Saturday 23 May 2020

Some views on cruelty free brands, clean beauty and how to be a bit more eco-friendly with your routine


Today I will be sharing an essay that I seem to have written on my opinions on cruelty free makeup, eco-friendly makeup and the “clean beauty” revolution. Remember, this is all my opinion (except for the science.....because that’s a fact) and I encourage healthy and kind debate but will not tolerate any kind of ugly words because of someone’s opinion.

Cruelty free makeup

This is a difficult one because technically anything you buy in the EU isn’t allowed to be tested on animals and anything made in mainland China doesn’t need to be tested so technically, most brands are cruelty free in that sense. The big issue comes when you look into brands that make stuff in other countries and then sell in China. This is because China still has a law that requires animal testing of certain items that are imported into the country. The other big issue is when you look at parent companies. For example - Urban Decay is cruelty free but is owned by L’Oréal who isn’t. A lot of people say that buying from cruelty free brands from big parents companies “sends a message” but realistically, a lot of people still buy other L’Oréal brands regardless of if they are part of the cruelty free range or not (Lancôme, YSL, L’Oréal makeup etc) and money is money to these companies (and to most people really!) I personally try to support more cruelty free brands but, as a makeup and skincare junkie, I also own things from brands who do sell in China so I will never judge people for their choices! 

I worked for bareMinerals for 7 years and could never really see myself working for any other brand as bMins had good ethics and I genuinely loved the products and believed in their skincare/makeup hybrid. That being said, I’m now a beauty specialist with Boots and so I can advise on all brands. I LOVE this job because it gives me the freedom to really help people with what will work best for them but also gives me the freedom to play with brighter colours etc. This doesn’t mean I’m compromising on my ethics because I moved to a job where I can help inform all customers with their choices if they want me too! My regular customers who have followed me from store to store trust me to give them the best advice based on what they want because I won’t lie to them about products and their performance etc. I get a lot of people asking about cruelty free makeup now and the discussion comes up about parent companies. A lot of people don’t know the brands that are owned by the biggest groups of Estée Lauder, L’Oréal, Shiseido and LVMH. These lists are easy enough to find on the internet but people hear that KVD Vegan Beauty is cruelty free and brag about owning it.....but they are owned by Kendo, who are owned by LVMH who are arguably one of the biggest importers into China and therefore test on animals “when required by law” Ok so KVD isn’t sold in China....but the money is still lining the LVMH the question you have to ask yourself is, how far do you personally want to go down the rabbit hole? As I said, there is no judgement for me at all (unless you actively only by makeup that is tested solely on animals.....then there is a lot of judgement from me! 😂) it’s personal for everyone!

Estée Lauder own - Lauder, Tom Ford, Clinique, Too Faced, Becca, Origins, Glamglow, Aveda, Bumble and Bumble, Smashbox, Dr Jart+, Jo Malone, Bobbi Brown, Mac and more!

L’Oreal own - L’Oréal (obviously...), Urban Decay, YSL, Lancôme, Kiehls, IT Cosmetics, NYX, Decleor, Armani Beauty, Essie, CeraVe, maybelline, Garnier and more!

LVMH own - Dior, Benefit, Fenty Beauty, Marc Jacobs Beauty, KVD Vegan Beauty, Givenchy, Guerlain, Fresh and more!

This only three of the top brands for (mostly) premium makeup and skincare.

A few of my favourite brands that are more eco friendly: (not to be confused with “clean beauty” as this is a relatively new phrase and....I’ll be honest, this phrase kind of annoys me....I’ll talk about this in a moment!)

ByBi - Everyone I know knows I love this brand and I have met the founders a few times and basically had to try not to fan girl too much! They only sell skincare at the moment but I honestly love their stuff and really love the brand ethics too. They are 100% cruelty free, vegan and use 100% natural ingredients. Their range is limited as they are a fairly new company but they have a recycling program and their tubes are made of sugarcane and can be recycled or put onto your compost! They also have a recycling programme for your empty glass bottles so you can send them back and they will be sterilised to be reused. The writing on the packaging is made from vegetable ink as well! 

Bleach London - I dye my hair a LOT so to find a brand that is good and also committed to cutting down on plastic waste is great! They do a reusable bowl and no longer include plastic bowls in every pack because of this. Their bottles are all made from recycled plastic and can also be recycled.

Aveda - I don’t use Aveda much but my Mum loves their foot cream in particular. They do a lot of charity work and raise money in all their stores for their water charity as well as doing good for Earth month too. Most of their products are in recycled bottles and can then be recycled after use and their hair care is already Vegan they aim to have everything they do be 100% Vegan by 2021.

