The beauty industry is finally really boarding the sustainability train. Over the past couple years, a pattern has developed where beauty brands are converting to a sustainable mindset. There are many different ways to begin the journey into sustainability, the most common being cruelty free, vegan and zero waste. Achieving all three would of course be ideal, but as making those transitions are difficult, having the ability to classify a brand as one is a step in the right direction. In the beauty industry we hear the word “sustainability” thrown around all of the time, but it took me a while to fully understand the different levels of what people were actually talking about. I think there are a lot of misconceptions surrounding the idea of sustainability so I thought I would a quire run down on the most pressing and prominent aspects in regards to sustainability in the beauty industry.
Cruelty free beauty is the most prevent of these three classifications, but to be very honest, it still isn’t prevalent enough. There are big brands like Tarte, Charlotte Tilbury and Stila, along with many others, that can be classed as cruelty free, but there are also brands like MAC, NARS, and Benefit, with a large fan and financial base, who do test on animals. As beauty continues to move farther into the world os sustainability, the largest signifying milestone will be when the majority of brands available are cruelty free.There are unfortunate extenuating circumstances that persuade brands to stray away from cruelty free, for example any brand that is sold in China must be tested on animals, but as the world continues to push for not only just beauty products, but goods in general to be free for animal abuse, we can expect those circumstances to change.
Switching to a cruelty free beauty regime carries the stigma that it is a lot harder and more expensive, but that is a gross misconception that has been proven on multiple accounts to be incorrect. While the bigger drug-store beauty brands do test on animals, there are many different alternatives that fall at the same price point and no bunnies had to be harmed. Brands like Elf, Wet n’ Wild, Milani and Pixi all fall within the drugstore piece range and supply products that match (or exceed) the quality of non-cruelty free brands like Maybelline, Revlon, and Covergirl.
Another step in the process of achieving the status of a sustainable brand is going vegan. Having a vegan brand means that no products, be it the actual product of the packaging, is make from anything produced by animals, i.e beeswax, or an animal itself i.e leather. Choosing to go vegan means that there are a multitude of normally used chemical that have to be put out of use and alternatives must be found. Common chemicals such as beeswax (actually part of an interesting debate), lanolin, collagen, cholesterol, gelatin, are all derived from animals and often found in beauty products.
Brands that have decided to go cruelty free also often decide to try out producing vegan as well, some of the most prevalent being Kat Von D, Anastasia Beverly Hills and Urban Decay (note: only certain products from these brands are vegan, not the entire brand). Finding vegan drug-store beauty products is a bit harder because using alternative chemicals can cause a bump in price but fear not, said brands do exist. Elf, Real Techniques and Pacifica are all 100% vegan, and there are a multitude of other drugstore brands that offer various vegan products but the entire brand can not classify as vegan.
The final step in the process of going sustainable is called zero waste. It’s basically exactly what it sounds like, companies who claim to be zero waste must adhere to the zero waste polices in all aspects of their brand. From formulation to manufacturing and production, and shipping, every part that goes into creating and distributing their products must avoid being sent to landfill. The goal of zero-waste companies is to make a dent in the amount of garbage produced but the company itself as well as its consumers. Zero waste is the most difficult of the steps in sustainability to achieve, but it’s not impossible. Brands like Elate Cosmetics, Kjaer Weis and Fat and the Moon are some of the more prominent zero waste brands on the market. Common ideals of zero waste brands are reusable products and recyclable packaging which alone help make a large dent in waste produced by the beauty industry.
Within the next years, it’s pretty much a guarantee that we will see many more beauty brand making the switches to a more sustainable form production and with that, I personally predict that this sustainability trend will carry on into other industries, whether it be fashion, technology or food. Little movements have been made in each, but with time and the continual push for a greener way of life, there will be definitely be a environmentally conscious revolution in our future.
What are your thoughts on sustainable beauty?
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