Having originated in the USA, clean beauty is now as much a go-to there as it is here. So how come it’s such a success? Here we tell you all there is to know.
The name and concept originated in the USA, logically enough, because it is the country where everything is possible. While in France, more than 1,300 substances are banned outright, in the USA, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) blacklist is limited to a dozen or so undesirables! So when clean beauty came about in the USA, allowing beautystas to know what’s what, it was an immediate triumph. So what accounts for this runaway success that’s spreading all over the world?
Because clean beauty provides reassurance
Even though the rules are neither laid down in writing nor protected by official certification, they are about offering natural brands, most often but not necessarily organic. Moreover, they are sustainable, fairtrade, environmentally responsible, ethically sound, locally sourced, ecologically sound, cruelty free and transparent (hence the notion of “clear beauty”) and, of course, produced without child exploitation. Clean beauty, which is still a little fuzzy around the edges (but less and less so), has quickly swept through France, where its success is growing continually. It was boosted by the pandemic, which has put short supply chains, healthy products and the idea of solidarity front and centre of consumers’ priorities more than ever.
Because the skin wants (more of) it
The craze for lengthy lists of ingredients, and especially obscure ingredients, is over. Women, and their skin, are crying out for the less is more approach. That means clear, easy-to-understand, traceable formulations made up of well-known, recognised and natural active ingredients. These minimalist formulations are respectful of, and perfectly tolerated by, the skin’s ecosystem. And for good reason, since lifestyle factors, in which stress still plays a major role, leave the skin increasingly reactive. Added to that are climate change, increased pollution and processed foods. These compromise the microbiota, meaning intestinal flora and thus all types of flora, including that of the skin. It ends up being reactive, to the point of developing intolerances or allergies, and can no longer tolerate anything but clean beauty products.
Because clean brands make sense
Far from simply concocting clean formulas as a matter of “principle” or as a marketing ploy, the brands that have been caught up in the clean wave do so in good faith. Wanting to help build a better world, they define themselves as driven by the eco-community mindset and stand out by taking action in favour of climate change mitigation. They do so by reducing their carbon footprint and favouring eco-designed packaging (recycled, recyclable, refillable, made of glass or aluminium rather than plastic or recycled plastic flotsam). They also donate a portion of their profits to relevant causes (marine conservation or that of flora and fauna, involvement in in the greening of cities and reforestation, etc.) In their research, they also focus on subjects that go beyond the content of their formulations. For example, marine active ingredients have an array of benefits and therapeutic potential that go beyond the health and beauty of the skin. Clean brands have a mission, instilled into them by their founders, and this is what makes them so powerful.
Because clean beauty is going mainstream!
Thanks to social media and influential women’s media outlets that talk about it a great deal, consumers have become familiar with it. And since the retail sector has been giving over significant space to it, it is now easier to find. At Oh My Cream ! (the forerunner), on green e-commerce sites like Botymist (which allows you to search for products based on the list of their ingredients and active ingredients), in department stores and good pharmacies, etc. Influencers discuss it conscientiously and enthusiastically, saving newbies who want to buy clean products a lot of time. We like Lauren Ferree @relauren, a principled green blogger, Celeste Thomas @celestethomas, an American influencer and nurse who also gives daily advice on her blog, and Lyla @naturellement_lyla, the French influencer whose blog naturellementlyla.com addresses all clean beauty topics in the form of advice, tests and tutorials, etc. The more people talk about clean beauty (in a positive way), the more it gains credibility.
And to tell you the truth, we’ll keep right on talking about it.