Ep 100 – Clean, Green, and Sustainable Skin Care

green hand holding a leaf

Clean, green, and sustainable—what do these terms really mean, and why are they important in skin care? Join Ella and Maggie as they discuss these buzz words to decipher where they came from and whether they are legit or just clever (and effective) marketing mumbo-jumbo. Do your products really qualify? Find out by tuning into this informative episode.

ASCP Esty Talk with Maggie Staszcuk and Ella Cressman

Produced by Associated Skin Care Professionals (ASCP) for licensed estheticians, ASCP Esty Talk is a weekly podcast hosted by Maggie Staszcuk and Ella Cressman. We see your passion, innovation, and hard work and are here to support you by providing a platform for networking, advocacy, camaraderie, and education. We aim to inspire you to ask the right questions, find your motivation, and give you the courage to have the professional skin care career you desire.


About Ella Cressman:

Ella Cressman is a licensed esthetician, certified organic formulator, business owner, and absolute ingredient junkie! As an educator, she enjoys empowering other estheticians and industry professionals to understand skin care from an ingredient standpoint rather than a product-specific view.

She has spent many hours researching ingredients, understanding how and where they are sourced, as well as phytochemistry, histological access, and complementary compounds for intentional skin benefits. In addition to running a skin care practice, Cressman founded a comprehensive consulting group, the HHP Collective, and has consulted for several skin care lines, including several successful CBD brands.

Connect with Ella Cressman:

Website: www.ellacress.com

Website: www.hhpcollective.com


About Maggie Staszcuk:

Maggie has been a licensed esthetician since 2006 and holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Stephens College. She has worked in the spa and med-spa industry, and served as an esthetics instructor and a director of education for one of the largest schools in Colorado before coming to ASCP as the Advanced Modality Specialist. 

Connect with Maggie Staszcuk:

P 800.789.0411 EXT 1636

MStaszcuk@ascpskincare.com or AMI@ascpskincare.com


About our Sponsors

About DMK:

Founded by botanical visionary Danné Montague-King, DMK is the world leader in Paramedical Skin Revision™. Our revolutionary concept of REMOVE. REBUILD. PROTECT. MAINTAIN.® aims to match an individual’s biochemistry with the appropriate skin therapy. DMK believes that the origin of most skin conditions is a result of disharmony within the skin. Using the principles of biochemistry, DMK has formulated a range of Enzymatic Treatments and Home Prescriptives that encourage the skin to return to its most balanced and healthy state. For skin care professionals whose business depends on generating long-lasting clinically proven results, DMK’s education-first approach has become essential. Hundreds of salons, spas, and even industry experts have recognized the effectiveness of the DMK concept, witnessed by thousands of people worldwide whose lives have been changed forever.

Connect with DMK:

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/dmkinternational/

TikTok: https://www.tiktok.com/@dmkinternational

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/dmkinternational


About Universal Companies:

Universal Companies has everything the skin care professional needs for success. Keeping track of the latest trends and technology in esthetics, we offer products and equipment for the services clients are seeking. The independent practitioner can save on their everyday expenses, as well as enjoy the convenience of shopping across broad categories.

Recognized as the "Favorite Distributor" in the American Spa Professional's Choice Awards for the past 17 years, we see this as a continuous challenge to provide the best products, tools, and education that pros trust the most.

Beyond our extensive selection of spa products, equipment, and tools we have an education and marketing site for our customers to develop their skills and promote their business. The UCo Learning Network offers CEU courses, marketing kits, and business tools.

Connect with Universal Companies:

Website: https://www.universalcompanies.com/

UCo Learning Network: https://my.ucolearning.com/

Universal Companies on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/universalcompaniesinc

Universal Companies on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/universalcos/

Universal Companies on Twitter: https://twitter.com/Universalcos

Universal Companies on Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/universalcos/_shop/

Universal Companies on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/universal-companies/mycompany/


About Associated Skin Care Professionals (ASCP):

Associated Skin Care Professionals (ASCP) is the nation’s largest association for skin care professionals and your ONLY all-inclusive source for professional liability insurance, education, community, and career support. For estheticians at every stage of the journey, ASCP is your essential partner. Get in touch with us today if you have any questions or would like to join and become an ASCP member.

