While we are well on our way to building a more sustainable, conscious wardrobe, often other aspects of life fall by the wayside. We might be dedicated to natural fibres and timeless silhouettes, but we’re still guilty of less-than-perfect choices at times. So, we’re cleaning out the bathroom cabinet.
Open wide the vanity doors; delve into the nooks of every shelf. Packaging is, of course, an obvious concern. According to Zero Waste, more than 120 billion units of cosmetics packaging were produced worldwide (in 2018 alone). That compounded with the fact that many products are tossed after a single use, and recycling is often difficult - if it’s attempted at all - makes the bathroom a cesspit of plastic waste.
There’s also the issue of what’s in our beauty products and how they are labelled. Is it good for our skin, our bodies and the planet? Many traditional ingredients have long been debated, largely in the name of health: parabens, sulphates, artificial fragrances, and more. But, as with the idea of ‘greenwashing’ in the fashion industry, beauty products experience their own mislabeling and confusion.
Natural beauty - Natural beauty products are simply that: those made from natural ingredients. While the idea sounds romantic and beautiful, keep your wits about you. Some natural inputs are incredibly potent or irritating, so always read the list. Remember, natural doesn’t always mean better (although it definitely can).
Clean beauty - On the other hand, clean beauty refers to products that don’t include harmful ingredients, which may be both natural and synthetic. Regardless of the origin, they are deemed safe for use. The motto here (should) be ‘safe for the planet and for people.’ Just because an ingredient is synthetic doesn’t make it inherently bad - many are safe, effective and even important in some uses (take SPF, for example).
Sustainable or “green” beauty - According to this label, the product should have no adverse effects on the environment. Consider the ingredients used (and, crucially, how they are sourced) as well as the packaging. Is it recyclable, refillable or reusable?
Cleaning up our act
As there are no governing bodies determining the appropriate usage of these terms, it takes a little work on the back end. Do your research and seek trusted brands; familiarise yourself with the ingredients list and select wisely. As a general rule of note, it’s a good idea to look for cleaner alternatives to cover larger sections of the body or products you wear all day.
Before you overthrow your current haul, note that the best thing is to finish what you’ve started. Use what you have, then start fresh. As much as possible, keep your products to a minimum - consider it the “capsule cabinet.” Buy better and buy less. To make things easier, look for makeup and skincare items that serve a double purpose: colour for lip and cheek, oils for face and body, and so on.
When it comes to packaging, seek the best alternative possible. Refillable beauty is changing the way we buy and use, resulting in less wastage, while “just add water” options offer an ingenious new take. Consider how easy the packaging is to recycle in the council collection or whether there are TerraCycle programs dedicated to the stream.
Breathe in, start small and don’t let the changes overwhelm you.
We’re so excited to welcome LESSE to the Slowe family - maybe this is your perfect entry point. Made from organic inputs, LESSE prioritises natural ingredients suitable for all skin types and aims to elevate your regime.
The beauty world is brimming with pockets of awareness and accountability, challenging the way we slather and consume. It’s about so much more than our visual appearance; it’s an act of self-care in and of itself. Let’s make it one for the planet, too.