‘Clean Beauty’ Certification

Introduction to the standard

‘CLEAN’ is a term that is increasingly being used by cosmetics brands. Indeed, interest in this new trend has tripled in the past 5 years and has doubled in the past 12 months, according to Google Trends.

However, this concept is still poorly defined within the cosmetics industry and no legal framework has been established to regulate industry practices. This ambiguous situation is likely to confuse, and even mislead, consumers as well as cause regulatory uncertainty.

As a reputable third party, BIORIUS has developed a standard and has created a seal of approval to standardize the concept of clean beauty on a large scale. The intent behind this initiative is to help cosmetics brands substantiate their claims and to offer a meaningful certification which then enables the consumer to make well-informed decisions regarding the products they purchase.

The BIORIUS ‘Clean’ certification is based on a modern, benevolent and positive worldview aimed at protecting the planet and its people. BIORIUS’ DNA ensures a certification that is scientifically robust and fully compliant with all relevant regulatory requirements.

The ‘Clean Beauty’ standard

To be certified ‘Clean’ by BIORIUS, a cosmetic product should be (see the certification criteria below):

  • Analyzed for safety according to stringent and well-established toxicological methods and standards, such as the SCCS Notes of Guidance and the IFRA Quantitative Risk Assessment model. The safety dossier is audited by qualified toxicologists to ensure that the product is stable, free of microbiological risks, systemic toxicity risks, local toxicity risks and has a satisfactory impurity profile.

  • Vegan, according to the standards of the Vegan Society, which excludes:
    1. Animal ingredients
    2. Animal testing
    3. Ingredients resulting from genetically-modified organisms involving animal genes or animal-derived substances and requiring the implementation of specific kitchen and hygiene standards.

  • Reef-friendly, which:
    1. Excludes the following sunscreen ingredients, which are toxic to coral reefs:
      1. Oxybenzone (Benzophenone-3)
      2. Octinoxate (Octyl methoxycinnamate)
      3. Octocrylene
      4. 4-Methylbenzylidene Camphor
      5. PABA derivatives (e.g. Ethylhexyl Dimethyl PABA and PEG-25 PABA)
      6. Octisalate (Ethylhexyl Salicylate)
      7. Homosalate
      8. Avobenzone (Butyl Methoxydibenzoylmethane)
    2. Excludes the following additives and preservatives, which are toxic to coral reefs:
      1. Parabens
      2. Phthalates
      3. Triclosan
      4. Microplastics
    3. Requires that sunscreens are water-resistant

  • Produced by a brand that cares about the environment. 
    At least 0.2% of its revenues should be dedicated each year to reducing or compensating for its carbon footprint.
    1. Examples of acceptable carbon footprint reduction initiatives:
      1. Improvements in building insulation
      2. Investments in energy-saving light bulbs
      3. Investments in company cars with CO2 emissions < 90 g/km.
      4. Investments in recycling activities
    2. Examples of acceptable carbon footprint compensation initiatives:
      1. Financial support to nonprofit organizations engaged in reforestation, recycling or decontamination projects
      2. Investing in CO2 emissions capture

  • Efficient and environment-friendly, which excludes:
    1. Sulfate-containing ingredients (e.g. SLS and SLES)
    2. Silicones
    3. Mineral oils
    4. Methyl chloroform (and other gases having an impact on the ozone layer)
    5. HFC-152a (and other greenhouse gases)

  • Produced by a brand that invests in human welfare:
    1. At least 0.1% of its revenues are donated each year to charities AND/OR
    2. Specific raw materials in products’ ingredients are Fair Trade certified (e.g. via Oxfam, Max Havelaar), including: cocoa butter, shea butter, coconut oil, olive oil, aloe vera and honey AND/OR
    3. Specific actions are conducted by the company to improve social inclusion and actively fight against any type of social discrimination

  • Minimalistic, excluding:
    1. Fragrance (unless the formula is fully disclosed)
    2. Colorants (from all product categories except make-up and hair dyes)

  • Recyclable (packaging)
    1. FSC-certified secondary packaging (or similar certification related to the responsible management of the world’s forests)
    2. > 80 % (w/w) of primary packaging must be recyclable

Certification criteria

Scores are given for each aspect of the ‘Clean Beauty’ standard. To obtain the certification and receive the right to label the related BIORIUS logo, the sum of all scores of a cosmetic product should:

1. Reach in total 20 out of 25 of the following:

Standard itemScore
1. Enhanced safety assessment5
2. Vegan5 (vegetarian, meaning Honey and Dairy-based ingredients accepted: 3)
3. Reef-safe3
4. Environment friendly cosmetic brand3
5. Performant and environment friendly cosmetic product3
6. Human friendly cosmetic brand2
7. Minimalistic2
8. Recyclable packaging2

2. Reach at least 13 out of 15 on standard items 1, 2, 5 and 7.

3. Reach at least 16 out of standard items 1, 2, 3, 5 and 7 for sunscreen products.

Certification logo and validity

By fulfilling the ‘Clean Beauty’ certification, the brand receives:

  • a signed certificate
  • the right to use the BIORIUS’ ‘Clean Beauty’ logo on the label of their certified cosmetic products

This certification remains valid 5 years if:

  • The composition of the cosmetic product does not change
  • The packaging does not change
  • The cosmetics brand does not reduce its environmental and human standards

Any questions?


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