by Naume Guveya
Demand for green skincare products, particularly natural and organic ones, has never been as big as it is right now.
Beauty industry statistics show that 25% of consumers would like for their preferred skincare brands to be eco-friendly while 92% would be more loyal to a brand if it supports environmental and other social causes.
But that’s not all. Over 40% of millennials and 80% of Gen Z buys natural and organic skincare products. This statistic is particularly important because millennials and Gen Z make up the largest group of consumers.
But why are natural and organic skincare products important?
To understand why we need to go back to the basics – the skin is an organ. What do you think will happen if you stop taking care of your heart, brain, kidneys, or lungs?
You get the picture, right?
You need to take care of your skin as much as you take care of your other organs. Why?
The skin performs so many essential tasks in the body.
- The skin protects the body from the plethora of bacteria and viruses the body is exposed to daily.
- When exposed to the sun, healthy skin produces vitamin D. This vitamin is essential for many body functions and your skin plays an important role in synthesizing it.
- Besides helping the body make vitamin D from sunlight, your skin also protects you from UV light (from the sun’s rays) which causes cell damage.
- The skin helps to keep body temperature at the right level.
- The skin helps you to react better to changes around you by allowing you to feel pressure or pain
It’s important to take care of your skin. However, many conventional skincare products contain toxins that have a negative environmental impact. For example, toxic cosmetic chemicals can end up in the soil where they affect crop quality and human health, in ecosystems where they affect plants and animals, and in the ocean and other water bodies where aquatic life is affected. Additionally, traditional skincare product packaging can take years to break down at landfills, further exacerbating the problem.
Because skincare products are consumed in large quantities all over the world, their toxins are consistently released into the environment. This is where natural and organic products are coming in.
Combining natural and organic skincare for green, sustainable beauty
Natural and organic skincare products are a top solution to achieving some skin and planet health simultaneously. Natural formulations are 100% synthetic-free and organic formulations are those that only use organically farmed ingredients. Natural and organic skincare merges minerals, essential vitamins, and botanicals that restore and maintain good skin health. The best part – they do this without harming the earth, or at least, while minimizing any damage.
In light of these benefits, sales of natural and organic personal care and skin care products are increasing exponentially. Consumers are increasingly choosing natural and organic skincare products, which they perceive as safer, over traditional products, so much so that they are willing to pay a premium for them. In fact, one survey revealed that nearly 60% of the 4,487 participants would be willing to pay more for skincare products made with natural and/or organic products.
But while the ‘right’ natural and organic skincare products are beneficial to your skin and the plant, the wrong ones may not be so great. This is why emphasis should be on the ‘right’ product.
The sad reality is that not every brand is in the natural and organic wagon for the right reasons. Some are in it to make money off people who are of the view that natural and organic products are better. Such brands are actually not about providing real value.
Some of the products on the market do not meet even the most lenient standards. You will be better off with traditional products that do not hide behind false pretences than going with some of these dubious, greenwashed brands.
You need to remember that due to the lack of universal regulation plus all the greenwashing, things are not always as they seem. Not all natural ingredients are good and not all of them are sourced sustainably. Similarly, organic ingredients may not be as organic as you think and so it’s important to choose products carefully.
Making the right natural and organic skincare products choices: How to protect yourself
As a consumer, you can take several steps to protect yourself from predator brands and do what is right for your skin and the sustainability of the planet. With every natural and organic skincare product you go for:
- Check for certification. Numerous natural and organic certifiers assure that natural and organic products are genuine. Familiarize yourself with the top and legit certifiers so that you do not fall for any random certification.
- Read the labels carefully. Some certification does not require being 100% natural and organic. Make sure you know what’s in your products before you just go with that ‘natural and organic’ label.
- Research the companies whose products you want to use. This will give you insight into the company’s culture and its sustainability and ethical stance.
A good starting point with certifications
The beauty industry is complex. Knowing where to begin can be daunting but we want to make things easier for you. Here are some of the common Seals of Approval available to natural and organic product manufacturers:
- USDA Organic – the product contains at least 95% organic ingredients.
