Environmental concerns continue to grow as ‘clean’ beauty evolves to include environmental as well as broader health concerns. Over the past decade, the trend towards clean beauty has been in response to the worries increasing over the ‘extra stuff’ which is added to products. Scepticism has largely centred on the principle that the further from nature the ingredients have got, the less beneficial they are for the skin. Whether this is borne out of science and fact or not, the ensuing counter-swing has been of one towards natural products derived with as little interference from production processes as possible.
Return to natural and neutral, low-scent products
Simple natural products, derived from the best sources and produced in a sustainable and responsible way, have become the core of a growing cohort of beauty and skincare users. Focussing foremost on ingredients, provenance and quality, they are favouring simpler routines. Whether driven by demand or through the simplification process, there has also been a rise in the number of low scent or no scent versions of skincare products, as the desire to be ‘clean’ encourages a minimalist approach to skincare creation.
Clean beauty: beyond natural, neutral products
23% of adults agree that it is important for beauty routines to have little environmental impact. Through their sourcing, development, processing, packaging and use, companies need to make products and operate in a way that exceeds the growing expectation of consumers. Companies and products must operate in a way that limits the environmental impact that their value chains, and the ultimate goal is to aim towards having a net-positive impact on the staff, sourcing points, societies and consumer’s lives that these companies touch.
Moving away from ‘throw-away’ culture
Clean beauty is moving beyond the product in two key dimensions. The first is to interrogate the lifespan of the item, trending away from disposable products. The most notable examples include the growing rejection of single-use plastics, and to reject over-consumption. Social media feeds, papers and online platforms continually pound the message that consumers need to consume less, instead ‘Reduce, Reuse and Recycle’. The second trend is to question the efficacy of plastic recycling schemes, give the continued and startling data around the amount of recyclable plastic which is actually sent on to landfill or abroad. Too much of this plastic isn’t recycled, and the trend away from plastic as a clean beauty packaging option looks only set to increase.
Clean beauty drives a change in organisational models
With the rise of Zebra companies (sharing profit and purpose in equal measure) and the growth in BCorp organisations, it appears that the organisational model for companies is changing to reflect and accommodate this trend. Conventional corporate commercial models, forcing a culture of ‘double-digit’ growth and high profit extraction, is the reason why many existing companies have been slow to transform their supply and value chains towards clean beauty. The margin expectations of the business simply do not accommodate the costs incurred with high quality, sustainable businesses. This leaves a gap for more progressive, values and principles centred companies to step in and meet the needs of consumers wanting simple, quality and clean beauty.
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