Beauty as clean as your conscience
07 Jun 2019

We’re increasingly becoming a generation of ‘label checkers’. Whether we’re fastidiously reading through the ingredient lists on grocery items, or combing through the label on a gleaming pot of moisturiser, we’re far more aware of what goes into the products we consume and apply. This is partly fuelled by the ‘clean beauty’ movement, perpetuated by high profile celebrities and media scare stories about potentially harmful ingredients. Millennials (early twenties to late thirties) are leading the way and a few clicks on Google will tell them the effect a suspect ingredient will have on their bodies and the environment. Many of your clients will fall into this category so it pays to be ahead of the curve.

So what is clean beauty? There is no universal definition, but the general consensus is that it means products that contain ‘no nasties’ such as obscure chemicals, artificial additives and potentially toxic ingredients. Sustainability and respect for the environment also go hand in hand with the concept of ‘clean.’

Beauty fads come and go, but it looks as though the desire for clean, natural ingredients in both food and beauty is here to stay. A parallel natural beauty market has exploded alongside the traditional one and there is serious money to be made. According to the Soil Association’s Organic Beauty and Wellbeing Report, sales of natural beauty products reached £86.5m in 2018, an increase of 14% from 2017 (the eighth consecutive year of growth).

Despite the popularity of clean beauty concept, it’s worth noting that there is a lot of mis-information surrounding many ‘toxic’ ingredients - for example parabens get a bad press but they occur naturally in superfoods such as such broccoli,strawberries and blueberries. There is no concrete scientific evidence to back up the media backlash against them, and they are perfectly safe in the extremely low doses present in cosmetics. The same is true of many other chemicals, it’s the dose that makes them toxic, not the ingredients themselves. Even water and oxygen are harmful if we consume too much.


You’ll hear people talk about clean make-up, but they’re not referring to giving brushes a quick rinse once in a while. Cosmetic companies are tapping into the trend, but with so many brands regaling consumers with tales of their natural, organic credentials, quality can become diluted. It’s reassuring to be able to offer clients a brand like jane iredale, which has a rich heritage of using clean ingredients. “For many companies, green, clean and healthier formulas are initiatives that are taken on to keep up with the times or adapt to the newest standards”, says Shawn Towne, Global Educator for jane iredale. “What they may not realise is that jane iredale is one of the pioneers that set that standard. For us, it has been the driving force behind our brand since its genesis in 1994.”

jane iredale cosmetics are as clean as they come. They are free from talc, phthalates, synthetic fragrances, fillers and GMO ingredients. All products in the range are made of pure mineral pigment, the only additions are antioxidants and botanicals to nourish skin. As you’d expect from an ethical brand, the cruelty-free range is certified by Leaping Bunny and PETA and most products in the range are vegan.


It’s tempting to think that mineral means pure, but this isn’t always the case. Ever worn a ‘pure’ high street foundation which goes cakey and flaky towards the end of the day? You have talc to thank for that. Unlike jane iredale, many brands bulk out their mineral powders with it, in fact most traditional colour cosmetics contain an astonishing 70%-90% talc which can dry skin and dilute pigment.

Mineral powders containing bulking agents may be cheaper, but it’s a false economy because you have to apply considerably more to get the same result. Just because they contain minerals, it doesn’t mean they don’t contain any of those ‘nasties’ that clients are so keen to avoid.


Clients may ask you if jane iredale is natural, but this is a slightly woolly area which is true of all mineral make-up brands. There is a misconception that all extracts used in mineral powders come from the earth. Although many of them do originate from rocks, they need to be processed and extracted to make them usable in cosmetic formulas. Some minerals are actually created from scratch in a laboratory, but they are identical to their natural counterparts. “Is growing minerals in a laboratory natural? No, but is it better? Absolutely. When you mine some minerals from the ground, you can end up with things you don’t want in them like heavy metals”, says Shawn Towne. “When we source the botanical ingredients that are used in our products, even if they are high quality ingredients, if they were grown using hormones or toxic pesticides, then we’re really defeating our purpose. This is why organisations like ECOCERT play such an important role in our formulation.”


Respect for the environment underpins the production process. “This is the kind of agonising we go through in our efforts to keep our line as clean as possible’, says founder Jane Iredale regarding her eponymous make-up brand. “We always ask ourselves what effect our actions are having on animals, our environment and our community. Our gardens continue to be an inspiration for everything we do. We plant consciously as we try to support bees, butterflies and birds that are at the mercy of our choices.”


The good news is that autophagy-boosting nutrients can be found in many of our ranges, so your clients are likely to be enhancing this vital cellular process without even realising.

...of consumers said the absence of undesirable ingredients is more important than the inclusion of beneficial ones*

The number of vegan beauty launches in the past five years†

The wellness industry grew in value from $3.7 trillion in 2015 to $4.2 trillion in 2017 – an increase of 13%∆

How toxic an ingredient is depends on where in the world you are. While the EU bans more than 1,300 ingredients from cosmetics, beauty is one of the least regulated industries in the US, where only around 30 are banned

Sources:*The Future of Beauty Nielsen Report February 2018 † Neilson Market Research. ∆Global Wellness Institute