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Regulation of cosmetics chemicals in the United States is trailing behind the rest of the world, according to the Environmental Working Group. As of 2019, more than 40 nations have enacted regulations focusing on the safety of cosmetics and personal care products, and some of these have restricted or completely banned more than 1,400 chemicals from cosmetics.
Meanwhile, the Food and Drug Administration has banned or restricted only nine. In an effort to keep consumers happy and healthy, a variety of beauty brands are stepping up to the plate in order to make "clean" the norm.
Clean beauty products are typically free of harmful and problematic chemicals or ingredients and many of them are also cruelty-free, vegan or come in eco-friendly packaging. As our makeup and skin care routines become more minimalist, brands believe ingredient lists should follow suit.
Since there are an overwhelming amount of brands and products that might be throwing beauty claims your way, dermatologist and TODAY contributor Dr. Angela Lamb narrowed down some of the best products and brands that are part of the clean beauty movement.
From products with simple ingredients to those that pledge cruelty-free testing and environmentally friendly impacts, Lamb has a clean beauty solution to plug into every step of your routine. So whether you need to replenish your skin care regimen or makeup bag, there's a clean product out there to help you look and feel good.
Clean beauty products
Lamb called out this moisturizer for its abundance of plant-based ingredients including coconut water, marshmallow root and watermelon extract, among others. Even the packaging is clean — it's made from recycled ocean waste plastic and other recycled materials in an effort to reduce waste in our oceans.
The vegan formula also features hyaluronic acid, which is known for its ability to hydrate the skin. Lightweight and free of chemical sunscreens, silicones and other harmful ingredients, it's a pick that works for all skin types but is also worth considering for those with oily skin.
Alpyn Beauty was founded less than five years ago by a 20-year beauty industry vet. The small business focuses on creating skin care products with ingredients harvested from the mountains of Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Lamb notes that this mask from the brand is a three-in-one, as it acts as a mask, peel and a polish.
Since it is formulated with eight naturally-derived acids that exfoliate the skin, it targets skin care concerns such as dullness and uneven texture. This vegan and cruelty-free mask also comes in recyclable packaging.
Sunscreen should be applied year-round, and Lamb called out this bundle from Kiss My Face that features a combination of vegan and cruelty-free formulas; the mineral sunscreen in particular is made with 87% organic ingredients. All three sunscreens help protect the skin against dryness and dehydration, and both the spray lotion and sunscreen lotion are reef friendly, meaning that they do not contain oxybenzone and octinoxate, two chemicals that can cause reef bleaching.
Schmidt's deodorant keeps its ingredient lists minimal — in fact, this rose and vanilla–scented deodorant only contains a total of 10. Lamb highlighted that the ingredients are plant- and mineral-based and that the formula is free of aluminum salts and artificial fragrances but is crafted with essential oils. According to the brand, it is the first Ecocert Certified Natural Deodorant in the United States.
Depending on your hair type, the frequency at which you wash your hair can range from every other day or on an as-needed basis. On days where you break a sweat you likely opt for a dry shampoo to give your hair a refresh, but this Showerless Shampoo might be a game changer.
Rather than getting your hair wet, all you'll need to do is spray the Showerless Shampoo in your hair and then towel dry to help remove dirt; you can also let your hair air dry or blow dry to get rid of excess moisture. It's free of gluten, formaldehyde, sulfates and other harmful ingredients, and Lamb mentioned that it can also help you save water.
An at-home mani might be one of the best ways to treat yourself after indulging in your skin care routine, and Olive & June's vegan and cruelty-free polishes have Lamb's seal of approval — and our's, too. We tried one of the brand's nail kits last spring and not only loved how easy it is to use but also how great the results came out.
Clean makeup products
Consider this multi-stick a multitasker. It triples as a lip, eye and cheek color, acting as a light lip color, blush or eye shadow. The fragrance- and cruelty-free formula can be applied with your fingers or a lip or buff brush for complete coverage. Key ingredients such as avocado oil and shea butter allow it to leave a soft, natural finish.
If you're not applying a lip product every day, this tinted lip oil might change your mind. Not only does it provide a high shine finish in six different colors, but it also plumps and hydrates your lips without leaving them with a sticky feeling thanks to ingredients such as hyaluronic acid and salicornia herbacea extract, which help lock in moisture.
Not only is this lipstick cruelty-free and gluten-free, but it also comes in recyclable packaging. The high-impact product leaves a satin finish on your lips and boasts hydrating and smoothing qualities in eight different shades. If you prefer a softer stain, you can blot the color onto your lips with your finger.
This pigment is another multitasking product from this clean beauty brand that provides color for both lips and cheeks. When applied to your cheeks, it presents itself with a dewy finish, but when applied to your lips it takes on more of a satin finish. Three key ingredients — jojoba, linseed oil and coconut oil — all work to condition and soften the lips in this formula. A little bit goes a long way, and this pigment comes with an applicator to make application a breeze.
For more stories like this, check out:
- Want the perfect brow? Makeup artists share their 9 go-to products
- This $5 with over 9,000 rave reviews lives up to the hype
- From lip balm to mascara, Lisa Rinna shares her favorite beauty products
A version of this article was originally published on Jan. 10, 2020.