Is your beauty routine eco responsible? A question not often asked, but an important one!
Every product we apply to our face, hair and body has a start and an end story. For the sake of our health, and the health of our planet, we should want the story of the creation of our beauty products be a positive, happy one, not a story full of death and destruction right?
There are quite a few aspects to look at when wanting to ensure you are using eco friendly beauty products.
First it is important to know what to say no to!
Say No To The Following
Microplastics in Cosmetics
Microplastics are tiny pieces of plastic smaller than 5 mm diameter. These tiny plastic pieces do not break down in the environment. The EUEP and TAUW report that there are 67 types of these microplastics used in cosmetics. Microplastics are commonly used in the creation of most makeup products from eyeshadow through to lip-gloss and also added to our skin creams, scrubs and cleansers in the form of Microbeads.
A recent report by Greenpeace showed that out of 664 cosmetics tested from 11 popular cosmetic brands, 502 contained micro plastics . Many of the products containing these plastics were the ones that we apply to our lips and eyes, so they have very easy access to the inside of our bodies.
Not only are microplastics unhealthy for us, but they get washed off our skin and flow straight out into the environment, polluting to such a serious extent, that microplastics can be found in all manner of freshly harvested food and even into our water supplies. Read
Child & Slave Labor Mining Micas
Micas are ground coloured minerals commonly used in most cosmetics.
Micas are mined in 35 countries around the world, but in poorer countries such as India, the mining of Mica is commonly associated with child and slave labor. Thankfully, there are cosmetic companies that are aware of these atrocities and they now source Mica responsibly through the MICA INITIATIVE
There is Palm Oil in literally everything, but it does not need to be in our cosmetics ingredients. Cosmetic manufacturers have the options to source many other sustainable oil alternatives to palm oil.
Excessive Packaging of Beauty Products
The cosmetics industry is responsible for a massive amount of plastic pollution. In 2018 a study commissioned by Zero Waste Europe found that beauty and personal care products produced 142 billion units of packaging. Packaging is big business for the beauty world!
Most of the packaging used by the beauty industry in not even recyclable.
In the beauty industry there is so much PVC plastic used. PVC is an extremely environmentally harmful plastic throughout its entire lifecycle, from production to disposal and highly toxic to the environment due the use of dioxins and phthalates.
Other Cosmetic Ingredients that Harm Us and the Environment
Let me start by saying that none of the ingredients listed below are healthy for us humans, but in addition to this fact they are also known to be environmentally harmful.
Sulfates – not healthy for us and toxic to aquatic organisms.
Synthetic Fragrances – often contain a toxic mix of chemicals and even plasticizers and toxic to aquatic organisms.
Triclosan – triclosan accumulates in the tissues of all animals right through to aquatic organisms.
Parabens – found in the tissues of marine animals, including dolphins.
Oxybenzone and Octinoxate – a main ingredient in conventional sunscreens and a significant contributor to coral reef bleaching (dying).
Production and Shipping Pollution in Cosmetics
One also has to factor in the pollution and energy wastage coming from the production of our beauty products. The creation of the raw ingredients. The manufacturing of the actual product using all of these ingredients. The excessive packaging and then finally, the shipping around the world.
Say YES to Eco Friendly Beauty
Nothing is perfect, and beauty products by definition are not a necessity in life, but they are a big part of our social culture and so we need to find ways to enjoy and use these products whilst having as minimal a negative impact as possible.
Obviously, always say yes to beauty companies that are committed to being cruelty free and vegan friendly, but also companies that are committed to the following;
- Microplastic free.
- Free of the above harmful ingredients.
- Sourcing as many local ingredients as possible.
- Manufacturing locally to minimize shipping.
- Use recyclable packing and minimal packaging.
- Use natural and biodegradable ingredients.
- Use natural fragrances, or at least plastic free safer ones.
- Source their ingredients from ethical, Fairtrade, raw ingredient manufacturers and suppliers.
- Carbon neutral and have good environmental practices in place.
- State all the above clearly on their websites.
- Palm oil free, or can show without a doubt that they are using sustainable certified palm oil at the very least.
GREEN BEAUTY IS THE WAY FORWARD!
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