The Clean Beauty Evolution

sector - beauty
sector - health & wellness
type - opinion
David Hjalmarsson, co-founder of biome-friendly assurance mark Kind To Biome, predicts how the clean beauty concept will evolve to encompass beauty products that are made with the skin microbiome in mind.

Over the past few years, we have been witnessing how the clean beauty movement has radically changed the way beauty products are formulated and purchased. The clean beauty movement has been adopted by downstream players, such as retailers and brands, to such an extent that it has become formula parameter that is impossible to ignore, heavily influencing supply and demand of final products and ingredients.

Towards biome-kind beauty

While various synthetic ingredients have been deemed harmful, according to clean beauty standards and have ended up on marketers’ ‘free from’ lists, nature-derived ingredients have been deemed good for the health of our skin. But as our knowledge of the skin microbiome increases with continuing scientific research into this growing field, this is about to change, and both downstream and upstream players in the beauty industry will have to adapt.

We believe current forecasts that the skin microbiome market will reach £1.7bn ($2bn, €1.9bn) by 2029 are underestimated. At Kind to Biome, we believe that a large part of the clean beauty market will shift into a new skin microbiome-focused market, worth about £12.6bn ($15bn, €14.3bn) by 2029. Downstream demand for skin microbiome adoption is extremely high and at Kind to Biome, we are witnessing at first hand a broad surge in interest from beauty brands.

Published by:

18 January 2023

Author: David Hjalmarsson

Image: Kind to Biome, Sweden


Kind to Biome, Sweden

A new cosmetic standard

Scientific findings related to the skin microbiome make an undeniable case for the essential role that it plays in skin health. Any brand serious about product development will see no choice but to learn how to adopt these findings. The skin microbiome space will not only be taken up by science-forward brands, but will also be adopted by the entire industry. We can track this future development back to the influence of the clean beauty movement, which has created a dominant narrative around ingredients and product safety.

As the term ‘clean beauty’ is becoming widely adopted, it is beginning to lose its relevance. This has created the perfect conditions for the skin microbiome sector to grow and become a natural evolution of the term. We believe it will form the basis for a new standard for cosmetics.

Ending the natural versus synthetic debate

As the skin microbiome plays an integral role in keeping the skin healthy, it can be a deciding factor when it comes to choosing skincare ingredients to include in a formulation; do these ingredients disrupt the natural equilibrium of a healthy microbiome and skin? As we at Kind to Biome have learned, the source of ingredients is a poor predictor of biome-gentleness. Both synthetic and natural ingredients can disrupt the skin microbiome.

We believe this will eventually lead to the end of the natural versus synthetic debate, and is likely to affect the demand for ingredients that are naturally sourced, considering that a number of such ingredients may actually be disruptive to the skin microbiome and that ‘naturalness’ will no longer be consumers' top purchasing criterion. Consumers will demand skin microbiome-gentleness first and foremost.

It is becoming increasingly evident that scientific research to expand our understanding of the skin microbiome is the most transformative event that has happened to the beauty industry in a very long time. The implications of skin microbiome research will have far-reaching consequences. All market players, upstream and downstream, will need to learn how to incorporate the science of the skin microbiome into their product offerings.

David Hjalmarsson is co-founder of Kind to Biome, a new quality assurance mark for skin and scalp microbiome-gentle personal care products.

‘Research around the skin microbiome will have major implications for upstream and downstream players alike. Downstream demand will shift massively towards microbiome-gentle criteria.’
​David Hjalmarsson, co-founder, Kind To Biome

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