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Guest Contributor

clean at sephora

Green beauty is sprouting at NorthPark. Powerhouses Neiman Marcus and Sephora are both increasing their offerings of treatment, color cosmetics, bath and body products that are considered clean and natural.

“Over the past year, we have seen a huge increase in the demand for clean beauty products,” said Neiman’s beauty buyer Kim D’Angelo. “Because of this trend, we are continuing to expand our clean beauty assortment and are working on a larger brand initiative around wellness that will launch this fall.”

Sephora introduced its natural beauty program a year ago with Clean at Sephora, a circular green stamp of approval for brands that are free of 13 potentially irritating ingredients. To earn the stamp, products must be free of sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), sodium laureth sulfate (SLES), parabens, formaldehydes, phthalates, retinyl palmitate, oxybenzone, coal tar, hydroquinone, triclosan, triclocarban, and mineral oil. At NorthPark, Clean at Sephora brands include Ilia makeup and skincare by Milk, Tatcha, Farmacy, Caudalie, Josie Marin, Korres, Naturally Serious, and more.

In July, the beauty chain intends to raise the bar for its Clean at Sephora seal by adding more ingredients to its forbidden list, though it hasn’t said which chemicals it intends to ban.

“It’s not like we sent out those 13 ingredients and said, ‘Yeah, we are done, and that’s it,” said executive vice president and chief merchandising officer Artemis Patrick in a talk at Indie Beauty Expo trade show in Dallas in May.

“This was done in partnership with our brands,” she added. “It’s a journey, and there’s no right and wrong, but what we have to do and our responsibility as a retailer is to make sure people know where we stand.”

Sephora’s clean beauty program was inspired by demand and the discovery that 60 percent of its customers read every single ingredient listed on product packages. So, what’s considered clean and safe? There are no government standards, so brands and retailers are free to make their own determinations of what is healthy and what is not, explains Rachel Brown, editor of Beauty Independent at Indie Beauty Expo.

Anyone can investigate specific products at ewg.org, which ranks thousands of products by its own safety standards, she notes. Some purists won’t use any product ranked lower than one, two, or three.

“It’s tough to know where to draw the line in these programs,” Brown said.

A minimum guideline for “clean” beauty forbids parabens, phthalates, and sulfates. At Neiman’s, such brands include Juice Beauty, Tata Harper, Joanna Vargas, Lila B, Aether Beauty, and Kjaer Weis.