The Body Shop - Who didn’t love The Body Shop when they were a kid?? Bath pearls were life! Since being sold from L’Oréal a few years ago, The Body Shop has started to go back to their roots again. You can take old bottles back to store so they can be recycled. They are getting back into doing more for the environment and focus on making sure workers across the globe for them get fair pay and fair living conditions.

Lush - Who hasn’t had a Lush bath bomb?? The glitter they use in these is perfectly safe and biodegradable. They do a lot of packaging free products now - they launched “naked” body washes a few years ago which are basically solid washes with no bottle - great idea....but I’m not sure how a lot of people are able to store them? Again, they have a recycling programme where when you take back 5 clean, empty lush pots (and various other Lush items) you get a free face mask and these pots will be broken down and remoulded to form “new” pots!

L’occtaine - They cut packaging thickness and reduced plastic consumption by a lot. They’ve been recycling since the mid-90s ad have set up a scheme where you can take their packaging back to be recycled.....and also other brands stuff too! So you could take your Chanel perfume bottle to be recycled there! They also do refills for a lot of their popular products and sustainably source as many of their ingredients as possible.

Milk Makeup - A 100% vegan makeup and skincare brand that is eco-conscious. They do a fairly good range of products and also sell little trial kits most of the time so you can easily try stuff without the fear of spending lots of money (although they are reasonably priced anyway. Also their trial sizes still contain a generous amount of product!) See their FAQs here.

White Rabbit Skincare - Passionate about protecting the environment and reducing their carbon footprint, White Rabbit aim to be 100% plastic free as soon as possible - they only have plastic for their spray toner and a plastic pump on a cleanser, however they are optional when you purchase these items and they encourage you to reuse your old spray/pump when you can! They also have a great recycling incentive, are cruelty free and vegan too! There’s even a “going green” bit on their site that shows how they are trying to improve their carbon footprint and an ingredients explanation list too!

There is a fab article by Sali Hughes on this subject with more brands and more info.

A lot of brands have started to trial recycling programmes in the US for example bareMinerals do a recycling programme in the US where you can take back empty bottles/pots from them and other brands and get discount but it hasn’t reached us yet, possibly because we don’t have as many boutiques as America? Might be difficult to do in department stores, although John Lewis had just introduced a similar scheme in their stores before lockdown. I think it’s difficult for makeup brands to be particularly “eco friendly” other than using recycled plastic in their packaging and making sure said plastic can be recycled after. What are your thoughts on this?

The “clean beauty” movement

Ok, this is where my science background comes in handy and also makes me mad at companies who tout this whole “clean beauty” thing SO intensely - there’s no problem being proud to be eco-friendly etc but brands that really shove it down your throat...well..... People see the word clean and automatically think it’s going to be good for them. This is NOT the case necessarily. When I’m at work and customers say things like “oh I want it to be chemical free” it takes all my will power to not face palm and just walk away. EVERYTHING IS A CHEMICAL!!! Chemicals do not = death. I mean, I guess they technically do know....everything is a chemical and we do die so maybe it is the chemicals fault??? 

Anyway, brands that basically make a big deal about what they DON’T have in them tend to rely on people not questioning what they DO have in them. Yes, I don’t want loads of bad ingredients in my skincare or makeup, but also, I want to know what’s in it and what it’s going to do. 

A lot of brands do the clever advertising bit and highlight the “nasty of the week.” Some examples of this are:

 “No Mineral Oil!” - which is actually used in lot of baby lotions and isn’t comedogenic (pore clogging) like people claim it is (it’s a high grade form in cosmetics and skincare and highly refined) It’s actually really good if you have lashes that fall out a lot as it really helps to condition them. On the note of chemicals being comedogenic or non-comedogenic - there is no accurate test for this at the moment and in fact the final product would have to be tested to see how the ingredients worked together. 

“No Parabens!” UGH. Parabens are a preservative. They’ve not been proven to be inherently bad for people and are not cancer causing chemicals. There are some that have been banned by the EU after extensive testing but some are perfectly fine to be used in makeup, perfume and skincare. A lot of brands who don’t use parabens use a product called Phenoxyethanol which, actually can cause more issues then some you know.....there’s that..... 

“No Phthalates!” - I mean, there is a studied ‘safe’ level for would have to stick to these and your body filters them out anyway? Studies are still fairly new (last 10 years or so) but so far they show no adverse effect in humans at the acceptable levels. Plus your formula might be phthalate free, but if you use plastics packaging or any plastic in your production line, you’ll have phthalates somewhere in your brand. 

