Obsession, infatuation, preoccupation — call it what you will; I feel very passionately about makeup. Makeup is one of my favorite art forms. It varies by age, culture, and personal taste. It can be bold and bright or mysterious and demure. It can set your mood, tell a story, or transform you into someone else entirely. It has a power like nothing else.
Makeup is my favorite hobby. Though I’ve been experimenting with it for nearly 20 years, I only recently decided to go cruelty free. I got to the point where I simply couldn’t stomach the idea of an animal being harmed to make my newest tube of mascara. So, I committed to buying products from companies that don’t engage in any animal testing.
As I arduously worked to replace every non-cruelty free product I owned, I started to think about makeup on a deeper level. What if I could do more than just go cruelty free? What if I could take my makeup game up to eleven?
What if I went green?
What Is Green Makeup?
Apparently, everyone and their dog has a different opinion of what makes makeup “green”. Shades of sustainability? Absolutely!
Some consider the ingredients to be the defining line. Jessa Blades, a professional green makeup artist from New York spells out her idea of green as:
Cosmetics that don’t have any chemical emulsifiers, binders, synthetics, fillers, or paraben preservatives and that use botanicals and minerals”
For Kayla Fioravanti, an organic formulator and founder of von Natur and Essential Wholesale Labs, even that’s not enough. To be green, makeup must be organic — and even mineral makeup isn’t safe.
No one can guarantee that minerals haven’t been exposed to chemicals while they’ve been in the earth for thousands of years.”
The “C” Word
This is the point where I have to admit my bias. You see, I’m a hardcore science junkie, and when I see people throw the word chemical around as if it’s the ultimate evil, I tend to get a little….grumpy.
You see, all matter in the universe is made of chemicals. Some are simple, others are complex. Some are organic, and still others synthetic. From the air we breath, to the water we drink, to our bodies themselves — all matter is made of chemicals. To write something off because it contains chemicals is utter nonsense.
Then there’s the natural versus synthetic debate wherein things that occur in nature are painted as better than those that are man-made. There are many naturally occurring chemicals that are deadly to humans — and many synthetic ones that have helped us to live longer, healthier lives. However, each chemical, natural or synthetic, must be observed on a case-by-case basis before one can label it harmful or safe.
Whether chemicals are in food, medicine, or cosmetics, sweeping generalizations do absolutely no good whatsoever.
Green to me
Since I can’t reconcile my idea of green with those who focus on “natural, chemical free” ingredients, I’d prefer to focus on the environmental impact. For me, the definition of green makeup is simply goods that come from companies who take an eco-focused approach to both their products and manufacturing.
There are a number of brands out there that match this philosophy, but I’m going to highlight a few of my favorites.
“We believe there is no responsible alternative to doing business other than through the pursuit of environmental sustainability and this belief guides every decision we make. We find inspiration for doing so in nature and believe that nature is not merely something to be cherished and protected, but also should be emulated as a model of sustainability.”
“Our ingredients—right down to the packaging—are simple, natural, and responsible. We practice what we preach—and we hope to set the example for others to follow. It’s called The Greater Good. And it’s how we’re going to help change the world.”
Burt’s Bees is a zero waste company — they don’t send a single piece of trash to landfills. Each month, their employees volunteer to comb through over 200 recycling, composting, and waste to energy bins, ensuring everything is sorted properly. Furthermore, they’ve worked hard to make their facilities as energy efficient as possible. They use post consumer recycled packaging and source responsibly. Learn more about Burt’s Bees here.
“One of our core principles– still the same as in the early pharmacy days – was to develop products that are friendly to the skin but also to the environment. Today this core principle translates into an ongoing multi-faceted effort to protect the environment and support the community; we strive to do the right thing, and this is what leads every decision we make.”
Korres avoids the use of non-biodegradable ingredients and uses natural instead of chemical solvents in their manufacturing plants. They oversee a no waste operation and run entirely on hydroelectric power. Learn more about Korres here.
“We believe in protecting people, animals and the planet! It’s a company-wide commitment that flows through our products from our hands to yours. We take this commitment to environmental stewardship seriously, and we’re conscious of how our products and business practices interact with the environment.”
LUSH likes to sell their products without packaging — or naked. They also use post-consumer and post-industrial recycled materials that are 100% recyclable, compostable and biodegradable whenever possible. They source responsibly, conserve water, and use local products in order to avoid air shipping. Learn more about LUSH here.
Origins recycles cosmetic packaging from any brand — in fact, they started the beauty industry’s’ first recycling program in 2009. Their packaging is made from post-consumer recycled materials produced by renewable energy sources. Learn more about Origins here.
As my love affair with green makeup grows, so to does my commitment to both animals and the environment. Combining these passions isn’t always easy — it takes a lot of diligence and research — but at the end of the day, I feel better about the products I see sitting on my vanity.
To learn more about the topics I discussed in this article, see the following resources:
- List of Official Cruelty Free Brands
- Manmade or Natural, Tasty or Toxic, They’re All Chemicals
- Get the Facts on Sustainable Packaging
- Recycle Your Personal Care and Beauty Products
Source: Fix.com Blog