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Meet the Eco-Friendly Skincare Doing the World of Good

Feature: Long Read
Words by Olivia de Courcy

Nowadays, investing in ourselves goes hand in hand with investing in our planet. Environmental consciousness, sustainability, ethical practices – whatever you call it, taking care of our planet is as prevalent as it’s ever been in the beauty world. From ethical ingredient-sourcing and vegan and cruelty-free formulas to giving back to communities and naked packaging, meet the skincare heroes doing the world of good.

Sustainable Ingredients

Grown Alchemist sunscreen

Reef safe sunscreen

Sunscreen gets a bad rep for being harmful to coral, but in reality, it’s only a few ingredients that are known to cause bleaching and damage coral DNA – these include oxybenzone and octinoxate (octyl methoxycinnamate). “Oxybenzone is one of the most commonly used sunscreen active ingredients and the most worrisome,” says Jeremy Muijs, founder of Grown Alchemist. “It has an alarming Environmental Working Group (EWG) toxicity score of 8, causing skin penetration in large amounts, skin allergies and possible hormone disruption.” As such, the brand’s Natural Hydrating Sunscreen contains no harmful ingredients, and is instead formulated with zinc oxide, which Muijs says is one of the best UVA blockers. It’s 100-per-cent natural, 100-per-cent vegan and 100-per-cent reef-safe. If you’re looking to do your bit for the reefs, the EWG suggests using a sunscreen formulated with zinc or titanium dioxide.

Reducing Waste

Swapping out single-use

Reducing our single-use waste is one sure-fire way to a more sustainable future. It could take up to 100 years for just one face wipe to biodegrade in landfill, and more than $2bn is still spent globally on face wipes every year. Two simple swaps: Face Halo’s reusable rounds are brilliant alternatives to cotton wool or pads; and Resoré face towels are woven with antimicrobial and antibacterial fibres to keep your cloth cleaner for longer. Just pop it in the machine when you’re done. Not all single-use is sinful, however. Noble Panacea – whose daily doses are individually packaged for many positive reasons, including keeping the active ingredients the most potent they can be – has a partnership with TerraCycle to effectively recycle each packet. Plus, the brand has introduced a beauty refill programme, so there’s no need to repurchase the outer case.

Beauty That Gives Back

Socially conscious brands

Each year, La Mer launches its limited-edition Blue Heart jar, where sales contribute to the La Mer Blue Heart Oceans Fund, set up to support marine conservation organisations all over the world. Now in its fourth year, the fund has supported conservation initiatives in the Azores, the Caribbean and the East China Sea, with this year’s focus a three-pronged approach: protecting oxygen-creating organisms (such as mangroves and seagrass); safeguarding sustainably sourced seafood supplies; and supporting local neighbourhood clean-up programmes. Plus, the brand has just announced its pledge to ensure at least 75 per cent of packaging is sustainable by 2025.

From the surf to the airwaves, Guerlain is more determined than ever to give back to the buzzy little creature on its packaging – the bee. Fans can now access its Bee Respect online platform, which allows you to check up on the origin of the brand’s ingredients and packaging. Information on the source of the Ouessant honey in the Abeille Royale Day Cream, for example, is plentiful, from its location at the Breton Black Bee Conservatory Association, a UNESCO reserve in France, to its downloadable organic certifications.

LA MER  Blue Heart Crème de la Mer Moisturizing Cream (60ml)

Innovative Packaging

Tata Harper leads the way

Not only are her formulas 100-per-cent natural and biodegradable (meaning they don’t pollute the earth, or our bodies, when used), but Tata Harperhas long been a pioneer for eco-friendly packaging that goes much further than simply being recyclable: “Almost all of our products come in glass – and those that don’t are made with 100-per-cent recyclable bio-based sugarcane plastic,” says Harper. “Our cartons are made with certified paper from sustainably managed forests, and we also use biodegradable soy ink to reduce the toxicity of our cartons.” Moreover, the brand is expanding its refillable options across the entire range.

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