What does "Clean Beauty" really mean?

What does "Clean Beauty" really mean?

Greenwashing Exposed: How Clean Beauty Companies Mislead Consumers


The rise of deceptive clean beauty labels has led to a lack of clarity about what you are applying to your skin.

That nagging feeling of uncertainty when it comes to your skincare routine - perhaps driven by following paid influencers or ad recommendations - will persist if you don’t grasp what clean beauty is versus deceptive marketing.

Today, we’re unveiling the secrets behind clean beauty, shed light on deceptive practices, and discover how to make informed choices that genuinely benefit your skin and the planet.



Your Passport to Purity 

Stepping Into the World of Clean Beauty 

Clean Beauty. You’ve probably heard this term, or rather, seen it, present on the labels of new products at Sephora and brand websites. This beauty trend has taken the world by storm, and rightfully so. Clean beauty represents a sustainable and rejuvenating movement that prioritizes natural ingredients, devoid of any harm to our bodies or the environment. However, as the popularity of clean beauty grows, it has also given rise to the concept of “greenwashing”. The National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) defines greenwashing as the act of making deceptive or misleading claims about a product's environmental benefits or practice. 

So, how can you distinguish authentic clean beauty brands from those engaging in greenwashing? As a company exclusively dedicated to clean beauty, we are here to share our insights on selecting brands that genuinely protect the planet. 

For far too long, many of us have fallen victim to the siren call of deceptive clean beauty labels, only to discover that the product we thought was nourishing our skin was in fact masking its true nature. The feeling of betrayal and vulnerability that washes over us, realizing that our trust was misplaced, and our hard-earned money misspent, is a sting that lingers. It’s an emotional rollercoaster, from anticipation to disappointment, and it’s time to break free from this cycle of deception and embrace the authenticity that clean beauty should truly represent. 

Let’s delve into three major concerns that have plagued the clean beauty industry:

  • Greenwashing
  • Chemical-Free claims
  • Ingredient Transparency 




women in clean make up surrounded by leaves to share on social media to support clean beauty as a revolution and not a trend

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Understanding Greenwashing in Marketing 

The New Art of Deception  


Greenwashing is a deceptive marketing practice where a company or organization falsely represents its products, services, or environmental initiatives as more environmentally friendly or more sustainable than they are. According to Merriam-Webster, this term is typically used when there’s an intention to mislead consumers into believing that a company’s actions and products have a more positive environmental impact than they do. 


The Truth Behind “Chemical-Free” Beauty Products

Clean Beauty or Greenwashing? 

Let’s debunk a common myth: labeling a product as “chemical-free” is in line with clean beauty standards. When in fact, labeling a product as chemical-free can be misleading and a vague claim. Everything, including water and our own bodies, is composed of chemicals. Therefore, there’s no need to vilify the term “chemical” in skin care products. 

Unfortunately, the beauty industry frequently lacks transparency when it comes to disclosing the ingredients used in their products. This lack of transparency can be a major hurdle for consumers, as ingredient lists are often lengthy and complex, even making it a challenge to identify potential allergens or irritants. 



🚩 Recognizing Greenwashing Red Flags 

Here are some warning signs to be mindful of when you’re in the hunt for your next clean beauty favorites, as recommended by the NRDC:


  • 🚩Environmental Buzzwords: Keep an eye out for terms like “natural” or “green” - while they might sound eco-friendly, these words hold no legal weigh, making it easy for companies to create an illusion of sustainability without real commitment
  • 🚩Official Looking Labels: Don’t be swayed by flashy labels with prominent recycling symbols or other signs that suggest eco-friendliness. Some brands use these to give the impression of a greener product without the substance to back it up 
  • 🚩Nature-y imagery: Be cautious when brands use imagery that conveys a connection to nature or sustainability. Some may aim to convince consumers that they're more eco-conscious than they truly are. It’s vital to look beyond this aesthetics and dig deeper for genuine clean beauty practices.  



Navigating Your Clean Beauty Journey 

As consumers, we hold the power to make informed choices that not only benefit our well-being but also contribute to a more sustainable planet. Reading this blog article was a huge step in your clean beauty journey, now continue educating yourself about what goes into the products you use. Look beyond the label claims and seek comprehensive resources that provide insights into ingredient transparency and product safety. 

Several reputable organizations and databases specialize in product ratings and reviews related to less toxic ingredients. Consider exploring resources like the Environmental Working Group (EWG) and Think Dirty, which offer valuable insights and ratings on the safety of beauty and personal care products. By harnessing these resources, you can navigate the world of clean beauty with confidence, making choices that align with your values and contribute to a cleaner, healthier, and more sustainable future.


Explore the Clean Beauty Revolution 

Now that you’re well equipped to spot greenwashing, we encourage you to carry these tips and tricks with you when shopping for your new favorite products.

Don’t know where to look? Ethereal Clean Beauty is your go-to destination for exclusively curated clean beauty brands. Explore our website to discover more about this remarkable movement, and take a step toward cleaner, greener beauty regimen for yourself and the planet.




Are You a Clean Beauty Brand?

Skincare, Haircare, Personal Care, and Cosmetics  

Whether you're just starting out or already making strides in the beauty industry, if you're passionate about sustainable and less toxic ingredients while making a positive impact, we have an exciting invitation for you. Join Ethereal Clean Beauty Agency at our upcoming Truth & Beauty Event on January 18, 2024, at 5 pm.

Explore collaborative opportunities with us, from product development strategy to retail and marketing, and let's work together to bring your clean beauty vision to life. This event is your chance to connect, learn, and contribute to a cleaner, healthier beauty industry.

RSVP and secure your spot here. We look forward to welcoming you to an evening dedicated to truth, beauty, and transformative collaborations.



[Co-Author: Lindsay Cuthill] | Copyright © 2023+ Ethereal Clean Beauty Agency. All Rights Reserved.
Recommendations are independently chosen by Ethereal Clean Beauty Agency’s editors. Purchases made through the links in the guide may earn us and our publishing partners a commission.

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