Clean by Design- a New Formulation Trend Concept from Univar Solutions

28 Ağustos 2020

Beauty is something that is constantly evolving, clean beauty even more so, as we now search to define it. One thing is clear, clean beauty is more than a marketing tactic, it’s becoming an industry standard like the inclusivity and authenticity of a brand. We are creating the world we want to live in through the choices we make around how we spend our money and how we organize our lives.

There are three vital cornerstones for modern beauty brands, luxury, efficacy and clean ingredients. Successful brands are doing something different- they have a multi-faceted approach and act more like a lifestyle brand, going beyond pure beauty.

Today’s consumer is health and environmentally conscious, able to self-educate through podcasts, social media, apps, influencers and an array of other on-the-go content, meaning they are making considered choices when it comes to beauty and lifestyle brands. The global wellness industry grew in value up to $4.2 trillion in 2019, according to the Global Wellness Economy Monitor report.


Wellness is a holistic approach combining mind, body and soul and this focus on body is boosting natural and clean beauty demand. Dermatologists are reporting a growing phenomenon of sensitized skin caused by an increased exposure to pollution, stress and digital aggressors. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) in the USA reported that women are now exposed to a daily average of 126 chemicals from cosmetics, food,
cleaning supplies, and pollution. For consumers, skin sensitivity is the new hot topic, moving ahead of anti-ageing, and thus is driving a shift towards skin care with natural, honest ingredients.

In the beauty segment, you find claims like – sustainable, vegan, natural or organic, which reflect how clean beauty is rapidly gaining momentum and revenue. The surge in retailers adopting a “clean” beauty ethos is also affecting how consumers shop and view the category. Some of these retailers serve as leaders in beauty education, and their evolution of natural to clean is driving some consumers to choose products they perceive as “clean” instead of just natural. Consumers are increasingly concerned with sustainability and now expect brands to be environmentally friendly, thus creating opportunities for brands to emphasize sustainable production methods and environmentally friendly packaging (Source: Mintel).

According to the soil association, sales of certified organic and natural beauty products are estimated at 86.5£ million. Although consumers are more willing to increase spend for natural & organic personal care products than clean products, the surge in retailers adopting the “clean” standards is also increasing. Clean beauty is about ingredient safety over sourcing from synthetic or natural ingredients and encourages brands to seek the latest innovation in ingredients, which have a low environmental impact.

As with naturals, clean beauty is not regulated, and industry experts do not yet specifically agree upon its definition. However, as ingredient scrutiny is growing, so is the share of well-informed consumers and they demand that brands are ethical and environmentally responsible. 67% of UK customers say they would stop using brands with unethical practices (Source: Mintel). Even lifestyle claims such as vegan, are moving into beauty and have risen 23% versus the past several years (Source: Mintel). Natural will no longer be enough in 2020, as consumers continue to scrutinize what is in the products they put on their skin, zero-irritants will become the new standard of natural beauty” (Source: Mintel).


Some brands have gone as far as opening clean beauty or natural offshoots of their master brand shops. For example in France, Naturalia, a health food store chain recently opened Naturalia Origines the 100% bio (organic) beauty and wellness store. Carrefour also opened the first Sources store in the heart of the Marais area (Paris) offering a selection of 170 brands, all of which have been screened by the scientific team behind the Clean Beauty app. Controversial products and other allergens in cosmetics were identified and put on a list of 75 common but controversial ingredients, such as parabens and aluminium. All products containing those ingredients are banned from the shelves of Sources.

Online beauty shopping is also trending as consumers now often make their beauty purchases online. Studies show that 74% of UK, Italy and France consumers made a purchase online in the last twelve months. Lipstick is the most popular category followed by masks, especially those focused on sensitive skin and with cruelty free claims (Source: Cosmetic Design). According to Mintel, 30% of customers in France and Germany, also research ingredients online before they make a decision to buy beauty products.

Safety is now a key driver in the natural and clean beauty movement. It will only intensify if regulations don’t ensure product safety in all markets. Consumers become more conscientious of the ingredients, the “INCI” list in BPC products reads like a recipe to most savvy beauty shoppers and they are all seeking out what they consider to be safe. This trend shows no signs of slowing down, as 42% of consumers are willing to pay more for natural or organic products, making it the top-cited shopping behavior (Source: Lightspeed/Mintel report).

