If beauty buzzword were superlatives, “clean beauty” would win for Rising Star. Gone are the days when clean and natural meant that your products were granola-looking, or that you had to sacrifice efficacy. The newest generation of clean beauty products are just as luxurious, potent, and sleek-looking as their high-end counterparts, minus any sketchy ingredients. Brands like Tata Harper, Kjaer Weis and Ilia have paved the way for a new perspective on clean beauty products—that they can look nice, feel nice, and do nice things for your skin, all while being housed in ‘grammable, #shelfie-worthy packaging.
To get the lowdown on the latest and greatest in clean beauty (and to feel confident about where we’ll definitely be spending our paychecks), we reached out to two experts on the pulse on all that’s new in the natural beauty world: Michelle Connelly, Director of Merchandising and Planning at Credo, and Romain Gaillard, founder of the Detox Market. Ahead, you’ll find the latest clean beauty trends (hi, ), buzzy new products (Alpyn Beauty—we see you), and more. Honestly, we recommend not scrolling through unless you’re prepared to lighten your wallet.
Don’t say we didn’t warn you!
Trend #1: Hero-product brands
Connelly says that she’s been seeing more and more brands launch with a very limited range of products, or sometime even just one. “It’s really perfecting it before trying to do too much as a new brand,” she says. “Some great examples that have been successful at Credo are Le Prunier, 8 Faces, and MARA.” (You can read our review of Mara’s Universal Face Oil here.) MARA has only 2 products: Algae + Moringa Universal Face Oil and Evening Primrose + Green Tea Algae Retinol Oil. “Both have become best sellers for Credo because they are easy to use and have strong featured ingredients,” explains Connelly.
Trend #2: CBD Everything
We’ve gone in-depth about how to decipher CBD when it comes to skincare, and the beauty world isn’t slowing down anytime soon when it comes to incorporating CBD into formulations—but it doesn’t stop at skincare. Connelly recommends checking out Saint Jane, a CBD brand that has so far launched just one potent face serum, as well as lip glosses. “The product pipeline for 2019 launches is unique, differentiated from any other CBD brand on the market, and the brand is so beautiful and luxurious, from the formulas to the packaging,” she says.
And don’t stop there—why not try a CBD fragrance while you’re at it? Heretic Dirty Grass is Credo’s first fragrance with CBD, and smells deep, earthy, and altogether intoxicating.
Trend #3: Natural alternatives to synthetics
In the past, synthetic ingredients were thought to be the most potent and effective—that’s not the case anymore. “Within ingredients, I am excited to see more natural alternatives to popular synthetic ingredients,” Connelly says. “Bakuchiol is a great example (found in Alpyn Line Filling Eye Balm and BYBI Bakuchiol Booster) as a swap for retinol. With better technology and improved formulation, we are seeing more unique ingredients with great skincare benefits.” Navigating ingredients on a label can be so confusing because there are so many synonyms, so Credo’s newly launched partnership with Clear For Me allows customers to see definitions for every ingredient, and also see synonyms and search for other products with that ingredient.
Another ingredient that’s said to mimic the effect of retinol without the negative effects? Something called moth bean extract. “You can find it in the gorgeous Siam Seas Twilight BeCalm Skin Serum, which is also loaded with turmeric and aloe, as well as the Graydon Fullmoon Serum,” says Gaillard.
Trend #4: Clean Toners/Essences
Essences originate from Korea, and lately, Western brands have come out with their own versions boasting a slew of clean, skin-loving ingredients. “The Agent Nateur Holi(Water) uses a beautiful rose water distillate and a special hyaluronic acid from Switzerland, Maya Chia The Optimist Hydrating Brightening Essence is powered by sake, white tea, chia seed, astaxanthin, and licorice extracts, and the new Vintner’s Daughter Essence includes micro-exfoliating acids and vitamin C to address texture issues as well,” Gaillard says.
ayurvedic herbs like neem, holy basil, and turmeric to gently cleanse the skin. “It’s super refreshing and not sticky at all,” he adds.
