It was an exciting moment when Sephora first launched their ‘Clean at Sephora’ program last year, banning 13 toxic ingredients from products bearing their clean seal.

Just over a year later, Sephora is already refining what clean means to them by expanding their no-no list to 50 ingredients that all ‘Clean at Sephora’ products must be formulated without!

They’ve also made it much easier to find clean products with a curated ‘Clean at Sephora’ section on their website



Among the 50 banned ingredients are well-known toxins like parabens, sulfates, phthalates, formaldehyde, oxybenzone, triclosan, triclocarban, coal tar, hydroquinone, lead, mercury, aluminum salts, DEA/TEA/MEA/ETA, and more.

Some of the 50 ingredients aren’t completely banned but limited in concentrations:

  • BHA & BHT: allowed at 0.1% and under.
  • Synthetic fragrances - allowed at under 1% of the total formula in hair, makeup, and skincare products. Keep in mind, brands are not required by the FDA to disclose which ingredients make up synthetic fragrances. So, if you are avoiding all potential toxins, it’s best to steer clear of labels that include 'fragrance' altogether.
  • Clean at Sephora brands are required to test their final formulas for 1,4 Dioxane, a suspected carcinogen that contaminates other ingredients. The tests must show 10 or < ppm for rinse-off products and 3ppm or < for leave-on products. 

While not an exhaustive list, this is a great baseline if you're looking to avoid many of the most dangerous and well-documented toxins in your beauty routine. Use the 'Clean at Sephora' seal as a starting point, then read ingredient labels to evaluate products against your own personal standard of clean. 


This change was spurred in large part by the Sephora Beauty Insider community – in other words, you guys! You asked for more clean options and stricter ingredient standards, and Sephora listened.

While there's still progress to be made in bumping up this measure of clean to something truly and undeniably safe and non-toxic, the process is in motion!   

So, congratulations to all you clean beauty supporters! Thank you for continuing to support and champion clean, ethical, sustainable beauty. You are truly changing the future of cosmetics, one clean beauty buy at a time.



Sephora is the first global beauty retailer to create a public chemical policy. And as the world’s largest beauty destination, they lead the charge – where Sephora goes, the rest of the industry will likely follow. And they're continuing on forward - Sephora's goals in the next few years are to: 

  • Reduce the number of products they sell containing any of the 50 banned chemicals by 50% in three years.
  • Work with its brands and suppliers to disclose all intentionally-added ingredients for ALL beauty and personal care products on its US website by 2020. 
  • Work with brands and industry partners to encourage the replacement of all “high-priority chemicals” with safer alternatives and avoid “regrettable substitutes”.

“As our clean movement grows, we'll continue to add exciting new brands and identify even more chemicals to reduce and eliminate.” - Sephora

What this means: keep commenting, sending messages, and voting with your dollars in-store and online. As demand rises for clean products and stricter ingredients standards, so will Sephora's clean beauty focus!


‘Clean’ is an unregulated and heavily debated term in the beauty world. It means different things to different people, but ultimately, it means non-toxic.

At ĀTHR Beauty, we ban over 1400 ingredients from our products (as compared to 11 banned ingredients in the US and 1300 banned in the EU). We also extend the idea of ‘clean’ beyond just our ingredients. Clean is a holistic, far-reaching definition for us – summed up as ‘do no harm’ to any person, animal, or the planet.


In addition to non-toxic ingredients, ‘clean’ means that the origins of our ingredients are clean and pure:

  • Our ingredients are sustainably and ethically sourced, with fair-trade and ethical labor practices. 
  • No animal will suffer for any ingredient we use. We'll always be 100% vegan and cruelty-free.
  • The planet will not be affected or be made “dirty” by the production, use, or disposal of our products.

Clean beauty means a clean conscience! It means that from our non-toxic, vegan formulas, to our sustainable, ethically-sourced ingredients, to our zero-waste, recyclable packaging, we are bringing only good into this world. #goodvibesbeauty


What we see in the future: these standards will become the baseline for ALL beauty and personal care products. Clean will just become normal.

Because the truth is - the same gorgeous colors, effects, and results can be achieved with clean, non-toxic ingredients. There's just no reason or excuse to use toxic or non-vegan ingredients anymore. Let’s work together to bring the industry forward – to encourage brands to stop choosing the cheapest, most readily available option, and instead choose the healthiest, most ethical, AND most effective ingredients available.


Thanks for tuning in to our blog and for supporting clean beauty! Leave us your comments and questions below or visit us on Instagram.

-ĀTHR Beauty xo

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