5 Tips to help you find sustainable beauty post Lockdown
With signs of lockdown easing around the world the question is how will we plan for a healthy future?
The Covid-19 pandemic has made us hyper aware about the importance of our health. Science has made it clear that our health is inherently linked to our environment. Corona has taught us kindness and cooperation between scientists, governments and people, proving we can adapt our habits in times of crisis. The planet is finally given a break, yet the question is for how long?
Are you ready to commit to act, and make different choices at home? Vote with your money. Act with your heart. Join our conscious beauty union.
Our 5 tips for planet friendly beauty
Before, during and after lockdown!
Buy less, buy better, recycle.
Much has been said about the pollution of fast fashion. But really fast beauty is no better. 120 billion units of beauty packaging are produced each year globally and most ends up in landfill. Beauty packaging is used to help protect and preserve the formulation. Pumps for example keep the product airtight and hygienic, often they are made from mixed materials, which makes it tricky to recycle.
Sustainable beauty brands like Weleda and Neal’s Yard have partnered with Terracycle a company which recycles product properly so the materials can be reused again. Read more in A guide to recycling your beauty routine.
A perfect sustainable packaging solution is not available at the moment but plenty of brands make an effort. Kjaer Weis, Zao and Sappho have refillable make up options, Bybi uses grass paper in their packaging and many brands use plant-based inks and recycled paper.
What is in your beauty products?
Beyond packaging an important question to ask is what is in the beauty product? The organisation Beat The Microbead lists 500 liquid or micro plastics beauty ingredients found in skincare, makeup and other personal care items, used up to 10% in a formulation. A closer look into a mainstream anti-wrinkle cream formulation reveals 90.000 plastic particles. Some are smaller than a human hair’s diameter and slip through water filters into our oceans.
Plastic particles are also added to make up to make it waterproof or long-wearing. Obviously these particles do not biodegrade, some are known as phthalates which are known Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals (EDC’s) and problematic for sea life, the environment and people too. Today, it is recognised that there are 800 chemicals on the market known or suspected to interfere with hormonal systems, linked to disease such as cancer, thyroid issues, PCOS and reduced fertility in people and wildlife.
Certified natural and organic logos
The easiest way to avoid micro plastics, and invest in sustainable beauty, is buying certified organic or natural beauty products. Look out for the logos of reputable certifiers such as Cosmos and Natrue which have strict guidelines that check supply chains, manufacturing processes, forbid GMO, animal testing and ensure that products are genuinely natural and organic. These logos guarantee a product is better for the environment and health. If you don’t see this logo remember that the words ‘organic’ and ‘natural’ are not legally defined meaning any brand can pretend to be ‘green’ with as little as 1% natural or organic ingredient content. This ‘greenwashing’ is very common so look beyond the packaging and always read the ingredients list.
If you can’t find a certification logo the only way to find out if a brand is sustainable is by doing your research. Watch my Sustainable Beauty Talk with Jayn Sterland at Weleda UK to find out more what makes a sustainable beauty brand. Sustainability credentials go beyond formulating with organic, natural and biodegradable ingredients.
The question is how are the ingredients sourced? How is the natural biodiversity and animals affected and also how are people treated along the whole production line? A good question to ask is what motivates the founders, are they driven by ethical reasons or purely to make money? Numerous ethical brands have been sold in the past and lost their values to profits. Be prepared to dig a little deeper than what is on the surface.
Apps & Ingredients
Apps like EWG and Think Dirty – for North American barcodes – are helpful to check ingredients for toxicity, the European Codecheck app will give info about the impact on environment too. When you cannot find your products you will need to read the labels on your beauty product and learn which ingredients to avoid. Read How to read an INCI list with more information why we avoid mineral oil, petrochemicals, phthalates, synthetic fragrance, nanoparticles, sulphates, silicones and PEGs.