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5 Takeaways From Vogue Business: The Cleaning up Beauty Panel

“Beauty promises have gotten more complicated — not only do products vow to hydrate or solve acne issues, many of them now claim to be cruelty free, vegan, water-free or sustainable — and retailers also all have different standards for what sustainable beauty means. The panel will cover green chemistry, eco design claims and emerging certifications to find out how sustainable the beauty industry is.” (panel description)

“Clean beauty” and what qualifies a brand as sustainable and all-natural has become a somewhat confusing and green-washed concept, especially as false information circulates in the beauty world and brands continue to self-regulate. To clear up common misconceptions and confusion surrounding clean beauty qualifications, such as transparency issues, false advertising, and what it truly means to be a sustainable brand, Kati Chitrakorn, retail and marketing editor at Vogue Business, gathered insight from four different sustainability geniuses who hold unique perspectives in the industry.

The panel included Dr. Greg Altman, co-founder and CEO of Evolved By Nature, Sarah Lee and Christine Chang, co-founders and co-CEOs at Glow Recipe, and Mia Davis vice president of sustainability and impact at Credo Beauty. The 50 minute webinar gave some great insider information, but a few things stood out to us the most.

Our 5 Key Takeaways About Sustainability and the Beauty Industry

  • According to Dr. Greg Altman, if we can replace silicone, acrolein, petrolatum and mineral oil in all beauty products, it will be a gamechanger. We can make a huge impact on decreasing both CO2 emissions and toxic environmental releases made by the beauty industry. Only four ingredients: that’s all it takes to make a significant impact in reducing the damage.
  • Mini cosmetic packets (the small rectangle plastics for sampling products) seem small and insignificant. But there are actually 122 billion packets made in the cosmetic industry and these are impossible to recycle.
  • Sample packets are a secret killer that we need to avoid.Less than 10% of 120 billion cosmetic packaging produced can actually be recycled.
  • Some ingredients are safe on skin, but production and waste of the ingredients can be toxic to the environment. Sustainability runs deeper than organic and cruelty-free ingredients that are safe for the skin: we need to keep environmental factors in mind—if we are caring so much about what we are putting on our skin, we should care about the environment we are living in as well.
  • The 1938 Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act allows tons of hidden toxic ingredients to pass through safety certifications. These toxins are unknowingly found in trace ingredients and proprietary blends. There has even been carcinogens in baby shampoo! Basically, the FDA sucks. Most products don’t have to list the origins of ingredients which are sometimes toxic to both the human body and the environment. For the most part, beauty brands regulate themselves. So it is important to look for stamps of approval from outside sustainability sources that can support a brand’s claim for clean.

Whether or not you are a sustainable beauty guru or just beginning your exploration into the clean beauty world, these are some great tidbits to keep in mind when practicing mindful beauty shopping. Doing research is important to bypass misinformation and clean beauty myths, so the more we know, the better!

–Delilah Eby

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