In cosmetics, as with skincare, natural ingredients are becoming the norm, rather than the exception. Until recently, however, clean makeup colors tended to skew to the muted and natural variety. But the times—and the demands of consumers— are changing. Nowadays, clean beauty aficionados are seeking colors that are bright, brilliant, and healthy. Sholayide Otugalu, chief glam officer and owner of Joséphine Cosmetics, agrees. In fact, she started her company as a makeup artist who wanted to use natural pigments and bold colors and couldn’t find an ideal option. “We answer to women who want the edginess, the drama, the luxury—those who want to be glamorously healthy,” she says.
Indeed, the clean yet colorful makeup market is truly starting to flourish, thanks to developments in formulations that incorporate natural pigments and mineral dyes, botanical- and plant-derived ingredients, clean ingredients, and responsible manufacturing and packaging. Many of these brands are also vegan and cruelty free. “I think we’ve proven that it is possible to create high-performance products without compromising skin health or sustainability and without testing on animals,” says Shawn Towne, global educator for Jane Iredale. “That is an evolution that our industry can really be proud of.” There’s also no secret to the impetus behind this trend. To put it simply, “People want clean color without having to compromise their health,” says Ashley Prange, founder and CEO of Au Naturale Cosmetics.
Several brands are offering exciting options for clean yet colorful cosmetics. Prange says some of her company’s top sellers, such as Ravish Lip Gloss, Kauai Lip Stain, Bora Bora Creme Eye Shadow, Sangria Lipstick, High Tide Eye Pencil, Palermo Creme Multistick, and Cha Cha Lipstick, are decidedly bright and bold. Jane Iredale recently released its Triple Luxe Collection, a range of long-lasting lipsticks in 15 deeply pigmented shades. Joséphine Cosmetics offers a range of lush colors for the eyes, lips, and face that are formulated with what Otugalu has dubbed Haute Naturals, which are ingredients that work to treat the skin while providing bold and strong color options. According to Sarah Biggers, founder and CEO of Clove + Hallow, 50 percent of the company’s Lip Crème, Lip Glaze, and Lip Velvet collections feature bright or bold shades to appeal to the changing marketplace.
The market for bright, bold, clean cosmetics is as varied as a bouquet of wildflowers, made up of consumers of all ages and races with varying levels of preference for bold color. Prange said that a few years ago, this trend was primarily one demanded by millennials but nowadays, it has expanded significantly. Otugalu agrees, adding that she has also noticed “a rise with women in the mature age bracket, ages 45 to 54, who ask for the shocking blue eyeliner or the bright lilac liquid lipstick, who are seeking just a slight pop of color in their daily look.” Biggers is also seeing more traditional “beauty enthusiasts” joining the clean cosmetics movement. “These are women who are on Instagram and YouTube, following influencers, and getting experimental with their makeup,” she says.
Towne agrees that there is no longer just one demographic attracted to this trend. “Clients of all ages, races, and socio-economic levels are demanding something healthier than what has been offered in the past,” he says. “Now that the world knows it is possible to get performance without things like talc, petroleum, and parabens, consumers prefer them and most likely will never go back to the old formulas.”