It’s a new dawn, it’s a new day, it’s a new life… and organic apple essence just doesn’t quite make the cut anymore.
Since hand-sanitiser became the headlining product of 2020, anti-bac and bleach has become an integral part of our lives. Out of necessity, we’ve had to readjust our focus – and our beauty routines – to make room for the “unprecedented” curveball that Covid has thrown our way. We’re still keen to uphold our eco ethics, but not at the cost of basic safety.
It’s meant the “clean” beauty movement has had to undergo a shift. There’s still the appetite – beauty and wellness gurus like Rosie Huntington-Whiteley and Hailey Bieber have all openly spot-lit their preference for “clean” products, while beauty brands are steadily increasing their green offering – but, we’re starting to rethink our relationship with chemicals. Namely: whether it’s wise to skip preservatives and germicides in an inter-Covid world.
While we’re at it, the bohemian and unconstricted vibe that up until now has complemented the “clean” movement needs work. Terms like “natural”, “organic”, “clean” and “non-toxic” have no legal definition or regulation that guarantee quality and safety. And, if we’re sticking that stuff on our face, we’re gonna need to see receipts.
“Post-pandemic, the evolution of ‘clean’ is ‘cleanical’,” explains Cult Beauty‘s co-founder, Alexia Inge. A mash-up of clean and clinical skincare, “it harnesses natural ingredients, but with a parallel focus on lab-grown, performance-enhancing technology and synthetic ‘guard dogs’ to counter our heightened alarm around contamination.” How? By accrediting or recreating natural ingredients in lab environments.
“The eternal push/pull of nature and tech is still present, but now lab-honed ingredients, biomimicry and ‘green science’ blur the traditional lines,” explains Alexia.
Brands like Biossance, Bio-Effect, Codex, OSKIA, REN and One Ocean Beauty are leading the way, merging natural ingredients with cutting edge science to come up with an answer for multiple problems. “We take single cells, obtained from living marine microorganisms through Blue Biotechnology and regrow them in the lab,” explains Marcella Cacci, CEO and founder of One Ocean Beauty.
At Codex, ingredients are wild-harvested sustainably or recreated using biotechnology. Next, they’re formulated with pharmaceutical-grade manufacturing processes before being verified by published clinical data. Biossance has engineered a way to produce squalane (a hero moisturising ingredient found in the bodies of humans and animals) using 100% plant-based renewable sugarcane. Their bio-fermenting technique creates a highly-stable, totally sustainable, eco-friendly squalane. And at REN “all formulations have a safety report which is compiled by a registered safety assessor to ensure that the end product is safe for use,” reveals David Delport, the brand’s global ambassador.
By combining “clean” ingredients with clinical practices, the process is more controlled, since varying factors such as growing conditions and the quality become less volatile and more uniform. It’s more sustainable, “the environment is preserved as there is no harvesting or large-scale extraction from nature,” explains Marcella. And, with stringent standards to confirm their efficacy, the products are safer, more powerful and more effective for consumers.
“Marry the ‘formulated without’ philosophies of the ‘clean beauty’ movement, layer in the anti-contamination innovations and you have clinically led, consciously formulated, lab-grown beauty for a new era and a new reinvention of ‘clean,’” says Alexia.
But, that’s not all. Strengthening the “cleanical” trend, “there’s been a re-emergence of clean-savvy ‘doctor brands’ as trusted sources for skin care solutions, as the public have become used to following the advice of scientific professionals during the crisis,” reveals Alexia. It means medical-grade beauty formulas are set to soar. “Terminology borrowed from the clinical world will infiltrate beauty to a greater degree,” confirms Alexia. “Anything that claims to have medical-grade approval or standards will be deemed more effective and trustworthy by worrisome buyers.”
Just as well we’ve rounded up the best doctor beauty brands to get stuck into, then…