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What is Clean?

Authored by Janis Leahy, Malia Thompson, and Lauren Penley

The skincare industry is massive. So many brands. So many products. So many ingredients. SO many labels like CLEAN. GREEN. ORGANIC. PLANT-BASED. NATURAL.

But what do any of these labels mean? 

“GREEN” is a less regulated label which can sometimes encompass “PLANT-BASED” (created with no animal byproduct) or “NATURAL” which is even less regulated than “green”. There only needs to be one natural product in the ingredients list for the product can call itself “natural.” “ORGANIC” generally means the product is made without pesticides, chemical fertilizers, growth hormones or antibiotics, but there are varying levels of organic.

And why are we seeing these labels everywhere? It’s because brands + people are realizing that the government hasn’t changed regulations in the cosmetics industry in over 80 years.  Add to that that the US has taken restrictive action on only 11 ingredients in cosmetics, While the EU has banned or restricted more than 1300!

We prefer the label “CLEAN,” which equates to TRANSPARENCY. It’s holding brands accountable for making sure their products are free of chemicals known or linked to causing harm to people, animals, and/or our planet.

But there is no clear standard in the industry. So what MadeWith has done is evaluated some of the top creators and retailers in the clean industry and created what we call our Never MadeWith List. There are currently 27 ingredients (plus another 34 ingredients that are either derivatives or byproducts) – a total of 61 ingredients – that are NOT allowed in our products because they are known or linked to causing harm to people or the planet.

We are cruelty free and do not allow unsustainably sourced animal byproducts in our ingredients list (so again no ingredients that will harm or kill animals). We will carry vegan products (created with no animal byproducts), but we aren’t strictly vegan.

While we’d love for you to read through our Never MadeWith list (as we spent quite a bit of time making it a more digestible list for someone who isn’t necessarily a scientist), we also know it’s time consuming to read. It’s even more daunting to double-check ingredients of every product label against it. So we’re doing that for you: we personally review every label of every product before we consider bringing it into inventory (which is already more than some other retailers are doing with their “clean” labeling).

But that only covers part of the challenge of searching for skincare. The other big challenge – “how will I know if it works? Just because it is clean doesn’t necessarily mean the products are formulated in a way that will help me.” We get that. So we are taking a few more steps to ensure we can help you:

    • Our founders personally try every product before moving it into our test group
    • Each product is tested for weeks on men + women of all skin types from ages 18 – 70
    • If we don’t get it right the first time, we’ll work with you find the right product
    • We’ll stay informed of the latest science so you don’t have to do all the research
    • We’ll let you know when new products are brought into inventory that performed well with people who have similar symptoms as you
    • We’ll help you navigate transitions like getting pregnant, growing out a beard, and any other changes your face might be going through

Last, and most important, the CLEAN industry is also about clean practices. As brands, we MUST be more responsible – not only in the way we are sourcing our ingredients, but in the way we are getting products to our market. MadeWith will push brands to 1 – use better packaging, 2 – keep their focus on making quality products over quantity of products, 3 – find partnerships that have the same passion we do in creating less waste.

We are on a mission to bring the best products into our inventory to slow the amount of returns and waste we are circulating around the planet. We hope you’ll join us. ❤️

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6 thoughts on “What is Clean?

  1. Why people still make use of to read news papers when in this technological
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    1. THANKS! We appreciate all the different ways people choose to educate themselves, but we also really love saving trees. That said, make sure to get your news from reputable sources!

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