Every day thousands of people use Beauty Products, while going to work, sitting at home, or taking a shower. Have you ever gone on a date without perfume or brushed your teeth? Probably you did not. Well, do you have any information about these products that you use in your daily life? Have you thought about how eco-friendly and sustainable they are? Let's forget about sustainability, what if it contains something that is not good for your health? Oh, wait no, do not forget about sustainability. Let's find out together because I didn't know much either until I wrote this article.
What is sustainable cosmetics?
Cosmetic products used for personal care may contain substances harmful to human health and the environment, both in their contents and in their packaging. The concept of sustainable cosmetics means that the product content is environmentally friendly and its packaging is recyclable. Cosmetic products produced within this framework are considered as products that have low carbon emissions, do not harm animals and the environment in any process of production, and whose packaging is biodegradable. The environmental impact of cosmetic products is measured not only by the materials used in the production phase but also by the practices in the distribution process. Sustainable cosmetics brands make shopping easier for consumers by adding the logos of certificates that certify their sustainability to their products. The main labels that can be seen on the packaging of a sustainable cosmetic product during shopping are as follows:
- Cruelty-Free, which certifies that animals are not harmed,
- Fair Trade documenting fair trade conditions,
- COSMOS, which certifies that the product has organic and natural ingredients.
So, what criteria do we need to consider when doing product research to make sure that the product is sustainable?
Packaging: The packaging of a sustainable cosmetic product should be made of biodegradable materials and, if possible, designed to be refillable. Bamboo, glass, paper or recycled plastic are among the most preferred materials.
Content: The ingredients of a sustainable cosmetic product must have formulas that do not pose a threat to human health and nature. At this point, ethical production and nature-friendly components are of great importance. Not harming animals and not using harmful chemicals during the production and testing of products are among the important criteria.
Brand attitude: A brand that produces sustainable products should also show this attitude in its production processes. For example, it is necessary to act considering the future of the planet, with steps such as reducing the carbon footprint or providing the electricity used in the production phase from renewable energy sources.
The chemical group, which includes BHA, BHT, paraben, silicone, sodium sulfate and synthetic dyes, is very harmful for the skin.
- BHA and BHT, which are generally used in products in the form of lipstick and cream, are protective but harmful synthetic antioxidants that protect the form.
- Paraben, on the other hand, tends to sensitize the skin and can cause skin diseases in allergic skin.
- Synthetic dyes used for coloring are also very harmful to consumers, as they have a carcinogenic effect.
Sustainable cosmetic products do not contain any harmful chemicals. It is formulated with ingredients completely derived from nature instead of these chemicals. Here are some of them:
- MCT Coconut Oil: Extracted from mature coconut kernels, this oil has a light and easily absorbable texture.
- Natural Fatty Acids: Vegetable oils such as avocado and argan are used in the ingredients of soaps and creams.
It’s no secret how we’ve been head over heels in love with everything makeup, cruelty-free, organic, and natural! Unfortunately, while most of us seek to reduce our carbon footprint, we tend to neglect the fancy containers that came with our stash. But finding new uses doesn’t just save you money, it saves the environment too! Here’s how to repurpose your old makeup containers. The bad news, however, is that Material Recycling Facilities have quite strict regulations and don't accept a large majority of beauty products. Be wary of the universal recycling symbol (triangle), as it is not the only way to indicate the recyclable nature of the container. Instead, pay attention to labels to get a better idea as to whether a product is recyclable. Here's a general rule of thumb for recycling beauty products: The less material that your package is made of, the more likely it is to be recyclable. When more material is used, the recycling process can be costly, time- and money-wise, for the separation process. If your product is made of one general material like glass, plastic, or cardboard, you can rinse it and toss it directly into its respective recycling bin. And contrary to popular belief, it is not necessary to remove adhesive labels on recyclable products. This is usually done through a specialized heating process performed at many MRFs.
In regards to plastic, it is always better to recycle a larger plastic container as it is most likely to be recycled. However, still advises staying away from plastic products in general as they are still huge pollutants. The reality is that plastics can usually only be recycled two to three times before losing the qualities that make them usable, which means that transitioning to recycled plastic only removes plastic from landfills or pollutes the earth by one to two cycles."
I can't say that I use many beauty products in general, but can I replace the products I use with a more sustainable version or can I make it myself at home?
Yes, you don't need to have fancy or expensive ingredients to make beauty products on your own. In fact, you probably have most of the necessary ingredients in your home already! Making your own beauty products at home is as simple as gathering the materials and mixing them together. And also doing so will save you money. With Honey, coconut oil, sugar, and even food waste you can make your own scrub, face mask, or soap. Portuguese Fi, one of our Etyek volunteers, organized a workshop on the making of cosmetic products in a not-so-long history and I would like to say that it is a very fun process and you want to use the product you have obtained at the end of ten to the last drop.
In summary, it is of great importance for the future of the planet to prefer products that are produced for their purpose, that can be destroyed in nature, and whose packaging can be recycled. Moreover, today, sustainable cosmetic products are much more accessible than in the past.
The number of brands that design their packaging to be recyclable and include plant-based ingredients up to a certain percentage in their content is increasing every day. When this is the case, it is not difficult at all to turn to sustainable options for both our own health and the future of the world.
You can read more on this topic in our "About Sustainability" section here: https://www.szatyorgoesabroad.org/about-sustainability/1188001_sustainable-skincare