Kaldary’s question…Are there any eco friendly beauty products that exist? And I guess by eco friendly I mean biodegradablity, packaging, production, and farming. I tried to do a Google search on this and I got a ton of fear mongering about how all man made products are going to kill me. (I roll my eyes when I see “chemical free” claims) I wasn’t able to find the info that I was looking for. So, do eco friendly beauty products exist or is it pointless to look for such things? Is there an eco friendly company out there or is it all just fraud? I don’t care if the materials are natural or synthetic.
The Beauty Brains response:
This is one of those unanswerable questions because not everyone can agree on what is really eco safe (aka green/natural/organic/etc. really means.)
Green or greenwashed
It’s difficult to weed out the green from the greenwashing when it comes to cosmetic formulations. Here are a few examples to explain what we mean.
On one hand, you may think you’re doing a good thing for your body by not using paraben-containing products (even though the scientific data to date says parabens are safe.) But on the other hand you may be opening yourself to infection from products that become contaminated because they’re preservative system isn’t adequately robust.
Then there’s the issue of where a company gets its power. Companies like Aveda use a certain percentage of wind sourced power rather than using “dirty coal” or oil. That’s good. But their shampoos contain ingredients like lauramidopropyl betaine, cocamidopropylamine oxide, steramidopropyl dimethylamine, and polyquartenium-4. Those sound more like synthetic chemicals than eco-safe ingredients, don’t they? Maybe that’s not good, depending on your definition.
What about packaging? Companies like Cargo that focus on eco-safe packaging. They use bottles made from plastic that is corn derived instead of petroleum derived. Plus, at one time and I’m not sure if they still do this, but they used to sell lipsticks and packaging with plant seeds embedded in it. The idea being I guess that as these packages made their way back could be biodegrade it and would sprout flowers. Is eco-safe packaging more important that what goes inside the bottles?
Use the GRI report
So as you can see, determining what’s really ec0-safe can be tough because it depends to some degree on the eye of the beholder. As you’re deciding which eco-safe parameters are important to YOU, I suggest you take a look at the green ratings that we discussed in this post on “How to tell if a beauty company is really green.” It provides a multidimensional look at the ecological footprints of cosmetic companies including details on Raw Materials, Water sources (including amount recycled), Biodiversity (how well they protect the ecosystem), Greenhouse gas emission (CO2 and ozone depleting substances), and Chemical waste (total amount as well as initiatives to mitigate environmental effects).
You could read through the hundreds of pages of this report to try and find an assessment of your favorites cosmetic company (at least the ones who filed this report) and then decide who you’d like to purchase products from. Sadly most people won’t go true all this trouble.
Image credit: http://pixabay.com/