Connect with ASCP:

Website: www.ascpskincare.com

Email: getconnected@ascpskincare.com

Phone: 800-789-0411

Facebook: www.facebook.com/ASCPskincare

Instagram: www.instagram.com/ascpskincare

0:00:00.5 Speaker 1: DMK is the world leader in paramedical skin revision education with certification programs designed to give licensed professionals a thorough understanding of the skin and an in-depth study of the DMK concept of remove, rebuild, protect, maintain, created by the botanical visionary Danne Montague-King, DMK offers skin revision training and education for all ages, skin conditions and ethnicities in more than 35 countries, harnessing the body's innate healing mechanisms to change the health of the skin. Learn more at dannemking.com, that's D-A-N-N-E-M-K-I-N-G.com. 


0:00:49.3 S1: You are listening to ASCP Esty Talk, where we share insider tips, industry resources and education for estheticians at every stage of the journey. Let's talk, 'cause ASCP knows it's all about you. 


0:01:05.1 Ella Cressman: Hello, and welcome to ASCP Esty Talk. I am your co-host, Ella Cressman a licensed esthetician, certified organic skincare formulator and content contributor for Associated Skin Care Professionals. 


0:01:17.2 Maggie Staszcuk: And I am Maggie Staszcuk, licensed esthetician and ASCP's cosmetology education manager. 


0:01:23.2 EC: Well, listeners, we asked, and you answered. On our social media post we asked "green beauty or clean beauty, is there a difference and does it matter?" And most of you had very similar answers and really a firm grasp on the definition of both. What it boils down to is that clean, means free of things that can harm you, and green is plant-based. You were all correct that they are not regulated and mostly marketing terms, tada! But where do they come from? And do they matter?  


0:01:52.8 MS: So you are what you eat. Clean Beauty comes from this diet movement of clean eating, and that makes sense, we're seeing this huge trend and just whole health, so healthy diet, healthy body, healthy minds, healthy spirit, whole nine yards, and again, you are what you eat, and what you put on your skin also is what you put in your body. And clean eating equals natural and whole foods, not processed or synthetic. And if clean eating is good for what I put in my body, then it must be of course, good for what I put on my body. 


0:02:28.8 EC: And that makes sense to me. [chuckle] So green beauty actually evolved and sprouted from clean. Green beauty actually has a lot of different inferences, the first one is that natural and plant-based is somehow better for your skin because it's green, it must be clean, and if it's clean, it's better for me. Then we have other words like, organic, but what if it's not organic, does it still qualify as green? There's a lot of questions here. Certified organic is such a unique qualification, and I think it's a word that's been overused, especially in the beauty industry. And if you remember, it was last year in a podcast with Tuivoo, we talked about what it meant to really have a product that was certified organic, it was quite the process. So for a product to be certified organic, it had to come from a certified organic farm that had certified organic harvesting processes, and then go to a certified organic lab to then be certified organic formulation, and tada. So, there were several stops along the way, but it doesn't stop these companies from throwing the word around in marketing campaigns, what they move to is the word like natural. So very interesting. The other thing is that green is about all natural and preservative free, but here's the thing, you still need to have preservatives in products, so there is a problem with that. If you think about oil, have you ever smelled a rancid oil?  


0:04:00.7 MS: Oh yeah. 


0:04:01.5 EC: Yeah. But it's a natural product. So when you're looking at a product formulation, especially when you're looking at something for the face in particular, you wanna make sure that it's going to be as fresh in the day you open it as maybe 30 days later, otherwise it's a waste of money, so green is a lot of interpretation, [chuckle] it's open for quite a bit of interpretation. The other thing about green is that it's good for the environment, that's the other inference here, and that's something we're gonna get into for a little bit. Let's talk about instead, the difference between green and clean. So one of the biggest differences between clean and green, is that clean means something that's not gonna cause harm to your skin, and green infers only natural ingredients. 


0:04:52.8 MS: Yeah, so we have natural versus synthetic, natural ingredients can still be toxic even though they're natural, and many synthetic or lab-created ingredients are derived from nature and are more sustainable than naturally sourced, and more important to understand is how the skin responds to natural versus synthetic. 


0:05:14.2 EC: So if we look at natural ingredients like poison ivy is natural, but the way the skin responds to it is not good, so in this case, it would be green but not clean, right?  


0:05:25.2 MS: Totally. 


0:05:26.4 EC: And another thing that we can look at would be lab created, for example, salicylic acid, lab created at this point derived from willow bark, so still very effective. Clean, yes, green, no. So let's talk about where green and sustainable clash because as we spoke about earlier, green also implies this environmental component. Here's the deal, have you heard about the hearts of palm controversy?  


0:05:54.4 MS: I haven't, no. 


0:05:55.7 EC: Okay, so the hearts of palm controversy is... Have you ever had a hearts of palm?  


0:06:00.4 MS: I have not. 


0:06:00.8 EC: Oh, they're delicious. They kinda taste like the inside of an artichoke. 


