For a long time, the beauty industry endured a difficult relationship with morality and ethics due to its connection with animal testing for cosmetic products. As the world has grown more aware of the issues caused by these practices, quite rightly cosmetic companies have had to look closely at themselves. Some have stopped animal testing, others have not. 

Changes are afoot for the most part but whether major brands can claim to be cruelty-free is a debate that will continue to rumble on. While important, sustainability in beauty covers more than animal testing with the chemicals used and the packaging also a cause for concern. So with such importance placed on being eco-friendly, let’s look at the benefits of using sustainable beauty products.

What are sustainable beauty products?

Sustainable beauty products can be categorised by several traits. These are:

  • Products that use less or no plastic; ideally with zero single-use plastics
  • Ingredients that are not tested on animals
  • Organic ingredients that are sustainably grown and responsibly harvested
  • Avoid palm oil and any ingredient that causes deforestation

By buying more sustainably, we can help the planet recover and leave it in a better state for future generations than it is projected to reach in the not-so-distant future. As more of us change our consumption habits, the tide will turn and much of the damage can be reversed.

1. A cleaner environment

Given the size of the task we have at reversing climate change, the most important benefit of using sustainable beauty products is for the planet. As we have alluded to by highlighting what makes a sustainable beauty product, others that aren’t kind to the environment cause a host of issues.

From deforestation that ruins the ecosystems of the animals and plant life that lives there to improving the lives of animals by stopping testing, sustainable products make a huge difference. Palm oil’s devastating impact on the rainforest is well documented but still it remains a common ingredient in many cosmetics. Sustainable products deliberately seek to avoid these harmful environmental issues, allowing for a cleaner environment as more of us make the switch from conventional products.

2. Healthier skin

Not only can sustainable beauty products help the environment by reducing the levels of chemicals they contain, but this is also beneficial to our skin. Removed of harsh chemicals such as parabens from sustainable beauty products can leave us with healthier skin than conventional products.

Natural ingredients used in sustainable beauty products are not harmful to our skin and are beneficial rather than alternatives that are more toxic or likely to cause skin irritation. Many conventional beauty products also contain artificial fragrances which can add further skin irritation. Only natural scents are used in eco-friendly products.

Alcohol is a common ingredient found in creams and lotions to help absorb the products better but drying alcohol can leave your skin flaky and dry – often making you buy more to try and counteract the effects. But not all alcohols are bad in beauty products and fatty alcohols found in natural fats and oils are great for leaving your skin well moisturised.

3. Lower costs

Rather than using some ‘magical’ formula that has spent years in development by an army of cosmetic scientists, sustainable beauty products rely on what nature gifts us. This helps to make them cheaper to manufacture, while independent beauty brands also won’t devote the same level of investment into marketing, which the customer ultimately ends up paying for with conventional brands.

There is also the added satisfaction of helping out a smaller business rather than putting more money into the hands of the giant corporations of the world. Sustainable beauty products are commonly made by small businesses that operate ethically and with the environment as a primary concern, some may even be local to you! This helps support these types of businesses and allows them to grow and bring their eco-friendly products to more people.

4. Avoiding premature skin ageing

Now there really is no way to stop our skin from ageing, it is a natural course that we must follow, but there are ways we can help slow it down. Keeping our skin moisturised is an essential element to slowing down the ageing process but sustainable beauty products can also be a great weapon to have at your disposal.

Premature skin ageing is a sign of underlying issues, and it is important to figure out what these are as quickly as possible. From overexposure to ultraviolet rays to our diet, everything we do impacts our bodies on some level.

Over time, using harmful beauty products can cause similar ageing effects while those made with only natural ingredients have the opposite effect. For example, jojoba oil or similar natural products have been shown to improve the elasticity of the skin, helping to slow down the signs of ageing.

5. Reducing plastic consumption

Eco-friendly beauty products will not only be kind to the environment through the ingredients used to create them but they will also consider their impact throughout the entire supply chain. Perhaps the most important element in cleaning up the supply chain is how the products are packaged. Sustainable beauty brands will reduce or remove the need for plastic packaging to ensure that our plastic consumption is reduced.

Given the level of microplastics finding their way into our oceans, 92% of plastic pollution found on the ocean’s surface is microplastic, we must stop adding to this. By switching to sustainable beauty products, we can avoid further plastic generation, animal cruelty and the destruction of vast landscapes and ecosystems.

Feeling clear about your cosmetics

There are many benefits that we can enjoy by switching to sustainable cosmetic products. From lowering our impact on the environment to healthier skin, there is plenty to shout about buying eco-friendly products.

But perhaps the best feeling is the clarity you feel about using these products over conventional ones. You can be free of guilt for using products that may have been tested on animals, have most likely led to deforestation and aren’t clogging our oceans with plastics.

January 11, 2023 — Lydia Mason