• Jessica

October Clean Beauty Launches—and Big News for the Clean Beauty Movement

Updated: Nov 8, 2020

California reached a major legislative milestone for the clean beauty movement.

Photo via Unsplash

On September 30, 2020, the controversial California governor Gavin Newsom signed two pieces of legislation that indicate major wins for clean beauty advocacy and consumer health. The first Stateside legislation of its kind in eighty years, AB 2762, the Toxic-Free Cosmetics Act (TFCA), will ban twenty-four chemicals from our personal care products and cosmetics by the year 2025. The second, SB 312, the California Cosmetic Fragrance and Flavor Ingredient Right to Know Act, legally mandates that brands disclose the presence of certain hazardous ingredients used in fragrances and flavors—a first step towards remedying the loophole that allows hidden phthalates and toxins to go unregulated and undisclosed under the category of fragrance/parfum. These newly mandated brand disclosures will be accessible to the public through the California Department of Public Health (CDPH)'s Safe Cosmetic Program's database, the Safe Cosmetics Database.

Economic regulations are a touchy subject. In this case, they are necessary because pro-business laxity regarding personal safety has permitted potential toxicants into our products unlabelled. Considering we apply them to our skin, our lips, our nail plates, our faces, our hair, and our bodies, these endocrine-disruptors, carcinogens, neurotoxins, and more—which some evidence appears to link to reproductive harm, birth defects, organ toxicity, cancer, neurotoxicity, and the list goes on—consumers deserve to know, at the very least, that they should not be so trusting. Clean beauty advocates claim that these chemicals are able to be absorbed into our bloodstreams, where our bodies cannot break them down, causing them to bio-accumulate. Cosmetic formulators often point out that products are formulated with only tiny amounts of these toxins at levels that fall far below toxic thresholds. However, the rebuttal is that because our bodies cannot flush these synthetic toxins out, their chronic use and their pervasiveness within beauty and personal care products, allows problematic ingredients to bio-accumulate. Are there definitive and confirmed health risks at stake? It truly depends on who you ask as experts disagree. However, certain sensitive groups—those with chronic illness, pregnant or nursing moms, or sufferers of hormonal imbalance—may be more vulnerable and thus want to know.

To be clear, this is a niche issue; clean beauty consumers seek out this class of products for all sorts of different reasons. To better understand, it helps to think of our bodies like an holistic ecosystem—which many believe it is. Certain synthetic (I.e. lab-made) and organic ingredients (including colloidal silver, which I love to use topically) that cannot be broken down and expelled by our bodies are like "pollution" for the planet. Similarly to the way that non-biodegradable waste that builds up, we have the ability to do this to our bodies with the products we rely on on a daily basis. To purists, this invisible “toxic load” represents an unnecessary barrier to public health and wellness that is unethical for businesses to expose the public to without at least disclosing the risks involved.

"Every day, Californians are exposed to hazardous chemicals hiding in their cosmetics and personal care products. Children, communities of color and pregnant women are especially vulnerable to these ingredients, which are not actively regulated by the federal government," Newson released in a press statement. "California is leading the nation by banning toxic ingredients from our cosmetics. This legislation will save lives and keep Californians and our environment safe." Note: Without diving too deeply into the implications for the especially vulnerable communities that he references, know that it's true: Many products, particularly hair products, that are marketed to the BIPOC community do contain disproportionately “toxic“ formulations.

Now, California has signed first state-level ban into law that will bar the use of 24 known toxins found in cosmetics and personal care products by the year 2025. This will impact other states, too, even if they do not pass their own measures, because brands will not formulate different products on a state-by-state basis. This also paves the way for more legislative reform in years to come, and a cleaner, more ethical industry as a whole. As reported by the EWG, banned ingredients will include:

- Formaldehyde, a carcinogen

- Paraformaldehyde, a form of formaldehyde

- Methylene glycol, a form of formaldehyde

- Quaternium 15, a formaldehyde-releaser

- Mercury, a neurotoxin

- Dibutyl phthalate (DBP) and diethyl hexyl phthalates, which disrupt the endocrine and reproductive systems

