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How sustainability impacts the future of the cosmetics industry
Despite the COVID-19 crisis, the beauty industry is growing and it’s not slowing down. With $483 billion in total global sales in 2020 and an annual growth rate of 4.75%, the total revenue of the beauty industry is expected to be $716 billion in 2025.
And now more than ever, the interest in sustainable cosmetic products is on the rise. Consumers are now more interested in seeking natural products made from environmentally friendly processes.
This growing interest has impacted the beauty industry, with the natural cosmetics market projected to hit $54 billion by 2027. Cosmetic manufacturers are now moving towards a more earth-friendly, sustainable production.
But what is sustainability? And how can companies shift and prepare for a cleaner and greener path?
Still a loosely defined term, sustainable cosmetics or natural cosmetics have become synonymous with being “organic” or “healthy”. In the cosmetic industry, sustainable cosmetics are cosmetic products made from natural ingredients – mainly made up of plant or fruit extracts or concentrates.
Sustainability means being conscious of the social, environmental, and economical aspects of the whole production process of a product to make sure it has a positive impact on the planet. And on this context, sustainable cosmetics does not only refer to the way the product is produced or the raw materials sourced but also refers to the production and the packaging stage. This describes the much more holistic approach to sustainability.
Creating Sustainable Cosmetics
Natural ingredients are increasingly being used in conventional and personal care cosmetics. Brands are shifting their use of synthetic chemicals with natural ingredients, moving to sustainable raw materials sourcing.
Some examples of common sources of materials for sustainable cosmetic productions are:
∙ Agricultural plants
Sustainably sourced agricultural plants such as corns, soybeans, and others are used in the cosmetic industry to produce oils and alcohol. Natural emulsifiers, surfactants, and biocatalysts are made using these.
∙ Natural oils
Often used to derive fatty alcohols, natural oils from palm and coconut oil are used as chemical surfactants. Other oils include argan and avocado oil.
Using these natural ingredients, many brands have steered away from using toxic elements in their cosmetics. Some of these chemicals damage the environment and human health. A few toxic ingredients to stay away from are aluminum, dibutyl phthalate (DBP), and coal tar dyes.
Choosing Sustainable and Natural Ingredients
If you have a cosmetics brand or are in the plans of starting one and want to branch into the sustainable side, you can begin by manufacturing your products using some of these safe and natural ingredients:
∙ Coconut Oil: A highly famous ingredient in cosmetics, coconut oils are extracted from mature coconuts and possess high-quality refined emollient oil. It is commonly used as a lubricant and conditioner in skincare and hair care products as well as in makeups and bath oils.
∙ Castor Oil: Castor oils are extracted from the pressed seeds of the castor plant and are a beneficial ingredient to many cosmetic products such as face creams, lotions, night creams, vanishing creams, hand creams, lipsticks as well as glosses.
∙ Bakuchiol: A plant-extract ingredient, Bakuchiol, is a retinol-like compound that is antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory. It’s anti-aging and used in topical skincare products. It has been found to reduce both bacterial properties and inflammation components and is natural, safe, and has no adverse effects.
∙ Extracts: Plant-extract products are one of the most famous natural ingredients in the sustainable cosmetics line. They are potent and have a lot of effective properties suitable for many beauty and health products.
Why Sustainable Cosmetics?
Apart from its booming market value, sustainable cosmetics have proven benefits both on the consumer’s side as well as the brand owners. Here are some of the reasons why:
Consumers have growing global consciousness, and now more than ever, they care more about the planet. One of the many benefits of diving right into sustainability is its positive impact on the environment.
Many toxic pollutants cause lots of damage not only to the environment but to the human body as well. Due to this, people have been demanding natural, eco-friendly products, especially on the things they put into their bodies.
And it’s not only the consumers’ responsibility. Brands have a corporate responsibility to take extra steps to make sure they source, produce, and package cosmetic products sustainably.
Natural ingredients in cosmetic products are less likely to cause irritation and allergies. Sustainable cosmetics rely on the potency of the properties found naturally in plants.
Humans have been using plants for centuries for improving health and beauty. The effectiveness of these natural products without the toxicity of certain chemicals is one of the major advantages of creating and using sustainable cosmetics.
Long-term Positive Impact
Sustainability is about creating a product from start to finish that has less to no negative impact on humans and the environment. Choosing sustainable cosmetics promotes long-term health and an overall positive impact on the future of the planet.
Sustainability doesn’t stop in sourcing natural ingredients. To have a holistic approach to sustainable cosmetics, packaging should be a part of it.
Brands that offer sustainable packaging for their cosmetic products are growing. Many are shifting to ecological packaging and offering responsible recycling packaging.
The Future of Cosmetics
The cosmetics industry continues to grow and evolve. Brands and consumers are becoming more conscious and socially aware of the environmental impacts of cosmetics.
With this shift and the current growth rate of the demand for natural products, sustainable cosmetics and their innovations can dictate the future of the cosmetics industry.
Creating a brand or supporting sustainable cosmetic products proves to be a safe choice economically and environmentally.