Perception is a funny thing. - everything we see and perceive as reality is only based on our experiences. Sometimes we think we are doing good but we are actually causing unseen harm.
I see this in the natural beauty sector. It's easy to assume that because something is labelled 'natural', 'environmentally safe' or 'vegan' that it's automatically a safe choice. Most of the time this is true, and we cannot expect everyone to invest time out of their busy days to investigate labels (trust me, I don't want to do that either -_- ), but creating a basis for understanding our environment can help take the guess work out of being sustainable.
What is "Sustainable", well it's being able to use a resource without infringing on its natural habitat or using so much of it that it becomes endangered (i.e. rosewood, etc).
Here are some key points in determining a products sustainability:
- Are the ingredients quick growing? Do they grow quickly like rosemary, orange, lemon, peppermint, lavender or eucalyptus for example. Slow growing, hard wood trees like Sandalwood , Frankincense and Rosewood are not sustainable, despite labels claiming that they are "verified sustainably farmed" - think about it, any tree that takes many years to develop has the potential (and usually is) illegally overharvested and bought from a black market.
Bottom line: do we need to cosmetically use ingredients that harm the earth? No.
- Don't assume vegan is better for the earth. For example BEESWAX!!! I know, vegans think beeswax is wrong because it's an animal product. That determination is wrong because nature is not that simple. Beekeepers live and breathe for the safety and health of their bees, and the extraction of beeswax is a carefully managed procedure that does not harm or kill bees in anyway shape of form. Vegan waxes such as soy, palm, and carnauba wax is extremely unsustainable. Palm and carnauba come directly from trees that aren't sustainably grown - why use them? Beeswax comes from a caring farmer that values bees and the resource is 100% sustainable, whereas vegan waxes are not.
- Plastic containers or excessive packaging I always prefer to buy products that have a reusable or easily recyclable in your location.
These are just some quick and easy beginner tips to sustainable cosmetic choices! I'll be discussing this topic in a more depth in future blogs so stay tuned!
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