Consumer interest in brand ethics, being clean and honest, has been on the rise both before and during lockdown. With this in mind, we’ve noticed a new trend has been emerging within the skincare and makeup industry: “Clean Beauty”. The concept has really taken the industry by storm.
It is important to note that “Clean beauty” is not defined or regulated, it is currently being used as a marketing tool by many brands.
What is “Clean Beauty”?
Sephora defines clean beauty as “natural” and “organic”. However, the concept means different things to different people. For some, it might mean fragrance-free, natural or organic. For others, it might be specifically linked to environmental or moral concerns. Personally, I would view “clean” within skincare as products that are:
- Delicate on the skin.
- Packaged in recyclable or compostable materials.
- Produced by a brand with a moral ethos, for instance giving back to community.
Looking at search data, it’s clear to see that customers value many of the aspects that are core to “clean beauty”: being natural, organic or sustainable.
Consumers prefer brands who are open with their audience, who do the correct things within the industry but can also admit where improvements can be made.
Transparency is the key here. For example, if you are vegan but not cruelty-free yet, let your consumers know whether you have an initiative to obtain cruelty-free status, and the steps you are taking. This honesty and openness is preferable to brands who shout about how much they do for the environment and consumers without being able to back up their claims.
Being transparent on social media and your website is key to success with consumers.
“Free from” lists on product pages can be helpful but also confusing. For example, ‘free from parabens and fragrance’ may lead you to question what is being used in replacement.
Brands should focus on what’s in the product as well as what isn’t, and make this clear to the consumer. It is stated that 3 out of 4 consumers are confused by ingredients and messaging on sites. Therefore, it is key to explore the use of displaying different ingredients throughout the website and ensure users understand what is in every product. Considering CRO tactics and A/B testing could really help your brand here.
“Clean Beauty” is a more prominent concept in the UK compared to the US and is easier for the “clean” story to come across, as in the UK we are more inclined to buy vegan, cruelty free and organic products.
Across the world, different brands will have different interpretations as regulations and cultural norms differ. This could make messaging harder and mean you will need to localise your content when expanding internationally, meaning international sites will need different messaging across regions.
“Clean Beauty” Search Trends
Within the US there has been a 50% increase in “clean beauty” searches during August 2020, compared to August 2019.
The trends data for the past 5 years show that “clean beauty” is not new by any means, but interest levels are not constant. For Australia, we can see sharp increases and sharp decreases across the five years. The UK has seen more steady growth with dips and spikes. USA has seen the highest and most stable growth out of the three countries.
This tells us that “clean beauty” is not a fad and there is likely to be sustained interest in the term for years to come. As it isn’t regulated, the use of it will be forcing people to look at what it means.
How should you use “Clean Beauty”?
If you would like to use the term on-site, then it would be beneficial to be transparent and ensure the consumer is aware that it isn’t regulated and the term ‘clean’ is coming from your brand’s perspective. Provided this is clear in your messaging, there will be no issues from consumers and other brands. Reinforcing why you consider your brand and its products to be ‘clean’ can be another great way to showcase the qualities of your products and what makes them stand out from the competition.