Sustainable Beauty: Navigating The World of Eco-Friendly Cosmetics

The world is facing several climatic catastrophes. Everyone should play a part in reducing carbon footprint even if it is a minor act. One way is to use sustainable beauty products such as eco-friendly cosmetics.

The beauty industry is a huge market however, not all cosmetics are good for the user and the planet.

Going forward, buyers should choose eco-friendly cosmetics that are not only good for the environment but also for the health of the consumer.

Let’s find out more about how sustainable products are expanding in the beauty sphere and what brands you should look out for.

Rising Demand for Eco-Friendly Cosmetics

The beauty industry is ever-changing. These days, people are more likely to be interested in the process alongside the product.

That helps in navigating whether you are investing your money in the right products. Sustainable products prioritize the content as well as the packaging.

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Knowing how the ingredients are extracted and whether the packaging is sustainable can affect a product’s sales.

Beauty packaging contributes to 120 billion units of trash in a year. That’s a whopping number of improperly recycled packaging that eventually ends up in landfills. The packaging is not necessarily only plastic, in fact, paper, glass and metals all end up in trash if they are not recycled properly.

Ingredients such as mica responsible for adding some shine and shimmer to your makeup have been criticized for their mining procedures that are dangerous and involve child labor practices.

Likewise, oils such as soy oil used in makeup require extensive cultivation that may lead to other problems such as soil and water contamination due to pesticide use.

Hence, now more people are cautious about the ingredients in the products, how they were made, the companies behind it and how you can discard the product after its use.

That has led to an increase in eco-friendly products in order to make self-expression cleaner. Additionally, there is a lesser impact on the planet through their use so companies can market their sustainability.

How Are Sustainable Products Made?

Brands are choosing to make long-lasting products that will discourage the need for repurchasing continuously while also reducing waste from the empties.

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Sustainable products also hold up social responsibility in the beauty industry. Companies advertising themselves as green, eco-friendly and sustainable market themselves as ethical.

They promote fair trade and carry out ethical practices ensuring all of their employees are paid well, there is no animal testing and are provided with safe working conditions.

Brands are interested in putting consumer health first in eco-friendly cosmetics. For instance, the brands are more careful to not use harmful toxins and chemicals that can worsen the health of the consumer.

Moreover, eco-friendly products contain natural ingredients extracted from renewable raw materials that are usually bio-based oleochemicals.

Bio-based oleochemicals replace non-renewable petrochemical ingredients. They are derived from plant and bacteria resources instead of petrol.

Sources of oleochemicals are oils such as palm and coconut oil. These oils help to derive fatty acids which in return come in use as chemical surfactants.

Plants such as corn and soybeans help to derive surfactants, emulsifiers and biocatalysts once they produce oils and alcohols.

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Microorganisms such as bacteria are not far behind as the Deinococcus bacteria helps make pigments and aromatic ingredients for the cosmetic industry.

Once oleochemicals are formed using these raw materials, the fats and oils for cosmetics are extracted using hydrolysis.

The oleochemical derived products include:

  • Castor Oil
  • DMDM Hydantoin
  • MCT Coconut Oil
  • Phenoxyethanol

Castor oil is obtained through a harmless method of pressing the seeds of the castor plant. It has anti-inflammatory properties and is extremely beneficial for hair growth.

DMDM Hydantoin is a halogen preservative with antimicrobial properties. Its use is popular in leave-on and rinse-off products in the beauty industry. Hence, you will find this powerful eco-friendly ingredient in a conditioner but also a sunscreen.

Coconut oil is already a popular ingredient in skincare and haircare. It makes for an excellent carrier oil while also being light. It easily absorbs in the skin without leaving an oily residue making it the perfect oil to add to products for sensitive skin.

Another eco-friendly preservative is Phenoxyethanol. It blocks mold growth and bacteria to keep cosmetics and skincare last longer.

Benefits of Using Natural and Organic Beauty Products

As there are ingredients gaining popularity in the sustainable beauty industry, there are also harmful chemicals that are taking a backseat in favour of human health and the environment.

Harmful Ingredients in Cosmetics

Formaldehyde-releasing preservatives
These preservatives were present in a variety of chemicals, however, they released formaldehyde which is a known carcinogen.

These synthetic oxidants are often found in moisturizers and lipsticks as preservatives. However, they have been found to affect human health by disrupting the endocrine system.

Coal Tar Dyes
You will find coal tar dyes under the CI label along with a five-digit number. Unlike oleochemicals which are healthy, these dyes are a mixture of petrochemicals which can again be a cause of cancer.

Other substances such as aluminium present in antiperspirants and Dibutyl phthalate present in nail polishes also have toxic tendencies for health.

Besides the ingredients nonrenewable packaging will be detrimental to the planet, hence, sustainable packaging alongside healthy ingredients contributes to clean and eco-friendly makeup.

So what brands are complying with sustainable standards and bringing you green cosmetics? Find the list below.

Sustainable Beauty Brands

Brands known for their sustainable products usually have thoughtful packaging, are non-toxic and use ethical sourcing.

Some of these brands may also use no palm oil and are cruelty-free and vegan.

The list goes…

  • Burt’s Bees
  • Drunk Elephant
  • ATHR Beauty
  • Axiology
  • RMS Beauty
  • Antonym
  • Clean-Faced Cosmetics
  • Biome
  • Zao Organic Makeup
  • Conscious Skincare
  • Blissoma
  • Ethique
  • Elate Beauty
  • Well People
  • Eco Roots
  • Fat and the Moon

Look out for these brands while purchasing cosmetics and skincare. Consumer consciousness is the way to go forward in order to make healthy choices for your health and the planet.


Sustainable Beauty is the future and the need of the time. After popular demand, more brands are becoming conscious of launching eco-friendly cosmetics.

Only through actions by consumers can there ever be a change in the industry practices. Hence, encourage these eco-friendly brands by purchasing through them and spreading the word.

Filed under: Makeup & Hair, Tips and Myths

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