The Credo Clean Standard
Skip to main content

The Credo Clean Standard

People-Kind, Planet-Kind, One-Of-A-Kind

At Credo, we have clearly laid out what “clean beauty” means. Our definition serves as the pillars for the Credo Clean Standard, which guides our company and our 130+ brand partners, and is the bellwether for the clean products movement.

Clean beauty is the nexus of the following…


What do we know about the safety of the ingredient? Does it present a risk to the user, or to the environment, whether by itself or as used in a beauty product?


Is the ingredient sourced from nature, is it synthetic or is it some combination (e.g. naturally-derived)? Is there more than one source for this ingredient, and if so, is one better for people or the environment?


How is this ingredient grown, mined or made? Was it shipped around the world during its production? Are there sustainability concerns, e.g. plantation farming practices?


Is this ingredient linked to unfair labor conditions or wages? Is there any insight into the supply chain to understand if animals are treated humanely?


Transparency around ingredient sourcing, purity, and composition—as well as the suppliers’ and brands’ principles and processes—is crucial to clean. If this information is kept in a black box how can we possibly know if it is clean?

The Credo clean standard

At Credo, we back “clean” with the strongest standards in retail today.

What is The Credo Clean Standard™?

In order for “clean” to have real meaning, brands need to walk the walk. And in order to do that, they need guidelines—and required compliance always helps to make it real, too. Enter The Credo Clean Standard, the strongest standard in retail.

Credo has always had its Dirty List® that contains over 2,700 specific ingredients and types of ingredients that are used in mainstream beauty products, but Credo prohibits due to safety and/or sustainability reasons.

An abbreviated Dirty List® list is here. *Please note that an entry can be comprised of many ingredients (like “ethoxylated ingredients,” for example, which is several hundred).

The Dirty List® is an important foundation, but the Clean Standard goes much further than a “free of” list. It requires brands to:  

  • Use official ingredient terminology (called INCI) and use ingredient source codes where possible

  • Obtain documentation on their ingredients’ composition, purity and sourcing information

  • Conduct basic consumer safety (on humans…that volunteer!) and product stability testing

  • Back up product and ingredient claims

  • Be transparent about “fragrance”—at a minimum they must categorize the type of fragrance they use, and we encourage full disclosure of all fragrance ingredients. Learn More

…and more. None of this is currently required by the US government or other retailers.

Credo’s Clean Standard will continue to evolve over time, especially in light of new data and innovation. We learn from allies up and down the supply chain, and Credo offers our brand partners support in the journey to be compliant. Raising the bar on safety, sustainability and transparency is not easy, but most worthwhile undertakings aren’t! Doing “clean” together as allies make it possible, and more fun.

More To Know