‘Clean Beauty’ has been a buzzword in the cosmetics industry for some time, and now Whole Foods is trying to spread the word to the masses. The organic grocer is launching a new initiative, dubbed the ‘Whole Foods Market Better Beauty Swap.’ The concept aims to raise awareness of the importance of checking out the ingredient labels on everyday beauty products and to encourage consumers to do their research on commonly-found ingredients such as parabens, microbeads and formaldehydes.

The ‘Swap’ will take place on March 30 in five locations across the US — in New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Los Angeles. The first 200 shoppers to arrive at each event will receive a free, limited-edition Whole Foods Market Beauty Bag (valued at more than US$100 each), in return for one empty beauty or body care product, which will then be recycled in partnership with the waste management company TerraCycle. Each of the items in the Beauty Bag adheres to Whole Foods Market’s standards, meaning that they will not contain phthalates, parabens, microbeads, formaldehyde-releasing preservatives, triclosan, BHT, BHA or aluminum chlorohydrate. The bags will also go on sale nationwide from March 29, retailing at US$20 each while supplies last.

Whole Foods Market's 2019 Beauty Bag- Photo: © Whole Foods Market

Whole Foods Market’s 2019 Beauty Bag- Photo: © Whole Foods Market

The move comes on the back of research conducted by Whole Foods Market that found that 33% of consumers do not properly understand ingredients commonly found in conventional beauty and body care products, while 59% do not regularly read the labels before heading to the check-out.

"These findings on consumer perceptions and buying habits showcase a continued need for broader awareness around better-for-you beauty and body care ingredients," said Jen Coccaro, Director of Merchandising, Whole Body, in a statement.

The initiative is the latest clean beauty-focused concept to hit the beauty industry. Last month, Garnier unveiled a new organic skincare range, ‘Garnier Bio’, in France, as part of its efforts to focus on the environment, while December saw Herbal Essences launch two new sulfate-free botanical shampoos.