In the past few decades, we as a beauty community have learned so much about harmful ingredients. We've empowered ourselves to study up on formulas ourselves, so big brands and beauty conglomerates can no longer take advantage of our trust. It's the very reason CLOVE + HALLOW was founded—after a health scare in which toxic ingredients were partially to blame, our founder and CEO, Sarah, dedicated herself to starting a cosmetics brand that was safe, minimalist, and, above all, transparent with its consumers.
Still, so much confusion abounds in clean beauty. Big beauty practices serious greenwashing tactics, while ingredient purists forget that "natural" substances like essential oils can be extremely sensitizing or even dangerous. And some of the safest ingredients out there just sound downright scary. Sodium hyaluronate? That would be hyaluronic acid. L-ascorbic acid? Good to see ya, vitamin C.
In this Ingredient Spotlight, we're clearing the air about acrylates copolymers, one of the essential ingredients in Line + Define Liquid Eyeliner.
First things first: What is it? Simply put, it's a synthetic, acrylic-based polymer that's used in beauty products as a film former, binder, and texture enhancer. Paired with PVP, another synthetic film former in Line + Define, it's the reason our eyeliner dries down quickly, then becomes completely smudge- and fade-proof. Without it, the formula would be... well, a lot like many of the other clean eyeliner formulas out there today, which tend to bleed, run, and transfer. (We can't be too mad these formulas exist though—they're the reason we wanted to create our revolutionary formula!)
Now let's talk about safety. If you swear by Environmental Working Group (or EWG) ratings, acrylates copolymer is rated a very safe two, meaning there's little to no risk when it comes to cancer, developmental and reproductive toxicity, and allergies and immunotoxicity. The only thing found of note is that versions of the ingredient that aren't highly purified—which we would never use while formulating, by the way—can cause skin irritation. (Source: International Journal of Toxicology, November 2002, Supplement 3, pages 1-50)
So, yeah, we don't recommend judging an ingredient by its sorta scary name. And when it comes to eyeliner, there's definitely bigger fish to fry, like carbon black, which is found in many conventional eyeliners out there and rates a whopping 10 by EWG.