Natural, green, organic – what does ‘clean' beauty actually mean? And can you trust the brands that claim it?

Asia's Tech News Daily

Natural, green, organic – what does ‘clean’ beauty actually mean? And can you trust the brands that claim it?

A lot has been said about how the coronavirus pandemic is motivating people to be more discerning about what they put in their bodies. But the crisis may also be having a big effect on what they put on their bodies.

The concept of so-called clean beauty – make-up and skincare products marketed as free of harmful, artificial ingredients – is the latest catchphrase in a burgeoning world of products sold as sustainable, environmentally conscious or simply safer.

Demand has spiked over the past year. According to a July report by market researchers The NPD Group, some 68 per cent of consumers say they are looking for skincare brands that highlight “clean” ingredients.

“Consumers are more knowledgeable than ever about what they’re putting into their bodies and onto their skin, and there’s a desire to make healthy and environmentally conscious decisions,” said New York-based dermatologist Joshua Zeichner.

Natural, green, organic – what does ‘clean’ beauty actually mean? And can you trust the brands that claim it?

More consumers are looking for natural ingredients in their skincare products. Photo: courtesy of Bloomberg

But while the US Food and Drug Administration regulates cosmetics to make sure they’re not adulterated or misbranded, the agency isn’t tasked with approving most of these products before they hit the shelves. And though the phrase is often associated with naturally derived ingredients, there’s no standard definition for “clean” beauty.

In many cases, purveyors focus on what’s not included, as well as on environmentally friendly formulations and packaging, according to data analytics company NielsenIQ.

The fuzzy definition of “clean beauty” hasn’t stopped skincare giants from climbing aboard. In the first half of the year, sales at department and beauty speciality stores of products perceived as “clean” climbed by about 33 per cent to US$1.6 billion compared to the same period last year, according to NPD. Skincare and make-up alone experienced volume growth of more than 20 per cent each.

Major retailers such as Sephora and Ulta Beauty designate as “clean” everything from face cleansers to eyeshadow if they omit ingredients known or suspected to harm humans or the environment, the companies said.

Formulations that are vegan or don’t involve animal testing are also candidates for inclusion, and environmentally friendly packaging also comes into play, according to Ulta chief merchandising officer Monica Arnaudo.

Natural, green, organic – what does ‘clean’ beauty actually mean? And can you trust the brands that claim it?

Products from Net-a-Porter Net Sustain Platform, a clean and sustainable section of the online retailer.

At Sephora, such “clean” products range from lip gloss to foundation, sold under its own and third-party brands. “The landscape can be challenging, due to the vast number of terms or claims – natural, green, organic, etc,” Sephora vice-president of skincare merchandising Cindy Deily said.

Consumers should also know natural doesn’t automatically mean better or safer, said Zeichner, the dermatologist. Ingredients such as essential oils can trigger allergic reactions, especially for those with sensitive skin.

Moreover, most beauty products require preservatives to avoid microbial contamination, making formulations without any artificial ingredients hard to come by.

“The only all-natural skincare treatments would be the equivalent of smashing up an avocado and putting it directly on your face as a mask,” Zeichner said.

As far as what’s excluded, many of these products tout a lack of phthalates, which can be found in nail polish, hairspray and plastic packaging, and parabens, which is used as preservative.

The European Union has taken a more aggressive stance on some of these chemicals, while the FDA is still evaluating whether they are actually harmful to humans. Meanwhile, more than half of beauty and personal care products sold in the US are already parabens free, according to NielsenIQ.

Natural, green, organic – what does ‘clean’ beauty actually mean? And can you trust the brands that claim it?

Ingredients such as essential oils can trigger allergic reactions, especially for those with sensitive skin. Photo: Shutterstock

The “free from” category is driving growth, the research firm said.

While the ingredients aspect of “clean” beauty may be nebulous, the packaging part is a little more black-and-white. Personal-care product consumers are increasingly focused on sustainability across production and disposal, according to NielsenIQ senior vice-president of customer development Tara James Taylor.

“It’s not just about the ingredients any more, but about what is better for society,” James Taylor said. “We see accelerating sales growth for products that are ‘better for we’, which include a positive environmental impact.”

Moving forwards, NPD beauty industry adviser Larissa Jensen sees the next frontier involving “cleanical” brands, or those that build their lines around laboratory-tested benefits and ingredients while promising “clean, safe, synthetics”.

