Clean Beauty Defined | Choosing Non-Toxic Cosmetics

As you become more conscious of everything that goes into your body, you also want to be careful of what to apply topically. There’s a growing consumer trend of choosing natural over artificial makeup but not so many people understand what organic, green, and clean products mean. Hopefully, the following terms will help you understand these concepts better.


The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) oversees organic certification. Personal care products are certified with the Organic Seal if they meet at least 95% of USDA standards in terms of manufacturing and handling. Those with genetically modified organisms do not qualify to be organic. To reduce the effects of pesticides, the beauty industry is focusing more on plant-based raw materials where possible. Since the certification is costly, smaller companies label their products as organic when packaging so they may not have an official seal. Even if it has been approved by Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as natural, it doesn’t mean it is safer. The FDA has vague criteria on what comprises a natural beauty product. Natural may be regulated for the packaging and not the cosmetic itself. True natural products have such seals as Ecocert or COSMOS Natural.


Realistically, green means ‘does not harm the environment.’ However, many companies tend to misuse this term. A good example is a facial foundation that has been packaged with biodegradable packaging and labeled green, yet the product itself has some environmental footprints. Beware of greenwashing that doesn’t give a true definition of the makeup itself. A lot of brands are hiding behind the green term, claiming to protect the environment but do not meet the proper standards.

Clean Beauty

Have you noted cosmetic brands selling makeup that is highly pigmented yet it wears more beautifully than synthetic options? You are probably using some of these without realizing they are clean. So the question is, ‘What defines clean?’ For one, clean cosmetics are safe for both humans and the planet. Clean beauty brands formulate their products without controversial elements. Their baseline ingredients are non-toxic and plant-based. They deliver antioxidants and vitamins required for healthy skin. Moreover, clean beauty ingredients are ethically sourced and manufactured taking into consideration human health and the environment.

Clean beauty brands are, therefore, companies selling non-toxic and effective products. Non-toxic refers to the absence of undesirable compounds as highlighted by the Environmental Working Group. They go beyond the common claims of organic/green and perform without trading off safety. If you go for an organic blush because you think it’s safe, you might be wrong. Perhaps its natural label is for marketing purposes. What you’ll get may not be very effective. You need to be sure that the ingredients are non-toxic.

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