0:06:05.1 MS: Okay. 


0:06:05.8 EC: Is very soft and good, and you put them on salads, that's something I've been eating my whole life, as many of you have heard in previous podcasts, my parents were hippies, and there was an ingredient. It started becoming more and more popular. In order to get the heart of palm is, it's literally the heart of the palm, it's this little tiny thing inside of a palm tree. In order to get that, you have to kill the tree to get it. So the life cycle of the tree and the yield of this part of it was not equitable. But there was this growing demand, because they're delicious. So guess what happened? We need more palm trees, or this certain kind of palm, and don't ask me what that kind of palm was. So they're now tilling more land, cutting down more rainforest to make these certain kind of trees, interrupt the ecosystems. So here's just an example how demand changes environment. The same thing for coconut. When there was a huge coconut craze, everything was coconut, 'cause coconut was natural and coconut was good for you, or kale, or acai. Now, there's this regional ingredient now has this global demand. So if we're looking at skincare ingredients, for example, and we're pulling from all over all... I think there's more than four corners, but from all over the globe. We have these regional ingredients that are now becoming popular thanks to Gwyneth Paltrow, or whomever is the influencer at the time. 


0:07:33.7 EC: And so, everybody wants it to put them in their green products. Well, what's happening is there's potential then to disrupt. So it's green, but is it? We're talking about environmental impact for the demand created by good looking skin. So that's something to definitely keep in consideration, is the balance for that. Another thing is talking about sustainable packaging. One thing I learned in formulation school is that the integrity of the product can definitely be influenced by the packaging it's in. For that reason, there are certain kinds of packaging that you cannot use for skincare formulations. And I'll think off the bat, like certain balms and aluminum. Unless the aluminum is coated, you can't just throw a certain skincare cream into an aluminum container, which aluminum is well known to be recyclable, because it'll actually change the integrity of the product. 


0:08:34.1 MS: It's like tomatoes, canned tomatoes. 


0:08:36.3 EC: Yeah, canned tomatoes taste different than fresh tomatoes or jarred tomato sauce. 


0:08:43.0 MS: Yeah, and they need to be in a coated aluminum can. 


0:08:46.3 EC: Oh yeah. She's so smart, you guys. [chuckle] I was on a totally different track. I tell you what, I was thinking about the difference between canned beer and bottled beer. That's where my mind was. [laughter] There's definitely a taste difference, would you say?  


0:09:03.6 MS: I would say, yeah. 


0:09:04.3 EC: Yeah, okay. So for that, you have to understand that sustainable packaging is not an easy thing to just put it in there. Another story I could share is, when I was working on a project with the company, sustainability was their cornerstone, so we were trying to source sustainable packaging. And I want you to understand that it's not just the bottle it goes in, it's not just the jar it goes in, it's not just the container. It's in the label, and it's in the ink that goes in the label. And it's in the case packaging that it comes in. So there's a lot of different factors in sustainable packaging. The price, we were selling a two ounce... It was basically a nutrition supplement, a nutritional supplement. Single-use nutritional supplement. And the price for packaging alone was $6 per. So by the time we added in everything, our cost was about $9. So that meant to make profit, we were gonna have to sell it, just to break even, this is not even considering marketing and all the other components, discounts that you give to different retailers. We were gonna have to sell it for $13 each for the one thing. 


0:10:14.2 EC: So it really does change... It changes the price of things. So keep that in mind, especially as you single business owners that when you're looking at product companies, understand that packaging, there is an evolution and just type, 'cause it's coming, but it's not here, right here right now. So when you're looking at sustainable packaging or products that are packaged sustainable, don't be afraid to ask questions, because they might just be throwing those terms out. Sustainable packaging? How? Ask the question. 


0:10:45.4 Speaker 4: Hey, guys, stop. Let's take a quick break. 


0:10:47.5 S1: Estheticians looking for their skincare and lash and brow products should look no further than Universal Companies. Why? We have licensed pros on staff, so when we test products, we know that esties can trust them. And we provide a one-stop shop for everything you need, from cotton rounds to serums, to microderm equipment and more. ASCP Esty talk listeners can save 10% on a minimum order of just $99 on select brands. Simply go to universalcompanies.com/ascp. 


0:11:26.5 S4: Let's get back to the conversation. 


0:11:29.1 EC: Okay. So when we're talking about clean, green and sustainable, what they all mean? Don't be... I guess, the takeaway... What are your takeaways, Maggie?  


