Education, Trends, Wellness / Self-Care

Breaking down what the Conscious Beauty movement is

Everyone and their mom has a definition, what’s yours?

words by: Natasha Marsh
Sep 25, 2022

As a beauty editor working in this space for over 5 years, it’s always really obvious to see what stage someone is at in the clean movement by the terminology they use for it. The original clean and natural brands have done their thing with natural ingredients for nearly half a century. It was when the public became aware of the environmental effects that things started to get a bit fuzzy, and greenwashing took priority.


In 2010, nearly 35 years after clean beauty was a thing, Juice Beauty trademarked “clean beauty,” and the description became part of all brands. Now there is another trend taking the market: Conscious beauty. This looks at clean beauty from a new lens. Ulta Beauty and Bluemercury see it as a 4-prong approach: Naturally-derived ingredients, mindful formulations, vegan beauty, and wellness.


Conscious beauty covers a wide range of products, with a huge focus on integrity and transparency at all touch points on the supply chain. These points are representation of leadership, a strong screening of partnerships, philanthropy, a clear and concise image of the product’s life cycle, and of course, consideration of the planet each step of the way.


The main goal is to provide more options for those who want brands that align with all their values. Especially with the pandemic, wherein healthy choices might have shifted for consumers. With the new language, it could become a clearer thought process and signal the bypassing of purchasing brands who are greenwashing for profit.


We should note that the Food and Drug Administration does not require certain stipulations for beauty brands. Meaning, if a brand wants to call itself sustainable, clean, or say their packaging is recyclable, they can. It really is up to us to determine who is telling the truth and who is lying. Of course, looking for brands that have PETA, cruelty-free, and B-corp certifications is also a great way to determine authenticity.


We would love to live in a world and industry where people can agree a one-size-fits-all approach. It hasn’t happened with words like “clean,” “green,” “ethical,” or “natural,” but we are hopeful that conscious will be just the step. We hope to see conscious beauty continue to gain traction and bring people solace in terms of ethics, sustainability, sourcing, and environment. And we hope to see more and more consumers actually deem conscious beauty as important.


If you’re ready to jump start your conscious beauty/grooming journey, check out these 4 websites that check how clean your skincare products are and if biotech beauty will change the game.