navigating the greenwashed waters: the absence of a clean beauty definition and its consequences

Recent lawsuits against megastores Target and Sephora claim that they are being misleading in their “clean beauty” claims.

But the FDA, which oversees the cosmetics industry in the United States, doesn’t have an established definition of “clean” for cosmetic claims. The organization only requires that claims be truthful and not misleading and that ingredients must be safe for their intended use.

Without a clear definition of “clean beauty,” companies essentially create their own definitions, which are likely to be very different from yours. So how can the plaintiffs in those lawsuits win?

In the 2022 class action suit against Sephora, the plaintiffs alleged that the company’s “Clean at Sephora” products contained ingredients that were “inconsistent with how consumers understand the term ‘clean.’”

What does “clean” mean to consumers? Is it simply that the product is free of all harmful chemicals? Is it that the product is produced in a sustainable manner? Composed of raw and organic ingredients? Contributing to the well-being of people and the planet? Is it all of the above?

So who wins? A reasonable consumer’s understanding of “clean” or a corporation’s disclosure of what clean means in proximity to the claim?

We shall see, as both lawsuits are still open.

Consumers want cosmetic products that are perceived as “clean,” “green,” or “natural,” so this popular marketing trend and greenwashing terms aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. This niche market is expected to reach an estimated $116 billion by 2027. Unless the FDA defines greenwashing terms like “clean” beauty we’ll probably see more and more consumer lawsuits over the years.

The Pure Haven solution.

At Pure Haven, we have no need for greenwashing terms. We manufacture the safest, most effective products with only non toxic ingredients, no compromises. We formulate our products using sustainable and natural ingredients and utilize safe synthetics where necessary, blending safety and science to be the first and only company in the United States committed to providing a full line of personal care and home products that truly work better than their toxic counterparts. And every product comes with a side of “peace of mind.”

Please connect with your Pure Haven Consultant to learn more about our no toxins, no compromises promise and our full line of non toxic products for every home.


Akpan, A; Bustos, H. 5 Dec 2023. Sephora and Target Are Entangled in a Legal Clean Beauty Maze (