How to Shop Beauty Brands Sustainably

Our beauty routines have more of an environmental impact than we might think. Here are a few ways to keep sustainability in mind when shopping for your go-to products.
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Antonia Wesseloh photographed by Dirk Messner for L’OFFICIEL Ukraine July 2020.

When shopping for beauty products, we are often drawn in by flashy packaging and luxurious labels—but we rarely consider about how those frivolous details negatively affect the world around us. It is no secret that the beauty and fashion realms have contributed to major environmental devastation. Unsustainable practices have been at the forefront of these industries for decades, and they are just now attempting to change their ways.

In the wake of this collective interest in environmentalism, our shopping habits have become conscious of ethical sourcing, sustainability, and more. However, our beauty routines are often exempt from this thoughtful process. We seldom recognize that the products we use daily have an impact, too. The beauty industry produces over 120 billion units of packaging a year, and that doesn't even take into account the need for shipping, an industry that releases over one billion tons of CO2 into the atmosphere annually. Scary right? That's why L'OFFICIEL put together this guide to sustainable shopping within the context of beauty for Earth Month and the everyday. Your regimen can do more help than hurt if you choose your products wisely.


Zero-Packaging Product 

Going packaging-free is an easy way to shop with the environment in mind. Packaging is not only the most wasteful component of the beauty industry, it is also connected with numerous other industries that hurt the environment via pollution and CO2 emission. Online shopping platforms like Package Free and Public Goods are committed to offering sustainable alternatives for products that require unessential materials. They offer a wide array of beauty products that are beneficial for you—and the earth. 


Refilling and Recycling Programs

Many luxury makeup and skincare brands such as  Tata Harper, Dior, Ilia Beauty, Noble Panacea, and Emma Lewisham, offer refillable products that ensure reduced packaging production. Instead of throwing away a perfectly good lipstick bullet or moisturizer container, you can simply order a refill and reuse the same vessel. Some brands also have recyling systems where you can send back your used container and they'll sanitize and find a way to recycle it, whether by refilling it for a future purchase or using the material for a new use. These days, most brands utilize chic, durable packaging, so why not make it last forever? 


Waste-Free Brands

There are many beauty brands out there that take pride in their minuscule environmental footprint. From shampoo  and conditioner in the form of a bar of soap to utilizing 100 perecent recyclable materials, brands are making the conscious effort to go waste-free. This goes for beauty tools too, as many companies have put out their own renditions of reusable cotton pads—which are essential in many daily regimens and contribute a lot of unnecessary waste. Well-known makeup brands such as RMS Beauty, Kjaer Weis, and Noto Botanics have created both eco-friendly  formulas and sustainable packaging in order to garner the lable of "waste-free."


Small Batch Production

Keeping an eye out for small batch production is an easy way to support smaller businesses  and cultivate a green beauty routine. Products that are released in small batches typically mean they are ethically sourced, hand-made, and created consciously. The e-commerce platform Etsy is a excellent place to browse items that have been produced in small batches. From body scrubs to natural perfumes shopping off the beaten path is bound to land you somewhere worthwhile. Additionally, many small brands such as the Colorado-based apothecary, Fig and Yarrow, provide an online buying option for its sustainable products and materials.


Certified Brands 

If it's sustainable sourcing that you are concerned about, look for accredited brands that meet environmental or ethical standards. For example, when shopping Pai's new face oil, you can be assured that its ingredients are organic, vegan, and cruelty-free thanks to the brand's Soil Association Cosmos Natural certification, Vegan Society accreditation, and Cruelty Free International Leaping Bunny certification. Oftentimes, brands that are transparent about sourcing are also mindful when it comes to other areas of production, like Higr, a lipstick brand that has PETA certified 100 percent vegan and cruelty-free products that is also committed to being carbon neutral, from its manufacturing all the way to its shipping. Weleda, Kora Organics, and some of the aformentioned labels are other brands leading the way with official stamps of eco-friendly approval.



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