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Clean vs Natural Beauty: What’s The Difference?

Clean vs Natural Beauty: What’s The Difference?

More and more these terms are circling around in the beauty world. And the more they circle, the more confused we all get.

With words like vegan, cruelty-free, clean, and natural beauty all meaning completely different things but having no regulated definitions, shopping for safe beauty products can get, well, complicated.

We’ve gone over the difference between vegan and cruelty-free, but what’s the difference between clean and natural beauty?

Today, we’re going to find out.

What is clean beauty?

The short and sweet answer? Clean beauty means non-toxic.

Purchase clean skincare products

Basically, any products specifically made without ingredients known to cause humans harm, like talc, formaldehyde, parabens, and other chemicals known to be dangerous, are considered clean.

The main reason clean beauty is on the rise is that people are realizing what we put on our bodies is as important as what we put in them. The world is starting to realize we’ve been using super dangerous ingredients for too long, most of the time because they’re cheap and easy to get.

We don’t know about you, but we definitely don’t think there’s a good enough reason to expose ourselves to dangerous chemicals!

An important thing to note is that clean beauty does not mean products are formulated without man-made ingredients or preservatives. Ingredients like phenoxyethanol, for example, are considered safe to use and are often found in clean beauty products.

river between forest

A lot of the time, clean beauty products are also formulated with ethically sourced ingredients and use environmentally friendly packaging. Most clean beauty brands are sensitive to their environmental impact and actively work towards keeping the environment healthy and safe for us and other beings.

What is natural beauty? 

The first thing to know about the term “natural beauty” is that it is the least regulated of all the beauty terms we’ve heard today.

Because of this, there isn’t one answer when it comes to what natural beauty really means. On one hand, within trusted brands, “natural” can mean products formulated with ingredients sourced solely from nature, such as natural preservatives or colors or fragrances in place of synthetic versions of these things.

On the other hand, a product with only one or two natural ingredients can be labeled “natural,” as well, even though it might be filled to the brim with other harmful chemicals.

This is the danger with these unregulated terms—it’s hard to know what you’re going to get (which is why you should always go through the ingredients label with a fine-toothed comb!).

Because natural beauty products that are truly natural—that don’t use synthetic ingredients or preservatives—these products can have shorter shelf lives than their synthetic counterparts. But this can be a good compromise to make if you are looking to avoid dangerous chemicals (plus, keeping natural products refrigerated can make them last longer!).

Clean vs natural beauty

Just to make sure we’ve clearly outlined and covered the meaning of clean and natural beauty, let’s look at the similarities and differences between the two terms. 

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Key similarities:

  • Generally speaking, both terms refer to products that were formulated with your health in mind.
  • With legitimately natural beauty products, both clean and natural beauty are non-toxic.
  • Both usually have transparent ingredient labels.

Key differences:

  • Clean beauty is mindful of the environment, while natural beauty focuses more on the ingredients in products.
  • Clean beauty will always mean non-toxic, whereas products labeled “natural” may still include toxic chemicals among the natural ingredients.
  • Clean beauty products use safe synthetic ingredients and preservatives, while natural beauty products do not.

A little tip? While neither “clean beauty” nor “natural beauty” are regulated, clean beauty is more of a trusted term within the beauty industry for non-toxic, environmentally-friendly beauty products. 

A few of the best clean beauty products to try

Trying to get into the clean beauty game? Let us share some must-have products!

P.S.—all of the products below are vegan and cruelty-free, too! 

Thrive Causemetics Liquid Lash Extensions Mascara

There’s a reason this mascara is a cult favorite.

Loved by beauties of all ages, this mascara works wonders on all eye shapes and lashes. With tubing technology that doesn’t flake, smudge, or clump, Liquid Lash Extensions creates sky-high lashes that’ll stay all day.


100% Pure Matcha Oat Milk Mask

Nourish and restore your skin with this amazing clean beauty face mask.

Formulated with oats, coconut milk, hyaluronic acid, and matcha, this mask is the best way to practice self-care and give your skin a little extra TLC.

ILIA Beauty Color Haze

This all-in-one product is a necessity for your beauty bag. 

Made to be used as a dewy cheek tint and a matte lip color, this multi-use creamy pigment is a dream for all on-the-go touch-ups. Plus, it’s a great product for beauty beginners!

Pacifica Kale Detox Deep Cleaning Face Wash

Pacifica is an amazing place to find affordable clean beauty products that are cruelty-free and vegan, too.

This deep clean face wash removes it all—makeup, toxins, and blemishes—for an all-over radiant complexion. And although it’s a deeper clean, it’s still gentle enough for sensitive skin!

100% Pure Fruit Pigmented Full Coverage Water Foundation

We’re huge fans of skincare-first makeup, and this is a perfect example of that.

Infused with aloe and green tea, this foundation treats your skin, providing soothing and toning properties while also giving you a full coverage foundation. It dries into a natural, satin finish for the perfect base that stays in place all day.

Folly Fire Lip Gloss in Cosmic Energy

Get the pout of your dreams with this shimmery gloss.

Another skincare-infused makeup product, this lip gloss is made with aloe and cocoa butter for soothing and smoothing, while the micro-pearl shimmer gives your lips a gorgeous glow you’re sure to love.

Final thoughts

The beauty industry can get a little confusing when it comes to its many different terms and rules (or lack thereof) for products. We want to take away that confusion for you, which is why we started Kinder Beauty in the first place! Here, you’ll never have to worry about our products being anything other than 100% vegan, cruelty-free, and clean. 

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Ashley Webb is a professional copywriter for the clean, vegan, and cruelty-free beauty industry. Using SEO and consumer research, she writes blogs, webpage copy, product descriptions, and emails for beauty brands that are committed to making a difference. Adopting her two kitties, Ivy and Binx, started her journey to advocacy for animal rights, and even led her to go vegan! Learn more about her and her work at

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Up to $165 worth of vegan, cruelty-free, & clean beauty
5 products from top ethical and clean beauty brands
A mix of both full-sized and travel-sized items
Skincare, makeup, haircare, body care, and more
Kinder Beauty subscription boxes with vegan, cruelty-free, and clean beauty products