My account of creating a greener life.

Clean Beauty: Is It Any Greener?

I have been noticing a movement towards Clean Beauty all over the internet. Clean beauty boasts its lack of harmful chemicals and its dedication to putting only natural, safe ingredients on your skin. That’s certainly a mission I can get behind. As with any trend, I wondered to myself, is this any better for the environment?

Testing Out Clean Beauty

My skincare routine consists of maybe 3 products. I usually just buy things as I run out from CVS. Part of me wishes I cared more about skincare products, but I frankly I can’t really afford to own more products–let alone much nicer ones. I try my best to buy products from eco-conscious companies whenever I can.

Recently, the company Beauty Counter had a sale on their products, so I took the plunge for a few “clean beauty” items. I had run low on foundation and moisturizer, so I ordered their fancy-sounding SPF-enhanced primer and their best-selling moisturizer.

I’m no expert on skincare products, so I will not even attempt to review how these work. I will say that they smell wonderful and feel nicer on my skin than the drug store products I had bought in the past. The moisturizer in particular is impressive – it somehow adapts to your skin and moisturizes accordingly.

Are Beauty Counter Products Eco-Friendly?

Packaging

The company definitely has promise. The fact that Beauty Counter does all its sales online means many packages get shipped across the country. Unlike Amazon, Beauty Counter actually packed my items into an appropriately sized box. That made me think they avoid using more cardboard than necessary.

They include a label in fairly large print on the box that reminds consumers to recycle. I always appreciate that. From up on my high horse, I usually assume that everyone recycles their cardboard boxes. But… statistics I’ve read online indicate that most consumers actually do not recycle their cardboard. Every little reminder helps.

Ingredients

Beauty Counter claims that 80% of their ingredients come from natural or plant-derived sources. Their website also says that they do their best to source organic and sustainable ingredients. Neither of those descriptions do much to convince me of whether they are environmentally friendly, but I appreciate it’s at least a component of their business they’ve given thought to.

However, they do have a low “chemical footprint” (a similar concept to a carbon footprint, though less directly related to climate change). Reducing chemical inputs is certainly a good step towards a greener business model.

Business Model

I then did something that I assume most consumers do not – download their Social & Environmental Responsibility Report. I read the whole thing and will share some of the highlights:

  1. They are a certified B Corporation. This means they have passed a set of guidelines requiring a high level of social and environmental responsibility.
  2. They source organic ingredients whenever possible and use Global Organic Textile Standard materials for their non-beauty merchandise.
  3. They are working to become an industry leader in using only sustainably sourced palm oil.
  4. Their makeup remover wipes are made 100% from wood pulp cellulose, so they biodegrade completely in a home compost bin.
  5. Using cradle-to-grave life cycle analysis, they select packaging with the lowest possible impact on the environment and have also sponsored research to develop even better packaging!
  6. They have selected easily recyclable materials for most (and almost all) of their packaging.
  7. They buy significant carbon offsets and also work to offset their water footprint.

My Takeaway

I am very impressed with their commitment to the environment! In this case, clean beauty is greener, so I’m happy that Beauty Counter is growing so rapidly in popularity. I plan to keep buying products from them as I need them. I hope more companies follow suit and adopt this approach to business!

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