At the recent opening of the Toronto flagship location for green-beauty retailer The Detox Market, CEO Romain Gaillard recalled the early days of his now booming business. “People would walk in the store and say ‘Oh, green beauty—it doesn’t work, but you are doing the right thing! I’ll get a lip balm,’” he says of the start of the 2010s. “Editors would tell us ‘We’d love to cover you, but it isn’t Earth Day yet.’”

Oh, how things have changed. Demand for “clean,” “green,” “safe,” “organic” and “non-toxic” products is high, and both mainstream- and indie-beauty companies are racing to deliver—though the definitions of those terms differ wildly between brands, retailers and certifications. (And it’s not just ingredients to consider—it’s also manufacturing practices.) Decoding these differences largely falls to the consumer.

Our suggestion: Decide what is most important to you, and shop accordingly. For some, that could be a personal list of ingredients they find to be acceptable or unacceptable; for others, it could be a lack of excess packaging or knowing that the supply chain supports fair wages or sustainable farming. Maybe it’s all of the above. The time for smart shopping is now. 




From left: Sappho New Paradigm Essential Foundation ($54), Hynt Beauty Duet Perfecting Concealer ($32), Kjaer Weis x Caroline Issa Lipstick in Sucre ($73)  



From left: Tata Harper Skincare Hydrating Floral Mask ($119), Suncoat Plant- Based Nail Polish Remover ($15), Dr. Hauschka Eye Make-up Remover ($29.50)  



From left: Pai Skincare Rosehip BioRegenerate Oil ($40), Lilah B. Divine Duo Lip & Cheek in B.Daring ($56)  

This article originally appeared in the April 2019 issue of ELLE Canada.