We often hear about sustainability in the context of transportation or food and goods production, but there’s a new category that’s taking a serious look at being more ecological: Beauty Care. From refillable deodorant, to biodegradable shampoo and conditioner to reusable cotton swabs, these brands are taking a stand for a healthier earth, one beauty routine at a time.
According to Gartner’s research, 37% of 18-34 year olds will check packaging for sustainability information and 36% are actively seeking out products in sustainable packaging. It was hard to contain our excitement about sustainable products to ten brands, but consider this our best effort...
LastSwab is in the crowdsourcing phase of their product launch and has already raised $560,000 on Kickstarter. If the name didn’t give it away, LastSwab makes reusable cotton swabs to keep cotton swabs out of landfills and especially out of our oceans. LastSwab helps keep trillions of cotton swabs out of our landfills and oceans by providing a sanitary, reusable, not to mention colorful alternative. LastSwab is a reminder that we need to reassess our beauty routines at every touchpoint -- even the mindless habits, like using cotton swabs, that we’ve never considered before.
You may know BeautyCounter as that business that your former Sorority sister has reached out to you about on Instagram. What you may not be aware of is all the work BeautyCounter is doing to help lobby for safer ingredients and more sustainable packaging. I spoke to Janelle Vermeulen, an independent consultant for BeautyCounter, to get the lowdown on all the work being done in the sustainable beauty category. We talked about where we see the beauty industry going in the next five years.
“BeautyCounter and other more sustainable beauty products are driving a change. We are voting with our dollars. We are putting forth bills that would give the FDA more power to explore the ingredients we put into our products. I think people are finally starting to pay attention to how much skincare and cosmetics add up in the end. I hope in my lifetime it will be an industry norm to have this type of product. It’s exciting, but why in this day and age is natural beauty considered to be an industry disruptor? To me, this is what we all deserve as a basic human right to know that when we walk into our store what we put on our bodies will be ok.”
Janelle and many others are advocating for a future in which we don’t have to worry about beauty products negatively impacting our bodies or the planet.
LUSH has long been known for their “naked” products, or products without packaging. From bath bombs, to shampoo bars, they have it all in their overwhelming colorful little stores. But beyond their package-free products, their company engages in ethical buying which basically means they’re sourcing their ingredients with sustainability, worker treatment, and social impacts in mind.
You know that plastic toothbrush your dentist awards you with following a routine visit? Well, it could end up in the ocean. According to Medium “Over 99% of the toothbrushes the world uses are plastic. The kind of plastic that’s not recycled, and which ends up in either landfills or the ocean and never breaks down.” If you want to keep your toothbrush out of the tentacles of an innocent squid, there are plenty of bamboo alternatives. Find your new brush at the Package Free Shop, Mother’s Vault, or Wowe Organic.
Dr Bronner's biodegradable soap always evokes memories of summer camping trips as that was always our agent of choice. Dr. Bronner’s made our list for their sheer transparency and dedication to the environment and their comprehensive 2019 All-One report inclusive of metrics like their packaging consumption, water consumption and charitable donation amounts. Not to mention, their products have more environmental and social certifications than I have ever seen with another brand.
Meow Meow Tweet is a favorite for natural deodorant, facial and body care, and even bug repellent. The make our list for their focus on low-waste packaging and purposefully sourced ingredients. Their sustainable messaging carries into blog posts like How to Shop Responsibly.
Tata Harper uses a “farm to face” approach to natural beauty creating Sephora-worthy products from her family-run Vermont farm. Her company uses sustainable methods of production and avoids harsh synthetics. You can trace your bottle back to the batch and individual who made it using the little white number on your bottle. Their products are all prettily contained in 100% recyclable glass and their blog encourages fans to adopt a zero waste lifestyle.
Most wet wipes contain plastic resin, siloing them to a final resting place in our landfills. Brands like Wish-A-Wet-Wipes are offering a completely compostable replacement.
The deodorant market is projected to rise to $81.78 billion by 2021. With a population so worried about keeping B.O. at bay, deodorant is an essential category to consider when cutting down on single-use plastics. Brands like MYRO are offering refillable, and did we mention delicious smelling, deodorants shipped to your door. This is just the beginning of the fragrance revolution we suspect is coming due to increased awareness of the harmful ingredients perfumes and deodorants have on our bodies and environments.
Speaking of smelling good, fragrance company Sana Jardin is taking sustainability one step further to economic sustainability of the countries they source from. They source the majority of their floral scents from Morocco where women are predominantly employed to harvest the flowers. They help arm the women they employ with entrepreneurial skills and teach them to upcycle the by-products not used in perfume production to make other products. You can spritz in peace knowing their perfumes are free of phthalates, artificial colorants, parabens and formaldehyde.
It’s not enough to make a sustainable beauty product. Your messaging must communicate exactly what buying this product will mean to the consumer and how it will benefit the environment they live in. That messaging should extend from social, to advertising, to blog posts. And just like these brands’ dedication to their branding and marketing, they must constantly work to uphold their mission. Don’t mistake our urge for messaging as a cue to tack on ‘sustainability’ to your brand’s mission as an afterthought. Brands who are transparent and truthful about their products will be rewarded, while the brands that try to hop on the bandwagon without making a significant change can expect backlash.
The sustainable beauty care revolution is coming. Will your brand be at the forefront of the battle or left behind?