As the momentum of “clean beauty” continues to soar, consumers are asking, “What does the phrase ‘clean beauty’ actually mean?” At present, the federal government lends no legal guidance on what “natural” or “clean beauty” marketing claims mean in the personal care product industry—leaving customers is a sea of baseless buzzwords, confused on who or what to trust. Fortunately, there is a baseline we can point to for a foundational understanding of what we want “clean beauty” to mean… Green Chemistry!
We at au Naturale believe that “clean beauty” should be backed by federal regulation—something we have been lobbying for for the past ten years—and also adhere to the 12 Principles of Green Chemistry. Green chemistry, also known as sustainable chemistry, is the design of chemical products and processes that reduce or eliminate the use or generation of harmful substances. This applies across the entire life cycle of a chemical product from design and manufacturing to use and disposal.
Since there is no distinction or regulation on what ingredients “clean beauty” products should/should not include in their formulations, there are a lot of ingredients that are abundant in “clean” formulations that we at au Naturale find questionable. Either they are derived from fossil fuels and synthetics, are overly processed in an unsustainable manner, or create waste that is detrimental to the environment and we believe these are issues that can be easily addressed.
Some solutions that we have found to address these common unsustainable practices in the beauty industry include:
- Operating our own private lab facility where we can fully control our manufacturing processes to minimize waste and cross contamination and maximize the use of carefully vetted and sourced naturally derived and organic ingredients.
- Building a network of trusted suppliers that are in alignment with our core values and mission to create products that advocate for people, performance and planet so we can ensure transparency and authenticity in our supply chain.
- Constantly evolving our primary, secondary and tertiary packaging to include more and more recycled and sustainable materials.
- Invest in innovative systems, formulations and initiatives that build upon our mission and give back a percentage of our revenue to philanthropic efforts that create a positive impact for people and the planet.
Many large corporations like L’Oréal are now hopping on the “clean beauty” bandwagon promising future benchmarks committed to green science. While these efforts are of course welcomed, we hope to address sustainability issues in the present. We can, and must, do better for our planet and all of her inhabitants.
We challenge the “clean beauty” community to join us in the pursuit of adopting the 12 Principles of Green Chemistry in an effort to maximize the scope of truly healthy cosmetics, eliminate customer confusion, and reduce the impact of the personal care product industry on our environment. We all need to join together to continue to push our government to adopt specific regulations for the safety of all.