We only sell 100% natural, organic, safe, cruelty free, clean beauty brands to deliver a simplified shopping experience in what can be a sometimes ambiguous market.
There are a lot of brands that people assume are natural because they are small or use certain language, but they’re not natural at all. To be approved for sale on Biddy + May's clean beauty webstore, a product must not only be made from natural ingredients with no unsafe synthetics at all; it must also be effective and cruelty-free. We also take into consideration packaging and the brand’s commitment to transparency in ingredient sourcing.
As a platform, we promote the use of and consciousness around the use of natural, cruelty-free makeup and skincare products sourced both locally and internationally. We want to help people make educated choices around their beauty and skincare routines. Self-care is non-negotiable, and we think everyone deserves healthy luminous skin. Here is a guide to our rigorous approval process and how we’ve curated our collections.
We are continually looking for innovative, emerging brands and products both locally, here in New Zealand and internationally. Brands that have a passion for natural beauty and employ best practice in their ingredient sourcing and manufacturing processes. Our selection of products is carefully curated to ensure we cover a need, and our suite of brands is ever-growing. For example, the increasing demand for vegan products - vegan skincare and beauty brands - means we look very closely at sourcing the best vegan skincare and vegan makeup on the market while being committed to stocking only 100% natural ingredients.
Decoding the terms natural, organic and clean. clean
We only sell 100% natural products, and by natural, we mean products that don’t have unsafe chemicals in them. Currently, there is a lack of regulation, and therefore clarity, around what it means to be natural, organic or non-toxic - these terms are most commonly used by brands to market their products.
A natural skin care ingredient is derived from a plant, mineral or animal by-product. The term ‘natural’ has no legal or even global third party definition, stating what qualifies it as such. So skincare and cosmetics companies can determine their interpretation of natural. The product can be promoted as ‘natural’ using evocative imagery and wording on the front label, but turn the bottle around, and the ingredients on the back do not need to reflect this. It may contain a small number of natural ingredients combined with toxic ingredients such as parabens, phthalates and sulfates.
We only stock products made from 100% natural ingredients and that also means no unsafe synthetics. We believe these products are incredibly powerful, and always look for effective products. The misconception that 'natural products are ineffective' is not the case.
The term organic as applied to ingredients has a legal definition, and the use of the term must meet a defined standard issued by a specific organisation – such as USDA Organic, EcoCert or BioGro. Organic describes the way an ingredient is grown or farmed without the use of fertiliser, pesticides, antibiotics, growth hormones or genetic modification. The word organic may be used in front of an ingredient on an ingredients list, even if the product doesn’t contain 100% organic ingredients. However, Certified Organic skincare must be just that, made with a high percentage (depending on the certified body) of organic ingredients to be labelled as such.
For us, our focus is 100% natural, and if a product we screen is organic, even better.
The term ‘clean beauty’ is also unregulated, but now carries more weight in the beauty industry as many companies are becoming more transparent with their processes. A clean product can also be natural, but it goes a few steps further, as a natural ingredient may not necessarily be clean, like lead for example.
‘Clean’ describes beauty products that are created without known toxic ingredients; they must contain safe ingredients, ethically sourced and manufactured taking into account human and environmental health. Clean beauty products must be free-from a long list of known toxic ingredients, some of which are banned in many countries.
Clean beauty brands take great care to use nutrient-dense ingredients, that nourish and look after our skin. They may also use safe synthetics (developed via green chemistry practices) when necessary for preservation or effectiveness.
The difference between these three terms can be confusing, so let us do the vetting for you. We are not only committed to stocking only products made from 100% natural ingredients, but have adopted a more modern philosophy with a focus on the cruelty-free status with a focus on transparency and efficacy.
Cruelty-Free versus Vegan
All beauty products at Biddy + May are always 100% natural and cruelty-free. We want to help people make educated choices around their beauty and skincare routines. Education is a part of that, promoting the use of natural beauty brands and consciousness around using natural, cruelty-free skincare and make up products. Self-care is non-negotiable, and while we think everyone deserves healthy glowing skin, we don’t think we should have to compromise animal welfare in pursuit of beauty.
There is a difference between cruelty-free makeup and vegan makeup and many people think they are synonymous with each other.
Cruelty-free means the finished product was not tested on animals; it refers to and describes the testing process - not the ingredients where most animal testing occurs. Therefore a cruelty-free product can contain non-vegan ingredients, such as lanolin, honey, beeswax or collagen. Clarity around the ingredients, the raw materials, is an important distinction because a product can claim cruelty-free even if the ingredients used to make the product were tested on animals.
Vegan means a product does not contain any animal products or animal-derived ingredients. It describes the ingredients, rather than the production process and therefore, products tested on animals may call themselves vegan without being cruelty-free. They could, however, contain ingredients harmful to your health; and these ingredients might have been tested on animals.
Products labelled cruelty-free or vegan may not necessarily be clean.
Leaping Bunny and PETA certifications mean that cosmetic companies have adhered to strict guidelines on becoming cruelty-free beauty and vegan beauty.
We research to ensure that even if a brand is not certified, they must be cruelty-free.
For more clarity, some 100% vegan brands - vegan and cruelty-free - will certify with an independent third party such as The Vegan Society, PETA, or the Leaping Bunny Programme. Cruelty free certification requires that no new animal testing is employed at any stage of product development by the company, its laboratories, or ingredient suppliers. If you are unsure of a brand's cruelty-free status, Cruelty-Free Kitty is the Internets’ most comprehensive, current list of 100% vegan brands.
100% vegan brands do not contain any animal products or animal-derived ingredients. They do not test their ingredients on animals or test their products on animals. 100% vegan brands do not hire or ask third parties to test their ingredients or final products on animals on their behalf. They have contractual agreements with their raw material suppliers to ensure they are not testing on animals. They do not sell in China because brands are currently required to submit their products for animal testing if they want to sell in China. However, the Chinese government has announced that, by 2020, long-contested laws that made animal testing mandatory will be lifted.
We only allow a small handful of non-vegan ingredients such as honey and beeswax.
While reviewing beauty products, we use multiple reputable resources to check every ingredient. For a product to be accepted, it must be 100% natural, which means it cannot contain any restricted ingredients, or we will not stock it. We are continually updating an evolving comprehensive 'No Go' ingredients list, reflecting global ingredient restrictions. We want to make informed decisions that prioritise your health so you can make informed decisions, not misled ones.
We try every product to ensure it is effective, taking into account worldwide or local product reviews. It must also look great, smell good, feel beautiful, have thoughtful packaging and have a real point of difference.
You deserve the best, and we are committed to bringing you the best.
It is important to us that we have an in-depth knowledge of the brands we select. We get to know the founders, the passion behind their clean beauty creations, their brand values and transparency in how they source their ingredients.
Without question, every brand approved must provide fair pay and employment conditions and be an utterly cruelty-free beauty brand. Many of our brands go further by employing sustainable approaches to production and local ingredient sourcing.
The Extra Mile Brand Highlights
Kahina Giving Beauty provides fair wages to the Berber women who harvest their argan oil and donates a percentage of their profits to community programmes. Aether Beauty uses 100% zero-waste recyclable packaging and contributes a percentage of proceeds to The Water Project. Local brand Outliv produces low to zero-waste makeup purses by using recycled vintage clothing and manufactured by small local operators. Committed to pursuing sustainable packaging; True Organic Of Sweden uses environmentally friendly tubes made from sugar cane, a 100% renewable resource.
Shop our consciously curated collections here.
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