When it comes to being eco-friendly, the cosmetics industry doesn't have the best reputation, with some using unethical practices towards animals as well as including dangerous and harmful ingredients and issues with how they source these ingredients.
Fortunately, consumers are becoming more conscious about this and are choosing brands that invest in better ethical practices over those Brands that don't.
Choose Brands That Are Cruelty-Free
This is a big issue right now, and there are a lot of big Brands out there that are not cruelty free, so always look for the leaping bunny. I am slowly trying to move my kit to a totally cruelty free kit, I am choosing more natural and vegan friendly cosmetics and there are a lot of indie brands out there.
Sadly bigger Brands such as Mac and Estee Lauder are not certified as cruelty free as they sell in China and China requires cosmetics to be tested on animals by law.
It is unacceptable that cosmetics companies exploit animals to test their products. It might have been industry standard for a long time, but times have changed and their are safer alternative options as the many Cruelty Free Brands out there have proved.
Cruelty-free brands eliminate animal suffering in their production processes. When you buy a product with this label, you know you're getting something that treated animals humanely or didn't use them at all.
Vegan Cosmetics Are Different From Cruelty-Free
People looking for cosmetics and wanting to protect animals even further are choosing vegan cosmetics.
These brands don't use animals in any part of the production process and they don't source any animal products. Every ingredient is either from the plant kingdom or derived synthetically.
Don't assume if an item is cruelty free that it is also vegan, this often isn't the case so do your research.
When socially conscious brands talk about "ethical sourcing," they are referring to how they get their primary inputs. Some Cosmetics companies require some sort of fatty substance to give their product structure. However, obtaining ethical fats is challenging.
You cant get them from an animal for obvious reasons and you can't derive them from palm oil either, because of the sustainability issues surrounding the crop. Cosmetics brands, therefore, have had to become creative, using either synthetic oils or relying on sustainable alternatives, like coconut.
Choose Non-Toxic Products
Some cosmetics can also contain harmful ingredients. As Cienna Rose points out, the list of chemicals in the average nail polish is scary and associated with many health conditions.
Some brands include formaldehyde, a chemical linked to irritation of the eyes, and asthma. Others use a plasticiser called DBP, which has been shown to induce dizziness and headaches. You want to avoid all of these and stick with brands that use organic, natural products.
Look For Palm Oil In The Ingredients List
Palm oil is currently the biggest threat to the world's rainforests, besides animal agriculture. Unsustainable farming practices are chopping down rainforests at an alarming rate, leading to the loss of vast tracts of ancient jungle.
Species are going extinct, all in the name of growing crops to produce oil for cosmetics and packaged food. When you buy makeup, check the label to see whether it says "palm oil-free" or "no palm oil."
Eco Friendly Packaging
Packaging is a big issue in the industry right now. Consumers want sustainable and environmentally friendly options, but not all manufacturers seem willing to provide it and are choosing cheaper options that are more damaging for the environment.
Fortunately, brands are becoming more conscious and are offering eco friendly packaging and incorporating recycled paper in their cardboard packaging. Some of the makeup packaging I receive is so wasteful, often full of lots of paper and plastic wrapping that is unnecessary.
Sourcing conscious, ethical cosmetics, therefore, is a challenge. But Brands need to improve their products. As somebody buying these products regularly, all you need to do is check the label. If the brand doesn't meet your standards, move on.