What to Look for When Shopping for Sustainable Beauty products
When you’re shopping around for sustainably sourced and produced beauty products, there are several things you’ll need to keep in mind to avoid making the wrong choices and spending your money with the wrong companies.
Though many brands claim to use only natural ingredients, or create products that are “clean”, plenty still use irresponsibly sourced ingredients and toxic chemicals, while others still use animal tested materials. One way to avoid these pitfalls is to do your research – clean ingredients databases such as Clear For Me can help you check out the ingredients listed on a product, to see whether they live up to the brand’s claim of being natural, cruelty-free, or good for you. You can also use apps like Yuka, a handy tool that allows you to scan all your toiletries, cosmetics and even food so that it can analyse the health impact of items and inform you what’s good – and what’s potentially harmful. As Yuka is totally independent and doesn’t allow brands to advertise, it’s a great first base to start from, if you really want to know what’s in the products you’re putting on your skin and body.
If you are struggling to find a sustainable brand on your high street, why not begin your search online, using this guide as a start – this way you can check out the company before you make a purchase to make sure they source ethically. To shop more sustainably, you’ll want to look out for products that avoid the use of microplastics, as these wind up in the environment, the food chain, and our bodies, and don’t biodegrade. Go organic if you can, as by opting for organically grown products instead, you’ll swerve microplastics, as well as many other nasty ingredients and you’ll be helping to support a more sustainable, planet-friendly way of farming.
The use of the term natural isn’t currently prohibited, which means that any company can use it without being subject to regulations or fines. Look for certifications that identify sustainable products, as well as items that are organic, cruelty-free or vegan-friendly. USDA, Leaping Bunny, PETA Cruelty Free, ECOCERT, NATRUE, and the Soil Association Standard, are all examples of bodies that can provide cosmetic certification for different criteria – but there are also lots of organisations that are local to particular countries. There is a caveat, to obtain certification, companies must often pay an expensive fee, and this is often beyond the reach of many smaller enterprises. Certification is definitely a good general guideline but just because a product isn’t certified, bear in mind it doesn’t always mean that it isn’t sustainable, or natural. Don’t forget packaging either, as beauty brands consistently overproduce waste as they often use too much plastic, so look for brands that use recyclable packaging, like glass jars, bottles and paper or plant-based materials.
Finally, try to remember to keep mindful consumption values in mind as you shop – so buy only what you need and consider buying in bulk or shopping with brands who offer refills on their products at discount. This is a great way to not only help the planet, but save on your shopping spend and prevent waste, allowing you to shop guilt free, knowing that you’re not contributing to the piles of beauty junk that are discarded every year.