One of the most searched terms on Google is 'natural skincare'. Why? Because most of us have been on a journey of what I'd like to call 'consumer awakening'. More and more people are realising that their actions, particularly what they buy and who they buy from matters.
'Green Washing' is a term that calls out brands who've begun marketing their products as eco-friendly when they're anything but. It's a tricky time to be a customer who cares but it's not impossible. I'd like to give you some simple tips on how you can understand the most important bits - no-one is perfect but small improvements do add up.
1. Chemicals are everywhere
This isn't a fear-mongering statement, it's just scientifically supported fact. Everything in our universe is made up of chemicals and most chemicals aren't inherently 'bad' or 'good'. Example; water (aqua on the back of your product) is a chemical. One part hydrogen and two parts oxygen. You're made up of about 60% water, but if you drink too much water it can make you sick. It's not 'bad' or 'good', it's just water and it is a chemical.
Tip: Don't buy-in to the marketing hype of demonising chemicals - it doesn't make any sense. Just learn how to read the back of your products so you understand which chemicals are inside your skincare.
2. Be realistic and kind to yourself
Some skincare actually can't be kept in glass or cardboard due to the ingredients degrading or safety issues (ie. items you use in the shower) so having a few products that are in plastic is okay too. Make sure it's definitely able to be recycled or reused, some companies even go as far as making their plastic from old plastic (called rPET).
How do you know if it can be recycled? Well you'll have to go to your local council website to search which levels of plastic it can process. Unfortunately not all councils have facilities that can recycle all levels. Then make sure you check the back or bottom of the product you want to buy for a number inside a triangle - that tells you which type of plastic it is.
Main City Recycling Centres in New Zealand:
3. Ingredients you don't need or want in your skincare
We could write a whole book on the types of ingredients you should be avoiding but here is a list of the key ones. Feel free to do some consumer research on them too. Note: Most of us aren't allergic or even intolerant to perfumes - do a skin patch test before you use a new product and go from there. Here's a great guide for more info.
- Parabens (Methyl, Butyl, Ethyl, Propyl)
- PEG (Polyethylene Glycol),
- Sodium Lauryl Sulphate (SLS) & Sodium Laureth Sulphate (SLES)
- Synthetic Fragrances
- DEA, MEA, TEA
- Mineral Oil
4. Keep it simple
Bees Brilliance is a little unique for a skincare brand, we have been actively working to minimise the amount of products we create. Most companies bring out products which follow the latest skincare trends but we're dedicated to be your Little Black Dress in your skincare wardrobe. Creating high-quality products that keep your routine simple and effective is our main priority.
Most people only need a few skincare products for everyday use;
Don't get us wrong, masks and other treatments are great to treat your skin once a week or so. Just remember that finding a solid routine of the products you truly love is best route for both the planet and your skin.
It's easy to be too hard on yourself and set yourself up to an impossible standard. Guilt has been the backbone of the majority of beauty/skincare marketing campaigns for decades now. You are who you are, try and make any changes slowly - throwing out all of your old skincare is just sending a bunch of bottles to landfill.
Instead do some research into the companies you want to support, see if their values align with yours. Purchase locally and sustainably when you can.
Having choices is actually a gigantic privilege even if it can sometimes feel overwhelming. Try to enjoy the journey.