Lately it feels like a new beauty brand launches every other day. Thankfully, we don’t mind a little friendly competition—and we’re proud to say that after over four years in business, we still stand out. Big time.

One of the main ways we’re different: our Clean15™ formulation strategy. Developed to cut through the clutter, this standard serves as our formulating guidepost and guarantees that every product we create contains 15 or fewer easy-to-understand ingredients per base formula. No cheap fillers or unnecessary fluff. Just the good stuff. Sarah Biggers-Stewart, our founder and CEO, explains in her own words.

"At its most basic, Clean15™ is our proprietary formulation strategy that guarantees 1,000-plus toxic ingredients are replaced with 15 or fewer safe ingredients per base formula. Known endocrine and hormone disruptors, carcinogens, and irritants are eschewed for natural butters, oils, and waxes that are gentler on the skin and safer for absorption.

The concept of Clean15™ came to be mostly out of my own frustrations as a consumer. Once I started to pay closer attention to the ingredients in my cosmetics and personal care goods, I was even more overwhelmed while shopping thanks to mile-long ingredient lists. (And it didn’t seem to matter if it was a natural brand or not—reading ingredient labels on almost every product I came across made me feel like I was in a PhD chemistry course!) When I decided I was going to launch my own ethical, cruelty-free and vegan cosmetics line, I knew I had to come up with a way to guarantee simplicity and minimalist formulas. Clean15™ is that solution.

As I mentioned in a previous blog post, CLOVE + HALLOW wasn’t created to be the cleanest or greenest cosmetics line on the market; our goal is to create affordable, safe products that are up to my professional standards as a makeup artist, and Clean15™ helps us accomplish that goal. That being said, we do have an expansive list of acceptable ingredients and an even more robust blacklist of ingredients we will never allow in our formulas.

  • Animal by-products
  • Parabens
  • Phenoxyethanol
  • Synthetic fragrance
  • Synthetic flavors
  • PEG- compounds
  • Formaldehyde
  • Phthalates
  • Talc
  • Bismuth
  • Oxychloride
  • Mineral Oil
  • Paraffin Oil
  • BHA and BHT
  • Hydroquinone
  • Oxybenzone
  • SLS and SLES
  • Triclosan
  • Jojoba, Castor, Sweet Almond, Argan, Coconut, and Capric/Caprylic Triglyceride oils
  • Cocoa, Shea, and Mango butters
  • Carnauba, Candelilla, and Sunflower waxes
  • Silica
  • Magnesium Stearate
  • Boron Nitride
  • Titanium DioxideIron Oxides
  • FD&C dyes (we start with iron oxides and supplement with such small percentages of lake dyes that we think it’s worth the tradeoff for awesome pigmentation and shade range)
  • Tocopherol (vitamin E)
  • Rice Bran, Rosemary, and Sunflower Extracts
  • Coconut Alkanes (a natural emollient with a silicone-esque feel, used primarily to reduce dimethicone concentration)
  • Dimethicone (a silky synthetic oil silicone used to create slip, adhesion, and smooth texture, used occasionally in our color cosmetics in small amounts typically as a dispersion oil for pigments)
  • While these lists are not exhaustive by any means, they are a good starting place to learn about CLOVE + HALLOW’s basic "yays" and "nays." When we do use synthetic ingredients, it’s for a legitimate purpose in the formula such as texture, shade range, or wear-time, and never selected as a cheap filler like so many brands out there do. If you see an ingredient on here or in one of our formulas that you have a question about, please let us know ( so we can explain the purpose of that ingredient and why we chose to utilize it."

    September 17, 2019

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