How to navigate the beauty industry with a conscious mind

At VOYA, we advocate for an eco-friendly lifestyle. Sustainability is at the heart of everything we do. We believe it is important to be aware of how our actions affect the world we live in so we can create a better life for ourselves and future generations.

The global beauty market has come a long way with eco-friendly innovative products and packaging. Plus more consumers are using their voices to make a change. According to recent studies, 73% of global consumers would change their consumption habits to reduce their impact on the environment. However, it can be tough to navigate through what is authentic versus what is misleading advertising. Many companies claim to be “Green” or “Natural” but this isn’t always true. Greenwashing is when companies make false claims about their sustainability initiatives to deceive consumers into believing that they are environmentally friendly. Consumers are being misled into thinking they are acting green when in reality they are victims of greenwashing.

So must we choose between helping the environment or looking and feeling great? Is there a way we can be eco-friendlier while still having the beauty products that tackle our skincare concerns?

With Organic September just around the corner, it’s a great time to take a step back and ask “how can we make sure we are looking after ourselves while also looking after the environment?”

VOYA’s motto, ‘there has to be a better way’, is the core foundation of everything we do. And that “better way” can be some small simple steps that cumulatively change the world for the better. So here are some easy steps for you to navigate the beauty industry with a conscious mind.

Use it up

The first step towards switching to a more sustainable skincare routine is to use what you already have. VOYA encourages customers to be mindful of their purchases and avoid wasteful trends that end up with discarded half-empty bottles that get thrown out.

Worse still are single-use products are detrimental to the environment. Single-use cosmetics like face wipes, disposable razors, and cotton buds are incredibly wasteful. Both your wallet and the planet will be thankful if you can find products that can be reused over and over again. Muslin cloths and organic cotton towels are perfect for this. All you need to do is put them in the wash and it saves you from throwing anything out! Check out VOYA’s organic muslin face cloths here.

Choose Organic

Try to choose organic whenever possible. Organic farming is better for the environment because it works with nature, not against it. There is zero animal testing, no synthetics fertilisers or herbicides, and the ingredients are sustainability sourced. Choosing organic has many benefits from supporting biodiversity, protecting wildlife and combating the climate crisis.

Organic beauty products are made from natural ingredients. Therefore, they are completely fine for every skin type. If you can eat something, of course, you can use it on your face and body too. In fact, you are nourishing yourself from the outside-in as each ingredient has it's unique beneficial prosperities that the skin soaks up. This year's Organic Beauty and Wellbeing week the theme is 'nature has the answer'...and the answer is certified organic.

Look for the Logo

We often hear companies promising the world with their green claims. To know what is genuine, make sure you check if a company can support its eco-friendly claim with hard data. If that information isn't provided, it’s likely a case of greenwashing. Certain certifications such as cruelty-free by PETA and ‘COSMOS ORGANIC by the Soil Association assure that the product have achieved the highest standards set by the appropriate accreditation bodies.

It’s also worth checking out if the company you are buying from offsets their carbon. It isn’t always possible to be zero emissions, but companies who take responsibility for their footprint by purchasing offsets show that they genuinely care for our planet. VOYA is proud to say that from every year since 2012 we have offset our carbon emissions through the World Land Trust. These funds are then invested in the protection and restoration of threatened tropical forests to combat the devastating effects of global warming.

Check the Ingredients 

Along with checking if your natural beauty products have been awarded certifications, it’s good practice to start reading the ingredient labels. Avoid products that contain ingredients like parabens, polyethylene glycol (PEGs), toluene, oxybenzone, and siloxanes as they can be harmful to your health. Plus the significant damage of synthetic fragrances has been recorded to be a bigger polluter compared to cars as well as causing long-term health effects such as breathing problems, asthma, and cancer. By carefully examining labels, you can purchase products that aren’t tested on animals and are also safe for your health plus the planet. To read more about VOYA’s accreditations and the ingredients, check out our previous blog on Sustainable Sourcing.

Avoid Unethical Ingredient Sourcing

Natural ingredients are popular but they're not always good news if they’re unethically sourced. Popular ingredients such as unsustainable palm oil are contributing to widespread deforestation. Alternative oils like rapeseed, require more land and resources for the same amount of yield. Switching our reliance on any of them could have worse consequences for the environment.

The ingredients that go into every VOYA product are ethically sourced and specially selected to ensure resources are replenished. Our expert seaweed harvesting team uses traditional practices that preserve the biodiversity of the Irish west coast reefs.

Avoid Micro Plastics

It’s not just over-harvesting our precious resources that is the problem. Many beauty products do irreversible damage to our natural world. Toxic chemicals, including microplastics, in your skincare, get washed down the drain and end up in the ocean, damaging fragile ecosystems.

Microplastics are “small plastic pieces less than 5 millimeters long which can be harmful to our oceans and aquatic life. Avoid beauty products that use plastic microbeads in soaps, toothpaste, shower gels, and facial scrubs to exfoliate the skin. These beads are often consumed by marine life and as the plastics build up in their digestive tract, it becomes detrimental to their health. VOYA do not use any microbeads in our products.

Support Local Businesses Whenever Possible

Transportation of products is also harmful to the environment. Ask where the products are coming from. If they are made in foreign countries and are transported to overseas markets, it contributes to a large carbon footprintA carbon footprint is the total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions caused by an individual, event, organization, service, place or product, expressed as carbon dioxide equivalent. Here is a great Carbon Calculator to help you estimate your own carbon footprint. Fill out what you can and it’s okay if you don’t know all the figures.

Upcycle the Packaging

Once you’ve reached the end of your skincare products, recycle or repurpose the packaging. You can wash out bigger cosmetic pots and use them as plant pots, make DIY candle holders, or homemade organisers. Check out some of these creative ideas for how to reuse cosmetic pots – 10 ways to upcycle your beauty containers

As the beauty industry continues to evolve, consumers should push for more environmental and sustainable practices. The next time you shop, think about the impact that product will leave on the environment and whether you need to consider more sustainable alternatives.