You might of have noticed it, the whole beauty movement around clean beauty. It’s going on for quite a while now but it keeps growing even faster. There are no regulations around the terms like “clean” beauty and “natural” beauty. The global market size of the organic and natural beauty industry in 2016 was $11.06 billion, and is predicted to be $21.78 billion in 2024! Furthermore, By the Grand View Research, it is predicted that the global organic personal care market will reach close to $25 billion by 2025, while it was $12.19 billion in 2017. This trend therefore grows at a very fast rate, most likely not disappearing any time soon. Better said, not anytime in quite some years!!
In k-beauty, clean beauty has been quite big for a while. A part of clean beauty is the representation of the use of natural ingredients. In K-beauty you see a lot of products promoting their natural main ingredients. Most k-beauty brands do source from natural sources and use it as their representative, main ingredient for many years already.
Let’s take the k-beauty brand I’m from as an example, with the slogan “Nature as it is, It’s I’m from”. I’m from uses natural resources from Korea as the main ingredient. Many different kinds of skincare items are offered, but it is noticeable that most of the I’m from products are a wash off mask. Especially the honey mask is a success, as it contains 38.7% real honey!
But together with the rest of the world, the clean beauty trend is now becoming even more popular here in Korea as well. K-beauty brands even re-formulate their original versions and release new ones to fit the clean beauty needs of many people nowadays.
Furthermore, we will be looking at different aspects of clean beauty. A simple explanation of what it is, the difference between various clean beauty terms and their definitions, the demand and its underlying factors, ingredient transparency, and the best natural ingredients for the skin that are popular in k-beauty.
What is clean beauty?
The most black and white, clear, simple answer for this question is: “non-toxic beauty”! Clean beauty products are products without any toxic ingredients in them. So indeed, non-toxic beauty. Clean beauty products’ ingredients are chosen ethically and based on all the good, non-toxic, sources that the earth’s nature provides us with. Clean beauty includes both natural ingredients and ingredients made by us, humans. It’s all about safety and health for you and the environment.
Different clean beauty terms and their definitions
There are quite some different definitions when it comes to “clean beauty”. Is there a difference between them? And what do they mean? Well, let’s find that out!
Before we take-off, let’s unveil the key word of today’s blog~ “Natural”~!
All of these terms are closely related to nature. These terms you will find below, all contain naturally sourced ingredients in their beauty products. But the difference is to what extend they contain natural ingredients, what its intentions are, and other surrounding factors that add up in each specific term.
Environmental sustainability maintains the natural resources and the stability of the long-term ecological balance. The beauty brands then mainly take into account how the raw ingredients are produced and sourced, and how energy is consumed. Beauty brands in this case also take into consideration the management of waste, and the sustainability of their packaging. This term therefore is more related to the environment and sustainable packaging is often a big topic they take into consideration.
- Green, natural
Green is a broad, very broad definition. It all has to do with benefiting the environment. An example is of course this clean beauty movement but furthermore also well-known topics such as green cars, green fashion, green electricity, the list goes on. Therefore, green beauty products are sourced from natural resources (and could contain small amounts of synthetic and men-made products as well, but are safe). “Green” could be seen as a commitment to the Earth, being more environmentally conscious.
“Natural beauty” is very similar to the term “Green beauty”, but is also a quite general term as there are no official requirements provided by law to when a product is officially “natural”, or “green (applies to all terms in this list) – this is also a reason why these words are often used all over the place and makes it difficult to distinguish them. But anyways! Natural beauty also focuses on sourcing ingredients from natural sources like Green beauty does. Especially green and natural beauty are closely related.
Products that claim to be Organic both contain natural and organic ingredients, but with a low percentage of toxic ingredients. Let’s see what organic exactly is when it is certified!
Beauty products can be certified organic, a certification association then verified all its ingredients following its specific regulations. As its certified, the company then can refer customers back to the certification association. These certified organic products then do no animal testing, have no controversial chemicals, no parabens and phthalates (which are big NO NO’s in clean beauty), and no nano particles. (That is a lot of no’s). But let’s look at some of the yes’s!! Yes to higher levels of antioxidants, organic ingredients that are sustainably sourced, protecting wildlife and biodiversity.
Eco-friendly beauty is very closely related to Organic and Green beauty, you could see it kind of like a mix between green and organic. Eco-friendly usually refers to green living, helping us save resources (especially resources like water and energy). For example, organic products can still use a lot of water in their production. In the beauty industry, the difference is quite minimal. But in other industries (like fabrics), the difference between these terms may be more noticeable.
Back to clean beauty
Clean is more of a daily, general name for a lifestyle of using products with these clean ingredients – which can be divided into more specific terms. So clean beauty is kind of like an umbrella term looking at the terms above!
So, the terms aren’t very different from each other, only having very small differences. Though, with these small differences you are able to somehow distinguish them a little bit, while on the other hand they could all be referred back to “safe products containing ingredients from nature”. So, no wonder all these terms are all so closely linked to each other!
The thing is, as shortly mentioned previously, there is no law behind these terms. Therefore, many brands use what they think fits best, but nothing (in terms of law) confirms that the product they bring out have been confirmed by the law that is a fully “eco-friendly” product, or a truly “green” product, etc. The words are quite often used as buzzwords without any official requirements to be met.
