INC. MAGAZINE just announced its 2020 list of the 5,000 fastest-growing privately-held U.S. companies. With clean cosmetics rising in popularity—and enviable oodles of ingenuity and integrity—here are the 17 clean beauty brands that made the Inc. 5000 list in 2020, four of which made Inc. 500.
WHAT THIS LIST ISN’T: Kudos to the companies that made Inc. 5000 in 2020. That said, this isn’t a list of any and all Inc. 5000 honorees with clean beauty buzzwords packed into their name or service description.
WHAT THIS LIST IS: These are the Inc. 5000 companies of 2020 who live by a clean beauty ethos and have carefully vetted and publicly available brand-wide ingredient-exclude-lists, which typically include:
- No sulfates
- No parabens
- No phthalates
- No synthetic dyes, colors or fragrances
- No harsh chemicals
Lists vary company to company but it’s what they share in common that seems most important to consumers: A disciplined, documented effort to provide them with cleaner, safer, personal care products.
We’ve scoured these companies in depth and are confident enough that we’d buy blindly from them for the best in clean beauty.
Think we misestimated? We’d love to hear about it.
Alphabeautics editors independently select and write about what we find valuable. At no additional cost to you, we may earn affiliate commissions if you follow a link and make a qualified purchase.
The 4 Clean Beauty Brands That Made the Inc. 500 List in 2020:
1. No. 51 GROVE COLLABORATIVE | Clean Cosmetics By Subscription
Founded 2012 • 3-time honoree • 5,818% growth
Grove takes the guesswork out of finding healthier home, baby, and body essentials. Its huge base of savvy subscribers choose from thousands of prescreened products that meet the strictest of standards as nontoxic, cruelty-free, and obviously effective—from the bestselling self tanner by 2019 Inc. 5000 honoree Beauty By Earth, to baby wipes and body balms, and even paraben- and petroleum-free condoms, and organic cotton tampons. Subscribers choose what they need and love and have it all shipped to their doorstep right on schedule.
That it’s been only eight years since three friends chatted in a spare bedroom in San Francisco about just this before becoming the first-ever online retailer to deliver natural home and personal care products to its members doorsteps, while making Inc. 5000 three times, makes it all the more impressive. And if they hadn’t mastered it, you wouldn’t be reading about them here. With three-year growth of a staggering 5,818%, Grove Collaborative isn’t just the 51st fastest-growing privately-owned U.S. company, but is a company you can buy from blindly and still know you’re getting the best of clean beauty.
2. No. 158. ORGANIC STRIDE | Quality Supplements
Founded 2009 • 1st-time honoree • 2,455% growth
You’ve likely heard of this brand under a different name. Havasu Nutrition. Think Multivitamin Gummies, ACV, L-Arginine, Horney Goat Weed, and a hundred other premium products, all GMP certified, three-phase third-party tested and produced in an FDA-approved facility. While not strictly cosmetic, the product line is built on quality and they do offer collagen and biotin gummies for hair, skin and nail support. Havusa’s supplements are free of harmful chemicals and are formulated on home soil. Appropriately incorporated under the name Organic Stride, the 158th fastest-growing privately-held company in America has helped millions “fuel their body, mind, and soul” with premium-ingredient supplements for over a decade.
3. No. 289. DROPPS | Laundry & Dish Detergents
Founded 2006 • 2-time honoree • 1,553% growth
Dropps’ signature series of incredibly effective plant-based and eco-friendly dish and laundry detergent pods are free of all harsh ingredients, dyes, chlorine and phosphates. And with free and carbon-neutral shipping, Dropps bridges the dream of better, cleaner beauty into what we wear and how we wash it.
4. No. 355. NATURE’S FUSIONS | High-Potency Essential Oils
Founded 2010 • 2-time honoree • 1,283% growth
Nature’s Fusions is a purveyor of fine, high-potency and additive-free essential oils from 27 different countries around the world, sourced only from sustainable suppliers. Aiming to improve transparency in the world of essential oils, this family-owned business began in 2009 and has grown for its quality, integrity and lifetime guarantee. Looking to add essential oils to your skincare routine? Rosehip seed oil, frankincense and tea tree oil are as good a place as any to start, with rosehip and frankincense helping to reduce the signs of aging and tea tree oil working wonders for mild to moderate acne.
The 13 Clean Beauty Brands That Made the Inc. 5000 List in 2020:
5. No. 597. GOODWIPES | Botanical-Infused Body Wipes
Founded 2013 • 1st-time honoree • 786% growth
Goodwipes lives up to its mantra as “crusaders of the hygiene revolution.” Using no harsh chemicals and plenty of good-for-you ingredients, their toxin-free, dye-free and eco-friendly wet wipes fill every possible need, from botanical-infused butt wipes to body wipes and down there cleansing wipes for “vageniuses” who know better than to use things like toxic tampons. And those great scents you’ll catch whiff of aren’t toxic fragrances, but are naturally-derived by soaking botanicals like rose petals in water.
