We all have our favourite go-to beauty and cosmetic brands.
But imagine you had a reset and decided to think again.
Obviously you would want the product to do what it said on the packaging, but you may also want to understand the journey this product took to get into your possession and whether is was Eco Conscious in any way.
Most of us don't have time to consider all the Eco Credentials that are presented or hidden from us. As a helpful guide we have listed our Top 10 considerations that you might make before buying into a new cosmetic product or brand.
Were new animal tests conducted in the development of the product?
The Leaping Bunny Logo is the only internationally recognised symbol guaranteeing consumers that no new animal tests were used in the development of any product displaying it. Aka Cruelty-Free International is the governing organisation that can grant Leaping Bunny certification and any cosmetic product displaying the logo will have had to have been certified.
It seems weird to think that there may be some 'toxins' in beauty products, but it happens.
For example in Shampoos there is sometime a foaming ingredient called Sodium Laurel Sulpahate which can cause scalp irritation - so look for SLS-free. In Nail Varnishes look for Formaldehyde-free, Toluene-free, Camphor-free, DBP: (Dibutyl Phthalate-free), Ethyl Tosylamide-free, TPHP: Triphenyl Phosphate-free, Xylene-free. You probably won't have time to check all these so 'Toxic-free' nail varnish will probably include these. Also worth mentioning are Gluten-free, Nut-free, Paraben-free and Silicone-free in case of intolerances.
Are the people who make your product treated well and paid a fair wage?
Fairtrade is a system of certification that aims to ensure a set of standards are met in the production and supply of a product or ingredient. For farmers and workers, Fairtrade means workers’ rights, safer working conditions and fairer pay. For cosmetic and beauty shoppers it means high quality, ethically produced products.
Do the ingredients in your product come from organic sources?
Organic means that the ingredients were produced without the use of chemical fertilisers, pesticides, or other artificial chemicals. It generally means the ecosystem where the ingredients were grown is better off and growing them in this way, doesn't damage the environment, leading to a more sustainable harvest. The organic claims of a company can be certified by The Soil Association
Do the ingredients come from a natural source?
Natural cosmetics are defined as products made from natural ingredients. Natural ingredients are chemical compounds that come from plants, minerals, animals or microbes. These compounds are usually obtained by crushing the ingredients without changing any of their constituents. A good example is Fruu's Avocado Balm which is 100% natural as its ingredients are obtained solely from fruit or vegetables.
Does the product contain substances of animal origin? If not it can be described as vegan.
To dispel any misunderstandings - just because a product is vegan it doesn't mean that it's natural or cruelty-free. Some of the ingredients in cosmetics that stop a product being vegan include honey, beeswax, lanolin, collagen, albumen, carmine, cholesterol and gelatin. A good example of a vegan product is Belle & Basil's Balancing Moisturiser which is certified Vegan by The Vegan Society
So that's the ingredients, so what about the all important packaging?
Firstly the most important function of packaging is to protect the contents of the product and secondly to convey its contents. This seems obvious but there are in-store presentation requirements that necessitate certain shapes and sizes.
Sometimes the packaging material used is plastic. Look for recycled plastic or recyclable plastic. Glass and Aluminium are also recyclable. Cardboard and paper should be FSC-certified meaning the pulp is derived from sustainably managed forests. Many cosmetic products ask the consumer to return their empty packaging, often with free postage, so it can be refilled and re-used. They will often give the customer a discount to re-purchase another product as an incentive to make the return.
How and where your product was manufactured will affect the eco-friendliness of the product.
Look for where the product was made. Did it have a long journey to get into your hands? If it did, it might suggest it was airfreighted with the associated carbon footprint from air transport. Also investigate how the factory gets its energy. Many companies have converted to buying renewable energy and offsetting their carbon footprint with CO2 offset schemes via companies like Ecologi who help companies offset their carbon emissions through a range of climate action projects, like planting trees.
9. Company Ethos
Look at the ethos of the cosmetic company- are they a fast fashion brand launching into cosmetics because they have a captive audience?
The ethos of the company is important because it will dictate the eco consciousness of the product and if they do have a good ethos the product will likely be good quality and have a positive impact on the environment while also being a great product. You will know when cosmetic brand is truly great as opposed to one that is greenwashing. Some cosmetic / beauty products have gone a step further to become a BCorporation. B Corporations, or B Corps, are companies verified by B Lab to meet high standards of social and environmental performance, transparency and accountability. If you see this logo you know they have a genuine positive ethos.
10. Price Drivers
How much we pay for a cosmetic product is obviously a key consideration.
Often cosmetic products are priced high, not because they are exclusively made or better quality.
It may be they have been associated with an Influencer, a Celebrity or a Fashion brand. Most consumers are savvy and well-informed and generally high prices are commanded when the reputation of the brand is at stake and the quality of the ingredients is high. The more you pay, the more likely you will be to cherish the product and the less likely you will be to just chuck it away.
(Header Image: Tom Ford Make up Easel in Bergdorf Goodman, New York, NY, USA Designed and made by Array Marketing)
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