Switch out the bad for the good
You're diligent in choosing locally-grown and organic food at the supermarket, looking for ethically-made clothes and generally making the most conscious choices you can that care for you and the planet. But what about your bathroom... the bottle that's been at the back of the cupboard for years and what about those innocuous-looking face wipes? There are hidden environmental costs in many mainstream, conventional beauty products that can't stay hidden any more! See how you can switch out the bad for the good - which is not only better for your skin, but the planet too.
Problem: Many face wipes contain non-biodegradable plastics, including synthetic fibres like polyester, that persist and accumulate in the environment for many years and can take up to 100 years to break down. Either way you dispose of them causes problems. If you throw them in the bin, they'll end up in landfill and if you flush them down the toilet (please don't!) they clog up the water and sewerage ways. The latter has led to the creation of "fatbergs" as the flushed wipes soak up fat and discarded rubbish in sewers, causing blockages and polluting rivers and seas. Did you hear about the Whitechapel Fatberg in London? You'll find it hard to forget after you see this.
Solution: Choose a reusable and biodegradable option instead, like our Organic Muslin Facial Cloth, to remove your make-up and daily impurities. Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) certified-organic and 100% natural, they're the most simple and effective facial cleansing tool that can be used over and over again. Eco-friendly, re-usable and machine washable. And always look for GOTS cotton so you know that the health of farm workers and the environment have not been harmed in the production of the cotton - which, in non-organic farming, relies on the heavy use of artificial fertilisers and pesticides.
Switch #1: Farewell face wipes, hello Green Clay Cleansing Balm and Organic Muslin Facial Cloth
Problem: Palm oil is so widespread and used in many personal care products, like lotions and creams. It's so popular because it's an efficient, high-yielding plant and the oil produced is so versatile, having many different properties and functions. One of the benefits of palm oil in skincare is its high vitamin E content; a strong antioxidant which helps fight free radicals that damage the skin and cause ageing and fine lines. The problem with using palm oil lies in the vast swathes of pristine rainforest in Malaysia and Indonesia (predominately) that are being turned over to monocultures of palm tree plantations. Endangered species like the Orangutan and pygmy elephant are losing their habitats at a rapid rate (both species are not only adorable but are crucial to the functioning of the Asian tropical forest ecosystem) and the mass deforestation causes millions of tonnes of greenhouse gases to be released into the atmosphere, contributing to climate change, according to the WWF.
Solution: Look for organic almond oil as an alternative to palm oil. You'll find certified-organic almond oil in our Organic Facial Oil. Grown in rich soils and certified organic by The Soil Association, you can enjoy the protective and anti-ageing benefits from almond oil's vitamin E properties, while knowing that the highest standards of organic farming have been met. Organic farmers are working to safeguard our soils and treat native species as part of their farming systems, which is the antithesis to mass-produced, unsustainably-farmed palm oil.
Switch #2: Look for organic almond oil, found in our Organic Facial Oil, as an alternative to palm oil
Problem: We have a plastic epidemic. There are so many stats, but this one is so visual and really sticks in my mind: by 2050, the oceans will contain more plastic than fish by weight, that's according to Plastic Pollution Coalition. The problem with plastic is that it's a man-made substance that is not recognised by nature; it takes hundreds of years to break down and when it does break down, tiny toxic particles are produced which are eaten by fish and larger mammals, before reaching all the way up the food chain to us. And even if a plastic bottle can be recycled, most plastic bottles produced end up going to landfill or the ocean - 72% of all plastic packaging, according to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, further exacerbating the problem.
Solution: So if most of the plastic that is produced ends up in landfill even if it can be recycled, there has to be another way to avoid landfill and the accumulation of toxic chemicals. Choose skincare products where the long-life of the products can be enjoyed even once their contents have been used. Glass is an excellent alternative. All of our amber glass bottles and jars can be up-cycled as a home for succulents or a single stem vase, or seeds and pulses in your kitchen. Let your creativity free and see how many ways you can use the Bath Salts jar or Organic Body Oil bottle! Glass is 100% recyclable and can be recycled indefinitely - and when it does break down, it returns to its natural state, primarily silica sand.
Switch #3: Choose glass bottles which can be reused and upcycled in your bathroom or kitchen
Problem: Mineral oil is made from petroleum which is a by-product of the distillation of petroleum to produce gasoline (aka petrol); it's a by-product of the oil and gas industry, which accounts for 50% of global carbon emissions, according to Reuters. It's found in many mainstream, conventional beauty and skincare products, including Johnson's Baby Oil. Mineral oil is used in skincare products to make them feel silky-smooth. But it has such a large molecular structure that it's not recognised by the skin, it sits on the skin's surface, leading to clogged pores and dull-looking skin. The next time you pick up a product on shelf and see mineral oil or "paraffinum liquidum" on the ingredient list, you know it's come from one of the world's most polluting industries and doesn't belong in your skincare routine; that's one to put back.
Solution: Connect with nature instead and look for certified-organic, plant-based ingredients that will nourish and restore your skin and not pollute the planet. In our Organic Facial Oil, we use certified-organic argan oil. Sourced from a co-operative of Berber women in Morocco, they're paid fairly for the crops they harvest. We use cold-pressed argan oil which is extracted using a hydraulic press, as opposed to solvent extraction, to ensure that all the nutritional value of the oil is retained. And being certified-organic, the argan oil (and all the oils we use) come from farms where their cultivation protects the soil, respects the local farming communities and animal welfare, and minimises pollution; all positive steps towards a more sustainable future.
Switch #4: Avoid petroleum-derived ingredients and instead choose those produced by nature, like the organic argan oil in our Organic Facial Oil
Are there any switches which you've made? We'd love to hear! You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Written by: Lauren, COO, BY SARAH
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