The Clean Beauty Movement has shaken up the beauty industry by transitioning from unethically produced cosmetics to sustainable and chemical-free products, placing a positive impact on the environment and consumers.
Sustainability has been an increasing trend among consumers with awareness around climate change. Health has dominated topics in society due to increasing discussion around environmental and individual well-being. The clean beauty movement focuses on sustainability to combat climate change and the health of its consumers with the ingredients they use daily.
Consumers have taken steps to impact change by researching brand footprints, ingredients, and demanding clean and truthful products. The clean beauty movement has been defined as a trend placing a higher emphasis on formulas, materials, and packaging free from problematic factors to one’s health and the planet’s.
The Beauty Industry is Moving Towards Sustainability
The beauty industry has a significant impact on wellness through the production of merchandise and ingredients incorporated. The clean beauty movement became popular after the increasing number of customers’ attention towards chemicals in beauty products, as well as their effects on the body and environment. Studies illustrate that more and more people are attentive to formulas in beauty products than in prior years.
Due to consumer pressure, businesses are shifting away from unconventional practices of animal cruelty and incorporating harmful chemicals in beauty products. Some cosmetic brands flourishing through eco-friendly actions consist of Lush, Fenty Beauty by Rihanna, Clean Beauty, Well People, and more. All ranging in their ecological impact from producing zero-waste packaging, clean ingredients, cruelty-free as well as other environmental benefits.
Lush produces clean cruelty-free goods ranging from makeup, soaps, and scrubs. In 2019, the company developed a recycling program, encouraging clients to bring-in old packaging, later used to create new products. The program reduces the brand’s ecological footprint.
Fenty Beauty focuses on the three R’s: reduce, reuse and recycle to give back to nature and help construct a livable planet. The business took on new strategies to limit plastic generation per unit by using post-consumer recycled materials. Fenty Beauty shifted its manufacturing process to develop easy to recycle materials and packaging, encouraging customers to use imagination in reusing products.
Let’s demand such actions from all cosmetic brands!
According to the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA), current laws claim that with the exception of color additives, cosmetic ingredients do not need approval before entering the market. Not only does the FDA does not provide a direct definition of “clean products,” but they also do not require testing the safety of the merchandise.
Such unclarities leave businesses in the beauty industry unable to control unethical manufacturing. As a result, the environment and consumers end up paying the price of the FDA’s limited supervision of the product production process.
The Clean Beauty Movement
The clean beauty movement focuses on healthy ingredients, transparency, and being eco-friendly.
Yet, vegan and organic packaging labels do not automatically ensure that products are ethically produced and sustainable. All businesses have ecological footprints, but should strive to become transparent to better understand the environmental and customer needs.
The clean beauty movement has made the industry significantly alter its products, as companies today can no longer afford to overlook their environmental impacts on both customers and the planet. The green and organic movement emerging in many industries including food, fashion, and automobile leave no excuses for beauty companies to stay behind.
The term “clean” honors organic ingredients but may still incorporate some synthetics that scientists prove to be safe for both individuals and the planet, undermining the natural factor. Businesses claiming to be “natural” can also be clean and contain synthetics. Formulas do not have to be natural, organic, or vegan to be considered clean. They are only required to be safe to use regardless of their ingredients.
Some scientists argue that companies incorporating chemicals in formulas are safe to consume in low doses. Scientists and estheticians have developed man-made ingredients safe to use in cosmetics to preserve their organic formulas. Although some synthetics are safe to use, the ambiguity of the damage some create with usage over long periods of time leaves customers with unknown information of cosmetics they use on their skin.
It should be the brands’ responsibility to provide consumers with the most accurate information of the chemicals used in their products.
Europe’s vs. the US’s Regulation over Chemicals Used in Beauty Products
Although the clean movement spread globally, businesses and consumers have a long way to go. According to the Environmental Working Group, the European Union has banned a total of over 1,300 chemicals incorporated in beauty products, while the United States has only banned 11. Studies conclude that out of the harmful chemicals, women in the United States use 168 on a daily basis.
The controversial chemicals found in beauty products provide damaging effects with a significant impact on both the skin and health of customers. It is essential for government regulations and brands to provide accurate information and better restrictions on the chemicals being used to ensure the safety of customers and the planet are top of mind.
How Beauty Products Consumers Can Make a Difference
As the beauty industry becomes more environmentally conscious, it takes both companies and consumers to sustain the clean beauty movement’s impact.
Customers should demand change with each dollar they spend. By refusing to purchase from unethical brands contributing to an unsustainable and unhealthy environment, consumers are voicing their concerns and preferences as to what they decide to support.
Ingredients such as petroleum, microbeads, surfactants, fragrance, and propylene glycol often found in beauty products harm the planet. Petroleum contributes to climate change as a byproduct of the oil refining process and fossil fuels. Microbeads, often found in scrubs, soaps, and face masks end up in water streams – making it difficult for marine life to prosper.
Consumers should strive away from such elements while performing individual research on products that are best for them and the planet.
A study regarding female internet users found that 65% of women would pay more for clean beauty products, 43% would pay more for environmentally responsible packaging, and 67% of them believe packaging should be ecologically friendly. These numbers proofs consumers’ preference towards sustainable and clean products, forcing companies to adapt and keep up with demand.
The FDA further states, “organic” labels require to surpass both theirs and the United States Department of Agriculture regulations. Brands often falsely claim to be organic and are prohibited from using such labels. Guidelines ensure truthful formulas by expecting at least 95% organic material to receive a USDA logo.
The FDA does not require businesses to report information regarding ingredients and formulas. The agency affirms the safety of developing cosmetics through existing toxicological information on items similar to the product or by performing additional tests. Although there are not many regulations, the FDA can seek legal actions against brands not following the law.
As customers are seeking out cleaner products in all industries, businesses developing transparency while actively seeking sustainability will form competitive advantages over companies that are promising change but not delivering.
It is up to the consumers to demand clean cosmetics from businesses, require FDA testing on formulas and ingredients, and encourage Congress to pass laws forbidding brands from damaging us and the planet with unclean products.
As consumers, we should hold companies accountable for not providing the best and safest merchandise.
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