When you think of beauty products, sustainability may be the furthest thought from your mind. We get it - at one point in our lives we thought we’d sacrifice almost anything to have clear, glowy skin, including sustainability. However, there has been so much innovation in sustainable beauty over the last few years you no longer have to sacrifice quality for sustainability. That’s a huge win, but with all the progress that’s been made we still have soooooo far to go. In fact, The beauty industry produced ~120 billion units of plastic packaging last year. Whoa! It’s important to note that packaging alone accounts for 40% of total plastic usage. That’s a sh*t ton of plastic packaging ya’ll!
With all of the innovation we’ve seen, it can still be pretty tough to spot a beauty brand that is *actually* sustainable, so here are our quick tips for making sure you’re investing in the real deal, plus we’ve rounded up our favorite products worthy of a spot in our skincare routines.
Great! The product you are using IS natural, BUT is it Sustainable?
Pay attention to how your favorite beauty brands are sourcing their products. This is an important one, because although a beauty brand may claim they use all natural ingredients, the ingredients they use to formulate their products still may not be sustainably sourced. We look for brands who openly talk about how they source ingredients and how much environmental impact they have on the planet. Authenticity and transparency can make all the difference. For example, we love how UpCircle shares exactly how they source the ingredients in their products.
Pay attention to packaging. Look for beauty brands that source their bottles from a domestic manufacturer versus an international one. This will mean your product will have a much smaller carbon footprint. Purchase beauty products packaged in sustainable materials like aluminum and flint glass. Flint glass is one of the purest forms of glass. It requires fewer materials and processes to produce, which effectively cuts down on carbon emissions, waste, and cost to the consumer. Cocokind uses flint glass and other innovative materials to package all of their super effective beauty products.
Make sure you’re checking those eco-credentials, because there is A TON of greenwashing happening in the beauty industry. Truly sustainable brands often aim for a variety of eco-labels: recyclable, sustainably sourced, cruelty-free, but these aren’t regulated. Look for true accreditations like certification from Leaping Bunny, certification for good business practices (like Fair Trade or B-Corp), and organic ingredients. For example, Koko-favorite beauty brand Yellow Beauty has an ECOCERT accreditation.
Figure out what’s important to you. Sustainable beauty can be extremely hard to navigate because it can mean so many different things. Generally speaking, companies using environmentally-friendly formulations, production practices and/or packaging methods are considered a sustainable brand. But as eco-warriors, we know that just because you package your products in sustainable materials doesn’t mean you source ingredients sustainably, or even that you implement ethical business practices. Maybe you purchase from brands that champion ethical business practices and responsible packaging, or your focus is on sustainably harvested ingredients and companies that mitigate their environmental impact. You do you! No judgement here ever.
Finally, use YOUR best judgement and purchase from retailers and brands you trust. Many small businesses in the beauty industry can’t get accredited for a variety of reasons, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t ethical or sustainable brands. At Koko, we do our due diligence to ensure we carry sustainable beauty brands that are also effective. Here are the Koko crew cult favorites that are sustainable and always deserve a spot in our skincare routines.
- Cocokind Resurfacing Sleep Mask ($24.25): This nourishing sleep mask uses bakuchiol, a plant-derived gentle retinol alternative, to reduce the look of dark spots, discoloration, and premature wrinkles and fine lines. It provides a solution for promoting a smooth, even, and youthful-looking complexion and reducing surface redness, dryness, and sensitivity.
- UpCircle Eye Cream with Repurposed Maple and Coffee Extract ($20): A gentle eye cream to brighten, refresh and renew, reducing the appearance of dark circles and fine lines. Reused, repurposed, reloved. This eye cream is made with coffee oil extracted from repurposed grounds and anti-inflammatory maple bark extract, a by-product of the wood industry. Suitable for all skin types; use to refresh and renew, reducing the appearance of dark circles and fine lines.
- Yellow Beauty Stay Gold Facial Elixir ($39): You’ve got a good thing going on, let’s maintain it. STAY GOLD facial elixir from Yellow Beauty combines the most nutrient-rich oils on the planet — frankincense, lavender, and pomegranate — with turmeric, a centuries-long staple of South East Asian culture. The result is a hydrating serum for your face and neck that protects, revitalizes, and nourishes so that you can focus on what’s important — just glowing.
- Anne’s Black Honey Facial Cleanser ($16): Honey has natural anti-acne, anti-aging and skin healing benefits due to the presence of bio actives. Combined with activated charcoal, it makes this formula from Anne’s Apothecary the perfect all-in-one deep pore cleanser for any skin type.
- Brooklyn Made Oil Cleaners ($12): We love the oil cleansing method and have noticed huge improvements in our skin since using it. It works and works well! Why? Because oil removes oil. Oil cleansing gently and naturally removes makeup, oil buildup and pollutants that gather on your skin and clog pores. When done regularly, oil cleansing can clear your skin of blackheads, whiteheads, and other skin issues. Oil cleansing is great for all skin types, leaving your skin healthy, balanced and moisturized.