They were once the domain of limited shelf space at Whole Foods or a stall at the local farmers market. But in the last decade, natural beauty products have taken center stage. This as consumers navigate information available on health, wellness and the environment. A demand for a cleaner slate of ingredients that go in and on our bodies has created a burgeoning market for healthier, clean cosmetics and body care products.
You may be a die-hard naturalist, health-conscious consumer or a newbie to this niche. But the conversation surrounding a cleaner slate for safer beauty products is front and center. And both manufacturers and retailers have taken a seat at the beauty counter.
For many in the natural beauty space, their entry into this market sector was based on a personal need. Malibu local Lisa Mazzarella laid the foundation for her just-launched Karisma Skincare three years ago. At the time, she was working full-time as an attorney. A self-defined “skin freak,” Mazzarella tried to find a product to correct her dry, hyper-pigmented skin. This, the result of years swimming competitively and living what she calls a “toxic lifestyle” working 16 hours a day. So began her journey to create a cleaner slate with a line of natural, performance-based products.
“My kitchen became a chemistry lab,” says Mazzarella. She sourced hundreds of different ingredients from all over the world over a two-year period. She first created an “ultimate face oil” for her own use. Word spread quickly in the small Malibu community. Today Karisma Skincare’s line of six products for face and body have all gone through stringent testing and certification.
Definition of Clean Beauty
“There is no legal definition for any of the terms [clean beauty, natural beauty],” explains Annie Jackson. Jackson is the co-founder and COO of Credo Beauty. Credo Beauty is a retail chain that has opened nine stores nationwide since its founding in 2014. The Credo Clean Standard ensures all products that make the cut at Credo “cleanest products on the market.” These include customer favorites like Marie Veronique, Ilia and Josh Rosebrook. This means an ever-evolving list of restricted ingredients (The Dirty List) that are linked to health or environmental issues will never find a place on Credo’s shelves. And you won’t find them in Karisma products either. Mazzarella applies what she calls the “Credo Clean” to her new line as well.
Like Credo, the 10-year-old team at green beauty spot The Detox Market tests about 1,000 brands each year in a competitive race to make it to the natural beauty retailer’s shelves. “We are not only looking for products that pass our ingredient standards, but for passionate brand founders, products that perform well, a focus on sustainability and always cruelty-free,” explains founder Romain Gaillard. As for current winners, Gaillard says the in-house brand, Detox Mode Altogether Oil, Odacité Bioactive Rose Gommage and Kosas Wet Lip Oil Gloss are among the favorites.
Others in the market, like well-known Tata Harper Skincare are also sold at both Credo and The Detox Market as well as at many other retailers. They say that the cleaner slate of their products and business are “third party certified,” as an assurance of their commitment to non-toxic and eco-friendly practices.
The Future of Clean Beauty
Toxins in nail polish and the noxious smell in many salons drove Mary Lennon and Leah Yari to create a space that was “clean, safe and original.” The relaxed, beachy côte Shop, with a beautiful array of gift items for sale, was born six years ago in Brentwood. It soon launched a complete line of côte brand nail polish colors, with the 125th color just launched in November. “Our customers trust and believe in what we are doing and have an appreciation for clean beauty,” says Lennon. She adds that, “the nail bed is porous, and anything you put on your nails gets into your body.” To this end, gel nails are not offered at côte Shop, and Lennon calls it “a completely safe environment.”
When talking about the future of the natural or clean beauty movement, passion and education are words that come up often. Gaillard at The Detox Market compares it to the organic food movement, a niche market that gained traction quickly. “We started as a series of pop-up shops and just wanted to raise awareness about the need for natural beauty.” Lennon at côte also believes that she “has a pedestal to educate people about toxins,” and will take advantage of it to get the word out.
Clearly, the word is out. As green beauty continues to forge forward and enrich the marketplace with clean, safer, more sustainable alternatives. As to the competition in this expanding niche, Gaillard adds, “A rising tide lifts all ships.