- Isobutyl and isopropyl parabens, which disrupt the endocrine and reproductive systems

- PFAs, a class of ingredient linked to cancer, endocrine disruption, reproductive harm, and suppressed immune-function

- M- and o-phenylenediamine, commonly used in hair dyes, which irritate and sensitizes skin, and can cause DNA damage and cancer

As a beauty editor, I have several follow-up questions that I have to hold off asking until I see the full list of to-be-banned ingredients. For instance, are all formaldehyde-releasers going to be banned? I'm thinking specifically of DM DM Hydantoin. While DBP, a common nail polish ingredient, has been added to the list, will toluene or TPHP also be banned? More research is needed, and my hope is that this step indicates governmental openness to equating certain beauty industry concerns with a matter of public health, whether that means more stringent regulations or simply affixing clearer labels.

This is a huge step for California, but the fact is that the United States is only now beginning to catch up to the more stringent regulations already in place in the European Union (which restricts the use of over 1,400 ingredients). In fact, forty other nations established restrictions in the name of public health prior to the United States. While it's better late than never, and we all needed a "win" to make 2020 less grim, it should make you question what it truly means to be a world leader—not just from an economic standpoint, but also from an ethical standpoint. Until then, rest assured that federal-level bills are in the works to make important regulations in the name of personal safety official nation-wide, and we have committed advocates—like Gregg Renfrew, founder of BeautyCounter—tirelessly advocating to make the beauty industry what they deem to be safer.

Until 2025 rolls around, we can keep shopping from the brands that have been holding space for safer beauty and personal care products long before state-level legislation caught up. Here are new launches from clean beauty brands in October.

Note: I will be updating this list as new launches become available throughout the month. This is not meant to accuse brands excluded from this list as being toxic, but merely is meant to appeal specifically to fans of the clean beauty niche.


Independent clinical study results found that 86% of users saw more hydrated skin after a single usage, 91% saw healthier skin after 28 days of use, and 78% noticed a reduction in fine lines and wrinkles. The dermatologist-tested formula relies upon sodium hyaluronate, which is a low-weight, deeply-penetrating form of water-absorptive hyaluronic acid, the staple antioxidant vitamin C, elasticity-promoting CoQ-10, as well as the adaptogen ashwagandha, anti-pollution blue green algae, kelp, and pomegranate. It also comes with the acupressure tool, Mon Ami, which can aid with absorption and relieve tension held in the muscles of the face.


Kosas truly makes some of the best clean beauty products and cosmetics on the market—and their new mascara, The Big Clean, is a personal favorite. Following the success of their hyaluronic acid-infused lip balm, the brand created a CBD-infused variety. Incorporating Flora + Bast's hemp-sourced cannabidiol, you can nourish your lips and perhaps ingest a dose of calm using this the clean beauty formula.


CBD's most bougie beauty brand, Saint Jane, will make this limited edition holiday kit available exclusively at Sephora starting October 8. It contains their cult-favorite beauty serum and a CBD-infused lip gloss at a discount; normal retail value would be $66.


Annie Lawless became a mother, which inspired the launch of her newest collection: Baby. The neutral-friendly beauty brand created an eyeshadow palette, this cream lipstick, and a gloss in a neural baby-pink shade. The vegan product is infused with jojoba and castor oils, as well as candelilla wax.


The sustainable, vegan beauty brush brand, Anisa, just launched these adorable, travel-sized skincare brushes to add to your collection for weekend getaways. The skincare and cosmetics brushes are beloved by the makeup artist and influencer, Rose Siard, whose skin is—objectively—flawless. In addition to their travel-friendly launch, the brand also introduced three new makeup brushes in late September: the Buffing Bronzer, the Crescent Contour, and the Tapered Highlight.


One Love Organics is an ultra-clean, indie beauty brand that makes green formulations for natural beauty lovers. Their latest launch is this cooling eye serum that imparts potent antioxidants and a healthy wake-up call for the peepers courtesy of green tea, sea kale, and astaxanthin.


If you're a fan of neutrals, you will love the luxurious camel leather makeup bag by Kusshi. The makeup bag will keep your beauty staples organized with special compartments for your beauty sponges and tools, with a zip-out liner that is machine washable to keep things hygienic.


