In the words of Kermit the Frog, ‘it’s not easy being green’. But we have to start somewhere and it might as well be with an eco-friendly face cream on Earth Day.
Thankfully, like sustainable fashion, that’s a lot easier to do today than ever before.
Green beauty has finally hit critical mass. Proof that planet-friendly credentials and quality products needn’t be mutually exclusive. It is also appealing to a powerful new consumer who believes in ethical living but is still a sucker for luxury products.
‘Buyers are savvier than ever before,’ says Victoria Buchanon, a trend analyst at The Future Laboratory. ‘Millenials, in particular, see nature and tech as living together. They read ingredients or notice if packaging is not recyclable and they will call brands out on it.’
Even premium beauty buyers are purring with delight at the latest eco-friendly offerings from brands like REN Clean Skincare. It already seems to have done the impossible by housing the dreamy smelling Atlantic Kelp and Magnesium Anti-Fatigue Body Wash in a completely recycled bottle, containing 20% reclaimed ocean plastic.
So it should come as no surprise that UK sales of certified organic and natural beauty products rose by 23% in 2019. According to the Soil Association’s 2020 Organic Market Report for Beauty & Wellbeing, 79% of people are more likely to buy a product if it says ‘organic’. 64% of consumers said they were looking for products with recyclable packaging.
All of which makes beauty’s role in Earth Day 2020 even more relevant.
But the biggest turnaround comes from big name, high street brands. For instance, you’ll now find the Soil Association’s prestigious logo on L’Oreal’s Garnier Organic Skincare in recognition of its green credentials.
Something that was unthinkable at one time.
Your Next Vital Switch: Sustainable Perfumes
Arguably the next big beauty frontier is sustainable perfume. But in real terms, what does this actually mean?
‘Sustainability in perfume can mean many things. Eco-friendly packaging, clean ingredients, provenance and that ingredients are sourced in a way that doesn’t harm the environment,’ says Amy Christiansen Si-Ahmed, founder of Sana Jardin perfumes.
‘We decided to take that conversation further and economically empower our indigenous harvesters using ‘flower recycling’ and a circular economy.’
Consequently, she set up a cooperative in Morocco to support low-income women through commerce. They pick the orange blossoms for the perfumes and then use the by-products such as the flower wax to create candles that they can sell at local markets.
‘In many instances synthetic ingredients, either nature identical or entirely synthesized, are more eco-friendly than their natural counterparts,’ she says. ‘This is because natural ingredients are often volatile and their crops can be endangered or overharvested. Synthetics should still be fully traceable and work in harmony with natural ingredients to shape fragrances.’
Why You Should Care About Recycling Your Beauty Products
Earth Day is a great time to ramp up your commitment to recycling.
Zero Waste Week have reported that over 120 billion units of packaging are produced every year by the cosmetics industry. Much of this is not recyclable.
Of the product packaging we can recycle, four in 10 of us don’t. This means aerosol cans and the cardboard boxes your face cream come in end up in landfill.
So apart from scanning the ingredients list for sustainable ingredients, what other small changes can we make?
‘Invest in a bathroom recycling bin for starters. And choose both glass and aluminium over plastic packaging,’ says Rachelle Strauss, founder of Zero Waste Week. ‘Both can be recycled over and over again without loss of quality.’
They also stand a better chance of actually being recycled.
’75 per cent of aluminium ever made is still in circulation, thanks to it being the most cost effective material to recycle. 60 per cent of our glass bottles and jars are also currently recycled,’ adds Strauss.
You might find our guide for how to recycle beauty products also helpful.
Whether you’re new to sustainable beauty brands or unsure where to start, these are some of our favourite products for Earth Day…