120 billion units of packaging are produced in the global cosmetics industry annually, most of it is excess plastic and non-recyclable.
“Many cosmetic brands are now ‘cruelty-free’ and ‘vegan’”
In our current climate, the typical consumer has become more aware of these environmental issues, catalysing a shift towards more sustainable products. Many cosmetic brands are now ‘cruelty-free’ and ‘vegan’, but is there more to being environmentally friendly, and what are the leading brands paving the way in this sector?
There are many aspects to sustainability, from growing and manufacturing, to packaging and distribution. Whilst there are many smaller brands and start-ups striving to achieve zero waste status, larger brands such as L’Oreal have also stepped up.
Their new vegan haircare collection is all about focusing on ingredient transparency, free from many harmful synthetic chemicals and colourings. The packaging is made from recycled plastic, and the bottle is efficiently designed to hold the maximum amount of product in the minimum amount of plastic.
“Even smaller changes, such as Dior’s initiative to cut down on packaging waste, can go a long way.”
Even smaller changes, such as Dior’s initiative to cut down on packaging waste, can go a long way. By removing the cellophane, excess cardboard and even the paper leaflet that was previously included in their products, they have seriously reduced the amount of waste with each sale.
Another huge sustainability problem comes from the use of palm oil, which can be found in most cosmetic products such as shampoos, soaps and even lipstick. In fact, Iceland’s Christmas advert addressing the issues with palm oil has been banned from television. The advert highlights the staggering number of orangutans lost every day due to the unsustainable nature of palm oil harvesting, which results in the destruction of their habitat.
When looking at the impacts on the environment, it is also important to think about the health of the consumer. It has been reported that even in small amounts, many of the chemicals found in our cosmetics can have a huge impact on our health. Some of the worst offenders include parabens, formaldehydes and petroleum, which have been linked to cancer, allergic reactions and hormone distribution.
A pioneer in natural luxury skincare, Tata Harper set out to create 100% natural and organic skincare products for beauty without compromising health. All raw materials used in her formulas are derived from renewable resources and manufactured by environmentally friendly processes, whilst all packaging is assessed to ensure it is biodegradable or recyclable.
If you’d like to try and make your make-up bag more ethical and cruelty free without the large price tag, try Superdrug’s makeup brand ‘Collection Cosmetics’, or ‘E.L.F’, available at Boots – they do a great setting spray! Read ingredients and watch out for palm oil and its derivatives, as it can be labelled as glyceryl, sodium lauryl sulfate or palmate, amongst many other names. The WWF advises consumers look for the RSPO label to ensure certified sustainable palm oil was used in the product.