When it comes to choosing beauty products, a growing number of people have lifestyle requirements that guide their purchases. For vegans, this means picking items that do not contain animal products including milk and honey. Anyone avoiding essential oils or particular allergens might focus on fragrance-free formulas. Some people opt for ethically produced creations that contain nature-based ingredients that are sustainably harvested.
Sustainability comes in all shapes and sizes, but it generally involves an eco-conscious approach to raw materials as well as the final packaging. From minimal plastic to traceable supplies, sustainable skincare is all about minimising waste and supporting the planet.
How Does Sustainable Skincare Make A Difference?
Plastic Waste. The beauty industry is responsible for over 120 billion units of packaging each year. These numbers are pretty staggering on their own, but when paired with the fact that only about 9% of all plastic ever made has been recycled. One of the aims of sustainable skincare is to reduce the impact that cleansers, moisturisers, and body treatments have on the planet. Some brands opt for compostable pots or infinitely recyclable glass bottles, while others implement return schemes or repurpose ocean plastics. These efforts do make a difference, especially when paired with changes to delivery packaging.
Plastic Pollution. Plastic packaging is not the only danger the beauty industry presents to the planet. Unfortunately, a lot of products contain elements that are not biodegradable. This means that the formula does not break down, and when it is rinsed down the drain it leeches tiny bits of plastic and other harmful substances into the environment. Sustainable beauty is designed to be kind to our world, and so will not contain polluting ingredients like microplastics.
Ingredient Ethics. New fads and buzzword marketing can lead to a lot of problems when it comes to the demand for particular plants and wildlife. For example, social media has led 'smudging' to become a trend, and resources like sandalwood and palo santo have become threatened due to their newfound popularity. Both of these natural ingredients require the heart of the tree, so the market's push for more products has led to massive amounts of trees being cut down. Palm oil is yet another crop that has been scrutinised in recent years. With whole forests being replaced by monocultures, ecosystems are struggling to survive. Sustainable skincare takes protecting the planet seriously, and so the ingredients used in these products will take care to preserve and maintain wild species. These brands look to make a difference by exploring alternatives and innovative solutions, and they make great efforts to ensure all ingredients are ethically produced and harvested.
Worker Ethics. The beauty industry isn't just responsible for damage to the planet – it has also been guilty of ignoring the welfare of local communities and taking advantage of vulnerable workers. Recent documentaries have attempted to reveal examples of these issues, and journalism continues to fight to expose the truth about unethical practices. For example, Beauty Laid Bare highlights safety concerns for workers exposed to hazardous acids and excruciating conditions, and various articles report on illegal mines that use child labour to extract mica. Learning more about the concerns can help avoid supporting businesses that participate in unethical practices. Sustainable beauty brands work to make a difference by taking care to support local communities and ensure fair standards. You'll notice brands like Krī are transparent about supply chains and take care to know how and where everything is produced.
Giving Back. Sustainable skincare brands are also keen to give back, and many businesses have ongoing partnerships that benefit charitable causes. From donating a percentage of profits to participating in community events, the founders are dedicated to spreading kindness.
- Bryanna Martonis is Krī Skincare's staff content writer, an ethical lifestyle blogger and beauty awards judge.