The skin is the largest organ in the human body, and the benefits of taking good care of it aren’t lost on consumers. The skincare industry pulled in an estimated $145.3 billion in 2020, and that number is set to expand to $185.5 billion by 2027. But nearly just as important as skincare is to consumers is sustainable skincare, given that growing numbers of consumers are opting for products they can trust won’t harm their bodies or the environment.
What constitutes as “sustainable” or “clean” skincare is vague — there’s no one all-encompassing definition as to what sustainable skincare really means. But typically, it’s largely agreed upon that sustainable skincare products use environmentally-friendly formulations, production practices, and/or packaging methods, while avoiding certain ingredients known to harm the environment.
In the U.S., the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) is responsible for ensuring the safety of all products that have to do with food, drugs, and cosmetics. The agency has existed for about 80 years, but in that time, it’s only banned 11 ingredients for use in cosmetics. By comparison, the European Union has banned 1,328 chemicals that are known or expected to be hazardous to human health. Given the lack of regulation, it’s largely up to individual players in the skincare game to abide by sustainability standards, which is why sustainable skincare brands will always be your best bet.
Sustainability in skincare is important for a lot of reasons, one of them being that it minimizes toxic runoff that ends up in our waterways.
Sustainable Skincare: Better For Your Body And The Earth
When we use products like face wash, lotion, perfume, and anything else that will eventually be washed off in the shower and down the drain, we send that runoff straight into our oceans. If those products are formulated with eco-unfriendly ingredients (like parabens, phthalates, and microbeads, to name a few), they end up in our oceans and contribute to the degradation of our marine ecosystems.
It’s also important to consider the environmental implications of skincare packaging. Many companies use it in excess as a way to heighten the aura of luxury in their products, but that amounts to tons of plastic — and it eventually ends up in landfill. Sustainable skincare products, on the other hand, aim to reduce that environmental impact by swapping out plastic packaging for greener alternatives.
Take The Rebrand, for example. The Bay Area-based company creates skincare products made with renewably-sourced ingredients for all ages, genders, and skin types. Better yet, they use materials like 100% recyclable glass bottles, non-GMO tree pulp, and aluminum to package their products in. They also ship plastic-free by using recycled paper stuffing and shipping boxes made of 100% recycled cardboard.
Other skincare companies, like Cocokind, are also making headway in their sustainability efforts. Using minimal blends of organic, fair trade, and natural ingredients, the brand offers facial cleansers, toners, and masks worthy of gracing an environmentalist’s bathroom shelf. Versed is also on the list of trailblazing sustainable skincare brands, using recyclable and post-consumer recycled packaging to fuel-efficient shipping methods. It also formulates its products following European Union standards, which means none of those 1,328 banned chemicals make it into their products.
If you’re ready to take the plunge into sustainable skincare, check out some of these other brands to keep on your radar:
- Codex Beauty
- Tata Harper
- True Botanicals
- Fat and the Moon
- Éthique Skin and Body Care
- Andrea’s Organic Market