6. No. 660. BRIOGEO | Clean Hair Care
Founded 2012 • 1st-time honoree • 713% growth
Briogeo. Safe, non-toxic, all-natural. No sulfates, silicones, parabens, phthalates, DEA or artificial dyes. Anywhere. Here’s a company that understands clean beauty inside and out. Briogeo offers proven products for all hair types, textures and beauty goals: volumizing, sassier curls, scalp care, and hair repair.
7. No. 809. TAO CLEAN | Tooth and Body Brushes
Founded 2013 • 1st-time honoree • 587% growth
TAO Clean is officially a maker of “technological devices that help customers live up to high cleanliness standards.” Those devices include tooth and skincare brushes but with an ethos as clean and simple as theirs, they rub shoulders with all the best brands on our shortlist. Just looking at their products, you know no corners were cut in R&D. But in design, ALL corners were replaced with curves for award-winning brushes and patented docking stations that are sleek, stunning and, yes, super sexy.
TAO stands for The Art of Clean, a promise delivered before packages are even open. Add to that a dermatologist-tested, fragrance- and paraben-free skin moisturizer, a cutting-edge makeup brush cleaner and shower-friendly gadgets bathed in germ-killing UV-C light between uses and Tao is literally the way.
8. No. 827. LOVEBUG NUTRITION INC | Probiotics For Mom & Baby
Founded 2015 • 2-time honoree • 577% growth
Moms! This one’s for you. If probiotics don’t immediately strike you as key to clean beauty, this won’t just blow your mind but will tell you “What the &$!#% is Going On.” LoveBug provides a premium range of award-winning probiotics for you, mom, and for your baby—something you and your baby may need more than you realize. Lovebug’s patented clean-delivery technology is 15 times more effective at getting healthy probiotic bacteria past the stomach acid barrier. Lovebug uses only the highest quality and most researched strains in its probiotics, all of which are non-GMO, gluten-free, sugar-free and bottled in glass. This woman-owned NYC business also makes all of its products in the U.S. If you’re going to do probiotics—and you should—do them from Lovebug.
9. No. 1096. BEST NEST WELLNESS | Neuro-Nutritional Vitamins
Founded 2015 • 1st-time honoree • 417% growth
Best Nest Wellness creates clean neuro-nutritional vitamins for all sexes and every stage of life, using the highest quality ingredients that are organic whenever possible. Their ingredients are explained clearly and in detail and never include artificial colors or flavors, GMOs, dairy, soy, nuts or sugar. Science is king so trends and fads have no place in a product line overseen by People’s Choice award-winning board-certified neurologist, Co-Founder and Co-CEO Dr. Madhavi Gupta M.D. Best Nest Wellness supplements are the time-tested staples of neuro-nutrition always made fresh and in small batches without poor, unnecessary or outright harmful ingredients and fillers. Their award-winning formulations include a prenatal multi for Mama Bird, nourishing fertility formulas for men and women, pregnancy-safe probiotics, and more.
10. No. 1231. INT’L PRODUCTS GROUP | Clean Beauty Giant
Founded 2005 • 1st-time honoree • 366% growth
International Products Group (IPG) making Inc. 5000 for the first-time speaks volumes to the core claims of this list: That clean beauty is booming, first, because consumers are clamoring for it, and, second, because passionate companies are providing best-in-class clean beauty products. And that second leg is where IPG comes in. IPG develops and manufactures whole clean beauty brands for their clients—a clientele that includes a-list celebrities, indie brands and, yes, even some of the Fortune 500 companies on our list. IPG is effectively mainstreaming the process of clean beauty brand development—a process that was once solely in-house as budding brands everywhere charted blind and slowly worked their way through formulation after formulation. IPG produces beauty products with — Ready? — No parabens, no phthalates, no SLS, SLES or harsh surfactants, no petrolatums, no GMOs, no tricolsan, no hydrogen peroxide, no EDTA, BHT or BHA, no propylene glycol, and no animal by-products or animal testing.
11. No. 1376. BOINCA, INC. / ARCTIC FOX | Pregnancy-Safe Hair Dye
Founded 2013 • 1st-time honoree • 324% growth
Formulated in California, the cosmetic capital of America, Arctic Fox hair dye is fun, flamboyant, and fashionably free of harsh chemicals. Its long-lasting proprietary color formula was two years in the making and is one of the cleanest hair dyes now available. So clean it’s pregnancy-safe. Ingredients are plant-based (100% vegan) and all-natural, and products are made without alcohol, GMOs or harsh chemicals like paraphenylenediamine—an “Allergen of the Year” so often used in hair dyes.
