Conscious Cosmetics: How To Tell If A Cosmetics Brand Is Eco-Friendly

Green cosmetic products? Sustainable production? Here’s how to evaluate just how earth-friendly a makeup brand claims to be.

Many of us apply beauty products and cosmetics on a daily basis. They’re worn on our most vulnerable areas of absorption, such as on large areas of skin, around our eyes, and around our lips. This daily or near-daily application means that it's either getting absorbed into our bodies…or washed into our water system and eventually into the oceans.

Clearly, we all want to see some better sustainability in the cosmetics industry.

If you're looking for clean, green, and cruelty-free products for your beauty routines, you’ve probably come across the word “conscious cosmetics.” Is there an exact definition? Is it a regulated term?

Just like the words clean, non-toxic, natural, sustainable, and eco-friendly, it leaves lots of room for interpretation. “Conscious cosmetics” can take on whatever meaning the company would like to use to represent its personal values.

Yes, that can be frustrating and unclear. How do you know what standards a “clean,” “sustainable,” or “conscious” company is holding itself to?

The good news is that you can explore how the company chooses to define it and compared to what your values are. When you know what to look for…the signs become clear.

So how can you tell if a cosmetics brand is eco-friendly? 

Here are 8 questions to ask when looking into whether a brand truly supports conscious cosmetics:

1. Does the brand treat ALL employees (even outsourced ones) ethically? 

Every company has a choice of how they treat who they choose to work with. But not just in-house. Dig into a cosmetics company and see who they outsource labor to.

There’s a sneaky way some companies claim “ethical labor practices” without being totally honest. They’ll treat the employees in their home companies ethically….but outsource certain work, like manufacturing, to companies that don’t hold the same values.

A truly conscious beauty brand will always be upfront with how they work and who they work with. At blinc, we have no tolerance for unethical labor practices, whether it’s in our core team or in a partnering company.

2. Is the brand cruelty-free to animals? 

Animal mistreatment is too common for a company to gloss over. A shocking 88% of the leading cosmetic brands fund animal testing.

This testing is generally to determine whether a product will irritate human skin. Animals are often forced to eat or inhale the product. They can be shaved and forced to have copious amounts of product applied to their skin for long periods of time.

“Mandatory testing” should never be an excuse a company uses to fund animal cruelty. The FDA urges cosmetic companies to rigorously test products to see if they're safe–but it does not require animal testing. At blinc, we don't condone or use animals in the testing of our products. We also do not source any testing to companies that do.

3. Is the brand ethically sourcing ingredients? 

Where are companies getting the materials they're using for products? Cosmetics can be notoriously unsustainable when it comes to getting their ingredients. Even natural ingredients can be unsustainably harvested.

When you're looking into conscious beauty brands, explore their pledges to source ingredients ethically. Some ingredients, like palm oil and vanilla, are extremely difficult to source responsibly. But conscious brands can choose to cut out these ingredients or work with organizations that help companies use responsible sources.

Blinc is committed to ONLY sourcing ethically. We promise to comply with US and EU standards, as well as maintain transparency about our ingredients.

4. What steps is the brand taking in reducing their carbon footprint? 

No beauty brand can avoid packaging and shipping their products. But a great deal can be done to reduce just how much emissions it takes to get a packaged product into your hands.

Using recycled materials is a great option. But do you know what also has a huge impact on improving carbon emissions? Reducing the package weight and distance it has to travel. Using lightweight, recycled packaging materials and making products in the U.S. is an eco-friendly combo.

At blinc we do all the above. We manufacture in the US, and use post-consumer recycled (PCR) plastics for our product packaging. This helps maintain a standard of cleanliness cosmetics need, be a lightweight option for shipping, and keep plastic out of the garbage longer.

5. Does the brand use sustainable cosmetic containers & packaging?

What's sustainable packaging? It's more than using packaging material that can be used over again. It’s also sustainably harvesting the materials needed for the packaging.

Forest Stewardship Certified (FSC) paper is the gold standard for companies using cardboard. That's because an FSC product signifies responsible management of the ecosystem and workers. And once the packaging is used, it's recyclable, giving it another life.

All paper packaging used at blinc is FSC.

6. Is the brand upfront about their makeup ingredients?

A conscious beauty brand strives to cut problematic ingredients. However, beauty and cosmetics are tricky to get at 100% no risk. Many effective ingredients have risks, and many green, non-toxic ingredients are not effective. That’s why a conscious brand will be transparent about their products' ingredients.

But key offenders, like parabens, thimerosal, and sulfates, truly don’t need to live in any products that live on your body. We have the NO List at blinc, which extensively lists the products we don’t use in our journey to cleaner cosmetics.

7. Does the brand give back to the community? 

A company’s ethics don't have to relate directly to the products or their production. What are the beauty companies you're exploring doing through their communities? Are there charities, local businesses, or causes that they are supporting? Dig into what they're doing to give back.

It’s also important to research how much they're doing what they claim. Is their “giving back” a sum donation? Or is it a 1%-of-profits donation?

Blinc is proud to partner with both local and national charities. We give because we know that our company can have more impact than simply the products we offer.

8. Is the brand looking to continue improving? 

Sustainability is a journey–both for you and for the people you buy from. A transparent conscious cosmetics company continues to improve processes as they go along.

They're willing to switch to a more sustainable packaging material if it becomes available. They're working toward phasing out ingredients that aren't ideal. What if they discover they’ve unintentionally worked with manufacturers that go against their values? They work as quickly as possible to change that.

At blinc, we are always striving to improve our product formulas, work with more and more sustainable packaging, reduce carbon emissions, and give more back to the community. 

Your buying choices help guide sustainability in the cosmetics industry

You want to feel good about the cosmetics and beauty products you’re putting on your skin. And you want to feel guilt-free about the process it went through to get into your hands. It's the responsible thing to do to check out where your products are coming from.

A good company will make it easy for you to do research. And a company that's not hiding anything should not be worried about being transparent.

Learn more about our commitment to conscious cosmetics here. Or jump right into browsing the tubing cosmetics from the technology’s original pioneers!

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