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Conscious Skincare - Beauty with Integrity

June 2021

The beauty industry often leaves an ugly footprint on the planet with a wide range of devastating impacts such as the:

  • generation of millions of tonnes of plastic waste (the WEF predicts that by 2050 there will be more plastic than fish in the world's oceans);
  • generation of fossil fuel related emissions (global mean temperatures will continue to rise over the 21st century if greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions continue unabated); and
  • testing of products on animals (the EU has forbidden it outright since 2013 but it still goes on elsewhere. Cruelty Free International estimates that at least 192.1 million animals were used for scientific purposes worldwide in 2015).  

Thankfully, however, companies large and small are stepping up their game around the urgent need for sustainable development which is rapidly evolving from mere rhetoric to stark, cold reality.  With climate change a global emergency (“In 2050, the world could look back and see the pandemic as little more than a blip in a long and mostly futile effort to stave off global warming” – Nature April 2020) choices are radically shifting towards more ethical and ‘conscious’ brands, that share a sense of responsibility towards the planet.

As we move into the 2020s we can expect to see a tidal wave of conscious beauty and skincare products that reflect growing consumer demand for high quality natural ingredients that not only work but are also responsibly and sustainably sourced.  In a nutshell, conscious skincare means caring not only about the type of ingredients that you put on your skin but also how and where those ingredients were sourced and processed. From fairtrade and organic, to cruelty free and vegan, more and more consumers are seeking effective products that are also aligned with their social and environmental values. 

The recently published Euromonitor report Beauty and Personal Care in Ireland (Jun 2020) noted that growth in the sector in 2019 was driven by a growing interest in natural and organic skincare products and predicts that premium beauty products will boost growth going forward as Irish consumers continue to invest in higher quality, natural ingredients.

For those seeking to swap their synthetic cosmetics in favour of all-natural alternatives the growing popularity of clean, green skincare is hard to ignore.  As consumers favour pure and authentic natural ingredients uncompromised by synthetic additives, fillers, contaminants and unethical production and environmental practices, the trend towards conscious skincare is likely to gather even greater    momentum in 2021.

As more businesses step up to the sustainability plate by prioritising the responsible sourcing of ingredients, implementing environmentally friendly production practices and actively incentivising the 3 R's of Reduce, Reuse and Recycle, the wet muddy footprint currently left by the beauty industry will be significantly reduced.

 What can you do?

  • An eco-audit of your skincare routine to see how many products you buy and how much waste is produced as a result.
  • Try switching to brands that offer to refill and reuse containers at a significant discount.
  • Avoid non-biodegradable products such as some wet cleansing wipes.
  • The Nature Conservatory’s carbon calculator (nature.org) helps you determine your footprint and offers tips on what you can do to decrease it.
  • Reduce, Reuse, Recyle.
  • Check labels for cruelty free symbols.