Sustainability has recently become a common word in our everyday lives as more and more people care about where their products came from, who produced them and what the ingredients include. The effect it has on our environment is also a big factor for the rise in interest in sustainable products. This also applies to skincare as many people are especially interested in what goes onto their face or body.
This blog will work as a guide on what sustainability in skincare means, what sustainable brands to use and which ecofriendly ingredients to add to your daily routine.
A quick history on personal care products
Personal care products can be traced back to ancient times as people have always been looking for ways to promote good health and enhance beauty. Depending on the civilisation or era, different concerns in skincare were relevant, from sun protection to beauty enhancement to indication of class.
For example, in the Ancient World Egyptians used scented oils and ointments to keep their skin soft and clean while also concealing body odor and being protected from the sun. In East Asian countries like China and Japan women used white led in 3000 BCE and then rice powder in 1500 BCE to keep their faces white, hence showing their status. In Roman times, around the year 100, people used flour and butter on their pimples and mud baths started to become popular.
In the Elizabethan England, in the 1300s, society women also wanted their skin to look paler, in this case they used egg whites. Later on, in the renaissance, perfumes become more and more popular while the trend of having a lightened skin is achieved through multiple products.
Between 1800 and 1900 makeup and cosmetic products were viewed as vulgar and women had to enter back doors of beauty salons to achieve their desired skin appearance. In the early 1900s the first beauty companies were founded, some that still exist today, i.e. Avon, L’Oreal, Maybelline and Max Factor. Makeup and skincare became popular and accessible to more people than ever. In the 1930s and onwards the Hollywood “tan” look emerges as the influence of movie stars with tanned skin, made popular by Coco Chanel, created a new trend in skin appearance. Sunscreen was also first invented in the late 1930s. In the 1960s, natural products that are based on botanical ingredients, such as carrot juice or watermelon extracts are introduced on the market.
In the 1990s, the issue of animal testing in the beauty industry was becoming a concern of consumers, throughout the decade more and more companies strayed away from testing on animals and pursued alternative methods. In the early 2000s people were often stress with their work lives and looking for quick and easy products in their everyday life, including skin care, for example soap bar was often exchanged to liquid soaps, body washes, etc.
The interest in sustainability and eco-friendly skincare products has taken a rise in the late and 2010s, with personal care products with organic ingredients and sustainable materials and packaging being the focus for a lot of the consumers.
What does sustainable skincare really mean?
When defining sustainability, it says in the dictionary: “The quality of not being harmful to the environment or depleting natural resources.” However, sustainability is an umbrella term than can include many terms from eco-friendly to organic to vegan and cruelty free, so the phrase “sustainable skincare” can mean all of this. Some brands might focus on the ingredients put into their products, for example using vegan or environmentally sustainable components and avoiding ones like palm oil, which is especially harmful to the environment.
Others might want their packaging to be made from recyclable materials or refillable jars instead of plastic, which is difficult or impossible to recycle. Finally, some also concentrate on an ethical work environment with fair wages and conditions for their workers throughout the whole production.
Why should I care about sustainability?
You have already read the term sustainability a few times now but why should you even care about it? With population numbers rising and climate change becoming a more and more pressing issue, keeping track of what products we are using and how they are produced is becoming essential to the planet’s surviving. The consumer can put pressure on the brands and the market with what they buy.
So, your choice in sustainable skincare products will ultimately give a signal to companies that this is what consumers demand; more eco-friendly, natural, and sustainable products that do not harm our planet or the living beings on it. Sustainability is directly tied to our earth’s well being and existence, which everyone should care about as there is no planet B.
Are organic skincare and natural skincare the same?
A lot of terms are thrown around when talking about sustainability and they might sound like they all mean the same, but they do have other definitions. A good example is “organic” and “natural”, one might think that organic and natural skincare are the same, but their meaning is indeed different.
Organic means that the ingredients have been farmed or produced with no pesticides, chemical fertilizers, GMOs, parabens/sulphates or antibiotics. However, when a product is labelled as “organic” it does not always mean it is 100% organic, depending on the country’s guideline 70%-95% of organic ingredients is enough to put the label on the product.
Natural means that the product is derived from a plant, mineral or animal by-product, meaning they can still be farmed with chemical help. Often the label “natural” is used by brands as a marketing tactic to appeal to people that would like more eco-friendly and organic products. “Natural” can be put by any brand on their product as it does not require any fulfilment of requirements, the organic label is a lot stricter. Usually, organic products will have a higher price than products label as natural.
What are the best sustainable skincare brands?
So, after all this information what sustainable brands can you start using if you want to have personal care products that are eco-friendly. On Dermoi all products stocked are cruelty-free, plus you can find a few brands that have many products packaged in glass that can be easily recycled. iS Clinical is a good example for products filled in glass jars. They also have 95-98% vegan products, meaning only one of their products is not vegan, their skin care products are also made from botanical derived ingredients.
The brand Jane Iredale has a refillable powder case meaning you only have to buy the compact powder and use the same case over and over again, creating less waste. Additionally, it is free of parabens, talc, phthalates, synthetic fragrance, fillers, and GMO ingredients, providing natural skin care while also being vegan. Osmosis skincare also provides vegan personal care products and has a range of products with recyclable packaging, like glass jars and cardboard packages.
Which eco-friendly ingredients to add into your routine right away?
So, what products should you add to your routine right now? As mentioned before the Jane Iredale refillable powder case is an easy way to make your ever day routine more eco-friendly, creating less waste while still having a vegan product that takes good care of your skin.
For sustainable serums or facial oils, Osmosis and iS Clinical have got you covered with their range of vegan, cruelty free and glass packaged serums and oils. iS Clinical also has a fully sustainably sourced “Cleansing Complex”, which effortlessly purifies your skin with botanical and vegan ingredients.
For Moisturizer Osmosis offers the “Nourish Avocado Facial Oil” that is packaged in glass components, they also offer a truly amazing natural fruit-based facial mask, the “Tropical Mango Barrier Repair Mask”, which provides instant results.