Image credit: Grown Alchemist

                                             Image credit: Grown Alchemist

I’m always a sucker for a new beauty product. I’ve been on an endless journey to find the magic product that will erase my blemishes, shrink my pores, smooth those fine lines and give me that all round supermodel (albeit likely airbrushed) glow. I must confess I’m a serial shopper and with approximately 3 billion beauty products on the market good skin care can be hard to navigate and even harder when it comes to issues surrounding ethics and sustainability in the cosmetics industry. In the process of detoxing my beauty cabinet I’ve come a step closer to understanding what works for my skin and what is important in a good product without compromising my health or that of the planet and those little bunnies.

Most of us slap on cosmetics every day without a second thought, but what are you really putting on your skin? Have you ever stopped to read the ingredients list of your cosmetics?  A British study in 2009 found that the average woman “wears” 515 chemicals on her skin per day and most of those are through the application of cosmetics. In 2013, researchers at UC Berkeley’s School of Public Health tested 32 different lipsticks and found some contain up to nine different toxic metals, some of which were at levels high enough to raise health concerns with long term use. Common chemicals that can be found in our cosmetics and personal care products include Sodium Lauryl Sulphate (SLS), Sodium Laureth Sulphate (SLES), parabens, synthetic fragrances, phthlates, petroleum and synthetic colourants. Some of these chemicals are potential carcinogens, hormone disruptors or skin irritants. For more information on chemicals to avoid check out The Dirty Dozen.

Those chemicals are also likely tested on animals depending on what part of the world you live in.  The EU became the first group of countries to ban the testing of cosmetic products on animals in 2004 and moved to ban the import and sale of ingredients tested on animals in 2013. India, Israel and Norway have also joined the ranks and banned animal testing. By contrast, animal testing still occurs in the United States and China has mandatory animal testing laws so any global brand sold into China is required to be tested on animals. This means that many of the global brands we know and love that are imported into Australia have potentially been tested on animals. While it seems that products are not tested on animals in Australia the practice is still legal. If you want to ensure the products you buy are not tested on animals, you can check a list of companies here and here.

Horrified by the thought of what’s lurking in your beauty cabinet? Here are some tips to start your detox:  

  • Clean it out! What is hiding in the back of your cabinet?  Make sure you use all products before purchasing another and check if you can recycle any of the empty packaging.
  • Replace the items you use daily as first priority.
  • Simplify.  Downsize to a few key products – face wash, exfoliator, moisturizer, sunscreen and shampoo and conditioner.  
  • Quality. Buy only high quality, ethical and cruelty free products.

Detox cabinet, check! Now for some new products…

To ensure no bunnies were harmed in the making of our flawless skin, here’s a list of our current favourite ethical beauty buys:

Go To:  Created by one of our fave beauty experts Zoe Foster Blake. Go To says no to palm oil, petrochemicals, PEGS, parabens, sulfates, silicones, GMO’s, synthetic colours or fragrances and animal testing. It also comes in recyclable packaging.

We love the Properly Clean Face Wash which is gentle on the skin and smells like orange and ginger goodness.

Grown Alchemist: Focuses on natural ingredients for powerful anti-aging using organic ingredients that are certified by ACO. Their products are free from animal testing while their packaging is carefully considered using amber glass and PET plastic (two of the most recycled materials) and their box packaging is made from PEFC certified paper which is constructed of fibre derived from sustainably managed forests.  While their products are not 100% palm oil free, they source palm oil derivative ingredients from sustainable sources in South America and are proud to support the Orangutan Foundation International.

We’re using the Antioxidant Facial Oil with Rosehip and Camellia Seed.

Sukin: An environmentally conscious and natural personal care company that is great for those on a budget. Their products are free from harsh chemicals such as Sodium Lauryl Sulphate (SLS), Sodium Laureth Sulphate (SLES) or parabens. These guys take the environment very seriously. Their products are vegan and cruelty free and carry the Carbon Neutral logo, which means they have been able to effectively reduce, measure and offset all carbon emissions involved in the operation of business. Their products are also biodegradable and grey water safe. While their products are not 100% palm oil free, they are currently working with non-government organisations to ensure their supply chain is fully sustainable and transparent.

Try the Rosehip Hydrating Day Cream

Antipodes: This is a Kiwi brand, but we love it anyway. Antipodes focuses on limiting exposure to synthetic chemicals, their effect on the environment and their carbon footprint. Their products are not tested on animals and some products (not just the ingredients) are certified organic by AsureQuality Ltd. Other products are certified vegetarian and use high quality and pure plant ingredients.  

We’re loving the Skin Brightening & Tone Correcting Serum. Try their 3 Steps to Skin Perfection.  

Using vegan or cruelty free and natural products doesn't mean you have to sacrifice the quality of your cosmetics. Check out some of these websites to purchase natural, organic and ethical beauty buys:

Nourished Life

The Organic Project

Beautiful Because

Happy shopping! x