Buy Better: Your Guide To Responsible Beauty (And The Best Products To Buy Into)
By Becci Vallis | Apr 12, 2021
Being vague about your brand’s ethics doesn’t cut it anymore. As consumers we want to know that what we’re buying has a higher purpose. Yes, we want products that make our skin and hair behave itself/look amazing/feel fantastic/all of the aforementioned, but we also want to know that the ingredients are sustainably sourced, that the packaging is recyclable, and that any communities involved in the supply chain are supported. Non-harmful formulas are, of course, non-negotiable. This is the world of responsible beauty: beauty with a conscience that puts environmental, social and economic factors on a par with performance.
This Is Not A Trend
Trends come and go but the need for positive-impact products isn’t going anywhere. In a recent survey* 80% of people said that they wanted to buy into responsible beauty products, with luxury spenders being willing to pay 17% more for their beauty bootie if it came with a conscience.
The demand is here and growing: it’s never been more important for brands to shout about what they’re doing behind the scenes. Transparency is at the heart of making responsible beauty mainstream because, you know what? If we can apply a skin-saving serum that’s been sustainably sourced and comes packaged in a gorgeous glass bottle: we’re in. 100%.
Symbols To Spot
An easy and effective way for brands to shout about their 360° approach is by gaining certification that can be recognised the world over. Vegan, cruelty-free, COSMOS, FSC, PETA, Protect Land & Sea: they’re all signposts that the brand has thought about the supply chain, how raw materials are sourced and the impact of their products on the environment. It shows they value the welfare of workers and are committed to ensuring that no animals are harmed in the making of their products. It also eliminates the unhelpful (and underhand) tactic of ‘greenwashing’ where brands claim to be natural, clean or organic without being willing or able to substantiate it.
Here’s A Quick Download On What To Look Out For...
Cruelty-free: Meaning no product or ingredient the brand uses has been tested on animals – nor will the company ever do so. Look for the PETA or Leaping Bunny symbol. Note: cruelty-free is not the same as...
Vegan: The vegan society is the most recognised certification out there, but many brands will clearly label if they’re vegan meaning no ingredients whatsoever come from animal sources.
Recycling: Responsible beauty brands will display exactly how to recycle their products and include information on what the packaging is made from whether it’s glass, PCR or bioplastic. Many brands are now partnered with Terracycle to ensure all parts of their packaging can return to the recycling stream.
Ethically sourced ingredients: While there isn’t a stamp for this, if they are COSMOS certified, the ingredients will have been investigated and verified. Look for more information on the brand website or social media to see how they’re supporting the supply chain.
Forest friendly: If you see the FSC stamp on a box you know that any wood-based materials used have been sourced from sustainable forests that don’t contribute to deforestation. Even better: a carton printed using vegetable-based inks.
Coral-reef friendly: Reef-safe isn’t a recognised accolade but the Protect Land & Sea certification is. They test formulas to ensure no damage is done to the reefs and marine life.
Production process: A work in progress, a carbon neutral certification is being investigated by both The Carbon Trust and Climate Neutral. Usually, if a company is carbon neutral or carbon negative, they want to make it known.
Ethically sourced ingredients: The Union for Ethical Biotrade issues certification for brands that respect an ingredient’s natural environment and support the communities guaranteeing that workers are fairly treated, safe and cared for. Again, a brand’s website should always give more detail.
Ready to buy better? Here's our edit of the best beauty products to buy into now... all from responsible beauty brands we love.
Blending 0.15% retinol with skin nourishing vitamin E, these perfectly portioned capsules are made of seaweed which can be dissolved in water or thrown in the compost bin. Zero waste, the jars are refillable and stackable with other products in the range... so space saving too.
Reducing your carbon footprint by 90%, these pouches are made from 60% renewable plant-based resources that break down into biodegradable compost. As for the formula inside, it contains 100% natural and hand-harvested ingredients like lavender, sweet vanilla and ethically sourced palo santo.
Maximum concentrated ingredients, 100% biodegradable products, regionally- sourced packaging and a production line that wastes no energy or water. If that wasn’t enough this dreamy cleanser is. As well as removing make-up and daily dirt, it soothes, hydrates and leaves skin feeling soft and springy.
All it takes is a delicate dusting and your cheekbones will come alive thanks to the super-light pigments in this powder. Formulated with raw, food grade and certified organic ingredients, this benefits from Buriti oil from Brazil and vegetable squalane so skin never feels dry.
*study by Friedman Stevens July 2020
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