March 15th 2020
The conscious conversation: how beauty and wellness brands are giving back to the planet
March 1st 2020 / 0 comment
Sustainability is one of the biggest conversations in beauty and wellness right now. So who is stepping up?
We’ve seen massive strides in the beauty industry in the past couple of years when it comes to packaging ever since the 2018 report by Zero Waste brought home the shocking statistic that the cosmetics industry produced 120 billion non-recyclable units of plastic of year. As consumers, we've got better at asking questions about just how our products are made, what’s in them, how far have they travelled, what footprint will they leave on the planet and indeed whether we actually need to buy them in the first place.
Transparency is what's courting the aware shopper more than aspirational images and hope-in-a-jar promises. Sustainability is a fast-evolving conversation - given the current climate it has to be - and it's one which we're all learning to navigate so we can all make an informed decision on the things we buy.
With that in mind, we’re bringing you this regular Conscious Conversation on Get The Gloss, here and on Instagram, highlighting some of the brands that are making waves.
We’d love to know what you look out for when you’re buying and what you've been impressed by – and where you feel let down. Let us know in the comments below or via Instagram @getthegloss and we’ll follow up in future posts. Meanwhile here are some of the new arrivals that have caught our eye.
Luneia is a new sustainable British-made fragrance-free brand: the idea is to avoid irritating your skin or the planet. It’s first (and as yet only) product is this thick-textured exfoliating mask, designed to be used once a week, which I'm loving. It mixes 10 per cent glycolic acid and two per cent salicylic with hydrating squalane and prickly pear seed oil so you have the skin brightening effects and nourishing properties at the same time.
Eco credentials are front and centre, with 50 per cent of the tube made of recycled bottles and ocean plastic, which is what gives it that matte texture (100 per cent PCR or post-consumer recycled packaging is still rare although Aveda have managed to achieve this across 85 per cent of their range).
It comes with a muslin cloth sustainably sourced from a responsible factory in India which used 95 per cent less water in production and the plastic-free box uses no glue (they used clever folding to keep it together) so you can recycle it as card. Perfect for a Sunday night at-home feel-good facial.
Whenever I walk into any vitamin emporium, I’m overwhelmed by the sheer number of plastic pots. I dread to think how many I have bought over the years. So when this skin-plumping supplement in a cardboard tube arrived, I mistook it for a candle, or an upmarket pack of inflight Pringles. It’s not the only beauty supplement brand trying to be more conscious with packaging - Lumity and Lyma and Elle Macpherson’s The Super Elixir are sold in one-time-buy statement containers to be refilled via cheaper via foil pouches.
Skin Moisture Lock is an anti-ageing supplement which provides two of the skin’s most important plumping ingredients – hyaluronic acid and ceramides. The brand’s small but nevertheless machine-measured trial on 12 participants over 12 weeks showed an impressive 64 per cent increase in hydration and 28 per cent improvement in wrinkle depth. It’s expensive but ingredients are fully traceable and tested to clinical standards so what you get is what it says on the tin (in this case a tin printed with vegetable inks). The capsules use fish gelatine so they are not vegan, but they are gluten and dairy-free.
I love the ethos behind this altruistic sun cream brand founded by a skin cancer surgeon Dr Andrew Brinie. He effectively wants to put himself out of a job by eradicating the condition he is called on to treat, by making broad-spectrum SPF so cheap, accessible and effective that it’s a no brainer. Altruist also supports children in African with albinism, a skin condition which means they have no melanin and therefore no natural sun protection while living in one of the world’s hottest regions.
Altruist sells sunscreen for under a tenner for a two-tube bundle of either SPF 50 or 30 and this tinted anti-redness cream is the latest addition to the range. Iron oxides protect against visible light (including blue light from screens) which can worsen hormonally–induced pigmentation called melasma. They also give the cream an adaptive tint. It goes on green, but don’t be scared. It turns into a rather nice sunkissed bronze, which suits all but the palest of skins. We have yet to test it on very dark skin but Dr Birnie assures us it works.
The sunscreen is titanium dioxide-based and can be used on sensitive skin and with acne treatments. Plant extracts help calm redness and it's also non-comedogenic. The packaging is recyclable and they are moving towards using recycled plastics later this year. In the meantime, the SPF50 comes in bumper one-litre pump dispenser £17.09, which you can decant into your own smaller refillable bottles.
Never know what to do with your old scented candle jars? I use mine as plant pots for my little succulents and to store my makeup brushes. Now Laboratory Perfumes have added another life to their botanical vegan candle containers by housing them in a 200ml glass measuring beaker for your kitchen (you can't tell from our picture but it has ml measurements on the other side).
As such it’s slightly thinner glass, so when you’re burning your candle, you need to keep it on the cork mat it comes with. Laboratory Perfumes are British genderless scent brand that has pledged a Hippocratic oath to the planet of ‘do no harm’. The candle is wrapped in a recyclable cardboard cylinder and comes in five natural oil scents: the one I tried, Gorse, is as subtle and fresh cardamom and coconut blend that’s designed to transport you to the gorse fields of southern France. The one slightly off note is that the wax is not vegetable such as soy but paraffin which is less of a clean burn as far as particles are concerned.
You may have seen Bybi's bright and Insta-friendly packaging in ASOS, Boots and Sephora. This small but mighty natural and vegan brand founded by the duo behind the Clean Beauty Insiders platform Elsie Rutterford and Dominika Minarovic has only been around since 2017 but already it has gained a cult following. Bybi has taken the genius step of harnessing the skin-loving oils of upcycled seeds from the juicing industry. Their Strawberry Booster, with cold-pressed strawberry seed oil, earned plaudits from Huda Kattan.
Each one of their products is as low impact as possible and has clear instructions on how to separate the packaging bits and bobs so what can be recycled (e.g. glass pipettes) is and what can't yet (the plastic pipette lid) goes in the bin without contaminating the rest of it.
This is their first day cream which comes in a fully recyclable 'bioplastic' tube made of sugarcane. The cream contains vitamin C and caffeine, it has a very slight candy smell to it which comes from natural ingredients such as orange flower water and pomegranate extract. Proven hydrating oils such as squalane make this a really long-lasting day cream which suits most skins. You may need to cut the bottom off your tube and rinse out to comply with your local recycling regs - it’s a great way of eking out every last drop.
Tell us your best conscious finds in the comments below.