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Clean Beauty Demand and Growth During COVID-19

Clean Beauty has become an essential category in 2020. Today, clean beauty is an unstoppable force, informing the way that ingredient suppliers, contract manufacturers, multinational brands, and indie beauty startups do business.

There is a sense now among consumers worldwide (and even some corporations) that business and culture as usual is an affront to the planet—a sense that we are living through a pandemic, through successive extreme weather events, tumultuous politics and persistent activism because we’ve been getting it wrong for too long.

In 2020, life feels different. More cosmetics and personal care consumers are looking for safe, simple, slow beauty. That’s not to say that there isn’t a sense of urgency, but it’s an urgency to make better choices at every level.

Clean beauty has always been about ingredient transparency, consumer safety, environmental sustainability, and ethical business.

Clean beauty doesn’t appeal to just one demographic. Though it is worth mentioning that recent data from the financial services company Klarna shows that Gen Z consumers have been spending 26% more on clean beauty since the pandemic hit.

Clean Beauty Retail is Advancing During the Pandemic

And several developments in the retail space also speak to the momentum of clean:

Shen Beauty, the clean beauty boutique in Brooklyn, New York, that Jessica Richards founded in 2010 just reopened in a new and handsomely designed spacious storefront.

A new beauty discovery box called The Clean Beauty Kit, from makeup artist and social media personality Cassandra McClure, launched in July.

And also this summer, Sephora teamed up with the online beauty ingredient discovery site Novi to help brands and manufacturers choose ingredients and then formulate products to meet that retailer’s in-house clean beauty standard.

Industry Suppliers are Inspired by the Clean Beauty Movement

Biodesign, like we see from ingredient makers such as Geltor, Amyris, ROELMI, Vytrus, Mibelle and others are making beauty inputs more sustainable, more sophisticated, and more precise.

Innovations in reusable, recyclable, and refillable beauty are on the rise too. Several new and soon-to-launch brands like Last Object, which makes reusable cotton rounds, q-tips, and facial tissues in neat silicone containers; like the High Fiver—a refillable alternative to mini beauty packaging—from Palette by Pak; and masks from a forthcoming brand called experiment all make use of durable silicone where once single-use plastics and disposables were the norm.

Clean personal care brands like California-based Noniko and Era Zero Waste out of Denmark are innovating truly refillable and circular packaging solutions.

More and more conventional ingredient suppliers are testing their portfolios to know which of their products are degradable. While legacy suppliers like Grant Industries, Croda, and Dow are finding creative ways to participate in the clean beauty movement.

And major multinational beauty makers like Unilever, packaging suppliers like Sulapac and Aptar, and specialty chemical companies such as BASF, DSM, and Solvay have all singed on to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s Circulytics tool to track their own progress and lead the industry toward a circular economy.

At the start of 2020, clean beauty was an exciting trend to watch. Now, 6-months into a genuine pandemic, clean beauty just may be the only way forward.

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this DUviews item was originally posted to LinkedIn and now appears on


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