Tag

makeup

Health & Beauty, Life & Style

Zero Waste and Plastic-Free Makeup

plastic-free makeup uk

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A couple of beloved makeup items of mine have just run out.  A lovely peachy cream blush, and some black eyeshadow that I use to line my eyes.  As much as I have loved these products, they are plastic based, so rather than do the easy thing and replace like for like, I’ve been in prime research mode for the last little while.  This has seen me searching out zero-waste and plastic-free makeup options, to see what’s out there before I make any purchases.

I’ve been down all sorts of internet rabbit holes, and come up with what I believe are nine zero waste and plastic-free makeup brands.  I’ve concentrated primarily on what’s available in the UK because that’s where I live, but I have included two US options for international readers.

Here’s what I found!

Zero Waste and Plastic-Free Makeup

Antonym

plastic free makeup uk

image via Antonym’s Facebook page

Antonym* sells a beautiful range of cruelty-free and ECOCERT certified organic makeup.  Packaged in bamboo and paper, the range is free from parabens, phthalates, sulfates, artificial fragrances, petrochemicals, preservatives and other nasties.  All products are vegan, with the exception of their lipsticks, but not all products are plastic free, so do check before you purchase.

I have only been able to source Antonym on Amazon, but the good news is there is a wide range available on there.

Clean-Faced Cosmetics

Clean Faced Cosmetics* are a US-based zero-waste and plastic-free makeup range.  It’s all vegan, organic and cruelty-free too, and made in small batches by hand.  If you can’t find what you’re looking for elsewhere and don’t mind paying the shipping, then this shop may be the one to visit.

Fat & The Moon

zero waste make up

image via The Future Kept

Fat & The Moon are a US brand that is sold in the UK via the lovely online store The Future Kept.  The makeup range is limited – an eye coal, a lip tint, and a cheek tint, but all are completely plastic-free and made from 100% natural ingredients.

Vegans, note that these products contain beeswax so are not vegan-friendly.

Kjaer Weis

Kjaer Weis*, which is available in the UK via Cult Beauty, sell certified organic natural makeup in beautiful refillable metal compacts.  Even the lipsticks and mascaras are refillable.

Kjaer Weis is at the pricier end of the plastic-free makeup spectrum, but get rave reviews from all around the internet and are truly beautiful items that you will want to cherish forever.  The initial price shock is overcome when you realise that once you’ve bought a cream blush in its beautiful compact, for example, the refills are then £17 cheaper.  You can find out more about the refill system here.  I truly love this refill concept.  One day, when I’m a rich fancy lady, this is what I’m going to splurge on!

Luna Beauty UK

Oxford-based Luna Beauty sells a small range of zero-waste, plastic-free and cruelty-free vegan beauty products.  They also offer a great refill service, where you can send back your empty tins and bottles for a 15% discount on your refill order.

Lush

Lush sell a range of plastic-free or packaging free cosmetics.  From unpackaged lipstick to unpackaged eyeshadow (that apparently also makes a great highlighter) there are a host of products to explore.  With Lush I personally find it easier to browse in-store than on their website.  Just me?

RMS

plastic free cosmetics

RMS Beauty*, again available in the UK via Cult Beauty, sells a beautiful range of plastic-free makeup products, packaged in only metal and/or glass (with the exception of the mascara).  What’s more, RMS pride themselves on using only natural and organic ingredients, sourced from sustainable sources, that soothe and soften skin, and have many celebrity endorsements, including Meghan Markle.

Keeping It Natural

Another US-based shop, Keeping It Natural sell a variety of zero-waste makeup options and refills.  Every item is handmade in small batches to ensure freshness, and contain only natural vegan ingredients.  Eyeshadows, foundation and lip tints are their speciality!

Zao

Zao sells a wide range of certified cruelty-free beauty products in refillable bamboo boxes.  Currently, Zao says all products can be refilled, with the exception of mascara and lipgloss.  Zao state that some of the refills are housed in recyclable plastic so you may want to check this before purchasing.  The very extensive FAQ is a good starting point!

Have you tried any of these brands?  What did you think?  Or do you have any other plastic-free or zero waste makeup recommendations?  I would love to hear!

ps: if you are looking for a zero waste, plastic-free makeup removal option then do try this handy reusable cotton wool pad tutorial!

plastic free makeup guide

Health & Beauty, Life & Style

Mica – the ugly truth behind the sparkle

mica in makeup

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A dash of child labour, a pinch of deforestation and sprinkle of unfair wages – do you know what’s in your make-up?

The make-up industry has been hitting the headlines recently with some damning reports on the sourcing, mining and processing of a key ingredient of many make-up items: mica.  Why is this natural mineral causing such controversy and is it the only issue in the make-up supply chain?  Georgina Rawes from Ethical Consumer reports on their latest findings for Moral Fibres, when investigating some of the most popular make-up brands.

