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What is the clean beauty movement?

These days, we’re seeing the word “clean” everywhere. From “clean beauty” to “clean living”, our society seems obsessed with all things clean. The word “clean” suggests health and safety, but what does the clean beauty movement mean?

The clean beauty movement, defined

The industry’s first mention of “clean” came in the 1970’s, with CoverGirl’s campaign introducing the first advertised no-makeup makeup look. That campaign wasn’t referring to the ingredients in the cosmetics, but to the look of the makeup itself.

Today, clean beauty refers to product health and safety. Clean beauty reduces chemicals and replaces them with “natural” ingredients. This sounds good, but the truth is that there’s very little  clean beauty regulation in the United States.

clean eyelashes

Skincare and makeup ingredient regulations


The Federal Drug Administration or  FDA doesn’t have a definition for “clean beauty”.  Further, skincare and make-up ingredient regulation is limited; and there’s no FDA required testing or approval of most skin, hair, or other beauty products.

Other nations have much stricter regulations regarding beauty products ingredients. While the EU has banned 1,300 ingredients in beauty products, the U.S. bans only 11. To maximize corporate benefits resulting from the less stringent U.S. regulations, cosmetic companies with sales in the U.S. and Europe often sell different products on each continent. Given that the US high end beauty market is a $19 billion industry, manufacturers are reluctant to give up profits that are the result of these frightful ingredients.

Recently, consumer priorities and buying habits are changing. As people realize that what you eat and place on your skin can have effects inside and out, they are transitioning to a more holistic mindset and purchasing cleaner, greener products.

Not surprisingly, the market is responding to these consumer trends, and the clean beauty movement is booming. While many companies are nixing animal cruelty, nonorganic ingredients, and other hot button additives, others are simply using terms with an environmental association, or “gereenwashing”, to sell product. Greenwashing is rampant in the beauty industry, and therefore we recommend extreme care when hunting for your next night cream.

Brands doing better than “clean beauty”


At OneDey, we’ve identified a few brands that are independently proven to be upholding, or continually raising the bar, for clean beauty. Additionally, we’ve tried these products, have personally made the switch, and are sharing them with our friends and closest family members.


beautycounter clean beauty products

Though sold almost exclusively in the U.S., BeautyCounter upholds, or exceeds,  EU beauty regulation standards. They’ve created a “Never List” which is composed of 1,800 ingredients they’ve omitted from their products. As new research findings emerge, they promise to update the list accordingly.

BeautyCounter is also on the forefront of federal regulation lobbying for tighter FDA restrictions and testing. They’re seriously committed to corporate citizenship and sustainability, as is demonstrated by their certification as a B Corp, and their EWG and Leaping Bunny certified products. In 2020, they launched a comprehensive sourcing program diving into mica sourcing, labor protections and more.

Plus, Beauty Counter’s award-winning skin care line offers everything from seasonal colors, to men’s and kid’s lines and moisturizers for various life stages.

Package Free

Package Free box review OneDey

While Package Free offers wares for every room in your home, their beauty department definitely deserves a shout out. Many clean beauty brands don’t take packaging into consideration, but with a name like Package Free, you can be assured that minimal packaging is a top priority. Items like shampoo bars and moisture sticks come sans any containers, and those with liquid contents are housed in glass or coated paper.


pomifera eco-friendly skincare

If you want to focus on the eco conscious side of the clean beauty movement, Pomifera has you covered. Utilizing an ingredient that’s plentiful and that humans haven’t found an alternative use for, Pomifera creates luxurious skincare from trash fruit. Add in the company’s use of solar power at their manufacturing plant, and you have a very forward thinking, clean beauty company.

While we know there’s always room for advances in the clean beauty movement, the above companies are striving to do better and move the industry forward. While ToDey we might have to hunt for clean and truly green products, thanks to these brands maybe tomorrow we won’t have to.