0:11:39.0 MS: Well, I think to your point about the... Everything that goes into the packaging alone and how that drives up the cost. I think that may be one reason why people are deterred from going organic or going natural, or going green and clean. And that that plays into how people eat as well. Back to our comment on Whole Health and Whole Beauty. 


0:12:06.1 EC: Yeah, absolutely. It's still a way. You don't have to eat only processed foods. There's still a way to get nutritious things in your system, just different avenues. And it's the same with the skin. You don't have to only have green skincare, because, as we talked about, poison ivy is natural and that's not gonna have the same influence. Clean is the goal. Clean in everything is the goal. The other part of that, too, is one of the 2022 trends on several different trending authorities is transparency. And so, understanding that you need to find brands that you can trust to work with. I can think of one in particular. I can think of several brands, because I've worked behind the scenes with a lot of brands, and I'm lucky now that I... 


0:12:53.2 EC: I get to pick who I work with, [laughter] so I'm very... I have a different opinion. So I've been privy to those marketing meetings, where like, "Let's just say this," but can't really back it up. So there's companies that forwardly looks like such these mother Earth people, and they are doing so many amazing loving healing things on their Instagram page, for example, yet when it comes to packaging our ingredients, it just doesn't back it up. So keep that in mind, where there is other companies that are not claiming these things, but they are still providing clean beauty, that you should definitely... Don't discount those because they're fantastic and effective. 


0:13:35.1 MS: What do you think is the most important thing out of these key terms that we've just gone through, having something that's natural versus something that's organic, or this green and clean movement?  


0:13:47.5 EC: I don't think 'natural' or 'organic' are fair words. I think those, in my opinion, are smoke and mirrors. I think that naturally derived is okay, I think... Because somehow that implies superiority, it's natural and it's organic, so it's better for you, but not necessarily. I think those are misleading and trickster words, so I don't like them myself personally. I think vegan is another trickster word, I think that is... I shouldn't say it's trickster, I think vegan is an important moral component. Vegan has no histological difference in your skin, in fact there is evidence contrary, that some... I don't wanna get into it, I don't want anybody to hate me. [laughter] Some animal by-products that have been used for centuries are good for the skin because the skin recognizes them. I don't use them, just as a disclaimer, I don't use them, I don't promote them, but the evidence is there that suggests that vegan has no superiority for skin efficacy, so that is the moral standpoint, and if that is something that you stand for, then I think that could be an important term, but not as far as skin, how the skin works. I think clean is important, I think clean is important to understand because that definitely implies a potential reaction and that should be the main concern. What do you think?  


0:15:12.0 MS: Yeah, I agree with you in terms of natural and organic. I've talked with people that have a organic farm, certified organic farm, and they are neighbours with a farm that is not, and all the pesticides from the neighboring farm blow on to their organic farm and so really in truth, it's not organic, and I think that probably is true for a lot of farms. And when it comes to our product, it may be certified organic, but really, how organic is it? And especially when you get down to like you were saying, the bottling and the packaging process, and even how it's stored and how it's shipped, you start to have degradation of the product, and so really how natural and organic is it? And you also were mentioning, are the oils rancid? And so, by the time you are putting it on your face, is it a good product? So knowing the manufacturer and what's going into it, I think is really what's most important, and I think it's totally fair to have something that's lab created and synthetic, and knowing how your skin is reacting to it. For me, green and clean is almost one and the same. And so, I have a hard time reconciling those two terms in my mind, but I think it's kind of what we said before that it's having something that is devoid of "chemicals," and again, how your skin is responding and reacting, if it's having a positive outcome, then it's good for you and you should use it. 


0:16:51.1 EC: There. 


0:16:53.9 MS: There. 


0:16:54.7 EC: Well said. 


0:16:55.3 MS: Drop the mic. Podcast over. 


0:16:56.3 EC: On that note, now listeners... 




0:16:58.0 EC: We wanna hear from you, what does clean, green and sustainable mean to you? What is your take? Let us know. Reach out on our social media platforms, especially Instagram and Facebook, or by emailing getconnected@ascpskincare.com. We wanna know all the details. In the meantime, thank you for listening to ASCP Esty talk. For more information on this episode or for ways to connect with Maggie or myself, or to learn more about ASCP, check out the show notes and stay tuned for the next episode of ASCP Esty talk. 


0:17:32.7 S1: Thanks for joining us today. If you like what you hear and you want more, subscribe. If you wanna belong to the only all inclusive association for estheticians, that includes professional liability insurance, education, industry insights, and an opportunity to spotlight your sick skills, join at ascpskincare.com. Only $259 per year for all this goodness. ASCP knows, it's all about you.Page Break 


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