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As consumers, we're constantly demanding greater transparency from beauty brands, especially when the "clean beauty" cosmetic industry is booming. So what does transparency mean to you? For myself, it includes knowing exactly who makes my products, what is in my beauty products, and where and how it is sourced.

As buyers and creators of natural and organic cosmetics, we need to be informed where our hard-earned $$$$ is going, which is why transparency in ingredients is huge for us!

Why Consumers Demand Transparency

It's a way for us to hold ourselves and the brands we buy from accountable for what goes onto our skin. It's all written in the stats! For instance, did you know that more than 45 % of consumers are even willing to pay more for products they know to be sustainable? This push comes because consumers are becoming increasingly aware of our buying choices' environmental and social impact.

Sustainability is no longer an option. It is a necessity. - OPTEL

As a result, we're prepared to support brands that share our concerns of having high-quality, sustainable, natural, organic and sourced behind a low-carbon footprint. All these requirements are to ensure that we're getting what we're paying for and what it's composed of.

Did you know that on an ingredients list, ingredients are listed in order of predominance? Meaning the ingredients used in the greatest amounts are listed first. If something is marketed as "With Shea Butter," but the shea butter ingredient is towards the bottom of the list, then the brand has failed to tell you that the attention-grabbing ingredient is swimming in many other ingredients before getting to you as promised.

Transparency Trends

This detailed article by Cosmetics&Toiletries highlights three trends that are driving ingredient transparency in the clean beauty market that we should familiarize ourselves with as buyers of clean beauty products:

1. Tech 2 The Rescue

Technology and devices have come a long way in driving the trend of transparency in ingredients, especially when it comes to beauty and cosmetics—apps and intelligence help to educate consumers and provide data to brands and retailers about cosmetic ingredients.

Features like voice technologies and voice assistants also present opportunities to ask Alexa or Siri whether or not a product is "paraben-free."

2. Biotech Ingredients Replacing Old Cosmetic Formulations

Biotech companies are joining hands with cosmetics companies to innovate new ingredient formulations. These efforts are ongoing, and startups are developing ingredients for products that include:

  • Animal-free collagen
  • Sugarcane-based squalene
  • Ethically sourced keratin
  • Bio silk protein
Companies are focused on bio-derived, renewable, sustainable, low carbon footprint, ethically sourced, and other facets of ingredient innovation and these mindful efforts toward the greater good and environment can be communicated transparently to consumers - Cosmetics&Toiletries

3. Products That Follow Strict Sourcing Standards & Include Ethical Labelling

Remember how we talked about EWG standards earlier? Now is a good time to refer back to that because it's the perfect example of a brand and product meet strict guidelines to ensure the product's ethics aren't compromised.

Ethical labeling is transforming and holding more accountability beyond generic labels like "100% organic" or "cruelty-free" to meet new transparency levels.

Transparent Brands to Support

REN Clean Skincare

Having been in the skincare business for over 20 years, REN is known to use bio-actives in their formulations to help with the skins natural functions. Everything ingredient used by REN is impactful and purposeful.

It must also proactively support the natural function of the skin and never force a short-term result at the cost of the skin's equilibrium, sensitivity, or barrier health. Our bio-active ingredients are essentially well-recognized by your skin. They speak the same language, but from product to skin, it must be a collaborative conversation — never a command. - David Delport, Global Ambassador and Head of Education, REN

Bestseller: Evercalm Gentle Cleansing Milk, $34

Key Ingredients: Sesame Seed Oil, Shea Butter, Black Currant Seed Oil, Sunflower Seed Oil, Mandarin Orange, Chamomile, Ho Wood.

Beautycounter

Beautycounter has a very strict of self-imposed rules they stick by and defines clean beauty with 5 principles: ban intentionally, screen rigorously, learn constantly, source responsibly, and share transparently.

Beautycounter has avoided more than 1,500 questionable and harmful ingredients that are defined in its "Never List." - INSIDER

Bestseller: Counter+ All Bright C Serum, $110

Key Ingredients: Turmeric, Sweet Almond, Bergamot, Mandarin Orange.

FARMACY

Farmacy, like Beautycounter also avoids using ingredients on the EU's Ingredient ban list. Instead Farmacy sources ingredients from organic farms in Pennsylvania.

What the brand vows to never use: Synthetic preservatives and fragrance, sulfates, phthalates, chemical sunscreens, and crude oil by-products like mineral oil and petroleum. - INSIDER

Bestseller: Green Clean Makeup Removing Cleansing Balm, $34

Key Ingredients: Sunflower+ Ginger Root Oils, Turmeric + Moringa Extract, Papaya Enzymes.

