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US Sustainable Beauty Trends

The beauty industry is such a huge part of everyday life. Many use makeup as a way to express themselves and their artistic talents. Others use it to enhance their beautiful features or to give a confidence boost. Regardless, the beauty industry is worth $511 million worldwide. It is evident that with all the products being produced, the beauty industry itself is not very sustainable. Most of the packaging involved in makeup products isn’t recyclable, and that isn’t the only aspect that determines whether a beauty product is sustainable or not. We asked American beauty blogger Jasmine to describe what sustainable beauty means in the US.

What does ‘Sustainable Beauty’ in the US?

Sustainability has been more common around the world, and with great reason. The environment has declined throughout the years due to the way humans have chosen to live their lives. We are all familiar with the dangers of destroying the environment and losing the benefits and essentials that it provides. Thankfully, there are lots of small changes that we can make each day to make a difference.

Sustainability means causing no harm to the environment. In terms of makeup, think of it as a ladder with each step being part of the process of creating sustainable products. From ingredients to packaging to salary, there are various steps that companies can take in order to provide a more sustainable approach.

Ingredients

Every ingredient that is within each beauty product is important, not only to your skin but to the environment as well. It is also important to know where each ingredient came from. If we trace back to the beginning of each ingredient, could we discover their source? Sustainable doesn’t always mean organic or natural. For example, an ingredient may be plant-based but if the company requires a large amount of this plant in order to make each of their products, it is not a sustainable option because of all the land, water, labor and other factors that are involved. For this reason, many ingredients are produced synthetically in a lab, which is not a bad thing.

A great example of a natural ingredient that is not sustainable is palm oil. It is found in many skincare products and it is great for the skin. However, the process of harvesting palm oil is not ideal for the environment. Many rainforests have been cut down in order to grow palm plants. The species that once called the rainforest their home had to find their way to another habitat, or perhaps they were amongst the damage and weren’t able to survive.

Additionally, there are many beauty ingredients that come straight from animals. Lanolin is a wax that is found in the wool of sheep. It moisturizes the skin, and the process of removing the lanolin from the wool happens once the wool is cute from the sheep. Though it doesn’t sound like a damaging process, these sheep go through horrible treatment that usually ends in slaughter. Though it is possible to find ethically-sourced lanolin, majority of the lanolin that is found in beauty products is not sustainable.

Synthetic shouldn’t have such a bad reputation. Ingredients made in labs are not natural or organic, but that doesn’t make them as bad as many consumers believe. Synthetic ingredients are made with the exact same molecules as natural ingredients, except they are made in a lab and not in nature. Essentially, these synthetic ingredients will give you the same benefits without the environmental harm that the natural ingredients may cause.

Packaging

The packaging of products within the beauty industry is mostly made of non-recyclable plastic. With about 120 billion units of beauty products being packaged each year, imagine all the plastic and unrecyclable products that end up in the landfill. Apart from the plastic bottle or container that each product comes in, most of the other components involved may not be recyclable either. For example, most pumps that are used in beauty products cannot be recycled. Applicators such as mascara wands can’t be recycled either, and neither can makeup brushes. It may seem as if there is no way to be fully sustainable when it comes to beauty, but there are always alternatives.

A few companies also offer refillable packaging so that when you finish your product, you can buy only a part of the product rather than the entire thing.

Unethical Labour

The aspect that may be overlooked when talking about sustainability is the ethics of the company in terms of labor. With fast beauty, time and money is everything. Lots of companies are more concerned about being able to put out as much amount of products for the smallest amount of money. This often leads to the use of cheap ingredients and even worse, unethical labor. Since people have the necessity, both children and adults work for companies that have them overworked and underpaid. At times they may not even have the sufficient funds to support their families or live comfortably. Even if a company has sustainable ingredients and packaging, it should not be considered sustainable if unethical labor is present.

Sustainable Beauty Brands

Consumers have become more aware of the environment, and many would rather pay more for a sustainable product because they understand the damage that beauty products can cause. This has caused many beauty brands to change their ethics, and many new sustainable beauty brands have been created thanks to the demand of consumers.

Juice Beauty

Juice Beauty embraces sustainable beauty so passionately and completely that Counter Culture felt compelled to import the brand to sell to its UK customers. The brand sets out to deliver deliver high performance clinically skincare ‘From Farm to Beauty’.  Antioxidant-rich Certified Organic Ingredients are brought to you Farm to Beauty, from the brand’s stunning Innovation Center in Sonoma County, California. As you might expect, Juice is follows strict sustainable practices, its vegan-friendly, cruelty-free, and organic. It’s no wonder A-list celebrities such as Kate Hudson and Gwyneth Paltrow rave about Juice Beauty.

LOLI

The beauty brand LOLI focuses on zero waste while providing products with the best ingredients. Tina Hedges, founder of LOLI, states “The inspiration of LOLI or ‘Living Organic Loving Ingredients’, came to me the moment I realized the beauty industry needs to be stirred up. Peel back a beauty label far enough, and you’ll see that it’s lost its connection to what really nourishes us – food – and in its place is a blend of 95% water, preservatives and synthetics.” The ingredients used in these amazing products are certified organic as well as organically cultivated. The products are MADE SAFE certified to make sure that they are truly safe for the consumer. When looking at the wide range of products, each is brightly colored and has a minimal ingredient list. Apart from the amazing products and reusable packaging, LOLI donates $1 of every $75 purchase to organizations that aid people who are being trafficked.

CLOVE+HALLOW

This vegan makeup and skincare brand provides products from bold and highly pigmented eyeshadows to facial oils and serums. CLOVE+HALLOW uses post-consumer recycled plastics and glass as well as refillable containers. The ingredients are clean and tested several times amongst experts to ensure the products are safe and function as they should. This company stands by their Clean15 formulation, which guarantees that each product they create contains 15 or fewer safe ingredients. It allows them to be intentional and thoughtful about the products, as well as give the consumer peace of mind that the products are not full of a load of ingredients they can’t even pronounce. CLOVE+HALLOW support mental health issues, as well as people of all sizes, shapes, beliefs, gender, sexualities and abilities.

Lumin Skincare

Lumin is a skincare brand aimed squarely at men. They want you to hand back your partner/mom/sister’s eye cream, ’cause it just ain’t gonna cut it’. They believe that men’s skin is a whole other ball game—it’s thicker, tougher, and structured differently than women’s. They craft products tailored to your skin type and formulate regimens that actually take your skin issues head-on.

AXIOLOGY

Though it only sells lip products, Axiology is a company that is doing all they can to live up to their belief on sustainability. With only 10 ingredients in their list, Axiology creates beautiful lip products that contain ingredients that are nurturing for the lips. The boxes used for packaging are recyclable, compostable, and made from 100% recycled paper waste. Though some lipstick tubes are made of 50% post-consumer recycled plastic, the small company is working on reaching the level where they can product 100% PCR plastics.

KINDRED BLACK

Apart from beauty products, Kindred Black offers jewellery, home décor, and fashion. Their materials are plastic free, and they use recycled boxes, tissue paper, and shipping paper. Their skincare and beauty products come in beautiful hand-blown bottles that are made in a studio in Oaxaca, Mexico. These bottles are very unique and filled with beautifully coloured oils of the highest quality, as well as from ethical and sustainable sources. Apart from their amazing products, Kindred Black donates to several organisations that are making a difference in this world. Some of the organisations include The Ocean Conservancy, The Environmental Defense Fund, and The World Health Organizations.

Though there is a lot to change in order to protect the planet, we can each do our part by switching up small aspects of our daily lives, even with something as simple as beauty products.

Best wishes,

Jasmine

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