100% Pure Tea Tree Collection

If your skin can tolerate essential oils, tea tree oil, or melaleuca alternifolia, is a fantastic pick for oily, acne-prone skin. 100% Pure's newest collection revolves around the anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties of the E.O. Beginning October 8, you will be able to shop the Clear Complexion Cleanser, a Deep Detox Mask (with salicylic and lactic acids and anti-inflammatory, brightening Turmeric), a Concentrated Spot Treatment, and a Balancing Moisturizer.


Native Atlas Universal Roller Oil Collection, $14 each

The delectable oil blends by Native Atlas are now available in easily transportable roller ball form. Nairobi, made for body and hair, features hemp seed, patchouli, and sesame oils, as well as shea nut butter. Omnis—a staple in my body care regimen—is made from sunflower seed, hemp seed, lavender, patchouli, carrot seed, and turmeric oils.


If you've been interested in trying out liquid eyeshadow, consider this new launch by Ilia. The brand makes some of the industry's best quality, clean beauty cosmetics, from their mascara, to their foundation, making this smudge-proof, high pigment shadow is worth a try.


A blend of natural butters like shea and cupuacu melt this hydrator into the skin of the body, providing moisturization for up to 72 hours (according to clinical trials). I haven't given Goop's eponymous brand a go, but Gabby Dubois of TheGreenBelle is a fan of their skincare.


The award-winning green beauty brand created a berry-powered peel for undeniable glow. The line—which is inspired by the sights in Jackson Hole, Wyoming—now offers an at-home peel for resurfacing. Wild huckleberry is a natural source of vitamin C, while berries provide natural AHA's and BHA's that resurface away dead skin cells, brighten the complexion, and improve skin texture. Bamboo powder and berry seed paste provide a natural textured exfoliant to supercharge the power of this eight-acid peel.


Victoria Beckham's beauty line launched the new Posh Lipstick collection, featuring nine shades of hydrating lip color for a relatively affordable price. The vegan and gluten-free formula incorporates a natural wax blend, an oil blend, and extracts that nourish and plump the lips while imparting pigment The luxury brand's list of excluded ingredients can be found here.


The Brazilian-inspired clean beauty line, founded by Camila Coelho, now offers a Buriti oil, Brazilian nut oil, and Aloe Vera-infused texturized for hair. It's already available to shop on the brand's website, or you can pre-order it at Saks or Net-a-Porter.


Designed to help wipe away excess sebum deposits and blackheads from the oily, clog-prone T-zone region of the face, this handmade, esthetician-crafted oxygen solution helps to bubble your way to purified skin. To use, simply apply it to affected areas of the face using a cotton round or Q-tip. Wait 30 seconds, then wipe it away. It's made from purified water that is infused with amethyst extract (yup—this is the same Elina Fedotova that helped me learn all about how crystal extracts are infused into products), as well as hydrogen water that is infused with brightening, antiseptic Oxygen, and anti-inflammatory colloidal silver. Watch it work its magic here.


Two Cool-girl approved LA brands—the clean fragrance line, DedCool, and hipster-beloved Alfred Coffee—collaborated to create three scrumptious lippies. Launching on October 8, you can take your pick between Matcha, Oat Milk, and Coffee flavors made in vegan and cruelty-free formulas. Yum. You'll be able to purchase it online or in-store at Alfred.


This technically launched at the end of September, but this limited edition, holiday-themed, clean, bougie candle needs to be shared. With notes of vanilla, ginger, black pepper, clove, and tonka bean, "naughty has never smelled so nice." This super-chic candle has black wax, and on the back of the packaging, you'll find a cheeky little surprise... (Ok, I'll tell you: That gingerbread cookie has buns.)


Used two times per week, this Ayurveda-inspired facial polish lavishes the skin with antioxidants via ashwagandha, while fine rice powder gently exfoliates. The dreamy concoction contains enriched sesame and almond oils to nourish, while hints of geranium and rose complete the spa-like ritual. This brand's natural fragrances are scrumptious, and the aluminum tube it's housed in is recyclable.