Now, I am no way saying that you should ignore these things and that it doesn’t matter what is in your skincare or makeup because of course you should look into what is in the product that is going to be put onto your skin/possibly absorbed into your body. What I am saying is, don’t be blinded by brands that tell you what ISN’T in their product and know that chemicals aren’t all bad for you. (I often point out that brands don’t advertise that they don’t have lead in their lipsticks because the research on this is sound and it is banned for cosmetics (rightfully so!) but these products that some brands DON’T have in them aren’t banned? Which says something I think.) Be wary of brands that use a “nice” name to make them sound better too. Marketing is an amazing thing to look into. The brand Simple sells so much because people see it’s name and think “oh, it must have less ingredients in it!” and I don’t blame people for thinking this either as I definitely did when I first got into skincare at Uni! Brought a cleanser, toner and moisturiser from them....had a horrible reaction to them within 3 days. Lovely. Even a.....simple....product in their range - their micellar water claims “kind to skin” in it’s name. Well.....obviously. It’s a bloody micellar’s designed to be gentle and “kind” to skin? Theirs has 15 ingredients, which sounds great but Bioderma sensibo micellar water (which I like and haven’t found a better alternative yet) has 10. So why the 5 extra clearly unnecessary ingredients Simple?? Because they sure as hell aren’t added skincare ingredients from what I can see.... Now, this isn’t just against one brand, it happens across the board and we ALL fall for it because that is what marketing and advertising is for. To suck us in. And boy do I fall for it all the damn time and, most likely, will continue to do for the rest of my life because I’m a sucker for some good marketing!

My final note on “clean beauty” - Organic and Natural doesn’t = good. Heroin can be organic and is technically “natural” but its’s really not good for you (so I’ve read anyway!!) I have quite sensitive skin and have had quite bad allergic reactions to organic or natural skincare and makeup. I’ve also reacted to more “traditional” makeup’s got nothing to do with how natural or not the product is, my skin just HATES some things. I’m allergic to can be 100% organic and is, obviously, natural.....if I put it on my face, it’ll make my skin peel.....and if I eat it I will always feel like I might be dying no matter how “organic” it is (which is sad times because I love pineapple so so much!) Also organic stuff can actually sometimes leave more of a carbon footprint than some GMO stuff too, so there’s that too. Basically, makeup and skincare is an absolute minefield. I recommend doing your own research or asking a nerd like me for help if you need to, figuring out what is the most important thing to you and, ultimately, do what YOU want to not what marketing tells you to do.

Little things you can do to be more eco-friendly with beauty!

Reusable bamboo “cotton” pads! I love these. It’s crazy how many cotton pads (that come in a plastic bag) I used to use! Whereas now, I can reuse one for a few nights if I’m feeling lazy and then just gather my used ones and pop them in the wash and they are clean and ready to go again. I have one set of 15 but will buy another set soon just so I have extras for when I forget to put them in the wash (I put them in the mesh bag they come with to wash them and then forget to take the mesh bag to the machine when I do the washing quite frequently!!)

Invest in some flannels and a good cleanser - Seriously, wash your face and take your makeup off at the sink in the evening. I use a cleansing balm or oil to take off my makeup - I love to watch my makeup LITERALLY melt away! Then I use my flannel to take that off and then I do a double cleanse with something more targeted depending on how my skin is feeling. This a) is more eco-friendly than using more cotton pads or, heaven forbid, face wipes (stop using these immediately. They are terrible not just for the environment but also for your skin.) and b) better for your skin in the longer run. I like a softer flannel so I’m not rubbing my face harshly or tugging too much.

Look at the packaging and see if you can recycle it easily. Also look into the aforementioned recycling schemes offered by various shops too.

Bamboo cotton buds are much better alternative to plastic ones as most can just be put on the compost heap if you have one at home or can be recycled with food waste. If you don’t have access to either of these things, then you can sleep safe knowing that, by throwing them away into normal rubbish, they will decompose quickly and safely!

Buy pots or tubes of face masks instead of sheet ones. Sheet masks are often not biodegradable, but even when they are you can bet that the packaging ins’t. I like a pot mask as I can also just use it as a treatment for a small area of my face instead of all over as well.

I got all my reusable/eco friendly stuff on amazon from reputable sellers but you can get them direct as well. A quick google search will find all these items for you!

In conclusion, I work in one of the most wasteful industries in the world I think and this is how I try to do my little bit to make the world a bit better. I will never judge anyone for their views on cruelty free etc and I applaud anyone who makes just little changes in their makeup or skincare routines. Remember, everyone is entitled to an opinion and yours may differ from mine and that is completely fine! Just be kind to others for their opinions on this matter.

Hope you enjoyed my essay!!

Have you got any tips or tricks to be more eco-friendly in your beauty routine? 

Until next time, 

1 comment:

  1. Wow, encyclopedic knowledge. How can you know so much. Really fab!


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