“Within ‘clean beauty’ there are many, many different elements. Whether it is about sustainability, whether it is vegan, conscious living, free-from … playing into any of those would make you a clean brand. It can be fairly confusing for the customer.” – Sarah Meadows, the head buyer, Space NK.
Despite the “clean beauty” movement making enough splash to revolutionise an entire generation of consumers, the definition of the term is ambiguous and had inspired confusion with both brands and consumers throughout the industry. However, it is safe to assume that we can all agree to maintain a successful business whilst avoiding mindless harm to our planet is beyond desirable. Anyone who has an interest in the beauty industry is likely to have come across the term sustainability; for those of you who might haven’t, sustainability is a major part of the clean beauty movement entailing the environmental awareness side of the trend. Reducing the impact that beauty product formulations make on the environment is more than just a passing trend and numerous startups and major industry players are here to make a change.
Chemicals give products their long shelf life and allow for the various textures and feels you find in traditional cosmetics. The challenge with these chemical components is that they don’t break down and instead accumulate in our ecosystems – florandcesta.com
Ingredients are a hot topic in the clean beauty trend; however, many brands make their attempt at sustainability by putting all their attention towards ethical packaging and responsibly sourcing ingredients and whilst they are vital to the process, it is important to consider that cosmetic products can cause environmental harm even if there was zero impact whilst making them. 100% Pure and Au Naturale are two great cosmetic brands who only use safe and natural ingredients; their products are strictly formulated without synthetic toxins and whilst certain chemicals such as parabens may not be bad for you in small amounts, the fact is a large number of consumers using them in cleansers, shampoos, and soaps all go down the sink and into the environment affecting the well-being of aquatic life as well as other areas of the environment caused through vapourization. Whilst a number of consumers have said that they do not prefer to use natural products due to the difference in texture, smell, etc, cosmetic research regarding sustainability is advancing rapidly which is enabling brands with the opportunity to make alternative options that will provide the same benefits of our favorite classics.
Every day approximately 8 million pieces of plastic pollution find their way into our oceans – sas.org.uk
The issue of single-use plastic has been encouraging us to live more consciously pushing businesses to respond by making changes such as swapping plastic straws for paper straws and even banning plastic bags in some supermarkets. This shift translates to beauty too; sustainable packaging is one of the biggest trends within clean beauty and many brands have started using plastic swaps such as glass, aluminium, and biodegradable materials, with some brands pushing the boundaries even further. Haeckles have begun packaging their products in 100% biodegradable mycelium (fungi) which serve as a great example for brands looking to eliminate their use of plastic. However, the demand for environmentally friendly packaging being on a serious uprise can understandably be pressurising for start-up brands who do not currently have the budget for plastic swaps. That being said, there are some sustainable packaging options that are more affordable than plastic swaps.
Going naked is probably one of the best trends within this movement. Many eco-conscious consumers are often willing to buy package-less products especially now that there is so much more accessibility from soaps to shampoos etc. Lush is a great example of how you can create naked products and still offer an attractive exterior aesthetic. However, many consumers do prefer packaging and if the naked product trend isn’t for you, there are many other sustainable options. Encouraging recycling with return/refill discounts is a great tactic; although this method often involves plastic which is not ideal, an article on Forbes sheds some light on some potentially significant effects it could bring with the participation of enough brands by informing us that “if refillable containers were used for cosmetics, as much as 70% of carbon emissions associated with the beauty industry could be eliminated.”
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This product has been the recipient of so much amazing press coverage, an award and several other industry acknowledgements which makes us + me very happy – I love this product. It’s simple, effective and embodies perfectly what we do – the coverage etc is incredible, but what means even more to us is that we’ve received many notes from clients + customers and eczema sufferers, all finding relief and benefit from this simple Rosehip + Seaweed Suspension 3.5% – Next year is the big year for us; all the hard work over the last 2.5yrs in product development will slowly start to get released in the new year allowing us to really showcase the true benefits of 100% natural oceanic skincare – it’s extremely exciting to know that what we’ve created is more than valid in the crowded world of skincare.
The makers of many “organic” beauty products have been accused of confusing and meaningless labelling, according to a new survey in which 76% of consumers admitted they felt misled – theguardian.com
Transparency in the beauty industry has begun to surface from the growing awareness on dishonestly within brands. Whilst false advertising might have been easier to get away with a couple of decades ago, now that so many consumers are becoming conscious of their choice of products, they are less likely to take a brand’s word for it; they want proof and this is especially true for the sustainability trend. Several “clean” beauty brands have been caught spending more money on advertising a sustainability label instead of putting these claims into practice. This has caused distrust which is a big part of the reason consumers have become so interested in learning about cosmetic ingredients. The awareness of dishonesty within the industry has been generating a growing demand for transparency. It seems the key to a loyal following should begin with building trust within your audience and that often starts with being open about your message whilst maintaining genuine engagement. Onomie and Loli Beauty are examples of brands do this well; both brands make a consistent effort to build honest relationships with their consumers whilst educating them on their cosmetic concerns.
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“💙 Ahh the beautiful blue cornflower – I love it so much that it was my wedding flower and I got it tattooed on my arm next to my wild blueberries – it’s a beautiful flower – and it does wonders for sensitive skin!” – @emily.is.a.self.care.lush (📷 credit too!). . . For full product review check out what Emily has to say about this gentle toner. . . . . . . #skincareroutine #skincaretips #skincareproducts #skincareaddict #skincareobsessed #skincarereview #bluecornflower #facialtoner #bluecornflowerwater
Sustainability within the beauty industry has been brought about by a culture of environmental awareness on a much wider scale than your typical trend. This is why it is likely to stick around in addition to most of the dedicated consumers surrounding it being the youngest generations who naturally have power over the future. Research within clean beauty is progressing quickly enough to mimic and improve upon all of our favorite products. At this rate, the future may very well leave the industry few consumers who will find a reason to choose their products of an unsustainable background. We can also expect consumers to seek more involvement with their product formulations, which is a good reason to consider transparency, in addition to ingredient related apps.
What’s your favorite sustainable beauty brand? How do they stand out to you?