Trend #5: Plant-based Liquid Exfoliators
The latest crop of liquid exfoliators opt for gentle fruit acids and botanicals to slough away dead skin cells, instead of any harsher ingredients. “Exfoliating serums, toners, and masks that offer that instant gratification glow are having a moment,” says Gaillard. He calls out the Native Atlas Zahara Rewind Tonic (exclusive to The Detox Market ) that uses AHA’s, salicylic, plus colloidal silver to powerfully smooth, and replace more conventional acid toners that might be full of more synesthetic ingredients, as well as Herbivore’s Prism Exfoliating Glow Potion.
“It’s a gentle serum with natural fruit acids and hydrators to regenerate and brighten,” he says.
Trend #6: Skin-loving makeup
Makeup used to be used cover imperfections, and in the process, would sometimes even make them worse. Gaillard says one of the biggest trends he’s seen come out of clean beauty is makeup that’s actually meant to make your skin better every time you use it. “Serum concealers, highlighters, lip glosses, and more are loaded with ingredients typically found in skincare only, so you can get more benefits from your makeup,” he explains. “There is an ethos that skincare is the new makeup, so people are wearing less makeup and expecting more from their makeup.” He recommends trying ILIA’s True Skin Serum Concealer, which is enriched with vitamin C and albizia julibrissin bark extract to promote healthy collagen production, Fitglow Lip Color Serum, made with organic pomegranate plant sterols and vegan collagen to plump, and the Maya Chia Highlight of the Day Illuminating Serum, which has a base of chia seed oil (a superfood and antioxidant rich plant oil).
“Makeup artists and fans love it for the easy luminosity it imparts whether worn alone, mixed in with makeup and skincare, or worn on strategic parts of the face to highlight,” he says. Another Maya Chia favorite? Connely recommends the brand’s newest launch, The Refresh Mint: “It’s the most photogenic exfoliating mask you have ever seen!”
On the eye makeup front, both Gailard and Connelly call out Aether Beauty for its gorgeous, highly-pigmented eye shadow palettes. “Their eye shadow palettes are hugely popular, and we can’t see what they do next,” says Gaillard, while Connelly points out that the palettes are not only supremely gorgeous, but the brand is also making huge efforts around sustainability.
Trend #7: Affordable Options
Clean beauty products often take more care and thoughtfulness when it comes to sourcing the highest-quality ingredients, which is why a lot of options tend to veer on the more expensive side. Luckily, there are a whole slew of affordable clean options these days, ranging from skincare to makeup. “W3ll People makeup is a standby. They have been around a long time, and go a long way to make their line affordable. It’s all created with a makeup artist and a dermatologist, so it’s user friendly as well,” Gaillard says.
“SkinOwl is a local LA brand that’s a great jumping off point. Their face everyday face oils are $30 and they have blends for multiple skin types. We also created the Detox Mode Altogether Oil to be approachable at $32 for 3.4 oz, without skimping on ingredient quality. It’s also a head-to-toe multitasker, so a great staple. Oh, andn Captain Blankenship makes great hair products that smell beachy and work great.” Connelly recommends the skincare brand BYBI, which has just launched several “boosters” featuring hero ingredients that retail for $17 and can be mixed in with your regular serums & moisturizers or used on their own.
“I love both the Strawberry Booster and the Bakuchiol Booster for their versatility—they make it easy to add these hero ingredients into your routine with no extra steps,” she says. Another affordable brand she recommends comes comes from the UK: Evolve Organic Beauty. “Their Multi-Peptide 360 Moisture Cream and Hyaluronic Serum 200 are both best sellers for Credo, and my own personal favorite is the Gentle Cleansing Melt,” she says.
Want more clean beauty picks? Click here to see the skincare winners of our Eco Beauty Awards.