Internet Explorer Channel Network
Asia's Tech News Daily
News Related


Trading in embattled Chinese developer Kaisa suspended over new default concerns

Trading in shares of embattled Chinese developer Kaisa Group Holdings was suspended on Wednesday amid concerns over whether the home builder will default again. The suspension was “pending the release ... Read more »

Chanel, stung by backlash over US$825 advent calendar, says it will be ‘much more cautious' with launching products

Chanel has responded to a backlash that began in China weeks ago over its US$825 advent calendar filled with items like stickers and string bracelets. Bruno Pavlovsky, the president of ... Read more »

Hong Kong car parking space transactions to hit record high this year as investors return after stamp duty rollback

A limited supply of car parking spaces in Hong Kong, coupled with the removal of double stamp duty, has whetted investors’ appetite for this corner of the property segment, which ... Read more »

Chinese tech stocks extend gains on valuation hunt while Weibo slides below IPO in Hong Kong market debut

Chinese technology stocks extended gains as traders continued to scoop up bargains in the sector that has crashed 26 per cent to record low over the past six months. Weibo ... Read more »

China's biggest liquidity injection in three years not a game changer for BCA while HSBC fund sees muted impact

China is set to inject the biggest amount of liquidity into the system in more than three years from a cut in banks’ reserve ratio. Stock investors may need to ... Read more »

Offices may decamp to Hong Kong's Causeway Bay amid rental crash in the world's costliest retail strip

Causeway Bay looks increasingly more appealing as an office address, amid the rental crash in what was until recently the world’s most expensive retail shopping district. The monthly net office ... Read more »

Outlook dims on Kai Tak's waterfront land as Hong Kong's Northern Metropolis plan and land conversion add to city's supply glut

A distressed sale last week at Hong Kong’s former Kai Tak airport site has clouded the outlook of the city’s property market, as an expected glut of residential land weighs ... Read more »

How US-China monetary policy split could drive dollar gains against the yuan

Monetary policy divergence could push the US dollar-Chinese yuan exchange rate higher in the first quarter of 2022. With the Federal Reserve now waking up to the need to address ... Read more »

Queen hosts virtual audience from Windsor Castle as she continues with light duties

The Queen appears on a screen via video-link from Windsor Castle during a virtual audience with the Ambassador of Somalia, Abdulkadir Ahmed Kheyr Abdi (Aaron Chown/PA) (PA Wire) The Queen ... Read more »

Andrew Laming staffer dresses as Kyle Rittenhouse for delayed Halloween party

1 / 2Andrew Laming staffer dresses as Kyle Rittenhouse for delayed Halloween party A taxpayer-funded staffer for federal MP Andrew Laming, Barclay McGain, has posed with a paintball-style toy assault ... Read more »

‘Take a break': Instagram asks Gen Z users to spend less time using its app

Instagram on Tuesday launched a feature that urges teenagers to take breaks from the photo-sharing platform and announced other tools aimed at protecting young users from harmful content on the ... Read more »

Exclusive: Tencent's new game development studio in Singapore to boost city state's role as gaming hub

Tencent Holdings, the world’s largest video gaming company by revenue, will open its next game development studio in Singapore, which has emerged as a regional hub for game development after ... Read more »

More than a third of Hong Kong firms to step up hiring, almost 60 per cent to increase pay, CPA Australia survey finds

An increase in hiring and pay rises are in store for Hong Kong next year thanks to an improvement in the city’s economic outlook, according to a survey conducted by ... Read more »

How BTS's return to in-person concerts is bittersweet for Army in Hong Kong, with the K-pop stars' Los Angeles shows sparking feelings of joy, sadness and envy

As recently as 2019, BTS’s fans in Hong Kong could see the South Korean septet perform in the city multiple times a year, with concert tour dates and appearances at ... Read more »

Beijing leaves antitrust out of 2022 economic goals, focuses on technological development

China’s top policymaking body emphasised the country’s drive for technological self-sufficiency and innovation to address economic growth in 2022, shunning mentions of antitrust and the “disorderly expansion of capital” that ... Read more »

Natural History Museum dresses terrifying T-Rex in Christmas jumper

A giant Christmas jumper has been created for a Tyrannosaurus Rex at London’s Natural History Museum (Natural History Museum) The animatronic T-Rex in the Natural History Museum has been given ... Read more »

Climate Change: China should bankroll renewable energy transition in other coal-dependent countries, analysts say

China, which has pledged not to build more coal-fired power plants overseas, should financially help other coal-dependent developing countries such as Indonesia – where it has been the biggest foreign ... Read more »

Poppy Delevingne: ‘I used to be quite lazy with my style – now I want to dress like a disco ball'

Model Poppy Delevingne says bright lipstick and a pair of heels are the key to feeling party-ready – Matt Easton for Batch & Bottle You don’t need to spend long ... Read more »

‘We clicked over design theory and shopping': friends who formed a business together on their different skill sets that help them design everything from toilets to a mahjong set

It was in London some 13 years ago that Editecture’s Genevieve Chew and Jacqueline Chak became fast friends. One a chartered accountant with stacks of Vogue hidden in her office ... Read more »

The 10 top breakout K-drama actresses of 2021, from Jung Ho-yeon of Netflix's Squid Game – of course – to My Name and Nevertheless' Han So-hee and Vincenzo's Jeon Yeo-bin

Never before has the Hallyu Wave swept the globe as strongly as this year thanks to thrilling hits like Squid Game, Vincenzo and Beyond Evil, just to name a few. ... Read more »

AIA sells almost US$10 billion of coal-related investments as companies rush to sever ties with the fuel in their bid to go green

AIA Group has sold almost US$10 billion of investments in coal mining and coal-fired power businesses as pressure grows on financial firms to cut ties with the sector. The insurer ... Read more »

