It’s a tough time to navigate the world of clean beauty. What started as a decent effort to steer the industry towards quality, eco-conscious formulas while excluding certain harmful ingredients turned into the age of ambiguity. With no set definition, “clean beauty” became a wildly popular marketing term in just a few short years, which has left customers unsure of which products are best to use as brands have set all different standards of what "clean" means to them. Certain companies have focused on an eco-conscious mindset in everything from production to packaging, while others have focused on formulas, advertising which much-talked-about ingredients are (and aren't) in their products.
While "clean beauty" standards remain inconsistent and can be daunting, we've created our own guide to help you understand certain ingredients for yourself, and the industry is slowly but surely shifting toward a multi-faceted approach that champions brands with high-quality formulas and eco-friendly processes. It takes a conscious and committed philosophy (and not just fancy marketing speak), and that’s where Farmacy shines like it’s made of sunlight.
Founded by: David Chung, in 2014.
Based in: New York, NY
Pricing: $$-$$$ (most products are $40 and above)
Best known for: Being an eco-conscious beauty brand focused on using responsible, farm-sourced ingredients to make thoughtful, cruelty-free skincare and body care formulas.
Most popular product: Green Clean Cleansing Balm
Other brands you'll love: Youth to the People, Drunk Elephant, Glow Recipe, Tatcha
Fun Fact: One Green Clean is sold every second globally. Also, the cult favorite Honey Savior salve has a laundry list of uses, including lip balm, cuticle caretaker, hair tamer, DIY cream blush, sunburn soother, eyebrow pomade, and even an anti-friction remedy perfect for runners.
Farmacy champions everything clean beauty stands for, both in practice and in product. However, on paper, you might not even realize Farmacy is a skincare brand at first. According to Catherine Birli, the brand's global head of PR and partnerships, “Farmacy was founded on the premise of bringing people closer to nature and finding ways to help incorporate nature into their daily lives.” But what distinguishes Farmacy from, say, ecotourism, is its “farm-to-face” philosophy, inspired by the age-old farm-to-table method, to ensure only high-quality, vetted ingredients make it into each product.
On that note, Farmacy knows a few things about farming. “We are farmer-cultivated, science-activated,” Birli said. “We work with pioneers in sustainable farming, and our team works to unlock the power of those naturals to create clinically-validated formulas with proven results.”
In creating its ever-expanding collection of products, the brand abides by a list of 10 “Clean Commandments,” geared toward only using ingredients that are free of known irritants and harmful substances, non-GMO, cruelty-free, tested for use on all skin types, and sourced from local and organic farms. “We take pride in redefining the business of beauty and being cruelty-free and vegan conscious,” Birli said.
To that end, many ingredients used in Farmacy products are upcycled from the food industry to keep them from going to waste. Farmacy is also Leaping Bunny Certified as well as partnered with ClearForMe, a comprehensive ingredient database that features over two million ingredients to help standardize information and make product discovery more transparent for customers.
But enough of what’s inside—the brand puts an equal-amount of effort towards its packaging, which is 100% waste-free, meaning every bit is made with recycled material and is recyclable itself. And remember that old phrase, "Waste not, want not?" Farmacy lives by this philosophy, as Birli says the brand’s true focus is on giving back, fighting food insecurity and promoting ethical production: “We strive to make our communities better by partnering with organizations such as Feeding America in the US and Second Harvest in Canada to help fight hunger and reduce the needless waste of food.”
In the beauty industry's quest to become more responsible in terms of sustainability and ecology, Farmacy is truly setting a conscious example. Keep reading for our favorite Farmacy products.
Green Clean Makeup Meltaway Cleansing Balm
All it takes is one use to understand why this cleansing balm has achieved fan-favorite status (and won plenty of awards along the way). It does everything a cleansing balm should, but with all the bells and whistles that make it worthy of a daily ritual. An oil blend melts away every trace of makeup, papaya extract gently exfoliates, and the citrus-inspired scent whisks you away to a tropical destination worlds away from your bathroom sink. There's also a fragrance-free version if you have sensitive skin or simply prefer to skip out on the scent.
Peaches ’N Clean Makeup Meltaway Cleansing Balm
This fruit-based alternative to Green Clean contains upcycled peach kernel oil for extra hydration during cleansing. Making it even more satisfying to add to your routine, Farmacy helps donate 20 meals to Feeding America and Second Harvest with each purchase of this product.
10% Niacinamide Night Mask
This pudding-like cream mask harnesses the myriad talents of one of beauty's most hardworking ingredients—niacinamide—to balance oil and revitalize skin’s appearance, as well as barrier-boosting panthenol and a slew of natural extracts (like upcycled blueberry seed oil) to leave your face with a fresh, healthy glow.
10% Waterless Vitamin C Serum
This vitamin C serum literally ticks off all the boxes: It’s oil-free, stable, loaded with upcycled fruit and vegetable extracts for a radiance boost, and quickly absorbs into skin for maximum comfort and efficiency. Here’s to a vitamin C with the potential to upgrade almost any routine.
1% Vitamin A Retinol Serum
Taking the natural route to retinol, this product features two potent retinoids to help firm skin, lessen the appearance of fine lines, and bring about an overall smoother look. Retinal quickly gets to work, while encapsulated retinol slow-releases while you sleep. The formula is also stacked with upcycled Kalahari melon and raspberry seed oils for a moisture boost, plus ceramides to help support skin barrier function.
Honey Halo Ultra-Hydrating Ceramide Moisturizer
Need a daily cream that does it all? Honey, it’s here. It’s thick, it’s rich, and it’s loaded with buckwheat honey to soothe, hydrate, and protect skin for an instant glow. Plant-based ceramides and shea butter perform double duty in this moisturizer, locking in vital hydration while replenishing barrier function.
Honey Potion Plus Ceramide Hydration Mask
If you find your face has had too much of anything—think sun, wind, or active ingredients—a healthy slather of this jelly mask should help balance things out in no time. The formula takes honey to the third power, with buckwheat honey to nourish, propolis to soothe, and royal jelly to promote healing.
Honeymoon Glow AHA Resurfacing Night Serum
If nature could provide a facelift in a bottle, this comes pretty close. With 14% AHAs derived from lactic, glycolic, citric, and fruit acids, this heavy-duty serum deeply exfoliates to sweep away dead cells and resurface skin, while salicylic acid from willow bark helps balance oil and reduce the appearance of pores. Hyaluronic acid and honey send hydration deep into skin, leaving you with a super-natural glow.
Deep Sweep 2% BHA Pore Cleaning Toner
I’m just going to steal the mic for a sec and say this stuff is awesome. It’s potent, with 2% salicylic acid and papaya enzymes providing some pretty strong exfoliating action, but the alcohol-free formula is never too strong, thanks to a few select natural extracts that work to nourish and soothe skin. Splash it on morning and/or night as an insurance policy that helps prevent breakouts and midday shine.
Daily Greens Oil-Free Gel Moisturizer
This gel moisturizer feels like your favorite moisturizer and serum got together and had a baby. The result is so light that it feels fresh as it glides on, but it contains so many skin-loving ingredients, you can actually feel it working. Hyaluronic and polyglutamic acids increase hydration, niacinamide and galacturonic acid help balance oil, and moringa and papaya extracts leave skin smooth and refreshed.