Baby Steps to Sustainable Beauty and Better Practices

Not sure where to start? Fret not—it’s easy to begin making a difference.

There’s no denying the joy that a beautifully designed and packaged product makes one feel. Yet, that’s exactly why the beauty industry is one of the biggest generators of waste—bottles, cushion cases, and more are generously swathed in plastic to promote a sense of luxury. A Forbes article shared some alarming Zero Waste Week data facts: more than 120 billion units of cosmetics packaging were produced globally in 2018, the majority of which were not recyclable.

Besides looking at our environmental footprint, here are other ways we can start being kinder and be more mindful when consuming the beauty products we love.

1. Recycle packaging

This is a no-brainer—yet we have ways to go to ensure we stick to it because the amount of empty plastic containers, glass bottles, and more can steadily build up as we consume products. One straightforward way to set your items up for recycling is to firstly:

  • Ensure your containers are clean and dry. Product residue will immediately render a container unsuitable for recycling as it may contaminate other recyclables

  • Most recycling-friendly products will come with the universal recycling logo to help you identify whether or not it is suitable for a second lease of life

  • Bag your items properly and find your nearest recycling bin. If you’re located in Singapore, you can find locations of recycling bins around the island here

As a general rule of thumb — metal, paper (must be clean), glass and plastics are straightforward items that can be recycled.

You can also look at recycling in retail shops with active initiatives. If you’re located in Singapore, L’Occitane has a great ongoing program that accepts beauty empties from any brand.

2. Take a second look at the brands you love

Shopping more sustainably means being conscious of the brands you spend on. Take the time to read up on a company’s ethos and objectives and understand their greater business purpose. Ask yourself whether you feel they resonate well with your own beliefs—whether it’s understanding how a product’s ingredients are derived, transparency on the formulation process, or identifying their campaign efforts.

Last year, Dove announced the switch to recycled plastic bottles and a plastic-free packaging for its iconic beauty bar. Its parent company, Unilever, has also pledged to halve its use of virgin plastic by more than 100,000 tonnes by the year 2025.

3. Look out for non-toxic, eco-friendly products

At Skintelligence, we are focused on matching your skin type to the right products for better results and are working hard to onboard even more brands that prioritise eco-friendly, sustainable living. Some include:

Besides using plant and mineral-based ingredients in their formulations, Apoterra Skincare is committed to transparency in its production and packaging cycle. Their products are packaged in non-toxic, recyclable glass and they use biodegradable materials for shipping as well! They currently only ship within the U.S and Canada but do reach out to us if you’re keen on exploring their products and we’ll see what we can do. Apoterra is also Green America certified and plants a tree for every product purchased. That’s truly shopping and making a difference!

From developing and manufacturing their products, to embracing a green and sustainable policy, Paula’s Choice makes a conscious effort to derive from sustainable sources. As one of the world’s first online beauty brands, Paula’s Choice has continually refined and improved its commitment to people and the environment.

4. Opt for cruelty-free skincare

Look for brands that have pledged to be cruelty-free and protect the welfare of animals by not testing on animals. Like their commitment to the environment, both Apoterra Skincare and Paula’s Choice are brands that are Leaping Bunny cruelty-free certified.

Other organizations that certify brands as cruelty-free are PETA’s Beauty Without Bunnies and Choose Cruelty-Free.

5. Look out for vegan labels and fair-trade certifications

Something to note is that brands that declare to be cruelty-free may still use animal-derived products like honey, beeswax, lanolin, gelatin, and so on.

Similarly, brands that are vegan may not be cruelty-free, so it’s best to look for both. Other things to consider—how transparent are the brands you use when it comes to labor standards and the welfare of their workers.

6. Relook your routine and habits

Switch from disposable makeup wipes and cotton pads to reusable towels, or invest in a good cleansing balm instead that melts makeup off with no residue. It’s cleaner, better for your skin, and kinder to the environment.

A Cosmetics Design-Asia article titled “Post-pandemic future: Beauty industry will see more emphasis on digital, collaboration and sustainability after COVID-19” shared that the novel coronavirus outbreak will have a lasting impact on the beauty industry when it comes to digital strategies, cross-collaborations, and sustainability.

For instance, essential products like face masks and toilet paper have made paper an extremely precious commodity—and brands may want to relook at reusable packaging instead of paper ones.

As consumers, let’s do our part to be responsible and mindful about where and how we’re spending our dollars. Have a question or simply want to start a discussion? Join our Skinteractions here.

About us: We are Skintelligence, a team focused on a 'skin-first' approach to beauty through artificial intelligence. We match products to you based on your unique skin type and needs. Results are highly accurate and personalized with AI and machine learning. It's fun, convenient, and it works. Try it here.

As featured in Her World, CLEO, FEMALE, Shape, Nuyou, Singapore Women’s Weekly, Daily Vanity, Layers of Skins.

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