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What is Clean Beauty?


What is Clean Beauty?

Clean Beauty? Remember the name of this new trend which will soon be as famous as organic beauty and natural beauty. It declares itself cleaner and more responsible, with greener, sustainable, fair trade, eco-responsible and ethical beauty products.

What exactly is this new trend? What is Clean Beauty?

Clean Beauty (or Clean Beauty) is an underlying trend where health and eco-responsibility take center stage. It brings to fruition this profound change among consumers who are seeking more transparency, safety and health for their skin and for the planet .

What is the definition of Clean Beauty?

There is none, it is neither a label nor a brand but a profound movement amplified by the environmental and health crises.

A notion with fuzzy contours

This notion of “ clean beauty ” remains vague since it still has no official definition. It can only be subjective, with each brand appropriating these two words in its own way. Beyond beauty products, Clean Beauty has become a generic term. Synonymous with virtuous cosmetics, Clean Beauty today includes the formula of course, the packaging but also the entire value chain, ethics and transparency.

A global concept

Being clean, beyond the product itself, also means not exploiting children, being cruelty free... Note that China has finally, in January 2021, renounced imposing the practice of animal testing for cosmetics French entering their market. A revolution !

Clean Beauty also takes into account the entire ecosystem of the product, packaging and environmental impact.

The origin of Clean Beauty

Clean beauty - WE ARE CLEAN

Behind these two words, clean and beauty, initially lies the whole American paradox, the country where she was born.

Very different laws depending on the continents

In the United States, only 8 substances are banned by the powerful FDA (Food & Drug Administration) in formulas. Whereas in European regulations, 1383 ingredients and families of ingredients are prohibited! Which makes Europe the strictest area in the world in terms of cosmetic legislation. It's reassuring.

A concept born in the United States

It is therefore no coincidence that in the absence of specific regulations, the concept of Clean Beauty was born in the United States in 2000. It was necessary to remedy this gap and reassure consumers hungry for information, transparency, honesty, sincerity and above all concerned about the health of their skin and that of the planet.

Why such enthusiasm for Clean Beauty?

It was really born from a health issue, and the health-beauty relationship has become even more pressing since the Covid pandemic.

Increasingly sensitive skin

Consumers are concerned about their skin, which has never been so sensitive and irritable, or even allergic. The sharp increase in visits to dermatologists attests to this. Stress and pollution have also been there.
The accumulation of ingredients on the skin and the (sometimes harmful) interaction between them also explains this increase in the number of sensitive skin.

The awakening of eco-consciousness

The awakening of eco-consciousness - Clean Beauty - WE ARE CLEAN

Today's consumers, concerned about their health and their environment, thirst for truth and are looking for reassurance. They demand strong commitment from brands and boycott them if they do not carry meaning.

The composition of formulas, a growing concern

The figures for Clean Beauty prove it. A Kantar study from the end of 2019 shows that 44% of French people pay attention to the composition of beauty hygiene products, and a Prisma Media Solution study from September 2020 states that “62% of French people demonstrate an interest in natural, organic and vegan ". 44% of them would already buy it. Their motivations? “Take care of myself and my health (68%), be part of a global approach to responsible consumption (60%), adapt my products to my dermatological problems (27%)”.

If Clean Beauty especially appeals to young people on social networks, more than a third of consumers still don't know what to think of it (Prisma Media Solution study).

The characteristics of Clean Beauty

Clean Beauty represents a new mode of consumption, which is based on principles such as transparency, traceability of ingredients, respect for the skin and the environment, and recycling of packaging.

Clean Beauty formulas

The composition of “clean” products must be short and not contain certain undesirable and controversial ingredients. More precisely, it displays:

  • A limited ingredient list, no frills.
  • The INCI list (International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients) is written on all products, in Latin names, and it indicates the ingredients in descending order of concentration. The first are therefore the most important to check.
  • Organic or natural ingredients as an alternative to synthetic ingredients
  • Non-controversial ingredients, which eliminates the following families:
    • CMR ingredients (carcinogenic, mutagenic and toxic for reproduction)
    • Ingredients suspected of being endocrine disruptors
    • Ingredients suspected of various toxicities
    • Nanomaterials
    • Irritant, allergenic or comedogenic agents
    • Allergens

The list of unwanted ingredients to avoid

  • Parabens and phenoxyethanol
  • Mineral oils from petroleum (which would suffocate the skin)
  • Silicones (very polluting)
  • Certain sulfates such as SLS, a surfactant, i.e. a foaming agent (which would be irritating)
  • Aluminum salts (which some scientists believe are potentially carcinogenic)
  • Alcohols for their drying action on the epidermis
  • Perfumes that contain allergenic molecules
  • EDTA, a preservative considered toxic
  • PEG polymers which are obtained from polluting toxic gases

Clean Beauty manufacturing methods

  • In terms of production process, Clean Beauty of course favors green chemistry , qualified as sustainable or renewable chemistry. This manufacturing method applies the principles of sustainable development to the world of chemistry. It eliminates the use or production of substances harmful to the environment. This green chemistry respects the economic, social and environmental balance of the environment in which it is practiced.
  • Short circuits are recommended in order to limit the environmental impact. Hence the success of Made in France.
  • Other formulation choices, supposed to be more ecological, are also made by certain brands. Solid cosmetics with bar shampoos (like soaps ), or powdered cleansers to apply to damp skin, make it possible to avoid the preservatives necessary in traditional cosmetics, due to the presence of water in the formulas. . Solid cosmetics also offer the advantage of using less plastic since the formulas do not need to be put in bottles.

