic our own hormones and bind to cellular hormone receptors but they don’t act the same. Instead, they disrupt normal function. They are known to lower sperm counts in men and affect neurodevelopment in children exposed prenatally4. To avoid these dangerous chemicals, look for products that state they are phthalate-free, paraben-free, and don’t buy products with unspecified “fragrance” (which is almost always a multi-chemical cocktail that doesn’t have to be disclosed).

Solvents & additives – these chemicals are of special of concern in hemp products because sometimes solvents, like hexane, are used to extract botanical constituents like CBD. Using chemicals is a quick, cheap, dirty method of extraction that puts consumers and workers at risk. Fortunately, there are clean alternatives. Hemp can be extracted using carbon dioxide (CO2 – what we exhale), pressure, or ethanol. These options mean the end products are free from chemical residue.

Non-toxic and highly potent.

Non-toxic is only our first criteria when it comes to formulating the highest quality CBD clean beauty and wellness products; the products also have to work! Our proprietary, patent-pending formulations leverage the power of sun-grown, organic full spectrum hemp with synergistic botanicals backed by science and research. We start with pure, potent, organic CBD grown in the rich soil of southern Oregon and blend it with other botanical oils such as Abyssinian seed and bergamot to create one-of-a-kind formulations that deliver powerful antioxidant and wellness benefits, while smelling and tasting incredible and clean.

How do I know if the products on my dressing table are clean?

Fortunately, consumer interest and demand in clean beauty is growing. We are proud to be part of it. The clean beauty sector is the fastest growing cosmetic and skincare marketplace. This follows ongoing growth in the organic and wellness space as a whole. Several non-profits are leaders in educating the public and providing transparency into the ingredients in our daily personal care products. Thank goodness, because in the absence of strong governmental regulation, consumers can lean on non-profits such as the Environmental Working Group and The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics to investigate ingredients. Further, new legislation holds the promise of a higher level of safety by updating regulations and labeling requirements. 

Halcyon Botanics was a proud supporter of the Safe Cosmetics and Personal Care Products Act of 2019 (SB 726). We support transparency and that is why we share our certificates of analysis openly on our website. These certificates that confirm our products are free from chemicals, pesticides, heavy metals, and THC. The independent analyses also confirm that the products contain the precise amount of CBD and terpenes that they were formulated to have. 


1The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics. Accessed 6/20. http://www.safecosmetics.org/get-the-facts/regulations/us-laws/

2 Wu X, Bennett DH, Ritz B. 2010. Usage pattern of personal care products in California households. Food and Chemical Toxicology 48: 3109-3119

3 The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), World Health Organization. Accessed 6-20.  https://monographs.iarc.fr/

4 Lee DW, Kim MS, Lim YH, Lee N, Hong YC. Prenatal and postnatal exposure to di-(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate and neurodevelopmental outcomes: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Environ Res. 2018;167:558-566. doi:10.1016/j.envres.2018.08.023