Billionaire ‘clean beauty’ market faces identity problems


the concept of the call clean beauty, makeup and skin care products marketed as free of harmful artificial ingredients, is the latest catchphrase of a world that sells items as sustainable, environmentally conscious or simply safer.

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Demand soared last year. According to a July report by the NPD Group, about 68% of consumers said they are looking for skin care brands that highlight “clean” ingredients.

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

But while the FDA regulates cosmetics to ensure they are not tampered with, the agency is not tasked with approving most of these products. before they hit the shelves. And while the term is often associated with ingredients of natural origin, there is no standard definition of “clean” beauty. In many cases, suppliers focus on what is not included, as well as on environmentally friendly formulations and packaging, according to NielsenIQ.

The fuzzy definition of “clean beauty” hasn’t stopped skin care giants from climbing aboard. In the first half of the year, sales in department stores and beauty specialty stores of products considered “clean” increased about 33%, to US$ 1.6 billion, compared to the same period last year, according to the NPD. Only skin care and makeup had a volume increase of more than 20% each.

Large retailers such as Sephora e Ulta Beauty, designate as “clean” everything from face cleansers for shadow if they omitirem ingredients known or suspected of causing harm to humans or the environment, the companies said. Formulations that are vegan or do not involve animal testing are also candidates for inclusion, and eco-friendly packaging also comes into play, according to Ulta’s director of merchandising, Monica Arnaudo.

Consumers should also know that what is natural not automatically means better or safer, said Zeichner, the dermatologist. Ingredients such as essential oils can trigger allergic reactions, especially for people with sensitive skin. Additionally, most beauty products require preservatives to prevent microbial contamination, making it difficult to obtain formulations without artificial ingredients.

Many “clean beauty” products advocate the lack of phthalates, which can be found in nail polish, hairspray and plastic packaging, and parabens, which are used as preservatives. The European Union has taken a more aggressive stance on some of these chemicals, while the FDA is still assessing whether they are actually harmful to humans.