LUSH

Lush has always been a champion of ethical buying and sourcing for their well-ranged bath products to their impressive skincare lineup. If you visit the Lush website, you will find under "Our Impact," Lush has listed their values (i.e. Handmade, Ethical Buying, Freshest Cosmetics), their impact & activism (i.e. Sustainability, Ethical Campaigns) and featured stories (i.e. Black Lives Matter)

We believe in buying ingredients only from companies that do not commission tests on animals and in testing our products on humans. - LUSH.

Bestseller: Mask of Magnaminty - Self- Preserving, $14.95

Key Ingredients: Honey, Kaolin, Adzuki Beans, Evening Primrose Seeds, Peppermint Oil, Vanilla Absolute.

Summer Fridays

Earning a "Clean at Sephora" stamp of approval, Summer Fridays products are formulated without sulfates, parabens, and mineral oils, and have less than 1% of synthetic fragrances and are vegan and cruelty-free.

From the start, we wanted Summer Fridays to only use healthy ingredients. - Marianna Hewitt and Lauren Gores Ireland.

Bestseller: Lip Butter Balm, $22

Key Ingredients: Shea & Murumuru Seed Butters, Vegan Waxes, Natural Vanilla Flavour

Weleda

For a century, Weleda has ethically sourced ingredients from their farming partners and has championed sustainability in beauty. Not only are they transparent about their raw ingredients, they champion a motto of "People & Planet Over Profit."

Our environmental consciousness goes beyond our sourcing to include every aspect of our company, our products and our packaging. Our standards for sustainable packaging are as close as possible to regenerative design.

Bestseller: Skin Food Moisturizer, $18.99

Key Ingredients: Pansy, Beeswax, Sunflower Oil, Lanolin, Sweet Almond Oil

Glow Recipe

Glow Recipe literally takes you into their factory in South Korea to show the world their famous Watermelon Glow Sleeping Mask is made. While they are vegan, cruelty-free, and free of many other additives, they do add some fragrance. By openly acknowledging that they add no more than 0.5% of Synthetic Fragrance or naturally derived fragrances in their formulas is something not common in the beauty industry.

We formulate with the highest quality natural ingredients, and what's not in the formula is just as important as what is. We provide full ingredient lists for complete transparency on our formulas.

Best Seller: Watermelon Glow Pink Juice Moisturizer, $21

Key Ingredients: Watermelon, Hyaluronic Acid, Jasmine & Peony Extract

Tata Harper Skincare

If you've been with us from day one, you already know we love Tata Harper! Their formulas are certified by a plethora of organizations for being cruelty-free, sustainable, and non-toxic. Despite the hefty price tag, Tata Harper products are worth it.

We would never let anyone else make our products. Because the where and the how is just as important as what goes in the bottle. Just enter the number etched into the bottom of your bottle and join us in the farm to face movement—you'll never want to experience the ritual of beauty any other way.

Best Seller: Clarifying Cleanser, $72

Key Ingredients: Hordeum Vulgare Leaf Juice, Glycerin, Honey, Willow Bark Extract

100% Pure

Just like their name, 100% Pure uses whole ingredients to ensure their products are good for your skin. Not only are they good for you, but their philanthropy mission also helps dogs—for every order of 100% Pure, they donate one bowl of dog food to shelter dogs in China.

We source our pigments from fruit, vegetables, tea, and cocoa to avoid commonly used FD&C colorants and heavy metal dyes

Best Seller: Coffee Bean Caffeine Eye Cream, $31

Key Ingredients: Vitamin E, Vanilla Planifolia, Coffee Cherry, Green Tea, Green Coffee

True Botanicals

True Botanicals products are luxurious, just like their name sounds. From cleansers, moisturizers, and creams, they are best known for their facial oils. These products are all perfected through researchers at leading universities, including Carnegie Mellon and Cornell University. Furthermore, their products are all independently tested with a third party.

All of our products carry the MADE SAFE® seal, the most comprehensive safety standard available, which certifies they are made without 6,500 toxic chemicals known to harm human and environmental health.

Best Seller: Renew Pure Radiance Oil

Key Ingredients: Chia Seed, Kiwi Seed Oils, Passion Fruit Oil, Papaya Seed Oil, Algae Extract, Astaxanthin

We see you!