Changing work dynamics inject new life into Hong Kong's prime office sector

Covid-19 has driven a well-documented shift in working practices, with work-from-home policies providing flexibility to previously office-bound roles. However, employees are showing signs of missing the social interaction and professional ... Read more »

Rohingya refugees from Myanmar sue Facebook for US$150 billion for failing to stem hate speech

Rohingya refugees sued Facebook on Monday for US$150 billion over claims the social network is failing to stem hate speech on its platform, exacerbating violence against the vulnerable minority. The ... Read more »

Hong Kong stocks jump from 14-month low as China set to inject US$188 billion of liquidity to revive growth

Hong Kong stocks rebounded from near a 15-month low after China’s central bank moved to unleash US$188 billion of liquidity in the financial system to shore up economic growth by ... Read more »

NFT profits mostly go to insiders, study shows, with echoes of once-hot initial coin offerings for cryptocurrencies

Non-fungible tokens are one of the hottest things in cryptocurrencies right now, with the prospect of big gains should the latest collection rise in value. But a new study from ... Read more »

Blackstone, SilkRoad turn Hong Kong's industrial property into a hotspot with 54 per cent jump in investment

Global institutional funds have stepped up their purchases of industrial property in Hong Kong this year by 54 per cent, as Covid-19 continues to support bullish demand for data-centre and ... Read more »

UK business group calls on Beijing to improve market reforms and resume flights between two countries

The British Chamber of Commerce in China has called on the country to engage in greater reform and cultivate a more predictable business environment, in another call by a foreign ... Read more »

Audi ties up with Alibaba, Baidu, Tencent for in-car technology as it eyes young Chinese buyers

German luxury car brand Audi has formed tie-ups with several leading mainland technology companies to leverage their strengths and make its vehicles more attractive to Chinese buyers. Giorgio Delucchi, head ... Read more »

The teapot from hell? Why the Chinese restaurant staple needs a rethink – the traditional design is cheap, leaky and dangerous to handle, so why are we still using it?

The painful memory of my first run-in with this teapot still burns. When I was about 10 years old, my parents taught me the courtesy of pouring tea for everyone ... Read more »

Pinduoduo, NIO among 27 ADRs which could be eligible for secondary listings in Hong Kong -Goldman report

As many as 27 Chinese-American depositary receipts (ADRs) could be eligible for a secondary listing in Hong Kong, with the city likely to embrace companies that want to come home ... Read more »

How to be healthier – physically and mentally – in 2022: 7 tips you can use now, from eating more mushrooms to the best time to fall asleep at night, all backed by science

Working on your resolutions for the upcoming year? Add these seven to the list and you may reduce your risk of depression and heart disease, experience less stress, and even ... Read more »

Squid Game and Parasite tap into public anger over unaffordable housing

Since the Covid-19 pandemic erupted, house prices the world over have gone through the roof. In the fourth quarter of 2019, just before the virus began to spread like wildfire, ... Read more »

The niche skincare brands with best-selling products under £60

John Lewis found that skincare accounted for over a third of all beauty sales in 2021, with sales of facial cleansers growing by 82 percent, moisturisers by 80 percent and ... Read more »

Tennis legend Venus Williams smashes mental-health stigmas

Venus Williams is partnering with BetterHelp to offer $2 million in free therapy. EleVen by Venus Williams With 23 Grand Slam titles to her name and several booming side hustles ... Read more »

Aesthetician Dija Ayodele reveals the skincare red flags we should be aware of

Photo credit: Instagram Dija Ayodele is much more than an (excellent) aesthetician and skincare oracle; the owner of boutique London clinic West Room Aesthetics also uses her position to help ... Read more »

Why women are being given boxing gloves and ballet shoes instead of antidepressants

A woman boxing, sparring with a trainer’s pads – fotostorm/ Getty Images It’s long been known that physical exercise boosts mood and a general sense of wellbeing, as well as ... Read more »

US-China tech war: semiconductor links across Taiwan Strait faces political headwind

The long-standing bond between mainland China, the world’s second-largest economy, and semiconductor powerhouse Taiwan faces its stiffest challenge in decades amid increased cross-strait tensions and growing friction between Beijing and ... Read more »

All eyes on China Evergrande, Kaisa as indebted mainland developers face bond repayment deadlines

All eyes are once again on embattled Chinese developers, as they face bond repayment deadlines on Tuesday. Investors will be closely watching if China Evergrande Group, the mainland’s most indebted ... Read more »

As pregnant Jennifer Lawrence glows up, here's the best red-carpet bump looks ever

Watch: Pregnant Jennifer Lawrence reveals 'personal challenge' filming Don't Look Up Being pregnant is no fun when it comes to looking glamorous. Nothing that fits, swollen ankles, exhaustion, puffy face…or ... Read more »

Why modern line dancing is an ideal way for hijab-wearing Muslims to stay fit and age well, according to Malaysian mother of four

If you love dancing but your partner doesn’t, line dancing can be the perfect solution. “And if you’re a practising Muslim who is not supposed to get too close to ... Read more »
On you will find lots of free English exam practice materials to help you improve your English skills: grammar, listening, reading, writing, ielts, toeic