Is Clean Beauty Just a Marketing Trick?
Updated: Jul 21
Many mainstream brands have started to label their products as “clean beauty” because consumers are more interested in knowing what they are putting on their skin. This label has experienced the highest growth in recent years, and brands are eager to cash in on the trend.
The average consumer now pays more attention to the ingredients on the label because they understand that some elements are dangerous for the environment, can damage the skin, and should never be used in beauty products to began with. (Ex: Plastic microbeads used in face wash.)
Many consumers also have sensitive skin caused by stressful lifestyles, air pollution, and poor nutrition. Consumers are interested in products that are formulated with as few ingredients as possible.
But, if we look deeper, what does the word “clean” mean? How exactly can it be defined? Are the products labeled as “clean” more effective than others? If they are clean and use natural ingredients, does that automatically mean the product is suitable for our skin?
So many questions and so much confusion, so let’s take a closer look.
What is "clean" beauty?
This cosmetic trend has no formal and strict definition. No one can tell you what is best for your skin. “Clean” and plant-based products are supposed to be a safe alternative. But, in practice, it isn’t that simple. If the product is labeled as “clean,” it doesn’t mean it can’t be harmful to the skin in any way. Every skin is different and reacts differently to any ingredient. At its core, “clean” beauty focuses on the impact of cosmetic products on our health and eliminating proven toxic ingredients. The marketing refers to eco-friendly cosmetics that are formulated without chemicals but with natural and vegan ingredients instead. But, sometimes, the natural ingredients can cause more problems to your skin than some synthetic ingredients. (Ex. Walnuts shouldn't be used as an exfoliate on your face because they can cause micro-tears.)
Also, “clean” labeled products aren't necessarily free of all chemical additives, and the label does not only apply to organic or natural cosmetics.
To sum it up
“Clean” doesn’t always mean safe. There is no specific formula that can define what clean beauty really means. Skincare is an extensive business and requires heavy marketing. Companies use many marketing tricks to convince people to buy certain products. To help you make the right purchasing decisions focus on your skin needs first. Also, do your research on what ingredients are scientifically proven, beneficial, and safe.