- Natural Products Association (NPA) Certification – the product is 95% natural and is free from potentially harmful synthetics.
- Made with Organic Ingredients – the product contains at least 70% ingredients.
- COSMOS (COSMetic Organic Standard) Certification – a Europe-wide private certification that was developed by five members.
-Ecocert Greenlife SAS (France)
-Soil Association (Great Britain)
But Natural and Organic are no longer the only thing
So natural and organic are great, but gone are the days when they were the only available option. Brands are becoming more innovative by the day and they are redefining the beauty industry standards, i.e. natural and organic products remain popular but they are by no means the only products on the market.
Sustainable beauty can still be achieved by using other skincare products that do not necessarily fit wholly into the natural or organic category. Let’s take a look at some of these products which you may want to consider for your next skincare purchase.
Vegan products are produced from ingredients that do not originate from animals or their by-products. Vegan products can be natural and/or organic, but they are not necessarily either. Many vegan product manufacturers are also incorporating the sustainability criteria into their products in addition to the natural and organic one.
#2 Zero waste
Zero waste is a big thing when it comes to sustainability and now it no longer applies to only food. You can now get natural and organic skincare products that are also zero-waste and plastic-free. How about that for sustainability?
#3 CBD & Hemp
CBD skincare products are made from cannabinoids that are naturally found in the industrial hemp plant. The industrial hemp plant is a variant of the Cannabis sativa plant species that is grown specifically for the industrial uses of its derived products.
CBD is a natural ingredient that has been found to have antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, and anti-aging properties. Some skincare manufacturers are taking the goodness of their products up a notch by going organic as well.
Ayurveda is a natural healing system that is designed to balance the right routine, diet, and skin-care. The balance is customized to your wellness blueprint known as your dosha. You should look for products that correspond to your dosha or you can get the ones that are ‘tridoshic’ i.e. they work for all three doshas, and therefore every skin type.
Ayurvedic skincare products are made from wholly edible ingredients. This is even more exciting when you think that most manufacturers now use ingredients that are organic and sustainably produced.
Anti-pollution skincare products are another sustainable living trend that is rocking the skincare scene. As the atmosphere becomes increasingly toxic, people are looking for ways to protect the skin from the adverse effect of pollutants.
Anti-pollution products cleanse the skin from nanoparticles that are absorbed from the air. They create a protective barrier that shields the skin against pollutants that have been shown to cause skin-related problems. You can get natural anti-pollution skincare products that are awesome for keeping up with sustainable living practices.
#6 Multi-tasking eco products
Yes, there are beauty and skincare products that multitask. Even more, there are products that not only multitask but are eco-friendly as well.
Having too many skincare products to choose from can mean spending so much time going through all of them. Multi-tasking eco skincare products allow you to spend more time living than getting ready. With multi-tasking products, you get to save time and money while also protecting the environment. It’s a win-win situation all the way.
Forget synthesized ingredients. Wildcrafted skincare is all about foraging for potent organic and wild ingredients in the most remote and unlikely places. Bet you can see why wildcrafted is appealing when it comes to natural and organic skincare products. To ensure sustainability, wildcrafted skincare products are being manufactured by small-batch beauty brands so as to protect their ingredient sources. Sorry, no mass production here.
Clean products cover all skincare categories – natural and synthetic – that contain non-toxic ingredients. The focus is on non-toxic ingredients which are generally defined as ingredients that don’t harm people’s health, animal health, and the health of the environment. However, this definition is very vague and lots of work still needs to be done to set generally accepted parameters of non-toxicity.
As the name implies, cruelty-free beauty products are made using formulas and ingredients that are not tested on animals. However, since a majority of countries have no laws governing animal testing, a lot of brands get away with using the ‘cruelty-free’ label while selling products that are not truly cruelty-free.
Furthermore, some brands go around regulation. For instance, they may test their products on animals in countries with lax animal cruelty laws when they are not regulated and then proceed to certify their products as cruelty-free.
Ultimately, sustainability should be at the heart of your purchases. Hopefully, this quick guide will help you make educated decisions when it comes to choosing your skincare products. Here’s to going green, living sustainably, and loving your skin and the planet.