Our Guide to Clean Beauty

Our Guide to Clean Beauty

Happy July 15th! It’s National Clean Beauty Day! That means it’s time to celebrate the wonders of clean beauty products and what they can do for our skin, health, and lives.

First, what is clean beauty? That answer certainly depends upon who you ask. But, to us, clean beauty refers to products formulated without synthetic, harmful ingredients or chemicals. This includes parabens, oxybenzone, and synthetic fragrances – but that isn’t an exhaustive list.

The Importance of Clean Beauty

Have you ever thought about the impact that your beauty products have on your health? If not, it isn’t too late to start! 60% of what you apply to your skin makes its way into your bloodstream. So, by shopping for clean beauty products, you’re making an important decision for your health. Think of it as exercising and eating healthy – but for your skin!

A study also concluded that, since 2009, 595 cosmetics manufacturers have reported using 88 chemicals in more than 73,000 products. These chemicals have been linked to birth defects, reproductive harm, and even cancer. 

Shopping for clean beauty also means supporting cruelty-free brands. In a recent study by Cruelty Free Kitty, it’s estimated that, of the 50 largest companies ranked by market value in 2021, 88% fund animal testing. That’s a big no from us.

How to Shop for Clean Beauty Products

So, you’ve done the research, seen the statistics, and are ready to start your clean beauty journey. But, where to start? We’ve got you covered with our guide to clean beauty. 

First, we’ve got to exercise our brains by becoming smart shoppers and learning how to read cosmetic labels. It can be easy to fall into the trap of attractive packaging or words like “Natural” or “Organic,” but it’s important to take a closer look.

In shopping for clean beauty products, the two most important elements to look for are the ingredient list and the symbols, which are usually located next to the barcode.

Let’s start with the ingredient list. There are many safe and naturally derived ingredients that do, unfortunately, have complicated names. Thanks to the School of Natural Skincare, here are some common examples of safe ingredients that sound super science-y and complex.


Xanthan gum

Cetyl alcohol

Citric acid

Sorbitan olivate

Potassium sorbate

It’s also important to understand the order of ingredients. On cosmetic labels, ingredients are listed in descending order from greatest to least amount present in the product. 

We’d also like to share this resource – Paula’s Choice. – a Skin Care Ingredient Dictionary. You can search ingredients quickly or browse alphabetically. Each ingredient conveniently has a safety rating, as well as a description of its function in a product. 

Symbols are cheat codes in understanding what qualifies as “clean beauty” and what doesn’t. Here are some certifications to look for in your next trip to the beauty counter.

USDA Organic


Certified Vegan

Peta’s Cruelty Free




Certified B-Corporation

Ingredients to Avoid

There isn’t a comprehensive, surefire list of ingredients to avoid, but this list can help you get started, thanks to Harper’s Bazaar:



Aluminum Compounds

Ethoxylated Agents


Refined Petroleum






Soon enough, you’ll be a master at reading labels!

Making the Switch

The saying, “Rome wasn’t built in a day” is true for clean beauty as well. You don’t want to create any unnecessary waste by throwing out all of your current products. Try swapping out products that touch the largest surface of your body first, like body washes, oils, or lotions. Next, take a look at your sunscreen, hand lotions, and deodorant. 

As far as makeup goes, pay special attention to products that you continuously reapply throughout the day like blush, mascara, and lip products. Consider swapping those out first!

Finding Clean Beauty Products

Understanding product labels is important, but, thanks to the Internet, it’s easier than ever to find your new favorite clean beauty brands. Byrdie, a one-stop destination for beauty insider secrets, has its own Clean Beauty Pledge, and highlights clean beauty brands in an awards series each year. The verdict is still out for 2022, but you can browse their 2021 winners here. Luckily, they have awards for a wide variety of product and brand characteristics, like budget, sensitive skin, shade selection, all ages, and even for makeup newbies!

Organically Becca has also curated a master list of clean beauty brands, including Cosmetics, Skincare, Hair and Body Care, Dental, Feminine Care, Household, and even subscription services. Check it out!

Products We Love

To round out our guide to clean beauty, we’d like to share some products that we love to stock our shelves and drawers with.


Fit for an experimenting teenager or a makeup guru, we love Kosas’ starter sets! The 5 Minute Face Set is perfect for early mornings and active days. We also love The Dewy Skin Set because it’s simply perfect for your summer makeup needs.

Don’t we all want long, flirty eyelashes? Thrive Causemetics has got your back – or, in this case, eyes! Their award-winning Liquid Lash Extensions Mascara instantly creates the look of lash extensions – the all-natural and completely safe way!

Since it’s summer, we are all about the tinted lip look. Check out Honest Beauty’s Love Your Lip Kit for a perfect enhancement to your natural pout.


Of course, everyone’s skincare routine is different, but we should ALL use sunscreen and more of it! That’s why we’re recommending Drunk Elephant’s Umbra Tint Sunscreen. It’s a tinted sunscreen with UVA and UVB protection. It’s also loaded with antioxidants, is formulated for sensitive skin, and has a universally-flattering shade. What’s not to love?

Body Care

Dr. Bronner’s is where it’s at for just about everything! For winter months or for when you’re needing a bit of a refresh, check out their Magic Balm. It can be used anywhere, any time!

Now, this one isn’t a clean beauty product, but it is worth mentioning. We love Dr. Bronner’s Sal Suds Biodegradable Cleaner. It’s kind to your laundry, your dishes, your floors, and even the planet!

Clean Beauty DIY

And, when in doubt, DIY it out! Sometimes the best, cleanest things are made right from the comfort of our very own homes. And it can be easier on your wallet, too! We’d like to give a shoutout to this great read: The Compassionate Chick’s Guide to DIY Beauty. Inside are 125 recipes for vegan, gluten free, and cruelty free makeup, skin, and hair care products. No need to worry about complex labels here!

Thanks for reading our guide to clean beauty. This is the first step toward a healthier you, and a healthier planet. Also, remember to shop with the Makeena app to save on your favorite clean beauty products. After all, that’s why we’re here! 

So, what would you like to read about next? Let us know!

better for you products, Makeena, natural products, conscious consumerism, clean beauty


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