Clean Beauty packaging

This is probably one of the most difficult points to address because there is no perfect model yet, but manufacturers are working on it.

  • Environmentally friendly packaging
  • Eco-responsible, eco-designed, with minimal packaging
  • Recycled, recyclable, reusable, refillable, biodegradable
  • With a low carbon impact,
    The packaging choices are towards glass and aluminum, rather than plastic.
Packaging - Clean Beauty - WE ARE CLEAN

The values ​​of Clean Beauty

At the heart of Clean Beauty, there is the requirement for general ethics, both human and environmental.

  • For men: brands and manufacturers in the sector participate in the protection of workers, the creation of responsible sectors, and the establishment of fair trade. They finance societal causes and adopt a philanthropic approach. The Clean Beauty ethic obviously prohibits using children to work in any way.
  • For the planet: some cosmetic companies help with the planting of trees, carbon offsetting, the preservation of oceans and wildlife, others favor the local circuit, respect for water... all initiatives where brands compete to protect the planet.

Clean Beauty apps

Developed using artificial intelligence, they take stock of the product. The most known

  • Clean Beauty was created by a pharmacist. Its app analyzes the composition and therefore the ingredients, but does not rate the product.
  • INCI Beauty offers a product sheet with a rating. However, the database is smaller and the ranking of products depends on their popularity.
  • Yuka, a variation of the food version, has a source base of 500,000 cosmetics. She rates each product by applying a penalty for each controversial ingredient.
  • Quel Cosmetic (UFC Que Choisir) makes it possible to identify undesirable substances based on the barcode (but does not consider the evolution of formulations).
  • Claire, the application from FEBEA (the Federation of Beauty Industries), which was launched at the end of 2020, dissects each ingredient, explaining the reasons for the controversy when there is one.

All these applications do not have the same criteria and currently only take into account the product formula, which explains different results from one app to another.

Other sources of information on Clean Beauty

To avoid relying solely on apps and their very strong opinions, it is desirable to obtain information from other stakeholders who provide nuances and explanations.

  • Clean Beauty specialist stores are multiplying. The reference in the field – Oh My Cream! – is the precursor of concept stores which offer a specialized cast of international, high-end clean brands, with great attention paid to advice.
  • Online multi-brand platforms dedicated to clean products such as Botymist, a site on which you can search for a product based on the ingredients it contains.
  • The numerous Clean Beauty blogs and reference sites such as the Ohmycream blog.
  • The influencers of course, very active on Instagram to extol the merits of Clean Beauty like @naturally_lyla , @eau_neuve .
  • The cosmetics industry. It is interesting to have the vision of Febea, Federation of Beauty Industries.

Be careful with “clean washing”!

As is often the case when a new trend emerges, certain opportunistic brands seek to ride the wave and their marketing departments cannot resist the temptation of “clean washing”. Clean Beauty is then limited to an overused sales argument that does not correspond to reality. Because clean assumes honesty, sincerity, authenticity. And also humility because, once again, the perfect Clean Beauty does not exist.

So there you have it, it’s all about compromise and finding the “best possible” for yourself. Track clean ingredients of course, but also the eco-responsibility of packaging, product traceability, locality, transparency, and brand ethics. What if you only had to remember one thing? Being clean means being minimalist: avoid formulas that are too long and favor simple skincare routines. Less is more.


What is Clean Beauty?

Clean Beauty is a concept that emphasizes the use of beauty and skin care products that are formulated with natural and safe ingredients, while avoiding substances harmful to health and the environment. This approach favors non-toxic, organic, vegan and animal-friendly products. The aim is to promote transparency, sustainability and responsibility in the beauty industry, offering healthier and environmentally friendly alternatives for wellness-conscious consumers. Clean Beauty also encourages waste reduction, use of sustainable packaging materials and awareness of ethical practices.

Which apps should I use to scan beauty products?

Several apps can be used to scan beauty products and decipher their ingredients . Among the most popular are “Yuka”, which gives a health rating to scanned products, “Clean Beauty”, which identifies unwanted ingredients, “INCI Beauty”, which provides a detailed analysis of ingredients, and “Think Dirty” , which assesses the potential for health impact. These applications help consumers make informed decisions by choosing safer and health-friendly beauty products.