How Can A Beauty Brand Promise To Be Clean?

Cecilia Sangalli – Co-founder and Head of R&D

While beauty’s biggest trend at the moment might just be clean beauty, what does this term actually mean? Like many fashion brands use the term sustainable, many beauty brands have been using the term ‘clean’ as a way of selling themselves as something they are actually not. As today's consumers become more aware and pay much more attention to the ingredients in the products they use, they of course are asking for more clarity and transparency. So, what truly constitutes a clean beauty brand? We discuss this with Cecilia Sangalli, adesso beauty’s R&D expert. 

“There is no real definition of clean beauty. Often this concept is automatically translated into natural and organic products, but in 2021 the term "natural" is no longer a guarantee and clean beauty has become more generally a new way of dealing with consumers. This essentially means more transparency, both at the level of ingredients used, production chain, and at the level of brand communication, for better and more conscious consumption of cosmetics,” states Cecilia “Alongside natural brands, we can therefore find brands that have decided, for example, to focus on the theme of sustainability choosing an eco-friendly packaging or supporting environmental organizations, with a philosophy based on authenticity and the desire to give back to the planet. That’s what we are doing at adesso.

Concerning the ingredients, there is not much clarity on this topic. Often ingredients or classes of ingredients are demonized, questioning their safety, without any real motivation that is supported by scientific evidence. Not everyone knows, for example, that the beauty industry is one of the most regulated industries in Europe, with an extraordinary control body that has banned more than 1300 ingredients (compared to only about 30 banned in the U.S.), while ensuring the total safety of all other substances currently used in cosmetic products. “We have carefully selected the ingredients in our formulas, in order to balance effectiveness, safeness and sustainability,” says Cecilia “most of all, we are transparent and authentic in our communication; We have avoided definitions such as "free-from" because sometimes they can be misleading and send the wrong message. Unfortunately, there is a fine line between informing the consumers and scaring them by creating false alarmism.”

This is why moving forward it’s time to better communicate the concept of clean beauty. But how? “The bottom line is that it looks like the beauty industry should continue to fully embrace sustainability and recycling while moving away from fear-mongering marketing tactics,” explains Cecilia. “The clean beauty should educate the consumers and describe beauty products using terms that actually mean something concrete.” Between taking more responsibility and moving away from negative messaging, clean beauty can start changing the consumers’ approach.