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Gone are the days when people slathered just any skincare or makeup product onto their skin without any awareness of the ingredients it contained or how the product was processed. That’s because today’s customer is generally more health- and environmentally conscious which spills over into their beauty regimens. Whereas 20 years ago synthetic ingredients, preservatives, animal derivatives and animal-tested products wouldn’t have really raised an eyebrow, these components can be a dealbreaker for consumers today. We’re looking at why a growing number of people look for transparency in the products they buy.


The Rise of Organic and Natural

Not too long ago organic or natural makeup was considered niche relegated to naturopathic stores, now more and more brands are explicitly toxin- and chemical-free. As the beauty consumer grows more informed about the potentially harmful ingredients they’re applying to their skin there is a higher the demand for natural ingredients. “These days we know the effects of toxins and chemicals on health — many ingredients in traditional beauty products are full of ingredients that can harm us,” says Ere Perez founder of natural cosmetics brand Ere Perez. “The trend towards natural beauty products is really about having health and beauty — you don’t have to sacrifice one for the other.” The brand actively tells their customers the natural ingredients they use when other brands may not actively disclose what’s in their products. “We even promote our ingredients, rather than hide them, because they are natural and have incredible benefits for skin,” says Perez. “If you look at our almond mascara, for example, it is so much better for eyes than many other mascaras that rely on chemicals to get results. We rely on nature.”

More awareness is given to our skin, our largest organ, and how absorbing ingredients like fragrance, parabens, sulfates and chemical components can potentially irritate or harm us. For many organic brand owners, their background in the field informs their identity and story. “I use my education and experience as a Naturopath to create products that enhance the beauty of the skin, without harm to health or the environment,” says Bridget Carmady, founder of Clémence Organics.


Transparently Sourced

In addition to wanting to know what ingredients they’re using, consumers also want to know where their products are coming from. Have they been ethically sourced? What farm are they from? What country are they derived in? As consumers become more conscientious of locally sourced food in their pantry, why wouldn’t they do the same for their beauty products? “We believe that this awareness began with the organic food movement which really pushed the connection between environmental sustainability and human health,” says Sarah Buscho founder of plant-based, 100 percent natural skincare line EarthTuFace. “Suddenly people [started] shopping for organic, minimally processed foods that were made locally to better support their personal health, the economic health of their communities, and the health of the environment as a whole.” All of the brands’ products are made locally, use non-GMO organic food grade ingredients, as well as glass and biodegradable packaging. Sourcing ethically conscientious ingredients, wholesome ingredients strikes a balance of being both good for you and the environment. “Not only are these choices nurturing to the planet but using organic plant-based ingredients provides potent nourishing benefits to our skin without the damage and allergies that harsh chemical additives found in many beauty products can cause,” says Buscho. “We are always conscious of the fact that loving the earth is an extension of loving ourselves.”


Animal Testing/Vegan

This overarching idea of ethical conscientiousness also extends towards animals. Animal testing used to be a standard procedure, unavoidable in the production of beauty products. However, over the last two decades, the public has become aware of the cruelties of animal testing and the vegan population worldwide has grown exponentially. It’s also no longer a necessity to test products on animals to confirm their usage safety. This has helped vegan beauty products soar in popularity, as consumers connect with the products on both a moral and practical level. “Veganism has had the opportunity to flourish because it hits on a couple of very strong value systems in people,” says Roma Hora founder of vegan chakra oils The Fifth Veda. “There are those who are vegan because it’s their ethical ideal to abstain from consuming animals, while others are driven by their environmental ethos.” As a brand that means knowing where your ingredients come from every step of the way and ensuring that you’re using cruelty-free raw materials. Additionally, as a brand, it helps to underscore giving back to further brand authenticity in the name of good. “We also support animal sanctuaries and other organizations that support animal welfare,” says Hora.

Overall consumers today seek out more information about what they are buying. This applies to the ingredients, sourcing and testing of their products which they want to be ethical, local and non-toxic. As always people want to look and feel beautiful but not at the expense of their own health or that of the planet.