The Credo Clean Standard
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The Credo Clean Standard

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

Credo cares deeply about people and the planet. We are curious and committed, and we ask questions of the beauty industry supply chain so that together, we can bring better products to market. We use the information we gather to make informed choices about brands and products we carry, to refine and strengthen The Credo Clean Standard™, and to positively impact the industry and move it forward, to the extent that we can.

Below is a snapshot of the many questions we ask, under these headings, which are core to the Credo Clean Standard™. However, please understand that not all of these questions are answered for each ingredient, material or product that we inquire about. This is because US law doesn’t require that much data be gathered or shared before ingredients come to market, and the chemical and packaging industries are not always forthcoming. But we are committed to working to change the status quo. Clean beauty is a journey.

Clean beauty is the nexus of the following…

a venn diagram with The Credo Clean Standard at the intersection of sustainability, sourcing, ethics, and safety, surrounded by a circle labeled transparency.


Many of the chemicals used by the cosmetic industry have little-to-no hazard information. Accordingly, we strive to understand the safety of various chemicals on the market because we believe that having more data helps us all to make safer, better consumer products. Some of the questions that we ask are: “What do we know about the hazard (potential harm) and risk (hazard x exposure) of the ingredient or material?” “Has the material been assessed for a variety of environmental and health endpoints?”


Sources may also affect safety and/or sustainability, so we ask where materials originate. “What is the origin of the ingredient/material?” It could be from nature (e.g. plant oils), or synthetic (e.g. from a petrochemical feedstock). Or, ingredients can be a blend–have both natural and synthetic inputs (e.g. a coconut-based surfactant). Source helps us to better understand the supply chain and finds ways to continue to improve.


Credo believes that sustainable sourcing means doing as little harm as possible to meet current needs, without compromising the needs of the future. “How is this ingredient/material grown, harvested, mined or manufactured?” “Is it nonrenewable?” “Was it shipped around the world during its production?” “Are there other concerns, e.g. plantation farming practices?”


Just treatment of humans and animals should be a part of the clean movement. “Is this ingredient linked to unsafe labor conditions or environmental injustice?” “Can we push for information to better understand if humans are treated fairly and animals humanely?”


Credo aspires to create positive change. We want our partners to have and share relevant information on ingredient/material source, safety, sustainability, purity, and composition—as well as the suppliers’ methods and processes—for every ingredient and material. Our industry is not fully transparent on its practices, but we are pushing for it. Credo believes that our efforts can effect change, and we remain committing to seeking those changes that we believe will be for the better of all.

The Credo clean standard

At Credo, we lead by example with a comprehensive standard.

What is The Credo Clean Standard™?

In order for “clean” to have meaning, we need a vision, a common lexicon, and meaningful guidelines—and requiring compliance always helps to make it real, too. Enter The Credo Clean Standard™.

Credo has always had its Dirty List®, which is a file of specific ingredient names as well as types of ingredients that Credo prohibits or restricts, usually due to safety and/or sustainability reasons. The Dirty List is over 2700 chemicals (note that some of these are rarely used in our industry, but they could be, and we want to cover our bases). 

An abbreviated Dirty List® list is here

The Dirty List® is an important foundation for building a clean product, but The Credo Clean Standard™ goes much further than a “free of” list. Some elements of the policy include: 

  • Use only official ingredient terminology (called INCI), not marketing language on ingredient lists

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

  • Conduct stability and shelf-life testing

  • Back up product and ingredient claims

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


Most of this criteria is not currently required by the US government, or comprehensively by other retailers (i.e. we don’t have a “clean” section of the store–every product we sell must meet The Credo Clean Standard™). 

Credo’s Clean Standard™ debuted in 2018, and in 2020, we added the Sustainable Packaging Guidelines to our store-wide policy.  Both will continue to evolve over time as we ask hard questions and review data, and we learn from allies up and down the supply chain. Raising the bar on safety, sustainability and transparency is not easy, but most things worthwhile aren’t.


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