The clean, Aussie brand now offers this soothing hand cream infused with cactus flower, cedarwood atlas, and a try-hyaluronic acid complex for hydration. It's the perfect follow-up to your hand sanitizer.


Aether Beauty Mini Crystal Charged Eyeshadow Palette, $24

You can begin shopping two crystal-infused eyeshadow palettes exclusively at Sephora beginning October 20. The clean and conscious beauty brand incorporates organic rosehip and moringa oils, topaz powder to illuminate, ametrine powder to promote cell regeneration, as well as your pick of matte and shimmery shades. True to form, the brand's ingredients are ethically sourced and the packaging is entirely recyclable.


The cult-favorite, indie skincare line Herbivore Botanicals has come out with limited edition sampler sets for the holiday season. Among them? This sampler routine for face and body with their new jelly cleanser, an exfoliating serum and mask, soothing facial oil, and a body scrub.

They also dropped an exfoliating trio—Herbivore Exfoliate + Glow Head to Toe Self Care Trio—as well as a De-Puff + Glow set with facial oils and a jade roller.


If the brand's eczema-friendly, hypchlorous acid face spray has become a staple in your beauty regimen, then it's time to rejoice. Why? The brand now offers a 16 oz refillable size to keep your plastic waste in check.


Ultra-blondies often deal with brassiness from hard water buildup, and, particularly post-summer, green tint from chlorine in swimming pools. Purple-hued washes help to eradicate traces of these unwanted hues from light strands. Playa's latest launch contains natural purple pigments, as well as apple cider vinegar, vitamin C, and babassu oil to cleanse away buildup and infuse the strands with moisture. As always, the line is SLS, paraben, silicone, and cruelty-free.


Live Tinted, a cosmetics brand that focuses on targeting difficult hyper-pigmentation and discoloration, has launched this four-in-one highlighting stick that has been formulated to be inclusive for melanated skin tones. The Best of Allure Beauty winner contains only ingredients that the EWG Skin Deep Clean Database scores at 1, with a couple at 2, making this lovely shimmer clean beauty-friendly. The Huestick above can be used to color correct dark spots and dark circles (watch a video tutorial by founder Deepica Mutyala here!), as a blush, highlighter, eyeshadow, or even as a lippie.

The vegan and cruelty-free brand also just launched a shimmery serum for body and face, HUEGLOW, which is available for $32.


The green goddess and celebrity esthetician Tammy Fender's newest launch will be available starting October 17. The rose creme's launch comes in perfect time for Libra season—a sign whose house is associated with love and partnerships; whose ruling planet, Venus, is the goddess of love; and for which rose petals are especially significant. This versatile hydrator is appropriate for all skin types, including sensitive, and comes in perfect time to buffer the skin from the changing season.


Hero Cosmetics Lightening Wand, $19.99

You can score the newest product from Hero Cosmetics—the makers of an entire line of K-Beauty inspired hydrocolloid patches that handle every step of your breakout. Their micro dart patches help bring underground cysts to the surface, their hydrocolloid absorbs the contents of said zit through the surface of the skin, their "Neosporin" for the face helps heal flattened breakouts rapidly, and now they offer solutions for lingering dark marks left behind from inflammation and scarring.

Used twice daily, the Lightening Wand helps erase discoloration from acne scars and hyperpigmentation using some of the industry's top active ingredients that dermatologists tap to do the job. Among them? Tranexamic acid, acetyl glucosamine, Niacinamide, vitamin C, and glycolic acid. According to the brand, fading begins in approximately two weeks.


This was recommended to me by Sara Spruch-Feiner, an accomplished beauty editor who just wrote a piece on vitamin C. THD Ascorbate is one of the most stable and brightening forms of the antioxidant, chlorella and reishi are two adaptogenic mushrooms that soothe the skin, and anti-pollution algae joins the party in a squalane and moringa oils base. Learn about some of my favorite vitamin C products here.


The beauty editor-founded clean beauty brand just launched their version of a vitamin C serum, as well. Featuring 1,000 mg CBD, brightening saffron extract, and soothing oat milk, this new launch promises a clean beauty glow that will suit all skin types.


