William & Mary Business Law Review


The clean beauty industry has gained increasing popularity in the last couple of years. This has spurred the development of many brands and impacted what consumers look for in their products. This Note engages in the existing conversation in the beauty industry pertaining to "clean" products by showing that the lack of interference from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to set definitional criteria for what constitute ''clean" products has resulted in an increase in the commercialization of health-conscious consumer beliefs based on ambiguous and misleading information. These consumers are stuck in a loop created and perpetrated by companies. Without guidelines from the FDA and FTC, companies took the opportunity to exploit a narrative that the United States (U.S.) does not regulate ingredients in cosmetics or skincare. In turn, companies situate themselves as actors looking after the welfare of consumers in the cosmetic and beauty space. This Note seeks to dispel this myth and urge the FDA and FTC to create guidance on the advertisement of personal care products that claim to be ''clean," "natural," and most importantly, "non-toxic." Dual action is needed. The FDA must set the standard, and the FTC must regulate product use in commerce.