What is sustainable beauty?
19 January 2020

What is sustainable beauty?

‘What is sustainable beauty’? It catches many people out.

Here’s why.

The word “sustainable” has become very trendy – maybe even a buzz word. A lot of people want to buy more sustainable products. 

We see this in how more people are aware of the negative effects of harmful ingredients on the body and the environment.

Awareness is not enough though. People need to act, which hasn’t been the case in the past. This meant brands could carry on with their unsustainable ways.

What the…

However, thanks to the social responsibility movement people are taking back control and demanding better products.

Person with fist in the air - Photo by Miguel Bruna on Unsplash - what is sustainable beauty
Taking back control

This means companies are responding. They use sustainability as a key selling point. 

But are they really sustainable?

Or are they just trying to look more sustainable, again, because it’s an important thing for you, the customer?

You’ve got to find out if companies are sustainable or if they are trying to look more sustainable because they know it’s what you want to hear.

You can start by asking yourself

Is the company using eco-friendly packaging?

What type of distribution and marketing practice are in place?

Is the company involved with socially responsible programs

Are they working with charities?

What about their employees and producers? Are they treated well and paid fairly?

Are they reducing their energy consumption and waste?

Yes, it’s a lot to research. But if you don’t look deeper into how a company is run, you could be a victim of…


What is sustainable beauty - Compostable plastic cups - Photo by Brian Yurasits on Unsplash
Not everything is quite what it seems when it comes to greenwashing!

We don’t want this for you.

So, we come full circle back to our original question.

‘What is sustainable beauty’?

Well, it’s complicated (isn’t everything?)

That’s because the perception of what is ‘sustainable’ can differ depending on people’s lifestyle. 

So, let’s get some help.

The United Nations has had a good crack at defining what sustainability means in summarising its Sustainable Development Goals: 

‘Sustainable development has been defined as development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs – Sustainable development calls for concerted efforts towards building an inclusive, sustainable and resilient future for people and planet.’

What does this mean exactly? Well, our interpretation is that sustainability is about continuous improvement in people’s rights, health and general progress of humanity without destroying the planet for future generations.

Basically, you’d still work towards ending world hunger. But you wouldn’t cut down rainforests for grazing cattle. Instead, you would support local farmers who grow food.

Make sense? Yes, we think it does too!

Ok, so we’ve been teasing you. Now for the good stuff.

‘What is sustainable beauty’ answered.

What is sustainable beauty - looking after the planet - tree hugger
Sustainable beauty is all about caring for the planet!

If you’re buying beauty products, here is what we believe the answer to this question is.

Sustainable beauty is using 100% natural ingredients bought from suppliers that protect the rights of workers, who pay growers real market rates and do not test on animals. 

Sustainable beauty will have packaging that is plastic-free and recyclable, and limited only to essential containers for maintaining the structural properties of the product.

Sustainable beauty marketing does not play on anxieties and it must not reinforce negative stereotypes. 

Sustainable beauty companies supply and distribution chains and operational infrastructure will be free from unethical companies and be made up of suppliers who share the same values.

These are very lofty goals for beauty brands.

But it’s important for the beauty industry to get focussed.

Why? Because you demand it!

We understand this.

At cut.le.crap. we are starting to push the boundaries.

While it is difficult to implement all these measures at once, moving step-by-step and following a clear plan will make things easier.

This is why for us at cut.le.crap. it is really important to share our sustainability statement. Companies that are truly focussed on sustainability will tell you where they’re at and how they hope to improve.

It’s about transparency babes!

And it’s also a great reminder of the bigger picture and a way to stay focused. We know for a fact that we are not perfect – but we are aiming for it! And we have a clear plan to follow in order to get there.

From your perspective, as a customer, a good idea is to look for independent bodies that sort the truth-tellers from the long-nosed Pinocchios! A Jiminy Cricket of the beauty world!

One of them is the Ethical Consumer website. They rate sustainable companies, making it clear and easy to follow.

what is sustainable beauty ethical consumer facebook post
cut.le.crap. has the Ethical Consumer Best Buy stamp of approval!

Some magazines or newspapers such as Be Kind or The Guardian always feature some more responsible products and businesses too.

Oyoo is also a great platform to find ethical companies.

The cut.le.crap. approach to ‘what is sustainable beauty’

It’s exciting!

We’re getting Fair For Life certified

We’ll offer zero plastic packagings (we currently encourage customers to reuse their pumps and pipettes and reorder with aluminium lids)

We’ll be getting most of our ingredients Certified Organic and more.

We will continue to focus on our business operations so that we get more ethical and improve on our already amazing score with Ethical Consumer, which means we have the Best Buy label.

We’ll continue to work closely with Trees For Cities and help them plant trees each time you spend money on our website.

Tree in Richmond Park London
Our partnership with Trees for Cities will help to create more enjoyable places to live

We won’t sell on Amazon but only at markets, pop-ups (you can currently find our products at Seekology in Richmond), our own website and also other websites sharing our values.

Our approach has already seen us listed in the on The Guardian Green and Ethical checklist. We are on the right path.

But we cannot wait for sustainability to be an expectation from the customer, not a choice. From what we can see, we are going in the right direction – at last!

Cut Le Crap

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