What is Clean Beauty?

While the definition of Clean Beauty seems to vary depending on who you ask, there are a few criteria that everyone seems to agree on.

  1. Non-toxic ingredients – while the ingredients in clean brands don’t necessarily need to be organic or completely natural, they must not be harmful to our health or the planet.
  2. Transparency with labeling – clean brands not only list all of the ingredients in their products, but they don’t have any “mystery” ingredients (like fragrance, which can be a multitude of unhealthy things).
  3. Eco-conscious or sustainable practices – clean brands are mindful of their impact on the environment and many have gone to zero waste, use clean energy sources, and are carbon neutral.

Why do I use Clean Beauty?

I believe that what we put on our bodies is just as important as what we put in them – I don’t feed my body a steady diet of unhealthy foods, so why would I want to feed my skin unhealthy ingredients? I’ve struggled with acne and reactive/sensitive skin since I was 9 years old and it wasn’t until I started educating myself more on the ingredients used in skincare and makeup & switched to cleaner products did I see any improvement in my skin. I am also very passionate about being a good steward of this beautiful planet that God has given us, so it would be hypocritical of me to use products or support brands that harm the environment or myself. Also, most clean beauty brands are small businesses run by women or families, made in small batches with ethical ingredients and I prefer to spend my money there instead of just on corporate brands. No judgment toward anyone who loves conventional products – this is just my personal preference. I’m not a purist and I don’t judge or criticize anyone for what they use. I do hope to inspire more people to support some of these small brands that are trying to make a difference. As a side note, I just turned 52 in February and my skin still looks young as ever, so there definitely are some other perks to using these cleaner brands.

The Clean Beauty Revolution

I’ll be honest, even though clean beauty is still a relatively new-ish concept, I’ve been exposed to it since the 70s. My mom was a Shaklee consultant and they had what was considered back then clean make-up. Was it good? Not really. The colors weren’t very true and the coverage was just ok. It didn’t help that the shade my mom had was way darker than my pale skin and only made my acne look worse! There weren’t really a lot of clean brands back then, but I do remember Tom’s of Maine and a few others that existed in the 70s. You mostly had to go to a health or wellness store to find any of these brands at that time.

The ’90s saw Whole Foods expand beyond its home of Austin, TX and its beauty aisles gave us aluminum-free deodorants and natural soaps. Burts Bees gave us beeswax lip balm. 

By 2010 clean beauty retailers such as The Detox Market, popped up, providing an array of gorgeous products that people looking to use healthier ingredients craved. In 2013, I began my blog (then called Chickweed & Blush) while recovering from back surgery to share my struggles with acne and other health issues and my journey to using exclusively clean products. 

Back when I started, there were about 10 or so of us in the clean beauty blogosphere – now there are hundreds of clean beauty bloggers and even more consumers demanding non-toxic products. This demand has caused many conventional brands to abandon some of the toxic ingredients they were using and reformulate using more people and planet-friendly ones. 

With the concern about climate change, something that most everyone can agree is an issue, it stands to reason why so many consumers are flocking to the natural beauty sections of stores – people want products to be effective, high performing, healthy for their skin and not cause damage to the environment. Clean Beauty offers all of that. 

While critics of the clean beauty movement maintain that it’s a scam or that because there is no regulation for the beauty industry as a whole, brands can say whatever they want to get you to buy their products. And while that part is true, it is up to the brands themselves to decide what they consider to be “clean”. Pretty much all of the brands I have seen calling themselves “clean” refrain from using the top toxic ingredients, they’re cruelty-free and use eco-conscious practices. 

My advice is to educate yourself on what clean beauty is, what ingredients are truly toxic, and why and then read the labels of products to see if they contain any of the really bad offenders.  Also remember, that a product doesn’t need to be perfect, everyone has their own idea of what they consider to be “clean enough”. 

I know it can be a bit daunting to figure out what is truly clean, what’s “greenwashed”, and what’s even worth spending your money on. My goal is to help you sift through that noise so that you can find brands that will work for you, your standards, and your budget. 

What are your thoughts on the Clean Beauty Industry?

If you have any questions on ingredients, products that work, or where you should even start, feel free to contact me!

You can also download my two free guides on Clean Beauty:

Clean Beauty Guide

Budget-Friendly Clean Beauty Swaps

Chat Soon,

Brie xo

*Affiliate link is used. All photos were taken by and are property of Brie Louise Zimmerman, please do not use without permission.

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@Brie Louise Creative Studio 2024

based in cambria, ny & working with clients worldwide