“Free-From” Skincare: The Driving Force Behind Consumer Purchases


 June 12, 2019

The demand for natural personal care products is increasing across the globe. The majority of shoppers are turning away from chemical-laden formulations, in favor of “free-from” skincare alternatives. Rising consumer awareness about questionable skincare ingredients —  and the desire to live a healthier lifestyle — are helping to fuel the trend. However, buzzwords like “clean beauty,” “sustainability,” and “free-from” still leave consumers confused over what constitutes a clean skincare product.

What does the claim “free-from” mean in skincare? And, how can clean beauty brands, who choose not to use these harmful skincare ingredients, get recognized for their “free-from” formulations?

What Does “Free-From” Skincare Mean?

“Free-from” skincare is a broad term, but it generally refers to personal care and cosmetic products that do not contain certain ingredients. People are choosing “free-from” for a variety of reasons:

  • Allergy reasons (formaldehyde, MI, PPD., etc)
  • Health concerns (parabens, formaldehyde, SLS)
  • Environmental (palm oil from non-certified sources)
  • Ethical or religious values


Surprisingly, the “free-from” claim is not limited to organic and natural products.

”Free-From” Regulations and Enforcement

Enforcement and restrictions regarding the “free-from” label on skincare products varies by country. In the UK, new regulations will take effect as of July 2019, requiring substantiation of “free-from” skincare product claims. These claims cover several categories:   

  • Ingredients or product functions
  • Product efficacy
  • Absence of ingredients
  • Skin compatibility related to allergens or sensitive skin
  • Health benefits


Since 1938, the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act) has provided the FDA with the authority to regulate skincare and cosmetic products in the United States. The FD&C Act requires that products and the individual ingredients be substantiated for safety and that product labeling be truthful and not misleading.

In addition, the Fair Packaging and Labeling Act authorizes FDA to require ingredient labeling of cosmetic and personal care products sold to consumers.

Clean Up Your Act: “Free From” Skincare Awards and Clean Beauty Certifications

Health conscious consumers are drawn to skincare products claiming to be clean, natural and “free-from”. According to GlobalData, products created with natural formulations using ingredients easily recognizable on labels are considered more trustworthy or “safe,” compared to conventional ones. To gain consumers’ trust, many brands around the world are seeking out recognition for their “free-from” products.

In the UK, the “Free From Skincare Awards” highlight the best in “free-from” skincare products and cosmetics. These products are “free-from” some of the many harmful ingredients, such as allergens, chemicals, additives and fragrances associated with health concerns. Many consumers today avoid these ingredients due to health issues, skin allergies, ethical concerns, environmental issues, religious sensibilities or simply personal preference.

In Canada CertClean is the leading certification for safer beauty and personal care products formulated without questionable ingredients. According to the Canadian-based certification, “CertClean is not a certification for products with a certain quantity of natural or organic ingredients, but a certification for products “free-from” ingredients that may pose a risk to our hormonal, reproductive and or neurological systems, like talcum powder, formaldehyde-releasing preservatives, parabens, sodium lauryl sulfates, and hundreds more.”

In the United States, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) verification mark on skincare and personal care products ensures full transparency that products are made free-from harmful chemicals. To be EWG VERIFIED™, brands must meet EWG’s strictest standards for health and contain none of their identified chemicals with health, ecotoxicity and/or contamination concerns. They must meet EWG’s standards for ingredient disclosure on the label and provide full transparency, including fragrance ingredients. Additionally, product manufacturers must also develop and follow current good manufacturing practices to further ensure the safety of their products.

Finally, many brands are also seeking certification through MADE SAFE®. Read our previous blog to find out more about the MADE SAFE certification and what it means for cosmetic brands.

Formulating Considerations for “Free-From” Skincare

As consumers’ appetite increases for natural, yet effective beauty products, brands are responding. At Kinetik, we believe that effective, high-quality products start with high-quality raw materials. As a distributor of natural ingredients from around the globe, we strive to exceed the “free-from” skincare formulation needs of our customers, while maintaining maximum product performance.

With over 16 years of professional skincare formulation expertise, we’ll give you the support you need to stay on top of trends and ahead of the competition.

Discover “free-from” skincare ingredients with Kinetik:

  • Green Wax N from Green Line Botanicals -100% natural, anionic emulsifying blend. Easy to process and achieve a wide range of viscosities. Compatible with various cosmetic oils and esthers. PEG-free alternative to Emulsifying Wax NF.
  • OLEACREM 1000 from Natura-Tec– PEG-free, non-ionic primary emulsifier for creams and lotions.
  • Candelilla Wax Substitute from KahlWax– All-natural, animal-free blend of high quality ingredients. Used in mascara to form flexible layers on lashes and as a lash volumizer. Improves adhesion of color cosmetics. Stabilizes and hardens stick preparations.

Contact us at (732) 335-5775 for more information. Kinetik is headquartered in the USA, but we work with clients and represent suppliers worldwide.