It's Easy Being Green

It's Easy Being Green

This year, I celebrate 30 years in this beautiful industry. I have seen a lot during this time.

The Evolution of Skincare Tools

When I first began, we had the training to create change in the skin, but the tools needed to catch up with our knowledge. Most skincare products delivered little change except to hydrate and smooth the skin's surface. The use of glycolic acid was well on its way, but it still needed to be mainstreamed to be used as a core part of our training.

From Beauty Therapy to Dermal Therapy

Fast forward to 2024, and we have gone from beauty therapy to dermal therapy, and lasers more reminiscent of Star Wars have replaced the sweet-smelling creams.

Ethical Skincare: A New Paradigm

Honestly, I don't remember discussing ethical skincare at college. I was always an animal lover, having grown up on a farm, so perhaps I did question the skincare testing, but this was 1994, and although the topic had been around since the 1960s, it wasn't a central issue for brands or consumers.

Today, gratefully, this has changed; the end consumer is demanding that their skincare not contain ingredients tested on animals. This has been a brilliant campaign by organisations such as PETA.

Environmental Concerns in Skincare

With this dark chapter in our industry faced and, to a certain degree, conquered, we are now faced with another significant environmental problem: the effect our skincare has on the environment, not just the bunnies.

Skincare formulations are being washed into the sea, accumulating in our sea life and killing off delicate ecosystems. But like when we said no to animal testing, this will only stop once we demand skincare companies stop using unnecessary ingredients harmful to our essential natural ecosystems.

If you want to create change, you must find a cosmetic company committed to providing skin-friendly, safe, sustainable, and free from ingredients that negatively impact skin health or the environment.

Ingredients to Avoid

The ingredients that we need to avoid are as follows:

  • Mineral Oil
  • Parabens
  • Microplastics
  • PEG's
  • Cyclic Silicones
  • Phthalates

These ingredients have no benefit to the skin and are non-renewable and detrimental to our environment. Whilst most of them are not yet banned from being used, this regulation often takes time to catch up with the science. Be the first to say no to any ingredient that is harmful to the world we live in. When you say no, your clients will listen; with this, skincare companies are forced to change.

Effective and Eco-Conscious Alternatives

Please don't fear that removing these ingredients affects skincare performance. Eco-conscious skincare companies replace these ingredients with natural oils, solubilizes, and thickeners instead of petroleum ones. These ingredients are very effective; they sustainably care for the skin and reinforce its protective barrier without negatively impacting the environment.

The Issue with Phthalates

One ingredient currently being discussed is Phthalates, which are used as softeners to enhance the texture of products. They are in skincare formulas but are hormone-active chemicals that may negatively affect developmental processes in growing organisms. Think about that one!

The Unregulated Term "Clean Beauty"

However, remember that the term "Clean Beauty", often used to refer to brands' consciousness of what ingredients they use that negatively affect the environment, is not regulated. So, it is up to you to ensure the brand you are researching is telling the truth.

Avoiding Misleading Marketing

Skincare companies can be naughty, hiding behind wording and marketing jargon that confuses you. But it is simple: either your brand does NOT contain ANY of the ingredients I mentioned in the list above, and it is considered CLEAN, or it does contain one or all of them, and it is NOT clean. There are no shades of clean regarding skincare formulas. "Sort of clean" doesn't count. It is like being "sort of vegan".

A simple way to guarantee clean formulas is to double-check the INCI list on the product or box it comes in. Remember, ingredient lists cannot lie; marketing pamphlets often spin the story skincare companies want you to believe.

Make Your Voice Heard

I hope this has got you thinking about our industry's effect on the environment. If it has, then my job is done. Now, shout this out to the world and get others on board. Remember that as one person, we have a voice; as many, we have an army.

Will Fennell is a trainer for BIODROGA.

1800 252 253

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