Last Updated on November 10, 2023 by Asfa Rasheed
Many of us have been shocked in the past to learn about how much harm our favourite cosmetics products are doing or have done to the wider world, and especially to animals and the environment. It is fitting, then, that so many people are now interested in ensuring that their collection of bathroom and other cosmetic items are all ethically sourced, sustainable and eco-friendly, or at least as much as humanly possible.
It’s a sound principle: create the demand and cosmetic manufacturers and brands will respond. But what can we do as consumers to ensure that we are sticking to our ideals here when buying cosmetics? Here are some useful tips:
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1. Check for “Vegan” Labelling
A good place to start is looking for an indication that a product is vegan friendly. A good one in Australia is to look for the Vegan Australia Certified label. Any product that comes with this label is guaranteed to not contain any ingredients derived from animals, and that it’s not tested on animals, among other things.
If you want to look for vegan face tan online, for instance, it’s very likely that any seller will highlight such accreditation. After all, when you’re trying to highlight sustainable and/or vegan certifications, as many brands now do, such things need to be prominently displayed. Therefore, if you can’t find it, it’s likely not there.
2. Consider the Packaging
While you’re looking at the packaging, you should also look into whether or not there are signs that the packaging you’re looking at is recycled or not. The most sustainable brands will make use of recycled materials to make their primary packaging material, perhaps with some new additional packaging in places, but hopefully only a tiny minority.
The more recycled you find the packaging to be, the better. One more great sign to look for is whether or not there is additional plastic packaging or wrapping on the inside. This is often put there more for decoration than any real function, and it’s among the most wasteful and destructive types of packaging that exist. Favour those brands with minimal and recycled packing.
3. Favour Products Using Natural Products
Another area to examine on the packaging is the ingredients. If you’ve checked for vegan-friendly products, then you’ve likely already had one look, but do take another. Those beauty brands that make use of more natural ingredients are the ones that you should prefer. Natural ingredients are generally both more sustainable and more eco-friendly since the production process is less polluting.
A good rule of thumb is to follow a similar approach as you would with your food shopping. Read the label and the ingredients and if there are many words on there that you don’t understand and have no idea what it is, then don’t buy it. Those unknowns are largely chemical additives.
4. Research Brand and Manufacturer Practices (charity, carbon footprint tree planting, manufacturing facilities, etc.)
If you want to keep your beauty regimen both ethical and sustainable, then some background research into your favourite brands will be necessary, too. Most brands will make statements as to their sustainable practices, as well as offering information on where and how they manufacture.
For instance, look at where they manufacture their goods. If they manufacture far away from where you are, then their carbon footprint is increased because of all the emissions it takes to package and ship that product to your location. Those who manufacture closer to you are therefore better. You can also look into manufacturing practice, instances of exploitation, animal testing and more.