Clean beauty isn't a simple answer to saving the environment. There is also the risk that sourcing ingredients unsustainably will deplete those resources. High demands increase the risk of forced labour and unethical working conditions.
Take, for example, mica mining and palm oil. Mica is a natural mineral used in all sorts of things such as makeup and shimmery paint. In India, children are used to mine this mineral. Palm oil is also used ubiquitously and its harvest is contributing to the destruction of rainforests. However, alternative oils require more land and resources to provide the same yield and simply switching ingredients could affect the environment negatively as well. This is where the use of safe synthetic ingredients is a more eco-friendly solution.
Clean, All-natural, Chemical-free, Synthetic fragrance-free, non-toxic. I'm willing to bet you've seen these Natural Beauty words everywhere. These terms reveal nothing about the actual formula. Brands using these terms may still be using high concentrations of skin irritants that actually do a lot more harm than good.
In Canada, all cosmetics and skincare must have labels that list all the ingredients. The formula is also registered with Federal Government. The Government ensures that all ingredients are safe and in safe amounts to use. It also keeps a record in case something changes and products must be recalled.
This is great for consumers! But there are still traps. Did you know that "fragrance" can also be a term used to describe certain preservatives. Don't get me wrong - I think preservatives are a necessity. But, I don't think ingredients should be hidden with an umbrella term that doesn't clearly say what it really is.
Clean beauty enthusiasts should also take a look at packaging - not just the physical jar or bottle, but the labeling as well. Watch for those buzzwords from above on the label and remember how little they tell you about what's inside the package. When you see a brand or product using these phrases, you can—and should!—be a bit skeptical. Most brands have good intentions but sometimes greed does win and false claims are made just to make more money.
What you can do So what should we do to buy products that are safe, effective, and don't hurt the environment? Everyone will have a different answer. Here at Taiga Beauty, we consider where our ingredients come from to ensure they are sourced sustainably. We also keep an eye on our containers and think carefully about where glass and plastic are best utilized. We don't like glass in the shower due to potential breakage. But, we also try to use PET when we do use plastic. PET is strong and does not react with ingredients, is resistant to attack by micro-organisms, and will not biologically degrade. It can be recycled and is also sustainable. We also don't add more packaging than is needed - no bottle in a box. We keep it minimal!
I don't know where you fall on the spectrum of looking for clean beauty products, but we hope you'll give ours a shot. We're proud of what we've created and are excited to share what's been working for us.