These days, the hottest colour in beauty is green. Whether in their choice of packaging, their treatment of the people who harvest ingredients or their support of external initiatives, many beauty companies are setting an eco-friendly example. Here are some we love, and why:
Eco-friendly cosmetic companies
There are four beauty moguls making some major waves in the environmentally friendly consumer scene. The Yves Rocher Foundation has been working toward improving our eco-conscience by creating environmental education programs since 1991. The Body Shop has taken steps to improve its energy-efficiency by switching to green electricity (provided by energy from a renewable source) in a number of its stores, while the rest will soon switch over. And Aveda has harnessed the wind as an alternative energy source for manufacturing.
Using natural ingredients has definitely become a positive trend. Vichy is getting into the game by making a conscious effort to use green technology, synthesizing its new anti-aging star ingredient, Pro-Xylane, from a natural sugar. Dr. Hauschka uses biodynamics, a natural farming technique that takes every environmental process into account to make each of its gardens a chemical-free, self-sustaining ecosystem.
Sure, you can toss your beauty bottles into your weekly recycling, but that still comes at a cost. Cargo has pulled off an environmental hat trick with its newest lipstick, Plant Love. First, the lipstick is botanical. Second, the flower seed-infused box is entirely biodegradable and will actually grow wildflowers if planted. Third, the tube itself is made of an entirely biodegradable corn polymer.
Meanwhile, more and more companies, like Yves Rocher, M.A.C, Aveda and Stila, are offering refillable packaging and compacts, with refills often sold for slightly less money. Others, such as Aveda, reduce waste by printing product information directly on bottles and boxes rather than on separate sheets of paper. And M.A.C rewards us for being environmentally thrifty by handing out free lipsticks to customers who return five or six empty product containers.
Fair Trade and community
Fair trade means paying a fair price for outsourced labour, while community trade creates long-term economic initiatives to ensure sustainability within the communities in which ingredients are extracted. Aveda, for example, sources sustainable, organic ingredients at fair prices from countries like Bulgaria, Brazil, Australia, Peru and South Africa in a way that is harmonious with indigenous practices, by protecting the cultural rituals and traditions of the region and taking steps to improve the environmental quality and health of the community. Dr. Hauschka has been maintaining its biodynamic gardens for over 60 years, fostering long-term sustainability in local disadvantaged communities.
Some companies are not only transforming their own products, but also supporting others who are helping the environment. Yves Rocher, for instance, created the Terre de Femmes awards to honour women who lead unique, green initiatives. Lisa Glithero, who is featured in the April 2007 issue of Canadian Living Magazine, received a Terre de Femmes award for founding the EYES project (education, youth, environment, and sustainability). Yves Rocher has also built arboretums, gardens and wildlife ponds for a number of schools. Dr. Hauschka promotes a number of nonprofit organizations, including biodynamics. Aveda only partners with salons and spas that maintain similar values and respect for the environment.
You too can make a difference simply by supporting companies who are supporting the environment through earth-sustaining and earth-friendly practices. Not only will you look beautiful outside, but you'll feel great inside, too.