Kat Rudu, the stunning, Venice-based celebrity esthetician frequented by beauties such as Kate Beckinsdale and Jenna Dewan, launched two new products to add to her skincare collection. As always, the cruelty-free and vegan line is free of parabens, mineral oil, synthetics, propylene glycol, fillers, phthalates, sodium lauryl/laureth sulfate, artificial fragrance, animal byproducts, or triethanolamine.

Soleil Sunless Tanning Serum, on the other hand, is the sun damage-free way to boost your glow without actual exposure to skin-harming UVA and UVB rays. The buildable, water-based serum incorporates reship and cucumber extracts, as well as beet root and vitamins C and E. Use three to four drops after cleansing for three to four hours for a medium glow—or for a more intense effect, leave it on overnight.

Lit From Within is a vegan Hyaluronic Acid serum featuring antioxidant-rich Bulgarian rose, soothing and hydrating Aloe Vera, and HA to complete the plumping trifecta. You can layer it after your vitamin C serum, or try mixing it with your foundation for an extra-dewy boost.


The makers of fabulous beauty sponges launched a skincare line. Their limited ingredient (as in, only ten) cleansing balm promises to leave skin clean and dewy without a greasy feel. The formula incorporates brightening pearl barley, which is said to help regulate melanin production AKA minimizing melanogenesis, while vitamin E provides antioxidants and aids with stability.

On EWG's Skin Deep database, one of the ingredients—PEG-20 Glyceryl Triisostearate—comes with mild concern depending on the usage, with limited evidence of sense organ toxicity and contamination concerns. Another, polysorbate-85, poses some contamination concerns but has been classified as not expected to be potentially toxic or harmful. While this ten-ingredient balm would not ultimately score a 1 (the cleanest) by EWG's standards, it would definitely score under a 3, making it relatively low risk.


The holiday-ready gift set from the clean drugstore beauty brand is available on their site, and will become available at Target on October 25. It is comprised of a serum, an eye mask, and a cooling globe for facial massage and the reduction of inflammation.

The serum, Just Breathe, clarifies with Willow Bark Extract, a natural source of anti-inflammatory and anti-acne salicylic acid, as well as Zinc, another anti-inflammatory breakout fighter. THE FIX Emergency Eye Mask contains calming cucumber juice and caffeine to help "wake up" tired eyes. Lastly, you can place the Frozen Cooling Globe in the fridge or freezer to use as a de-puffing massage tool for the face. They recommend using it with downward strokes.


Youngblood Mineral Cosmetics has been making clean cosmetics for years, but they just introduced their skincare line this month. Their introductory skincare routine was developed by Pauline Youngblood, an esthetician with a history of—and deep compassion for—severe acne. The collection is paraben-free, synthetic fragrance-free, gluten-free, talc-free, mineral oil-free, cruelty-free and vegan.

The six-piece collection includes a Nourishing Cleansing Oil, $43, Micellar Water with Colloidal Silver, $30, an anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial topical that is fantastic for treating maskne, a Daily Enzyme Exfoliant Creme, $59, the antioxidant-rich Radiance Renewal Treatment Glow Serum, $68, a brightening eye treatment, Eye Impact Revitalizing Eye Treatment, $58, and a refining lactic acid serum, Advanced Refining Treatment with 5% Lactic Acid, $74.


The luxury lippies by Henné now come in two new shades. The bold red pictured above is named Desire, while Muse is a deep berry mauve. These 84% organic lip tints are made out of coconut, castor seed, jojoba, and avocado oils, along with beeswax and candellila wax. BTW their cult-favorite lip mask is a favorite of The Green Belle.


If you have curly—up to 4c-type curls, in fact— you should know about this line. Made from extra delicate vegan satin to protect fragile strands, BREAD just create a chic scrunchie for wrist or hair that will work even on coily curls. You can shop assured that the entirety of the Clean at Sephora haircare products (which include shampoo, deep conditioner, hair oil, and more) are made without sulfates, PEGs, parabens, formaldehyde or formaldehyde-releasers, known-to-be-toxic synthetic fragrances, mineral oil and more.

Are you looking for a new clean foundation? Check out these ones.

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