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Green Cosmetics: What Lies Ahead of This Exciting Field of Innovation?

In 2021, the natural and organic beauty industry was valued at $29.92 billion. In the coming years, this valuation is expected to increase exponentially in conjunction with consumer demand for eco-friendly products.

In this article, we’ll look at what green cosmetics are, the latest trends, and what they mean for the future of the industry.

Let’s get started! 

Green Cosmetics: An Overview

Green cosmetics is the area of health and skincare focused on environmentally friendly products. Recent decades ignited growing interest in preserving the environment, with skincare and makeup one of many industries seeing plenty of innovation. Consumers are increasingly showing a desire to use products with minimal damage to the environment, especially when it comes to items that come in direct contact with their skin. 

And, most recently, the COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns changed self-perceptions about what body beauty means: internal and external well-being are linked and of importance to each other.

Green Cosmetics vs. Clean Beauty: What’s the Difference?

A common phrase in the green cosmetics market is “clean beauty,” which is sometimes interchangeably used. However, while they share similarities, there are differences between them.

Products marketed as clean beauty mean that the contents are considered safe and non-toxic, such as foregoing potentially harmful ingredients like parabens or formaldehyde. Whereas those marketed as green are designed to be eco-friendly. Green products typically contain vegan, hormone-free ingredients and they are generally not tested on animals. Many green products also utilize recycled or biodegradable packaging. 

From an analytical perspective in doing a patent search, we can see that green cosmetics is a much newer industry than clean beauty. Figure 1 shows the patent application and issue trends from 2003 to present time. Green cosmetics has less than 100 patents whereas clean beauty has 15.6K.

Figure 1: Bar graph showing patent application and issued trend for green cosmetics (top) and clean beauty (bottom) for each year since 2003.

How Are Green Cosmetics Different from Regular Cosmetics?

Green cosmetics share some overlap with regular cosmetics in that they’re both used to clean, improve, or change physical appearance (such as skin, hair, nails, or teeth). However, unlike regular cosmetics which use synthetic compounds and chemicals (some of which may be toxic), green cosmetics are derived from natural, non-toxic ingredients. 

Green Cosmetics: A Deep Dive

It’s no secret that what we put into and on our bodies has a direct impact on our health and wellbeing. As such, it isn’t surprising that modern consumers are demanding more from the cosmetics industry. There has been a shift toward environmentally friendly products that are good for people and the planet. 

In this section, we’ll explore the key players in the green cosmetics industry and how they’re shaping the future of this promising sector. 

Who’s Currently Ruling the Landscape?

In our recent analytical report on green cosmetics , we saw that the company with the greatest number of patents filed in the green cosmetics category, Amorepacific Corporation, held more patents than the next five companies combined. This suggests that green cosmetics is still gaining traction and becoming an increasingly strategic decision.

This has us wondering: what is it about this industry that allows new entrants versus established innovators to dominate? 

Looking at Figure 2, we can see where patents filed in the green cosmetics category start to sharply rise as compared with previous years. The company filing the most patents, Amorepacific, showed filing activity dating back to 2003. But the next nine companies only started matching the pace in 2015, greatly weighting the scales towards new entrants versus established innovators.

Figure 2: Bar graph showing companies and patent count in the green cosmetics category.

And then just four years later, the COVID-19 pandemic arrived and drastically changed self-care routines and purchasing habits. The article “Eco-friendly masks preferences during COVID-19 pandemic in Indonesia” explores the rise of biodegradable masks, and why they’re now a preferred option. 

Further evidence supports the growth of green cosmetics in the green movement. The article “Food Loss and Food Waste for Green Cosmetics and Medical Devices for a Cleaner Planet” shows a clear link between food waste and biodegradable and natural-based products and packaging materials, with organic and natural cosmetics staking an increasingly growing share of the revenue stream. 

These are just a few examples of many. And the research is clear — consumers want green products, especially in a post-pandemic world. 

It’s More Common Than You Think

With sustainability a top focus for green cosmetics, there are many tangible and real-life benefits. These include: 

  • Environmental health: By focusing on environmentally sustainable practices, green cosmetics can help preserve the planet’s health. For example, the brand Burt’s Bees has a green philosophy of “Because we take from nature, we must work to preserve and protect it,” and a practice of 50% recycled materials on average used across packaging; 99.5% natural origin average across their product portfolio; and 45% of oils, waxes, and butters were bought directly and traced to the origins and then verified with on-site visits.
  • Safer personal health: Opting for green cosmetics leads to an overall lower cumulative effect of estimated daily intake of parabens than with conventional products.
  •  Reducing food loss and waste: As discussed above, the article in Cosmetics showed how food loss and waste can be offset by incorporating it into green cosmetics, creating a mutually beneficial mini-ecosystem.
  • Diversified intellectual property (IP) portfolio: Because this market is growing exponentially,  companies that innovate in this industry can easily diversify their IP portfolio and stay ahead of the curve.

Green Cosmetics: The Future

Current trends show the industry is dominated with rising entrants, as opposed to established names. As detailed in our report, this suggests the market is on an upward trajectory and hasn’t yet peaked, leaving plenty of room open for research and development (R&D) for new players.

Key and Emerging Players

Earlier on, we saw that Amorepacific was the lead filer of patents in the green cosmetics category. Not only is it the top filer, but it also holds more patents (93) than the next five combined (73). Additionally, the company has consistently filed green cosmetics patents since 2003, while the other top nine companies arrived on scene around 2015.

Figure 3 below showcases the other four companies with a large share of the spotlight. Interestingly, these companies all have more than 15 simple family (collection of documents that cover a single invention) patent documents. 

Figure 3: Comparison chart showing the top five companies with patents filed in the green cosmetics category (Source: Green Cosmetics PatSnap Analytical Report

As green cosmetics gains popularity, we can expect to see the number of new entrants increasing, and the more established innovators cementing their patents and statuses. In time, both sides should even out until the market reaches saturation, and then the established innovators are likely to take over from new entrants.


While the cosmetics industry has been around for thousands of years, green cosmetics is still a relatively new concept. With climate change and personal health and wellbeing becoming an undeniably important part of life, consumers are shifting their attention toward green cosmetics. 

As Newtonian physics teaches — an object in motion stays in motion unless an imbalanced force acts upon it, as such we expect to see the current trend of upwards growth in this industry to continue propelling forward. 

If you’re interested in taking a deeper dive into this industry, download our analytical report on green cosmetics.

Explore the trends shaping the future of Green Cosmetics.

Download Our Analytical Report.