Sustainability is an incredibly complex concept and we make sure to use it very responsibly at Care to Beauty. When something is defined as sustainable, it means that the object or service was designed and produced considering its environmental, economic and social impact. For something to be sustainable, it means that producing and using it does not compromise the resources available to the present and future generations. That’s why we are so cautious before indicating a brand as sustainable!
On this post:
- What does it take for a cosmetic product to be sustainable?
- Ingredient sourcing & product manufacturing
- Packaging, distribution & delivery
- Consumer & post-consumer use
- Our sustainability filters
What does it take for a cosmetic product to be sustainable?
This is a very fine question that takes a lot to answer. We’re going to sum up as much as possible!
For a cosmetic product to be sustainable, we have to consider more than the product itself. We have to take a close look at its life cycle and understand all it takes for it to exist. Everything starts in the designing phase—here, the product and its life cycle get shape for the very first time. Let’s analyze every phase step by step:
Ingredient sourcing & product manufacturing
When we focus on finished products, it’s easy to forget that it all starts with raw ingredients. However, here is where our attention should go, as it’s precisely here that the product’s footprint weighs more. More than being environmentally responsible, it’s also important to make sure that local communities involved are paid fairly for their work (see certifications such as Fair Trade). As you see, environmental, economic, and social impact is equally important!
For manufacturing, we consider the origin of the energy used (hello renewable energy!) as well as water use and management. We know that water is a limited resource and we need companies to utilize it as such. It’s also important to take a look at waste management—put in other words, where do the residues go? Are they treated, transformed, or even used by other businesses? Our planet has a lot of challenges to overcome right now, so we don’t need companies to add further stress with wasting materials – instead, companies that respect and transform or upcycle what would be residue get our standing ovation!
Packaging, distribution & delivery
How the product is packed and how it comes to your favorite store (or to your door!) also matters. Consumers are now paying more and more attention to the materials used for the packaging; however, the best option may not be what customers expect. In the designing phase of the product, the most important thing when choosing the material of the packaging is to go for something that will keep the formula safe and sound. The best option may be plastic (for the horror of some readers), aluminum containers, or even glass (hopefully recycled). Surprisingly, glass is not always a good idea, since it’s heavier than any other packaging. With greater weight, it comes a bigger co2 footprint regarding transportation.
Consumer & post-consumer use
While you’re using your beautiful product, just sit back and enjoy it! Skincare and beauty products do have a lot of positive outcomes–related to your self-esteem, your appearance, or even your social life–, and you deserve all of them. We don’t want to disturb your experience with data! However, for the sake of information, let’s point out what can be accounted for at this phase. Especially for products that require rinsing, water use associated with its use should be considered as well as its biodegradability.
After your product lives a long life, up to the last drop, it’s time to care for the packaging disposal. The best scenario is to upcycle the packaging, like transforming a cream pot into a vase. When there’s nothing else to do but discard it, then try to recycle it to avoid adding to the landfill site.
Our sustainability filters
After analyzing all the previous variables, we evaluated each brand and product on our website and classified them accordingly. This should make your life really easy when looking for a specific product! You may choose what matters the most to you and navigate happily through a sea of products that meet your criteria.
You can access our classification through the product filters on our website. Wherever you are on the website, whether you’re browsing through a brand or a type of product, you will always be able to use these filters. Let us guide you through them:
B Corp companies & organic or natural certified products
B Corp Certification accredits for-profit companies that are fully committed to environmental and social sustainability, holding themselves accountable for environmental performance and transparency. This certification alone tells us a lot about the company’s goals and policies! We have a good number of B Corp certified brands on our website, like APIVITA and ISDIN, Mustela and Weleda.
This filter also includes brands that are certified organic or natural by organizations such as ECOCERT or COSMEBIO. This certification tells you a lot about different sustainability pillars; it means that the product uses a high percentage of naturally sourced and organically produced ingredients while keeping a broad ethical approach to cosmetics, considering variables such as transparent communication and respect for workers.
This is the selection of brands that not only care but also do a lot to cause the minimum environmental impact with their activity, even though they may not be certified by external companies. All Pierre Fabre brands, such as A-Derma, Klorane and Avène, are sustainable skincare brands. These are true examples of committed brands, as they’re improving their processes year after year, communicating them transparently to the customer.
Biodegradable formula & reef safe products
By now we’re sure you’ve heard about biodegradable formulas from sustainable skincare brands. That’s particularly relevant with rinsing products, but also to other formulas, as a lot of them will run down the drain inevitably. We know that all cosmetics are safe for our use, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they can biodegrade naturally in our environment. When that’s not the case, it may disturb land and water ecosystems—if you think this is important, then grab your biodegradable formulas!
When it comes to disposable products such as wipes, “biodegradable” often means something entirely different. They may be biodegradable, but only under certain conditions—meaning specialized facilities that may not even exist in your country. If you’re using wipes, you may go with biodegradable ones—just don’t expect them to disintegrate at your home composter.
If you’re looking for a reef-safe sunscreen, that’s also the filter you should use. We’ve selected them one by one to make sure that your search is as smooth as possible!
Reusable or refillable packaging & refills
If you feel bad tossing perfectly intact packaging away after using your products, then you should consider refillable products! This is sure to be the best way to spare a lot of containers. On our website, you can find refillable products from sustainable brands as well as refills that are sold separately. If you don’t know where to start on your sustainability journey, we’d say that this is a no-brainer starting point!
Considering the environmental cost of transporting products and how rare our precious water is, it becomes easy to understand the advantages of cosmetics that contain no water. In this category, you’ll find soap bars for body, but also some exciting products like Klorane Stick Mask, or Foamie Shampoo Bar. An unexpected attendant to this category is the dry shampoo, considering that it not only has no water on the formula but also allows for hair cleansing without water!
We think that you’ll also love to navigate our eco-friendly and sustainable skincare selection of products on our website. If you need further help creating your own eco-friendly beauty routine, we’ve got you as well.
Professional Makeup Artist & Beauty Writer