Clean beauty is a term that’s emerged over the last few years. While the term “clean beauty” doesn’t have a legal definition, it’s come to encompass beauty and self-care products that are green, organic, natural, and environmentally safe.
For beauty and self-care brands, it’s a way to differentiate themselves from brands that use preservatives, artificial colors, or ingredients they deem to be harmful. For consumers, it’s a way of life.
While the manufacturers, government agencies, and consumers might not agree on the definition of clean, there are some trends that are emerging in the “clean beauty” landscape. Here are six of them.
Trend 1: Clean Beauty is Here to Stay
The first clean beauty trend — clean beauty itself is here to stay. Expect more brands to add the word “clean” to their marketing and advertising, and expect more consumers to search for clean beauty products.
As Mind Body Green puts it, consumers don’t care about beauty for the sake of beauty. They care about beauty for the sake of themselves.
Need proof? Take a look at the volume of searches for “clean beauty” over the last five years, according to Google.
What, exactly, does “clean” mean when it’s used with beauty products?
Clean beauty products are typically defined as being safe for human use, but there is no legal definition and no industry standard, which means companies can use the term to mean many things. For some, clean means not tested on animals. For others it can mean:
● Free from certain chemicals, such as parabens
● Meeting some standards for sustainability
● Fragrance free and free of artificial colors
● All natural (although that has no industry-standard definition)
Clean beauty may be here to stay, but its definition will evolve until there is an industry standard. For now, consumers should decide for themselves what clean beauty means and don’t reject all chemicals and ingredients without researching their origins.
Trend 2: More Clean ‘Maskne’ Products
No thanks to COVID-19, wearing masks has created challenges to skin care routines, causing some people to break out on their faces because they wear masks all day. This trend produced the portmanteau “maskne” — mask + acne.
While there are clean ways to treat acne, especially when it comes to daily skin cleansing, many experts still recommend seeing a dermatologist to treat acne. If you are concerned about the chemicals in acne treatments, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.
The key is to educate yourself, then define for yourself what “clean” means. Be careful not to dismiss scientific-sounding names though, and assume they’re not clean just because the ingredients are produced in labs. Salicylic acid, for example, is an organic compound, and it is plant based — by most standards it’s clean. Dermatologists have long recommended salicylic acid as a way to prevent and treat breakouts.
Trend 3: A Cleaner Overall Beauty Look
Maybe it’s because more people are working from home, they’re going out less, or they are still socially distancing, but natural beauty is making a comeback. That means ditching the artificially long eyelashes, scaling back on the heavy eyebrows and wearing more natural colors of makeup. For men, does this mean scaling back on that heavy facial hair? Nope. According to Dapper Confidential, big beards continue to be in fashion.
Trend 4: Peroxide-Free Teeth Whitening
Consumers are looking for more natural ways to brighten their smiles, including products that are free of hydrogen peroxide. Look for tooth whitening gels that use the earth’s natural minerals to whiten teeth while also protecting them from demineralization.
Trend 5: Natural Hair is Back
Again, maybe it’s because of social distancing, or maybe it’s the way fashion trends tend to go and come back, but expect to see more natural waves and curls in women’s and men’s hairstyles. Some experts say air drying and hair dryer diffusers are making a clean-beauty comeback, along with some very creative braids.
Trend 6: Scalp Care is a Thing
Several of the expert sources consulted for this roundup have found that scalp care has become very popular in the hair care industry. These products help reduce flakes and nourish hair at the roots.
For More Information
While beauty brands, consumers, and government agencies define what clean beauty means, it’s up to consumers to do their homework and decide what the term means for themselves.
If you have concerns about ingredients listed within beauty or self-care products, the American Chemistry Council maintains a consumer website called ChemicalSafetyFacts.org that contains information on hundreds of chemicals.