12. No. 1533. KNESKO | Serum-Infused Collagen Masks
Founded 2012 • 1st-time honoree • 286% growth
Rebalance your spirit, relax your mind, rejuvenate your skin. From female-founder and Reiki Master, Lejla Cas, Knesko bridges science and spirituality in a trademarked technology that balances Chakras and rejuvenates skin. As stress and collagen depletion are two of the biggest causes of premature aging, Knesko’s hypoallergenic, paraben-free collagen masks are infused with natural ingredients, precious gemstones, and vitamins and minerals that promote stress reduction and stimulate your body to rebuild and rebalance for youthful rejuvenation inside and out.
13. No. 1552. URBAN HYDRATION | Natural Skincare & Haircare Safe for the Family
Founded 2009 • 2-time honoree • 282% growth
Under the name “UI Global Brands,” Urban Hydration provides a full-body skincare and haircare product line that is free of parabens, paraffins, mineral oil, and 175 other harsh chemicals and harmful ingredients. With its extensive product line that includes everything from shampoo to sunscreen and moisturizers to masks, Urban Hydration alone could fill your bathroom cabinet—and your body’d love you for it. For every product this family-founded clean cosmetic company sells, it donates a gallon of water to communities in need around the world.
14. No. 1764. TEAMI | Natural Skincare
Founded 2013 • 2-time honoree • 243% growth
In addition to their award-winning and Leaping Bunny-certified detox and weight loss teas, Teami has a natural skincare line—tea-infused, of course. Their facial oils and scrubs, serums, toners, and detox masks are all free of gluten, harmful and artificial preservatives, coloring and fragrance, and are well-suited for all skin tones and skin types. All of them also include organic ingredients and are hand-prepared in the U.S. Beyond that, the evidence is obvious that ingredient research has been done and done well. Their popular Superfood Cleanser for instance is made with only vegan and plant-based ingredients, three of which are organic, for 76% organic by volume, and all of which are non-GMO. You also won’t find synthetic dyes, or fragrances, or alcohol, parabens, sulfates, or harmful chemicals. And with the base ingredient being organic aloe juice, this cleanser hydrates well.
15. No. 2033. PRIMAL LIFE ORGANICS | Clean Cosmetics
Founded 2012 • 4-time honoree • 208% growth
International bestselling author, registered nurse and paleo skin expert Trina Felber turned a tragedy into a catalyst for personal growth as well as something incredible for millions of others. “I was seven weeks along, getting ready for work one morning and that’s when I glanced down at my moisturizer. The ingredients on my ‘natural, healthy, organic’ moisturizer were chemicals.” I needed an alternative.” A four-time honoree to the Inc 5000 list in just eight years, Primal Life Organics is now a clean cosmetics juggernaut with extensive and well-researched product lines for all sexes. Made without synthetic fragrance, harsh chemicals or preservatives, Primal products include everything you need for personal care including body wash, deodorant, moisturizers, masks, skincare, toothpaste and toners.
16. No. 437. SOAPBOX | Natural, Nourishing Soap
Founded 2010 • 3-time honoree • 77% growth
These soaps are as trendy as they are effective. All ingredients are naturally derived and products are free of parabens, phthalates, EDTA, silicone, SLS, SLES, and petrochemicals and all are vegan and certified cruelty-free. Products include soap, shampoo and conditioner, body wash, bath bombs, lotions, and, of course, a hydrating hand sanitizer. In spite of very economical prices, for every product you purchase on their site, Soapbox also donates a product to someone in need, stateside or abroad.
17. No. 4,566. EO PRODUCTS | Full-Body Clean Cosmetics
Founded 1995 • 9-time honoree • 69% growth
Closing out this list, as a 9-time honoree of the Inc. 5000 list, EO and its sister brand Everyone provides an EWG-Verified line of full-body clean cosmetics that are free of parabens, propylene glycol, synthetic fragrances, artificial colors and dyes, gluten or GMOs. Popular products include shampoos, body oils, aluminum-free deodorants, soap, lotion, bubble bath and, of course, essential oils.
James Anthony has written on self-improvement for 22 years, with his work appearing in five national magazines and on the websites of more than 100 U.S. Drs, MDs, and board-certified surgeons. This article contains the author’s opinion only and isn’t sponsored. To suggest corrections or clarifications, reach us by email at info[at]alphabeautics.com.