Clean at Sephora Label

Clean Beauty Seal at Sephora? What exactly is it?

What does Clean at Sephora really mean? Why should you care about it? How to understand what it means without a degree in Chemical Engineering

Why should you care about it?

If you have been shopping online at Sephora, you will see that Green Seal of Clean Beauty on some of their products.

Have you stopped to think, what exactly does this mean?

Sephora states, ” Clean at Sephora™ is formulated without:
Sulfates SLS and SLES, parabens , formaldehydes, formaldehyde-releasing agents, phthalates, mineral oil, retinyl palmitate, oxybenzone, coal tar, hydroquinone, triclosan , triclocarban, PTFE/PFOA, styrene, polyacrylamide/acrylamide, acetaldehyde, acetonitrile, methylene chloride, animal fats, oils, and musks, benzalkonium chloride, toluene, resorcinol, acetone, butoxyethanol, ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid, methyl cellosolve, methylisothiazolinone/ methylchloroisothiazolinone, mercury and mercury compounds (thimerosal), bisphenol A(BPA).

That is one scary list of ingredients, some we know that we should have, some that are so scary based on how many letters are in the name and some are safe for us but might irritate sensitive skin.

Want to know what exactly this means? Keep reading on!

Why Did Sephora Group Products Together?

First, you want to know exactly why did Sephora decide to make this grouping or products to be clean?

Basically, they wanted you to be able to navigate their site and find products that were free of skin irritants, unsafe products, animal by-products and inconclusive products without researching all of the ingredients found in cosmetics.

They break it down into skincare, makeup, hair care and even fragrance!

You can filter out your unwanted ingredients with ease!

Skin Irritants

The list of ingredients that the Clean at Sephora seal include are many known skin irritants.

Some like, SLES and SLS are inexpensive foaming agents, that are super common, and found in many products.

However, they may cause skin irritation, contact dermatitis or clog pores (like mineral oil).

A lot of ingredients on this list, are deemed safe, however should be avoided if you have sensitive skin.

If you are very sensitive to added fragrances, it’s good to look for products that are on the Clean by Sephora seal (Check out my review on the fragrant and irritating Essence that broke me out here).

Unsafe for Human Consumption

Several ingredients on this list, are no-brainers. Studies have shown some of these ingredients to be carcinogenic and cause adverse long term health effects.

I would seriously avoid any product that lists formaldehydes, oxybenzone, styrene, bisphenol A.

One of the most common offenders in cosmetic products for containing unsafe ingredients is sunscreen. Look for something that has the Clean at Sephora seal, or that contains zinc oxide or titanium dioxide.

Free of Animal By Products

We all hate testing on animals.

The only thing worse than testing? Actually including animal fats and by-products in our makeup. No one should be doing this anymore and shame on you if you are a makeup brand that still does.

We need to protect animals, and we need to avoid any company that uses ingredients from them.


These are commonly added to plastics to increase their flexibility, transparency, durability and longevity.

There have been a lot of studies surrounding “safe level of exposure” to phthalates. They are used in A LOT of our everyday products.

Research is showing that high levels of phthalates in your system can have an impact to hormone balance, endocrine system and can cause birth defects.

Retinyl Palmitate

When retinyl palmitate is applied to the skin, it is converted to retinol once absorbed. It also can be in oral supplements for Vitamin A.

There are studies that say that it could “accelerate skin tumors” but also that in low doses, it is safe.

I guess that the jury is out on this ingredient, maybe Sephora included it to be better safe than sorry?

Are clean beauty products important to you? Let me know in the comments below!

What does Clean at Sephora really mean? Why should you care about it? How to understand what it means without a degree in Chemical Engineering

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