What clean beauty means to us: The 4 exciting principles of clean beauty

“Clean beauty” began as a global reaction to a controversial 2004 study by UK oncology professor, Dr Philippa Darbre that found breast tumours contained traces of parabens.

A wave of beauty and cosmetic producers responded by ditching chemical formulations creating new brands that comprised naturally derived ingredients, thereby unofficially launching the clean beauty movement. 

The 15-year trend has disrupted the now $532 billion dollar global beauty industry, with as many as one-third of US consumers having switched to clean beauty.

But rather than turn unprecedented attention suddenly now on natural brands to highlight the potent nutritional impact on skin thanks to powerhouse natural ingredients, people instead vilified mainstream and synthetic brands. 

Media, natural beauty brands and consumers waved angry fists at manufacturers whose products contain the “nasties”: parabens, sulfates, phthalates, alcohol and more. It was a guilt-based trend and a huge opportunity was missed.

By focussing on the supposed toxicity of the ingredients in other brands’ products - toxicity being a relative term bearing in mind that overconsumption of water is toxic to humans - clean beauty makers overlooked the true hero of its own story: the efficacy and benefits of its naturally derived botanicals, oils and extracts.

At Corbin Rd., what gets us out of bed in the morning is not demonising other brands that are on another path; it’s celebrating our own nutrient-rich products that contain ingredients that hydrate, nourish and protect skin for radiant, long-lasting skin health.

Lorraine Dallmeier, the director Formula Botanica, a UK-based accredited organic skincare school agrees.

She says clean beauty “is not the opposite of dirty beauty; which assumes that all mainstream products and all synthetic products are inherently bad for you, which we know is not the case”.

Dallmeier instead suggests reframing what clean beauty means without needing to mention what it is not. The four principles of clean beauty she holds dear are ones that we at Corbin Rd. embrace. 

We summarise the 4 pillars here:

1. Clean beauty is beauty and wellbeing

Today’s consumers are seeking to gain wellbeing in every aspect of their lives, which includes beauty. People want products that work and that are good for them. They look to their beauty, skin and hair brands to optimise health and wellbeing as well as delivering high performance products that enhance skin and hair health. 

Clean beauty is about what is in the jar, not what isn’t.

2. Clean beauty is transparent and ethical

Traceability of ingredients, ethics and transparency are critical to clean beauty. People want to understand a brand’s philosophy, and consumers want their opinions and needs - including specific ingredients - to be incorporated into products. 

Clean beauty products encapsulate a brand’s values which are delivered in harmony with consumer needs. 

3. Clean beauty is clean for the environment

By its nature, clean beauty is a cradle to grave supply chain approach with a focus on minimal environmental, economic and community impact. It’s everything from carbon, energy and water footprints, ingredient environmental sustainability, package manufacturing, shipping of ingredients, packaging and product, and byproduct and packaging disposal.

Clean beauty is conscious consumers gaining access to a brand’s holistic sustainability credentials.

4. Clean beauty is hygienic and safe

Clean beauty is built upon hygienic and safe processes. It is natural products made under the highest quality manufacturing practice conditions by a formulator who is proud of preservation and regularly stability tests all its products.

At its heart, clean beauty is hygienic, safe beauty. 

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