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What defines “Clean Beauty” Products?

Clean beauty and skincare products are all the rage right now, with natural ingredients and minimal routines trending. But, when a brand claims to use “clean” formulas, what does it actually mean?

Clean means Lean

Often, clean beauty refers to those products that contain little to no ingredients that may irritate your skin or have been shown to cause long-term harm to your body. These products avoid synthetic materials and chemicals such as sulfates, parabens, phthalates, and artificial fragrances or colorings.

The ingredients lists on clean beauty products tend to veer more towards botanically derived components, though they may not be 100% free of synthetic alternatives.

Clean vs. Organic

CLean beauty follows similar patterns to organic beauty but is held to a much less rigorous standard. For a product to be denoted organic, it must contain a minimum of 95% organic material and be completely free of GMOs.

Organic products must also follow strict handling and manufacturing guidelines.

Clean vs. Sustainable

While a broad focus on more natural ingredients tends to encourage sustainable production methods and tout a lower carbon footprint -- these products are not always a greener option.

Some clean beauty companies engage in “greenwashing” practices, meaning they market themselves to appear eco-friendly while still engaging in harmful mass production practices that include high waste, unsustainable materials, and destructive shipping. Always do your research on a brand’s behind-the-scenes sustainability practices before taking their environmental claims at face value.

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