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This Retailer Is Demystifying What It Means To Be "Clean" In The Beauty Industry

February 15, 2022
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Image by Marti Sans / Stocksy
February 15, 2022

There's no denying that clean beauty is on the rise. With new indie brands coming out every day and big brands jumping on the (clean) bandwagon as well, the consumer's demand for ingredient and sourcing transparency has been heard. Just last month, both Chanel and Bobbi Brown launched their own clean beauty lines, with many others right behind them. 

But the question still remains, what does it really mean to be "clean"? After all, we've been duped by vague marketing language before. Remember the days of thinking that "all-natural" claims on food labels actually meant all-natural? Because there's no nationwide definition for clean beauty in the U.S., it's hard to know what to look for.  

Unless you're a beauty expert or a scientist, you likely won't even know what half of the listed ingredients are–because who has time for a Google deep dive in the checkout aisle? For all these reasons and more, Sephora created a Clean beauty seal to clearly identify clean products for their community, both in-store and online.

How does Sephora decipher what's clean?

If a product is labeled as Clean at Sephora, it means that the brand complies with certain criteria, which focus on brand positioning, transparency in formulation and sourcing, and the avoidance of certain ingredients. In the last few years, Sephora has expanded their "formulated without" list to include 40-plus ingredient groups that are known or suspected to be harmful to human health or the environment. 

The Clean seal is a way of offering shoppers one clear and robust definition of "Clean" that holds true across skin care, makeup, fragrance, and hair care. It makes it possible for individuals looking for clean products to go in and know exactly what to grab, without confusion. And if they're curious to learn more about what the Clean seal entails, Sephora offers an up-to-date list on their website including all of the ingredients that have been left out.

Image by Hernandez & Sorokina / Stocksy

Clean beauty faves.

Sephora has over 100 clean beauty brands to choose from, all labeled with a bright green seal you can't miss. But for those of you looking to dip your toes into the clean beauty pool and unsure where to start, we've got you covered. Here are some clean beauty favorites, all found at Sephora:

  • Youth To The People Kale + Spinach Superfood Cleanser: A good cleanser is an essential part of any beauty routine. This award-winning face wash is made with cold-pressed antioxidants to remove makeup, prevent buildup in pores, and support the skin's pH balance. Perfect for any skin type, it's rich in skin-loving phytonutrients and vitamins C, E, and K, which promote healthy, glowing skin.
  • Tatcha The Water Cream: Next up is a solid moisturizer. This oil-free, pore-minimizing cream provides nutrient-rich, balanced hydration through a unique water-burst that breaks upon application to deliver nourishment without that sticky, greasy feeling. Its powerful Japanese botanicals also tighten the pores and smooth skin texture.
  • Ilia Balmy Tiny Hydrating Lip Balm: You don't have to choose between lip balm and lip color—Ilia offers a product that gives you both! This clean tinted lip balm contains moisture-boosting ingredients that help lips look smoother, softer, and plumper. Just pick your shade!
  • JVN Hydrating Air Dry Hair Cream: If you are constantly battling hair frizz, then JVN's Air Dry Hair Cream is a must-have. Use it when styling your hair (no matter your hair type) for a buildable, touchable hold that lets your natural texture shine. It also protects the hair from UV damage.
  • The 7 Virtues Vanilla Woods Eau de Parfum: Clean fragrances can be hard to find, but Sephora has a vast selection. The 7 Virtues Vanilla Woods is perfect for anyone who loves a warm and spicy scent. Offering aromatherapy benefits, its sustainably sourced vanilla—complemented by pear and rose notes—helps to alleviate stress. Smell great and feel great!
  • Kosas Revealer Super Creamy + Brightening Concealer: Whether you struggle with dark spots, hyperpigmentation, or tired eyes, a good concealer can make all the difference. This one doubles as an eye cream and visibly brightens the skin. The caffeine and pink algae extract fight dark circles, puffiness, and dullness, while the arnica and panthenol calm blemishes and redness.

Getting clear on clean beauty.

It can be hard to navigate the crowded beauty industry. And with common marketplace terms like natural, organic, and green thrown around freely, it's difficult to know what's actually clean and what's not. Sephora's criterion goes above and beyond such vague parameters, offering a range of innovative products and brands that customers have grown to love and trust. Just look for that little green seal and you're good to go!

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