Clean beauty, natural beauty, green beauty—what does it all mean and why should you care? There are a ton of misconceptions about toxin-free skincare, sunscreen, makeup, fragrance, and hair care products. You might think it’s expensive, of course, or hard to find, or even not really necessary.
But this genre is only getting bigger and bigger, especially thanks to Sephora’s huge announcement of their new shopping category called “Clean at Sephora,” which is an in-store and online initiative making it easier to both identify and shop for brands and products that prioritize leaner ingredients. Each product designated as “clean” by Sephora will now have a green seal of approval on the packaging so you can quickly identify it.
But what does “clean” mean when it comes to beauty? In general, when that word is thrown around in beauty, it’s meant to say it’s without—specifically without a long list of ingredients, like sulfates, parabens, formaldehydes, formaldehyde-releasing agents, phthalates, mineral oil, retinyl palmitate, oxybenzone, coal tar, hydroquinone, triclosan, and triclocarban. (Other retailers, like Follain and CAP Beauty, have a restricted list much, much longer though; more of their products are on the full organic side.)
Why should you care about that list of ‘no-no’s’? As Follain explains on their site, “Ingredients can be harmful for different reasons. Some may dry out skin while others have been linked to cancer. Often, these ingredients are put into products to make them more pleasing—whether to smell a certain way, create a richer lather or give them a longer shelf life. But our bodies don’t know how to process them.”
Still with us? Good, because with this Sephora initiative and focus on cleaner products, we’re one step closer to making things easier, which is entirely the point of clean beauty—it should be easy for you to identify exactly what’s in a product.
This Sephora movement is rad, no doubt, but brands like CAP Beauty, Follain, Credo, Shen Beauty, and Goop, paved the way here. Each of these companies is trying to make the world of toxin-free beauty easier to understand and empowering you with knowledge, thanks in part to their blogs, like Follain’s Clean Beauty 101 or Shen’s Blog, that break down everything from aluminum-free deodorants to expecting mother’s beauty in simple terms.
If you’re newer to clean beauty, entering this world can feel a bit like learning a new language with all the jargon. Allow us to make a few suggestions of places to start or products we’re pretty sure you’re going to love.
Brightening Cleanser, Indie Lee, $32
Super gentle, super effective, and the packaging is super pretty. Indie Lee is a great company to look into too at the start of your clean beauty journey. Indie started mixing her own beauty products after a brain tumor had her looking into the link between health and skincare. Every product is chic, non-toxic, and solution-oriented (aka, gets stuff done!).
Get Happy Body Wash, PLANT Apothecary, $7 (travel size)
This body wash is bright, uplifting, fresh scent, but without all the parabens, SLS and silicones (or harsh scents). And it’s handmade in Brooklyn, by a team of adults with physical and medical disabilities at the nonprofit BKLYN UNLTD workshop.
Body Cream, Grown Alchemist, $26
Strong, powerful citrus scent, but without any chemicals or toxins (actually organic to boot, too). And the added boost of Vitamins A, C, and E for skin nourishing, too.
Un Cover-Up Concealer/Foundation, RMS Beauty, $36
Amazing makeup doesn’t have to be full of chemicals, as proven entirely by RMS Beauty’s formulas that cover like a dream and are actually raw, food-grade, and organic.
Every Day Shampoo, Playa Beauty, $32
A hydrating, coconut-derived shampoo that cleanses hair but doesn’t strip the hair of it’s natural oils. The whole brand itself is designed to be super versatile and effective, but without all the fuss and chemicals.