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Clean cosmetics

Article and photo by Lisa Nicklanovich

Photo of "clean" beauty products.

A surge in consumer interest in clean beauty has resulted in many new products on the market as well as mainstream businesses curating clean beauty products. Clean beauty can refer to using nontoxic ingredients, being cruelty free, vegan, using sustainable sourcing of materials and packaging and positive impact brands that give back.

Demand for clean beauty products is on the rise. Since skin absorbs up to 60% of what is applied to the surface, concerned consumers are reading labels and paying more attention to what is in the skin products purchased and if they are safe. Skincare users are also looking into the sourcing and sustainability of the ingredients in skincare products, as well as the ethics of the companies selling the products.

Growing demand for clean products has resulted in a surge of businesses focusing on a unique version of clean beauty since the term is not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration. Most skincare experts agree the term generally means using nontoxic ingredients. Many companies are also addressing other consumer concerns such as recyclable packaging and cruelty-free testing.

Credo and Follain are two clean beauty curators and leaders in the industry. Both are a good place to start when looking to make some swaps; both meet stringent rules regarding ingredients, sustainable packaging and ethical sourcing. Cocokind is another clean brand committed to accessible price points. All three companies conduct extensive research on the products they recommend and the ones they create. Information about their clean beauty standards can be found on their websites.

Businesses such as Sephora, Ulta Beauty, CVS, and Target have added a clean seal to certain products that meet their own clean criteria based on ingredients and sustainability. Ulta Beauty, for example, selects brands to be part of their Conscious Beauty choices. On their website and in-store, consumers can select brands and products within categories that are important to them such as clean ingredients, cruelty free, vegan, sustainable packaging, or positive impact companies that give back.

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) website includes a Skin Deep Database that provides information on more than 61,000 products and rates them for safety. Search for an ingredient, brand or product before purchasing. The EWG offers a Healthy Living App and a number of thorough guides to products including sunscreens, makeup, hair, and baby products to name just a few.

Resident Riley Jenks, a licensed esthetician at Ulta Beauty, said, “I had skin issues myself and was putting things on my face that made it worse.” Jenks did extensive research on her own, which led to her interest in skincare and her passion for product science. Jenks said she avoids fragrance in everything because “you really don’t know what’s in it.” Jenks thinks the trend in clean beauty is leading to cosmetics that are not only safer to use but are better for your skin.

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