Everything You Need To Know About Sustainable Beauty

May 6, 2022

The COVID-19 outbreak has caused widespread havoc in the cosmetics sector. This pandemic has impacted every economy on the planet, brands are questioning what the retail environment will look like post Covid-19, and how this altered landscape will impact consumers. But even more than a change in where and how consumers will shop for beauty products is a question of just how important sustainability will be to consumers in this newly defined retail environment?  A record number of consumers are shopping online right now, which creates not just a record amount of packing and shipping waste, but also a chance for consumers to look carefully at the impact their shopping makes on the environment, and what that means to the future.

The Unilever Foundry, Unilever’s collaborative innovation network, is today launching a new entrepreneurial challenge focused on sustainable beauty solutions, through the Positive Beauty Growth Platform. A key objective of the program is to find the next generation of biodegradable, sustainable ingredients and packaging, supporting our vision of doing more good for the planet and helping us achieve our ambitious goal of protecting and regenerating nature while supporting our vision to do more good for the planet.

What Is Sustainable Beauty?

Sustainable beauty means taking into account social, environmental and economical aspects throughout the whole production chain of a product to ensure an overall positive impact. Sustainability in natural cosmetics does not only refer to the ingredients used or how the product is made, but also the materials used in its production and post-production.

The numbers are alarming. Approximately 120 billion units of cosmetic packaging are manufactured every year globally, and the vast majority of this packaging is not recyclable. This plastic waste is not biodegradable, and scientists suggest that by 2050, there will be about 12,000 metric tons of it in our landfills.9

Why Is Sustainable Beauty Important? (Why Should You Buy Sustainable Products?)

1.Environmental Responsibility

Modern consumers care about social and environmental responsibility, and they have a growing global consciousness. Sustainable products have a kinder impact on the environment.

A recent example of pollution and consumer demand is the ban of microbeads. Microbeads are tiny pieces of plastic found in many shower scrubs and exfoliating products. A study published in 2015 found that over eight trillion microbeads are washed into our waterways every day, despite the fact that they do not dissolve. Later that year, U.S. President Barack Obama signed a bill banning small plastics, illustrating that environmental stewardship is an increasing priority for the nation and its consumers.

2. Increased Effectiveness

A skin irritation or allergic reaction is less likely to occur with natural or oleochemical ingredients. Sustainable products do not include synthetic, toxic chemicals or artificial colours – only the healing properties found naturally in plants and animals which humans have been using these ingredients for centuries..

3. Long-Term Health

Petrochemicals may produce short-term results, but their long-term effects can be highly toxic to humans and the environment. Synthetic cosmetics have been linked to headaches, eye damage, acne, hormonal imbalances, and premature aging. Phthalates have even been linked to cancer and type II diabetes

By choosing sustainable cosmetics, a consumer forgoes the stress and uncertainty of toxic, synthetic products and invests in their long-term health and beauty.

How Are Sustainable Cosmetics Made?

Sustainability is related to many different aspects within the cosmetic sector, such as:

  • All-natural / organic
  • Vegan
  • Cruelty-free
  • Ethically sourced ingredients
  • Recyclable packaging, ideally compostable or reusable
  • Biodegradable
  • Waterless

Let’s discuss further the top three of these sub-trends related to sustainable beauty:

1) All-Natural / Organic

Organic products that have been made with organic ingredients, grown and processed without the use of pesticides, synthetic fertilisers or chemicalsAll-natural products are using ingredients that are produced in nature (like water, a plant, or even the coconut oil). 

Natural and organic cosmetics are more popular with consumers because they are perceived as safer for human health and the environment. The popularity of organic certifications in cosmetics is also driven by the use of these certifications in food products. In general, consumers are more familiar with food labels than cosmetic labels, so they are interested in similar labels on cosmetics. Consumer requests for more organic or natural cosmetics are driving demand of natural ingredients from the cosmetics sector in Europe.

2) Vegan And Cruelty-Free

Cruelty-free means that the product was developed without any tests on animals, while vegan means that the product does not include any animal-derived ingredients.

Cosmetic industry has evolved to keep up with trend as a growing portion of the population chooses to change lifestyles. A growing number of blogs are focusing on listing products and providing reviews of vegan brands to help consumers choose cruelty-free and vegan cosmetics. These sites also play into consumer demand for increased transparency in cosmetic products. Many countries are banning animal testings and new testing methods are emerging, as ingredients and formulations evolve.

3) Ethically Sourced Ingredients

When a product is ethically sourced, it means that in the process of manufacturing, the item is obtained with responsibility, in an ethical and sustainable ways. This means that products are ensured to have little or no significant negative impact on the society, human and the environment.

A report on consumer surveys from the Union for Ethical BioTrade concluded that consumers call for more transparency on ingredient origins. They want more information on how these products respect people and biodiversity. The report added that consumers don’t trust that companies respect biodiversity. In order to convince consumers of companies’ respect for people and biodiversity, they should use authentic stories, proof of good practices on the ground and clear communication.

Want To Know More About Our Solutions?

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