What makes a skincare brand ‘clean’?

Welcome to part 2 of my female founders series, where I will be exploring what makes a skincare brand ‘clean’. In this series, I interview a selection of inspirational female founders of skincare businesses, and get their take on how they’re tacking the clean beauty revolution.

What makes a skincare brand ‘clean’?

Meet the founders

Katy Rowe, founder of Maiiro

Katy founded Maiiro skincare with the ambition to create cosmetics that actually work rather than mask our skincare problems.

What are you doing to promote clean beauty in your business?

“Clean beauty to Maiiro as a brand is enormously important. We have taken great lengths to ensure our ingredients and packaging are sourced from sustainable sources, and have made a real effort on our website to clearly state all the relevant information about each product”

We state the organic percentage each product contains, whether it is vegan or not and that it is not tested on animals. These are the things I want to know about a product before I buy it, so it’s only right this information is available to everyone.” 

This sort of transparency is how you can tell if a brand is clean or not. It is rare to find brands which clearly state their organic percentages, and this transparency is something that I really respect from brands like Maiiro.

What makes a skincare brand 'clean'?
Source: Pinterest

As Katy mentions, clean beauty comes in many forms; it includes how clean the ingredients are, but also whether it is certified organic, and tested on animals. If you’re looking to switch to clean beauty, it’s a good idea to check the first 10 ingredients on the INCI list, are they naturally derived, does the product contain alcohols, parabens, phthalates, PEG compounds and CL-s? Most clean brands will also clearly state if they’re vegan, free-from animal testing and organic.

Emma at EvoNatural

Emma is a truly inspirational founder. Having suffered many skin reactions herself, she was determined to create a skincare brand for the most sensitive of skin types.

“We started our brand with mine (and your) skin in mind, and asked ‘what does our skin really need’. We decided to simplify the whole thing and formulate from scratch, without the unnecessary plasticisers, solvents, silicones and fillers which are now synonymous with the beauty industry. Most of the ingredients they use at the very best do absolutely nothing for your skin and at worst are harmful and in many cases downright dangerous!”

What makes a skincare brand ‘clean’?

What makes a skincare brand clean?
Source: Pinterest

“I spent 4 years learning the craft of lotion making. I found incredible plant-based, non-petrochem-derived active ingredients such as hyaluronic acid, vitamin C and ferulic acid. Along with beautiful oils that soften and work in harmony with your skin such as squalane and jojoba.  I also use natural collagen boosters, wrinkle erasers, skin plumpers and conditioners, skin vitamins and triglycerides. Basically we did not skimp on quality or cut corners to help the company’s bottom line.

“I began making my own face creams, conditioners and body oils just for myself and family. Using these products effectively cured my skin conditions and at the same time gave me the luxury products I had been craving. I wanted others to experience that same feeling of ultimate luxury whilst not compromising on quality, safety or luxury.”

There is something extremely reassuring about using a brand which has been tested on the founder herself, and I truly believe that all founders should use their own skincare if they believe in it!

Meadow skincare on removing water from their products

What I love about Meadow Skincare is that clean beauty is in everything they do. They only use natural and sustainable ingredients, showing us that it can be done!

Is Meadow Skincare a clean beauty brand?

“I’ve only ever worked with natural ingredients, even as a teenager making my own skincare out of avocados and honey!  Meadow products are 100% plant-based, so we don’t include any nasties at all.  We’re also a waterless brand, which eliminates that need for harsh preservatives.  We’re very proud to be a clean beauty brand!”

This is a really interesting point about how removing water from a brand removes the need for preservatives. It’s great to see this sort of innovation in UK beauty businesses, and is definitely something we are seeing more of in the skincare and hair care industry. If you’re looking to switch to clean beauty, try look out for products which don’t have water in!

Helena at Rosalena skincare

What is the biggest challenge you face when it comes to clean beauty? 

What makes a skincare brand 'clean'?
Source: Pinterest

“Busting the myth that “clean” somehow means less effective. I think we have been programmed into believing Mother Nature alone isn’t enough and we need “extra” man-made ingredients with scientific sounding names for products to really work.”

“Rosalena combines century old plant oils with cutting edge bio-active ingredients, without the synthetic preservatives and artificial fragrances into products that work better than any chemically-laden one ever can.”

“Additionally, we face the challenge of transparency over ingredients and labelling so that customers know what they are buying. There are no legal requirements over what is “clean”, “natural” and so on, but we are committed to simplifying the labelling. For example, we choose to put the English as well as the required Latin on the ingredient list. We explain why we choose every ingredient so that consumers can make an informed choice.”

As consumers, it can be very difficult to understand what the ingredients list means, so it helps when clean beauty brands like Rosalena Skincare simplify their ingredients lists, and write them in a way which helps us understand what the ingredient is. There is also a wealth of information on the internet which enables us to find out what each ingredient is and how toxic it is, so don’t be afraid to do some googling before you buy!

Marina at Fais Botanicals

What is the biggest challenge you face when it comes to clean beauty?

“It’s hard to keep everything a 100% clean. There are just too many aspects to ‘clean’ or ‘sustainable’ so you just have to figure out what they are for you and try to implement the most important aspect into your business.”

“For me it’s important to keep it 100% natural and vegan but also affordable for my customers, and for someone else it’s more important to get an organic certificate which comes at a higher price. All of it is valid and right in the right proportion.”

Marina raises a key point here, which is that clean beauty comes in many forms, so pick the right one for you and think about what is most important for your skin, is it natural ingredients, organic, cruelty-free, or all of the above?!

I hope that this article has helped you understand what to look for in a clean beauty brand!

For the latest and greatest in clean beauty, check out my Instagram blog too!