What is Clean Beauty?

‘Clean beauty’ is an extremely vague term and one that doesn’t actually mean all that much. Or at least, it can be interpreted very differently from person to person.

The word ‘clean’ is commonly used to describe brands that have done something to ensure they are doing good and have made conscious decisions around their formulations and choice of ingredients.

This could be from using natural ingredients to being organic or simply using less packaging, being certified vegan or cruelty free. It might be that you can track the supply chain. Ultimately, as long as the brand has shown a conscious effort to ‘do good’ then it could be considered ‘clean’.  

What does natural mean in skincare?

Natural can apply to any ingredients from plants or nature that haven’t been grown in a lab and haven’t gone through a processing method. Natural tends to be when something hasn’t been refined or processed in any way. However, a lot of people will use ingredients that have been derived from a natural substance but that might have been processed in some way. This is when the word ‘natural’ can be challenged, as what is natural for some might not be natural for others.


Credit to David Loftus

What does organic mean in skincare?

Being organic goes that one step further than just being natural. Organic skincare products means they are made with non-GMO ingredients and have been grow without pesticides and chemical treatments. It is a very grey area in beauty and one that isn’t regulated or governed by anyone – a product can claim to be organic when it can contain virtually no organic ingredients in it at all.

This is why we have chosen to become certified COSMOS Organic by the Soil Association as it gives our customers the reassurance that what they are buying has had to achieve a certain standard.

For leave on products (i.e. face cream), 95% of all physically processed agro-ingredients must be organic and at least 20% of the total ingredients must be organic.

For rinse off products (i.e. cleanser), 95% of all physically processed agro-ingredients must be organic and at least 10% of the total ingredients must be organic.

Agro-ingredients are any plant, animal or microbial product derived from agriculture, aquaculture or wild collection/harvest.


By being certified COSMOS Organic, it means we have said no to:

  • Animal testing
  • GM ingredients
  • Controversial chemicals
  • Parabens and phthalates
  • Synthetic colours, dyes or fragrances


The certification says yes to:

  • Sustainably sourced organic ingredients
  • Using natural colours and fragrances from plants and flowers
  • Transparent manufacturing processes
  • Biodegradable ingredients
  • Minimal packaging with maximum recycled content
  • Protecting wildlife and biodiversity


If you find that you have a product that isn’t certified by Soil Association (or a similar certification body), then you can’t be sure how that brand has interpreted the term ‘organic’. We would always recommend taking a look at the ingredients to see if you can distinguish it for yourself, if you can’t, then ask the company what their organic percentage is. They shouldn’t have anything to hide if they actually are organic. 

Controversial Substances

Controversial substances are a very popular topic in clean beauty and another that can be open to interpretation. Having said that, something has been done about this and new legislations were passed in July 2019 to stop brands from labelling products as ‘free from’ certain substances such as parabens and silicones. 

In some cases, chemicals that were being picked out as ‘free from’ weren’t necessarily bad for you or harmful. The free from claims inevitably made people believe that the products they were choosing were better than others when in fact this wasn’t always the case. Essentially, if the ingredient is legally allowed to be used, then you cannot claim the product is free from it.

Lucy Bee made the decision to eliminate the following substances from our skincare range:

  • Palm oil, including any derivatives of palm oil
  • Petroleum
  • Silicones
  • Formaldehyde
  • PEGs
  • Sulphates
  • Artificial dyes
  • Soy
  • Gluten

If you want to read more about the Soil Association COSMOS Organic certification then you can here.


Lucy Bee is a lifestyle brand selling food, skincare and soap products all completely free from palm oil and with minimal use of plastic. Lucy Bee is concerned with Fair Trade, organic, ethical and sustainable living, recycling and empowering people to make informed choices and select quality, natural products for their food and their skin. 

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published