‘Clean Beauty’ Is Trending. Here’s What It Means

clean beauty trend

We’re all about healthy eating (most of the time, anyway) and reducing our exposure to toxins at home, but lately, we’ve been hearing the word “clean” thrown around a lot when it comes to our beauty routine. And to be honest? We’re kind of confused. We did some research to find out what the term really means (and if it’s worth buying into).

What does clean beauty mean?

While there’s no official definition, most skin-care experts agree that “clean beauty” means using non-toxic ingredients (think: ingredients you can actually pronounce and recognize). And while there’s often a focus on natural ingredients like plant extracts, safe lab-made ingredients can also make the cut.

What ingredients are Not on the label?

Proven or suspected harmful ingredients like parabens, sodium lauryl sulfate, triclosan and synthetic fragrances and dyes.

Got it. And should I buy into the clean beauty hype?

Well, yes and no. Opting for non-toxic ingredients in your skin-care and makeup is always a good idea. “These ingredients are safe for your skin and will not cause long-term skin irritations,” Dana Roberts, founder and owner of Maile Organics, tells us. But here’s the thing—the beauty industry is actually pretty unregulated meaning that there’s no law over who can use the word “clean.” 

How can I switch to a clean beauty routine?

Making sure that you’re actually using “clean beauty” products takes some research. Scan the labels for any of the big offenders listed above or alternatively, find a couple brands that you trust and stick with them. (FYI, we like Tata Harper, goop and True Botanicals.) Need more suggestions? Here are 12 clean beauty products the internet loves and 7 non-toxic dupes for your favorite conventional beauty standbys.

The bottom line:

Putting on an all-natural moisturizer won’t magically give you Meghan Markle’s glowing complexion (sorry). “Clean beauty is a way of life,” says Roberts. “Just like one salad won’t make you healthy overnight, clean beauty is an additional part of a clean lifestyle.” (But hey, it can’t hurt to try.)

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Executive Editor

Alexia Dellner is an executive editor at PureWow who has over ten years of experience covering a broad range of topics including health, wellness, travel, family, culture and...