It wasn’t so long ago that the idea of ‘green beauty’ was just catching on.
As more and more of us realize what’s inside our skincare and how it affects our health and the earth, demand just keeps growing for products that are clean, ethically sourced and environmentally packaged. And yet, while so many green beauty brands are raising the bar, some skincare brands just give the illusion of being green.
What is green beauty?
Green beauty is about ensuring a product is created in a way that prioritizes your health and the environment at every stage: how ingredients are grown, harvested, produced, packaged and even transported to you. Once the product’s been used, it’s also about the ability to reuse, recycle or refill the container. Where sustainable beauty focuses on the eco-friendly factor, green beauty considers both your carbon footprint and your wellness. The next time you’re shopping for skincare, ask yourself:
Can I recognize the ingredients? Are they healthy or harmful?
The ingredients list can be a telltale sign: If they read like words from another language or a high school chemistry lesson, they’re likely synthetic and could be harmful.
When a brand uses simple, natural ingredients, ie rose essential oil, the label is easier to understand. Eco-minded brands are committed to using ingredients that won’t compromise your health or the health of the environment, and that allows their product labels to be transparent and easy to understand. Often, they also include the common name of an ingredient, such as cocos nucifera (coconut oil).
Eco-minded brands are committed to using ingredients that won’t compromise your health or the health of the environment.
Remember, it’s not just about the ingredients being toxic and hard to understand or non-toxic and easy to read. Often, it’s the simple, natural ingredients that can really give your skin the nutrients and radiance you’re after.
How environmentally friendly is the packaging and the production energy source?
You can make a big difference by choosing products that come in sustainable packaging, such as:
- recycled products or products that can be recycled by you
- materials that can be reused/refilled/recycled, such as glass
- materials that break down easily, like plant-based eco-plastic and cardboard
Om is fortunate to have a community of refilleries across Canada that carry Om products in bulk. Look for an Om stockist near you.
Compared to single-use products such as cleansing wipes, balms or cleansers packaged in a bottle or jar are an easy way to lighten your carbon footprint.
Bonus points if the brand manufactures those products with a renewable energy source such as solar power or wind power. Some brands (like Om) also give back by supporting sustainability initiatives
How ethically has that skincare been made?
Most of us are familiar with how some toxic chemicals can be harmful to nature and our bodies post-production, but what about the people, wildlife and environment where ingredients are harvested?
Truly green brands are mindful about:
- ingredients being sourced as sustainably as possible
- the people who grow, pick and handle skincare ingredients being treated well and given a fair wage
- animals not being harmed in the sourcing or testing of product ingredients
What eco certifications do they have?
Since any brand can claim to be a ‘green’ brand or advertise the botanicals in its formulation, look for the logos of third-party health and environmental accreditations that prove a brand meets certain standards.
- Leaping Bunny
- Fair Trade
- Rainforest Alliance
- USDA organic
Do I need it? Can I make it do two things? How else can it help me?
What the earth needs most is for us to focus on buying only what we need. We’re all bombarded with images of the ideal and products to help us achieve it. Giving in to that can contribute to waste.
What the earth needs most is for us to focus on buying only what we need.
When you find natural skincare that works for you and a brand that you can get behind, challenge yourself to use everything in that bottle first before recycling or reusing that container, and replacing that product.
Also, look for products that do double or even triple duty.
- Our Lavender + Lemongrass Essential Summer Spray keeps bugs at bay and acts a room spray
- Our Blue Azul Soothing Cleansing Emulsion is a calming face wash that can also be left on the skin (even overnight) to soothe bug bites, rosacea, eczema and more.
- Our Clarity Purifying Concentrate is soothing for both acne and mild cuts
- Our Kaolin + Coconut Milk Radiant Cleansing Balm is both a cleanser and a face mask
- Our Coconut + Pracaxi Deep Conditioning Hair Mask is also an epic shave cream, especially for men’s beards
- Our body scrubs (both Vanilla Moon and Neroli + Pepper) also make for aromatic and softening shaving creams
When you’re using plant-based skincare, chances are the essential oils within also come with a host of aromatherapy benefits to help improve wellbeing.
What you’ll start to notice is, the more you use green products on your skin, the more you’ll want to shop green in other ways—and you’ll be one more person inspiring others in the green beauty movement.
Interested in learning more? Our article The Beauty of Sustainable Skincare has all the definitions and how this philosophy shows up for Om.