Mica – the ugly truth behind the sparkle

Until Mica hit the headlines in February most consumers would have known very little about this naturally occurring mineral.  Despite being found in nearly every make-up brand, providing the natural sparkle to eye shadows, lipsticks and blushers, its use had slipped under the radar.

Yet this glittering prize is not all it seems: behind the veneer of colourful shades, expensive marketing, and the promises of beauty there is an ugly truth.

mica in makeup

Recent reports show that 25% of the world’s mica comes from illegal mines in the Jharkhand and Bihar regions of North East India and involves 20,000 child labourers.  A recent ITV news investigation showed appalling working conditions, with children as young as six working in precarious mines.

Tunneling into the hillside to reach the mica deposits, workers have no protective equipment and the poorly constructed mines often collapse.  Cartels, operating illegal mines, are generating huge profits whilst children work for meagre wages and miss out on the education that could lift them from this spiral of poverty.  Between 5-10 children die in the mines each month and unreported adult fatalities are estimated to be much higher.

Despite the recent headlines these practices have been known about and challenged by campaigners for a decade.  So surely this mica doesn’t end up in our cosmetic products here in the UK…

Invading the supply chain

In our recent investigations into the make-up industry, we discovered that all of the make-up brands that we examined used mica in their products but only one mainstream brand had a clear policy on the issue.

It is clear from the absence of policies and statements from cosmetics companies that illegally sourced mica could well be contained within the products that are sold here in the UK.

Company responses

Lush made a pledge to remove mica from their products back in 2014 as they didn’t have the “purchasing power or local knowledge” to stay and make a difference, but they have spoken out about the difficulties that they faced in doing this.  When trying to switch to synthetic mica they found that it also contains traces of natural mica.  “We had no idea how difficult it would be,” said Stephanie Boyd, PR Manager for Lush.

Green People specifically stated that they do not use mica from India and instead source it from Malaysia.

Odylique stated that their mica was “ecologically and ethically obtained according to organic standards”.

L’Oréal was the only mainstream make-up brand to have a policy on their website and they state that 97% of their mica comes from secured sources, agreeing to work only with a limited number of suppliers in India who have committed to: “sourcing from legal gated mines only, where working conditions can be closely monitored and human rights respected”.  Their plan to achieve 100% secured sources by the end of 2016.

Companies must do more

It’s hard to understand why other cosmetics brands haven’t done more to investigate their own mica supply chains, but there is a positive force for change coming.

In February 2017, the Responsible Mica Initiative was set up with the view to eradicating child labour and unacceptable working conditions in the mica supply chain within the next 5 years.

L’Oréal, Coty and Estée Lauder have all signed up to the initiative, which is promising as together with Boots they account for 60% of the total UK make-up sales.

Although this glittering rock has been responsible for so much damage in vulnerable communities over the last decade, at last, it seems that the picture may be changing.  And there really is no excuse for the larger cosmetics companies not to be a driving force for change here.

Is mica the only supply chain issue for make-up brands?

At Ethical Consumer, we have produced reports on over 40,000 companies, brands and products, using calculations to assess and rank companies in all aspects of ethical behaviour.

Our report for the make-up industry  highlighted major issues in supply chain management and the use and sourcing of palm oil across the industry.

eco friendly make up brands

 

Smaller businesses such as Odylique and Green People were the only companies to achieve the highest Ethical Consumer ratings for supply chain management.

The cosmetics giants such as Boots, Superdrug, L’Oréal, Coty, Estée Lauder all received the lowest ratings.

We found that many brands have inadequate clauses on child labour, guaranteed living wages and acceptable working hours in their supply chain policies and so fail to properly protect workers.  Limited auditing and reporting on these issues also demonstrate a lack of commitment to finding and addressing issues.

Palm oil also an issue

We also found palm oil to be a concern within the make-up industry with companies such as Revlon and Coty having no publicly available policy on the sourcing of palm oil.  Palm oil has been associated with human rights abuses and widespread deforestation, the lack of traceability of the sourcing of palm oil and its derivatives highlights further issues within cosmetics supply chains.

Across all judging criteria, some of the biggest cosmetics companies such as Superdrug, Boots and Loréal achieved some of the lowest ratings.

Ethical Consumer best buys

Whenever we run consumer reports we look to recommend those companies who are doing their part to produce ethical products.  We have awarded our ‘Best Buy Label’ to Odylique (who feature a Fair Trade lipstick in their collection), Green People*, Neal’s Yard* and Lush.  These companies have achieved at least a middle rating for their supply chain management, are certified as organic and/or have received a best rating for their animal testing policies.

what is mica

Make-up shake up

Until large cosmetic companies, with their huge influence and enormous buyer power, can demonstrate that they are committed to managing a fair supply chain where workers are safe and paid fairly, it might be time to use your buying power to support the emerging ethical brands.  It’s time for a make-up shake up.

Thanks to Georgina at Ethical Consumer for this great post.  Score table copyright of Ethical Consumer.