Clean beauty has steadily moved from being a niche market to entering the mainstream, with an eighth consecutive year of growth in Europe. This past year the number of COSMOS certified beauty products in Europe doubled to more than 10,000 with 794 brands boasting organic products. In 2017, personal care & beauty accounted for more than $1 billion, contributing to one of the fastest growing global industries, the wellness industry.

clean beauty


This growth in the wellness industry, & specifically the interest in clean beauty, is a result of conscious consumerism. Consumers are becoming more educated & conscious of the ingredients that go into the products they use. After being educated about ingredients in foods they consume, people naturally turned their attention to other products they use, such as beauty products.

Much more attention is paid to the labels on beauty products & research into the ingredients they contain. With the increase in skin sensitivity, due to exposure to pollution, stress & other irritants, consumers are looking for products with the minimum number of ingredients possible; especially those that do not contain any irritant or synthetic ingredients. Consumers are focusing on natural ingredients that are produced with consideration to both human health & the environment.


Even though clean beauty is a term used often in the cosmetics industry, since there is no official legislation surrounding the term, each company can define it as best suits them. As a broad definition, clean beauty refers to products that,

  • Contain natural ingredients

  • Contain the minimum number of ingredients possible

  • Contain ingredients that are considerate of their environmental impact

  • Are free of irritant or synthetic ingredients

  • Are manufactured with environmentally friendly & ethical procedures


It is difficult to agree on a definition for clean beauty when even the classification of toxic ingredients varies depending on your location. The cosmetics industry in the EU is much more highly regulated than in the US, with more than 1,300 ingredients banned from cosmetics in the EU compared to just 30 banned in the US.
With the government in the US not stepping up, the clean beauty industry has been setting its own benchmarks. Synthetic chemicals & aggressive ingredients seem to be the ones most targeted, with parabens one of the big ones on the list, along with artificial colours & fragrances, SLS emulsifiers, silicones & mineral oils. The industry instead focuses on using natural & organic ingredients.

clean beauty


Natural ingredients are those derived from plants & nature with minimal processing. Organic ingredients are natural ingredients that have not been genetically modified & have been grown, manufactured & preserved without chemical contaminants, such as herbicides, pesticides, fungicides or antibiotics. Products claiming to be natural or organic should contain at least a majority of ingredients that are defined as such.

Vegan products do not contain any animal-derived ingredients, even if they are naturally produced by them, including collagen, albumen, gelatine, carmine, cholesterol & honey. As plant-based, vegan lifestyles become increasingly popular, consumers are expecting their beauty products to correspond with the rest of their values.


Modern consumers are conscious of more than just how products affect them, with their impact on the environment as big an influencer on their decision making as their personal benefits. There is a growing demand by consumers for safety, transparency & sustainability when they are purchasing a product. While simply reading the terms ‘natural’ & ‘organic’ used to be enough, today’s consumers expect there to be proof for these claims. They also are not satisfied with the ingredients simply being derived from nature, but for them to have been ethically & sustainably sourced.


organic certification

While a universally approved definition for clean beauty is not yet available, there are certifications for natural & organic standards.

ECOCERT, a French organic certification organisation founded in 1991, was the first to develop standards for natural & organic cosmetics in 2003. The ECOCERT standard ensures an environmentally friendly cosmetic product, taking into consideration all stakeholders in the production chain. To obtain the certification, all ingredients must be derived from renewable sources, manufactured by environmentally friendly processes & packaging must be biodegradable or recyclable. Also, a minimum of the total natural ingredients must be derived from organic sources.

The COSMOS standard was developed in 2010 by five EU organic certification bodies in order to specify common requirements & definitions for organic &/or natural cosmetics. The aim was to provide a region-wide accreditation for the green credentials of cosmetic manufacture. COSMOS also provides certifications to companies supplying materials to be used in natural or organic cosmetic products.


With consumers preferring clean beauty products, a shift in the sunscreen market is also being observed. There is a growing preference for formulations that are kinder to both the skin & the environment.


Sunscreens are complex formulations comprised of many ingredients. However, the most important ingredient is the UV filter, the additive that provides protection against the UV rays from the sun. There are two types of UV filters used in sunscreens, chemical & mineral. Chemical filters pervade into the skin where they absorb & dissipate UV rays. While mineral filters form a physical barrier on the surface of the skin that deflects & scatters UV radiation.

Chemical UV filters are coming under scrutiny due to their narrow UV protection; they predominantly protect against UVB radiation not the arguably more dangerous UVA rays. They are also more likely to cause skin irritations due to their low photostability. A number of chemical UV filters, including oxybenzone & octinoxate, are also considered particularly damaging to the marine environment & sunscreens containing them are being banned in some areas like Hawaii & Palau.

Mineral filters are the only filters to offer broad spectrum protection against both UVA & UVB sun rays & have better photostability. The two most commonly used mineral filters are Zinc Oxide (ZnO) & Titanium Dioxide (TiO2). Zinc Oxide, a globally approved natural mineral ingredient, is considered the most effective UV filter in broad spectrum sunscreens. Sunscreens containing mineral UV filters are much more likely to align with the expectations of consumers concerned with clean beauty.

micno powder for cosmetic zinc oxide uv protection


Entekno Materials has designed an innovative MicNo® ZnO Particle Technology. They have developed a mineral UV filter that, due to its unique morphology, overcomes the disadvantages associated with conventional micron & nano ZnO currently on the market.

MicNo is a single novel ingredient that offers high protection against UVA, UVB & Blue light & has a high SPF ratio per % mass. It is an environmentally friendly & totally natural ingredient, with the COSMOS Approved Raw material & ECOCERT Natural accreditations to prove it. With its excellent antimicrobial properties, MicNo also provides the opportunity for formulations with less or no preservatives, ingredients which are often considered incongruous with clean beauty.
With its excellent dispersion properties, MicNo also offers high transparency without causing whitening. This makes it suitable to be incorporated into & offer UV protection to a range of formulations not just sunscreens; like daily care products, such as moisturisers & lip balms, or coloured cosmetics, such as foundations & lipsticks.

MicNo is the clear solution in UV protection; offering cosmetic companies a more effective additive for cost-efficient formulations that also appeal to the current & future consumer demands for clean beauty products.

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