As the clean beauty movement evolves and further develops, ingredient innovation will continue to shape future product claims and performance. Each brand is defining their version of clean beauty, which combines several attributes unique to their definition. Clean, is now yet another beauty word and clean beauty is still open to interpretation.

Social media mentions of #cleanbeauty are skyrocketing, underscoring the growing popularity of clean beauty. Although natural beauty has a higher volume of social media mentions than clean beauty, the year-over-year increase in #cleanbeauty mentions is astronomical compared to the increases of #naturalbeauty.

Additionally, the gap in the volume of mentions between #cleanbeauty and #naturalbeauty is steadily decreasing, further suggesting that clean is becoming the new natural (Social media channels used: Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter Source: Infegy/ Mintel).

The natural movement continues to shape the BPC industry due to perceptions of safety. However, retailers and brands are adopting clean beauty standards, leading to a shift from natural to clean. Additionally, consumers are becoming more aware of the impact their demand for natural ingredients have on the planet and are seeking ways to reduce their carbon footprint.

Univar Solutions is taking a stance and developed the Clean by Design concept, to inspire our customers and help them navigate the clean beauty space. We created a set of clean beauty rules to guide formulations and ingredient selection. Our defined clean beauty rules, combine several key consumer attributes on sustainable beauty while keeping the extraordinary textures and performance of the beauty products consumers love.

Our selection of ingredients in Clean by Design includes our selection of the latest ingredient innovations to help create an enjoyable texture while having a low impact on the environment.

The rise of refillable and reusable packaging in other consumer categories is driving innovation in beauty&personal care, as consumers seek to reduce waste. Consumers are review their own beauty behaviours to prevent single use plastic pollution. By providing effortless solutions, brands can cement themselves into the top position with eco-minded consumers. (Source: Mintel)

Our clean by design concept focused on using recyclable packaging, like materials from natural biopolymers, aluminium tubes and glass bottles and jars are 100% recyclable and can be recycled endlessly without any loss in purity or quality.

Even the bag is made of recycled fabrics: Ecclo Upcycled fabrics #responsiblebeauty

We developed twelve inspirational formulations from hair cleansing, sun care to make-up.

Feature Formula:

The Free From it All Sun Cream SPF 30: Was created for the eco-conscious consumer who doesn’t want to compromise on performance. This 100% mineral UV-filter, broad spectrum protection sun cream is a perfect examples of a good balance between natural and synthetic ingredients. The efficiency of the zinc oxide is optimized with high performance SPF boosters and the vegetable emollients that ensure skin nourishment. The natural functional ingredients provide a rich and creamy texture while contributing to the fresh and pleasant application. The hero ingredients below are key to achieving performance and texture.

SunSpheres™ PGL Polymer

SPF booster working with broad-spectrum organic and inorganic UV filters, while maintaining waterproof characteristics. 11 to 16% of SPF boost is obtained per 1% of solid matter. ,

SOLTEX™ INO Polymer: SPF booster for inorganic UV filters. Improves transparency and product aesthetics by reduction of levels of inorganic UV filters needed to provide protection levels. Reduces agglomeration improving particle and pigment dispersion.

FiberDesign™ Sensation: Texturizer and emulsion stabilizer for cosmetics based on citrus peel fibers from pectin side stream (zero waste beauty). Biodegradable and 100% natural origin (according to ISO 16128). Poly Suga®Quat S-1210P: Naturally-derived polyquaternium issued from renewable resources. Can have moisturizing and refatting benefits for the skin. Very mild. 97% natural origin (according to ISO 16128).

Olivem® 900: Improves the dispersion of inorganic UV powder filters in sun care formulations, and contributes to waterproofing by improving the resistance to wash off. Cosmos approved. Sensolene®: Emollient with a great sensory profile. Restores the skin barrier and prevents water loss. Brings softness and spreadability to the product.

Elevance Soft CG-100: Vegetable-based alternative emollient with an elegant sensory feel, high moisturization and spreadability. 100% bio-based and renewable.

As with natural, clean beauty is not regulated and the industry experts do not yet specifically agree upon its definition. Clean beauty is open to interpretation and each company and brand is doing it differently.

However, clean beauty is becoming, clean for you, clean for the planet and above all safe, so as the clean beauty movement evolves and further develops, ingredients and formulation innovation will continue to shape the future.

Visit our web site to discover the full clean by design campaign and contact us to start a conversation on your next innovation.