At AC, we're not great at wearing Make Up but we have a pretty good skincare regime downpat. It got us thinking about Ethical and Sustainable skin care and if it is even really possible. Read on for our findings...
Makeup and skincare often go hand-in-hand, and in 2020, it’s time to look at being ethical and sustainable in both. The definition of ethical and sustainable products differs per company and per consumer. For a product to be ethical, some say that it should be created in factories that offer fair wages to their workers; meanwhile, others say that its ingredients must be 100% vegan and cruelty-free. As much as possible, no animals should be involved in the testing of the products, and even if they are, their health and safety should be considered. Given all these considerations, is ethical skincare really possible?
The cosmetics sector, in which skincare and makeup products fall under, has largely struggled to become ethical. Consumers usually prefer products that are made of natural ingredients, because after all, they apply these directly to their skin. However, the high demand for natural ingredients often leads to unethical production processes. For instance, the widely used reflective mineral, Mica, has been reported by the Independent to be sourced not just through illegal mining, but also through child labour in some of the poorest regions of India.
Fortunately, the future for ethical skincare is promising thanks to various certifications. Cosmetics Design noted some organisations that have been offering certification programs for companies. with the gold standard being Leaping Bunny. Products that brandish the logo of Leaping Bunny are guaranteed to not have undergone animal testing. Other certifications may be harder to come by, as some have stricter requirements than others.
As consumers, there are various ways you can remain ethical when it comes to skincare.
Here are some of them:
Use what you have
You may think that going ethical means quitting non-ethical brands altogether and right at once, but that’s not exactly advisable. What if you’ve still got some items in your kit that turned out to be unethical? In Ethical Made Easy’s discussion of her goals for last year, one of her first tips for anyone wanting to make the switch to ethical was to “Use what you have” – don’t simply get rid of everything you already have in the name of sustainable or ethical fashion! Make what you have right now last and get the most out of it.
Do your research
Many manufacturers may claim to be ethical, vegan, or cruelty-free, but looking at the fine print, you’ll find that some of them are anything but. In Pretty Me’s review of AR Vitamin E Cream, they recommend researching the ingredients of the products before making a purchase. This helps you stay away from ingredients that may be harmful to your skin, and also gives you the chance to verify a manufacturer’s claims.
Check the label
Thanks to the efforts of various organisations, consumers can now refer to different logos to determine whether skincare products are certified organic, not tested on animals, and are made with plant-based ingredients. Aside from logos, you can also rely on mobile applications to determine which skincare products are ethical. In The Guardian's article about how to be an ethical shopper, various mobile applications such as Shop Ethical! and Choose Cruelty Free, were named. These applications not only rate brands according to a number of categories such as chemicals used and the presence of micro-plastics, but also identify cruelty-free and vegan products.
If you know of any local brands you think we'd love, please send them through to our firstname.lastname@example.org account so we can check them out!