Sustainable beauty: How Green Cosmetics Make your Beauty Routine more Sustainable
In today’s fast-growing technology, online and in-store shopping has never been easier. However, the rapid production and more simplicity in accessing all products have caused a damaging cycle for our ecosystems and planet. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the beauty industry takes up approximately one-third of the space in the landfill. Most of these wastes come from colour cosmetics with their single-use plastics and materials.
The use of cosmetics has become a major part of our everyday beauty routines. Thanks to an increased awareness of sustainability, people are increasingly becoming conscious consumers. Many of us have gradually changed our beauty-buying habits by considering more natural and sustainably packaged beauty products. However, being planet-conscious can be a little confusing since some people could feel overwhelmed when they don’t know what to do or where to start. Some may be hesitant and wondering if one person possibly makes a difference. The reality is, even small changes in our beauty routine can make a difference. Acting now is always better than doing nothing and waiting for the inevitable fall out. “It’s not about being perfect, it’s about trying to do a little better every day,” says Kate Morris, an award-winning designer for zero waste fashion.
As public interest in sustainability continues to rise, several beauty brands have started their research and invest in biodegradable alternatives that don't sacrifice quality while shifting away from single-use plastics. Besides, they embed the concept of sustainability into their supply chain-- from carbon-neutral production methods to environmentally-friendly formulas, refillable containers and innovative alternative packaging. They are making it easier for us to take some action to make our beauty routine sustainable and eco-friendly.
As the toxicity of conventional cosmetics has been widely known and the natural cosmetics market continues to grow rapidly, green cosmetics extend beyond trends and play a vital role in our sustainable beauty routines.
What are green cosmetics?
Green and sustainable cosmetics refer to beauty products using environmentally-friendly ingredients produced from renewable raw materials. Many cosmetics manufacturers use petrochemical ingredients derived from petrol, a non-renewable resource. Whereas, sustainable beauty brands opt for ethically sourced ingredients and bio-based oleochemicals which derive from renewable plants along with eco-friendly packaging.
How do we know if these cosmetics are sustainable?
No brand tells a list of sustainable criteria on every single box, but keeping these factors in mind will help you pick your beauty products effectively.
Ethically sourced ingredients
Cruelty-free: At the first glance, beauty products may not be full of animal-testing or animal-derived ingredients. However, if we take a closer look at the labels, we will see that some red lipstick is made using the carmine residue of crushed red beetles. While some brands won’t shout out about this, they don’t have reassurance labels stating that their products are cruelty-free. Ensure to read the labels before purchasing.
Palm oil-free: Any beauty products that contain untraceable palm oil can lead to one of the worst environmental disasters occurring nowadays. Palm oil production results in massive deforestation which means fewer trees to capture carbon dioxide and help reverse the effects of climate change. Instead of palm oil, we should pursue natural oils products, such as coconut oils, argan oils, or avocado oils.
Agricultural plants: Soybeans, corn and other agricultural plants are used throughout the cosmetic industry to produce oils and alcohols, which is considered sustainably sourced. Green cosmetic emulsifiers, surfactants and biocatalysts are derived using these plants.
Considering how many layers of cardboard and plastic wraps we need to go through and discard to open beauty products, no wonder why packaging is a major source of waste in the cosmetics industry. Some brands such as REN clean skincare are leading the way by making use of existing plastic. Their Ocean Plastic bottles use materials collected from oceans, rivers, river banks and beaches. Aveda is also another sustainable brand that not only are its shampoos and conditioners impressive, but it also repurposes materials to make recycled bottles. Besides, refillable options are a sustainable alternative to help reduce the use of plastics. Several brands like YSL, Dior and Chanel have refills for their foundation and powder compacts.
What’s good about having natural and sustainable cosmetics?Environmental Responsibility
While many cosmetics manufacturers currently produce long-term waste with vast plastic floats in the ocean or carbon footprint, more consumers care about social and environmental responsibility. Smarter shopping and supporting sustainable beauty brands can significantly contribute to a kinder environmental impact.Increased Effectiveness
Sustainable products rely on the healing properties found naturally in plants and animals. Without any toxic chemicals or artificial colours, green cosmetics with natural and oleochemical ingredients are less likely to cause skin inflammation. For example, Vegetable glycerin, which is an agricultural plant-based ingredient, typically used in soaps, pharmaceuticals and cosmetics. This non-toxic liquid can retain water effectively since it encourages our skin to absorb and hold on to water, making it an excellent moisturizer.
Petrochemicals in synthetic cosmetics may deliver short-term results; however, the long-term effects can be highly toxic to human health and the environment. The research shows that the long term use of synthetic cosmetics can pose some side effects to your health, such as headaches, acne, hormonal imbalance and premature aging. By choosing sustainable beauty products, we can be relieved without any concern about the uncertainty of toxic and also invest in our long-term health and beauty.
Becoming an advocate of sustainable beauty will not happen overnight, but cumulatively switching to a sustainable beauty routine and adopting more eco-friendly choices is the way forward to protect our oceans and natural environment throughout our lifetime. If you have many products that need swapping for more environmentally friendly alternatives, start with your everyday essentials in your bathroom, such as eco-friendly cotton buds, reusable bamboo makeup removal pads, cleanser, moisturizing cream, etc. Be ALAM, we use 100% biodegradable, eco-friendly, and compostable materials for all of our products. Check out the link below for our eco-friendly bathroom collection!
Apart from taking care of yourself with all natural beauty products, something as easy as DIY beauty tricks with simple ingredients that you can make it at home can be worth doing to make a small impact daily. You only need cucumber juice, plain yoghurt, and aloe vera ice cubes to make your facemask which is easy, effective, and zero waste. Want to learn more about DIY Cucumber and Yoghurt Facemask?