Juice Beauty: A Deep Dive Into Their Sustainability and Clean Beauty Claims
Imagine a world where beauty products are as clean as they promise, and skincare is a testament to environmental sustainability. This vision is what Karen Behnke sought to actualize when she launched Juice Beauty in 2005.
It was an era when most beauty brands used ingredients that were as harmful to our skin as they were to our planet. Behnke dared to challenge the status quo, creating a brand that intertwined her love for beauty, wellness, and a healthy environment.
The name Juice Beauty suggests a natural, refreshing approach to skincare and cosmetics. It’s a brand that wears the badge of being organic and cruelty-free with pride. Their minimalist aesthetic, clear typography, and the soft, light-green juice drop symbol whisper a promise of simplicity and a reverence for nature.
But how genuine are their organic, vegan, and eco-friendly claims? We decided to dig deep and scrutinize the brand for you. We aim to deliver a clear-eyed analysis of whether Juice Beauty embodies the clean and sustainable ethos it promotes.
At Better Goods, we rank brands on our three pillars: ingredients, sustainability, and animal welfare.
Brands are rated on the three pillars as follows:
This ranking is for the best of the best. Only exemplary brands will receive a ranking of best for any category.
This ranking is for brands that are typically quite good, but don’t go above and beyond like our best choices.
This ranking is for when we find something we find iffy. Not a good sign.
This ranking is reserved for the worst of the worst.
Ingredients (Rating: Good)
On Juice Beauty’s website, the company notes harmful ingredients in other beauty brands. Its mission is to “clean up the beauty space” by using ingredients that won’t harm people, animals, or the environment.
Behnke works with doctors, chemists, and microbiologists to formulate products and find safer alternatives to common harmful ingredients. For example, the Juice Beauty team found an alternative to polyethylene glycol (PEGs) using organic botanical juice.
We reviewed the ingredients in 46 of Juice Beauty’s current products. Overall, the company uses safe ingredients with minimal hazard. Juice Beauty lists each product with a full list of ingredients. Each list has a key, showing which ingredients are organic and plant-derived.
Juice Beauty formulates products without harmful substances including “parabens, petroleum, propylene or butylene glycols, silicones, talc, carbon black, phthalates, sulfates, PEGs, TEA, DEA, GMO, artificial dyes, or synthetic fragrances.” This claim checks out, because the products we reviewed do not appear to have these harmful ingredients.
However, we found a few ingredients that can cause skin irritation.
- Juice Beauty’s products have some plant and citrus ingredients that can cause allergies, like citrus bitter orange peel oil, bergamot fruit oil, orange oil, camphor, and ylang ylang flower oil.
- Potassium hydroxide, or lye, is an inorganic substance that can cause skin irritation.
- Myristyl myristate appears as a skincare ingredient. It has absorption risks when used in products around the eyes.
- Cetrimonium chloride is a preservative that has the potential to cause respiratory and skin irritation, as well as developmental and reproductive toxicity.
- Licorice can be unsafe in large amounts. Long-term use in large amounts can cause cardiac symptoms and high blood pressure.
- Some products have mica, a natural mineral dust usually found in powders. A 2018 report uncovered child labor and exploitation in mica mining in Madagascar and India. Juice Beauty has not made a statement about the sourcing of its mica.
Sustainability (Rating: Best)
Juice Beauty is transparent about its sustainability initiatives. The brand uses eco-friendly packaging. It plans to eliminate raw plastic and change over to recycled plastic bottles.
The company also uses glass bottles and 100% Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) paper. Sustainability initiatives also extend to travel and sample-size products held in containers of 90% Bioresin. Biosresins are eco-friendly plastic alternatives made from plant materials. Some bioresins are biodegradable, while others are compostable.
The company also takes steps to reduce ocean waste plastic. According to a brief issued by the Internation Union for the Conservation of Nature, “At least 14 tons of plastic end up in the ocean every year.”
Juice Beauty addresses its impact on ocean waste and pledges to remove one gram of plastic from oceans and rivers for each gram of PCR plastic used in a product.
Juice Beauty’s sustainability practices go beyond packaging to the source of the ingredients. It uses what it calls a “farm-to-beauty approach.” The company purchases ingredients from organic farmers across the United States. The farms are West Coast USDA Certified Organic farms.
In 2018, Behnke bought the Juice Beauty Sonoma County Farm, which sustainably grows ingredients used in some products. Juice Beauty’s sustainable farming methods include planting cover crops to enrich the soils and eradicating herbicides.
Animal Welfare (Rating: Good)
Animal welfare is at the center of Juice Beauty’s mission. It seeks to create products using ingredients that will not harm people, animals, or the earth. In its farming practices, Juice Beauty does not use pesticides.
The brand works with USDA-certified farms across the country that use safe practices. Juice Beauty’s website states, “Our products are never tested on animals.”
Juice Beauty is a cruelty-free company, Cruelty-Free Kitty reports. Both the company and its third-party suppliers do not test ingredients or products on animals. Juice Beauty does not sell items in places where animal testing is legally required.
While most of Juice Beauty’s products have vegan ingredients, it is not a 100% vegan company. Cruelty-Free Kitty notes that some products have ingredients that come from animals. For example, beeswax is an ingredient in some products.
However, Juice Beauty notes on its website that the beeswax is organic. Since Juice Beauty outlined specific safe, sustainable farming practices on its website, it is likely that the company sources beeswax ethically. However, this still makes the products decidedly non-vegan. Lactic acid, another non-vegan ingredient, appears in some products without a plant-derived symbol.
Final Brand Ratings
Our rating scale ranges from “Best” (for having the best practices) to “Avoid” (for having unacceptable practices). We rated Juice Beauty as follows.
|Ingredients||Good||Juice Beauty’s team of doctors, chemists, and microbiologists try to find safer alternatives to common cosmetic ingredients. They found an alternative to polyethylene glycol (PEGs) using organic botanical juice. Harmful ingredients like parabens, petroleum, propylene or butylene glycols, silicones, talc, carbon black, phthalates, sulfates, PEGs, TEA, DEA, GMO, artificial dyes, or synthetic fragrances are not present in current formulations. While most products have a low potential for hazards, plant-derived ingredients like natural oils, potassium hydroxide, myristyl myristate, cetrimonium chloride, and licorice can cause allergic reactions. Juice Beauty’s mica sourcing is unclear.|
|Sustainability||Best||Juice Beauty’s products and packaging are eco-friendly. The company tries to lower its carbon footprint by removing one gram of plastic from the sea for each gram of PCR plastic used. Juice Beauty follows a “farm-to-beauty approach.” It sources ingredients from USDA Certified Organic farms. Founder Karen Behnke purchased a sustainable farm where ingredients are grown for us in Juice Beauty’s products.|
|Animal Welfare||Good||Juice Beauty is a cruelty-free company. Although it uses many naturally derived ingredients, its products are not 100% vegan.|
Overall Rating: Good
Juice Beauty is a cruelty-free company that advertises itself as a vegan, organic brand. While most ingredients we reviewed are organic and vegan, not all fall under these categories. Some products contain naturally derived ingredients that may cause skin allergies.
The company acknowledges there is no consistent definition of clean beauty, but they are transparent about its ingredients, sustainability, and animal welfare practices. Juice Beauty has reformulated past products with safer ingredients and is harvesting more of their own ingredients to control quality.
For these reasons, we give Juice Beauty a rating of Good.
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