Clean beauty trend and its factors making this trend important
As you already read at the start of the blog, the numbers keep growing and there seems to be no slowing down. Increasing number of people globally want to know what is exactly in the products they use, compare products more often and want to know what is good for them to use. People spend more time researching products’ ingredients and start to look behind “green-washing” marketing strategies and dive into the ingredient list. Nowadays, global warming is a big issue and more people are aware of being sustainable for the Earth and for themselves.
- Health & wellness
People of course want the best for their health, avoid illnesses, go to the gym more often, eat healthier. The biggest thing behind this is that more and more younger people start to realize. More younger people start to take the initiative to live a healthier lifestyle instead of parents telling them to eat healthier!
People are seeking for safety and security. To reach this they do more research and want to be fully aware of what they use. After all, it is understandable that you don’t want to put any unsafe toxins on your skin.
- Becoming one with the earth
As you might have noticed, the number of vegans has been skyrocketing. Not only vegans but also partly vegans or even non-vegans integrate more vegan dishes into their diet. According to Statista, in 2017 the global plant protein market value was 10.5 billion and is predicted to be 16.3 billion in 2025! This adds not only to a healthier lifestyle, but people want to be better for our planet as well. People source more from the nature not only in food, but in beauty products that they use on their skin as well! This leads to our next factor: “environmental factors”.
- Environmental factors
Global warming and the air getting worse around the world is a big reason that people want to take better care of themselves and the environment, to try make things better and not worse. With the beauty industry in general that is growing. It is clear that people want to protect their skin and take care of it as good as possible with all these environmental factors, while being sustainable for the Earth as well. People have more demand for eco-friendly products, clean and well sourced ingredients, less waste, easy to recycle items, green energy, no use of toxics as this won’t help much, and list goes on.
With more people researching before they choose to use a product, they no longer take the brand’s marketing words. As earlier explained, people are increasingly aware of marketing strategies and no longer want to take the brand’s words only. Customers want to be truly informed and have the power to make the best choices for their own body, wellness and environment.
Some of the best clean ingredients for the skin
Honey has long, long been a natural source for skincare and health-benefits, being one of the most popular home remedies. It delivers rich nutrients and a lot of moisture into the skin. Honey contains antioxidants, antibacterial properties, and gets rid of blackheads as it removes dirt from pores. Honey is often used as an effective, natural wash off mask.
Rice water is one of the gentlest natural skin cleansers. Rice water contains vitamins such as for example B1, C, E, minerals. These all shrink pores, tightens, softens and brightens skin.
Ginseng is an anti-aging ingredient, it has a lot of phytonutrients (substances in some plants which are beneficial to the human health and helps to prevent various diseases). It helps tone and brightens the skin. It enhances blood circulation, restores youth and smooths the skin.
- Green tea
Green tea works inflammatory, fights skin cancer as it promotes repairing DNA, and is antibacterial. It hydrates your skin very well, supports skin cell growth, and maintains firm and youthful skin .
Bamboo has 70% natural silica, this as well promotes blood circulation and strengthens the skin. Furthermore, it heals acne faster, gives the skin a shield against UV rays, and moisturizer skin very well.
These ingredients are very popular in K-beauty products and this is not for nothing!
Let’s refer back to the brand I’m from and take some examples in case you want to make a start!
It’s no wonder that there are quite some products with the above chosen as its main ingredient! The honey mask, rice mask, ginseng mask, you name it! All wash off masks which allows your skin to feel super refreshed after letting all the good sink into your skin.
- Honey mask
This wash off mask that has 38.7% real honey in it which you can notice right away, a good example of how nowadays more natural (literally natural) ingredients are being used! The skin will get a boost of elasticity, be deeply moisturized and nourished, nutrients will sink into your skin and no irritations as the natural honey leaves it soft and smooth. Next to the honey mask, there is also a honey cream!
- Rice mask
On to an example of the other popular ingredient in K-beauty: rice! A toner and wash off mask are available, but let’s look at the benefits of the wash off mask containing Yeoju rice.
It leaves the skin brightened, moisturized, clear and smooth as it gently exfoliates the skin as well. The nutrients are maximized and the rice grains and rice powder are maintained to keep the soft texture for optimal use.
- Ginseng mask
It is made to open up your pores naturally to deeply cleanse as the ginseng extract brings heat to the skin. Therefore, the active ingredients absorb well though the pores, resulting in healthier and younger skin. All-in-all, it detoxes your skin, brings elasticity, rejuvenates, and nourishes. The Ginseng in this product is a 6 years old 3.98% ginseng extract. A ginseng serum is also available.
Users mainly mention that they notice it soothes and protects their skin. Another highlight is that it leaves the skin soft and refreshed and it is easy to apply. Last but not least, many mentioned that it helps to heal their skin!
What do you think about clean beauty and are there any clean beauty products you use? Or are you thinking about using more clean beauty products?
We would love to hear your opinion about clean beauty, and if there are, any experiences!
See you next time~!
Nature as it is, It’s I’m from