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What is clean and conscious beauty?

More and more of us are trying to juggle living our best life with caring for the planet – and that concern naturally extends to our beloved beauty products.

Here at H&B, we know how passionate you are about living in-line with your morals. However, adopting a clean and conscious beauty ethos can sometimes feel like a big step, especially if you already have a tried and tested beauty regime you’re not in a rush to replace. We get it. And that’s why we want to help the transition run nice and smoothly.

As a brand, we are making a stand to move towards cleaner and more conscious beauty. Let us give you the low-down on everything clean and conscious in beauty, and help you find products that are both kind to you and kind to the planet.

What is clean beauty?

Clean beauty hasn’t got a clear definition, with differing ideas floating around the beauty world. To better understand, let’s look at what clean actually means.

Definition of clean: Free from dirt, marks, or stains’ or ‘morally uncontaminated; pure; innocent1

Neither one of these definitions translates exactly to clean beauty, but they’re a good start.

For us, clean beauty is about choosing nature-inspired ingredients that help you stay looking great. We won’t ban an ingredient unless we have studies to back why it isn’t good for you or the planet. Because there’s no use having a natural product that doesn’t work!

However, we do really like products powered by natural ingredients when they work – the best of both worlds.

Here are some ingredients to look out for when shopping for clean beauty products:

Natural oils

  • Bakuchiol – this is a natural alternative to Retinol, perfect to support the production of collagen. It’s suitable for all skin types, dry, sensitive, oily and combination.

  • Rosehip Oil – used to hydrate the skin and reduce the appearance of fine lines. Also helps reduce the appearance of hyperpigmentation.

  • Argan oil – contains essential fatty acids and vitamin E. It helps to repair damaged hair and gives your locks an all-over glossy shine.

  • Jojoba oil – jojoba oil is a liquid wax used to nourish dry skin. It mimics sebum (our skin’s naturally occurring oil) and tricks our skin into producing less.

Natural ingredients

  • Cocoa butter – a rich emollient containing antioxidants, which can help fight free radical damage. Using a cocoa butter moisturiser can also reduce the appearance of blemishes.

  • Manuka honey – has been celebrated by the Maoris for centuries thanks to its cleansing properties, which also make it a great natural skincare treatment.

  • Pink Himalayan sea salt – makes an effective exfoliator when mixed with coconut oil. It is also used as a bath soak for dry skin conditions.

  • Ginkgo biloba – is believed to help fight spot-causing bacteria and eczema. The tree extract has been used for hundreds of years for its antimicrobial properties.

  • Coffee – a rich source of regenerating ferric acid, which has soothing and cleansing properties, beneficial to spot-prone skin.

  • Blue algae – a natural source of retinoic acid – a form of vitamin A – which contributes to reducing the appearance of fine lines and dark spots, as well as supporting

  • Magnesium chloride – may help soothe skin concerns and sensitivity, which is why it’s often found in bath salts and skin lotions. It is also believed to help reduce spots.

Natural extracts

  • Hyaluronic acid – helps to rehydrate skin and reduce the appearance of fine lines when used in skin creams and serums by attracting over 1000 times its weight in water.

  • Bee venom – helps to promote healthy blood flow in the skin and the synthesis of elastin and collagen to promote youthful skin.

  • Vitamin C – aka ascorbic acid, fights free radicals as well as helps to shield the skin from the effects of pollution and sun damage, as well as helping to fade pigmentation.

  • CoQ-10 (coenzyme Q-10) is a powerful antioxidant that helps to reduce the appearance of wrinkles and speeds up skin cell regeneration / repair.

  • Willow Bark – Provides gentle exfoliation for more radiant skin. Helps improve the appearance of acne and excess oil from the skin

What is conscious beauty?

Conscious means ‘to have knowledge of something’. In our modern world, we consume so much without really knowing the impact it may be having on the environment and creatures we share this Earth with.  Conscious is also making sure you are doing good for you and the planet – because beauty doesn’t have to cost the earth.

Learning about the potential harm your average shampoo or face cream could cause to our planet and other animals is essential. Think of it as a wake-up call, and the fuel you need to swap to kinder and more conscious beauty products. This way, you get a double dose of feel-good: all the pampering and self-love, as well as knowing you are shopping responsibly.

We get that it can seem a little overwhelming to know what’s best to do, so here are the basics to look out for when shopping for conscious beauty.

Zero waste

Because the land is already full Zero waste means just that, no waste! Over 80 billion shampoo and conditioner bottles are thrown away in the UK every year. We could help dispose of this plastic waste epidemic by choosing zero waste products where we can.

Try making the following swaps:


Because once is not enough Another way to reduce excess waste is to buy products with packaging that’s compostable, refillable, made from recycled materials or is easily recyclable, like the products in our environmentally conscious packaging and sustainable range.

Did you know? 64% of consumers are actively looking for beauty products with recyclable packaging.

The Beauty Kitchen range is a great example of how to do sustainable beauty well. You can get refills for on each and every hand wash, shampoo, conditioner, body wash, body cream and so much more! Saving you money while saving the planet – yay!

Waterless products

Because all water is precious

Less water in products and the less water needed to use them means more water for living.

The UN has predicted that demand for water could outstrip supply soon. Conscious beauty brands like Earth kind, True Skincare and our very own CBD Muscle Balm Ultra are swapping water for concentrated natural oils and concentrated botanicals. Shop all waterless beauty here


Because all life is beautiful

Animal testing is so last century… The thing is, we don’t need to test on animals to enjoy our favourite beauty products.

Here at H&B, we are against animal testing and are proud to offer a variety of 100% vegan ranges. We want to make it easy to cull animal products and testing from your beauty regime. The animals say thank you! Shop vegan beauty here.

Why you can trust us to meet your clean and conscious beauty requirements

We like to think ahead at H&B. Selling health and wellness products that don’t cost the Earth is our number one priority, and it always has been. Take a look at some of our landmarks:

2009 – We chose not to use SLS, SLES and Parabens in our Beauty Products

2010 – Plastic bags banned in all stores

2013 – Microplastic Ban ahead of the EU Cosmetics Regulations

2016 – All products only contain sustainable palm oil (RSPO certified)

2019 – Wipes banned from all stores

2019 – Zero waste beauty range launched

And, we choose to say no to:

  • Microplastics
  • Unsustainable palm oil
  • Artificial colours or flavours in Holland & Barrett products ever
  • Animal testing
  • Pesticides
  • Poison, hormones, narcotic and/or psychoactive substances or synthetic drugs
  • Prohibited substances as per WADA
  • Over 240 ingredients that will never appear in any of our products and this list continues to grow!

That’s why you can trust us to stock the best clean and conscious beauty products, because we have always believed in making bold choices to help protect our planet, while helping you feel and look your best.

Shop Clean & Conscious Beauty

Last updated: 3 August 2020