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Additional reporting by Razinah Anwarali

There are many things beauty junkies can be proud of; many beauty brands are advocates of women and children-related causes, and beauty enthusiasts are known to use their interest to better the world in several ways. But there’s one department we can definitely do better in: caring more for the environment. After all, many products come with excessive packaging (which we are guilty of loving) and formulas that may not be all that earth-loving.

While it may be impossible to be completely sustainable, we can definitely contribute in our little ways in reducing our carbon footprint while sustaining about love for the beauty industry.

It helps that beauty brands are stepping up to make things easier for those of us who still want our favourite products and be eco-conscious at the same time.

Barry M will be 100% vegan by early 2020


British beauty brand Barry M, has always been known to be cruelty-free. But the brand that is famous for their nail and makeup products has made an even bigger commitment. It announced recently that it aims to have a 100% vegan range of products by 2020. The brand’s products are available in Singapore at Guardian stores and its website.

Currently, all of Barry M’s products are vegetarian and 97% of them are vegan (the rest of the 3% contain beeswax). Managing Director of Barry M Dean Mero told Daily Vanity over an email interview that their fully vegan products will be just as high quality as before.

‘We would never introduce products to the range unless we were 100% confident in its performance. For example, the main ingredients from our non-vegan products are beeswax and lanolin which can be found in lipsticks and mascara, but we have found replacements for these – such as synthetic versions of the non-vegan ingredients, which are cosmetically approved,” he said.

Mero shared that the brand targets to be 100% vegan by April 2020, and he said that it takes time and consistent improvements to be an eco-friendly brand. For example, many of Barry M’s nail paint caps are made from recycled plastic and they are working towards making this for all their caps. Even all cardboard used are either recycled and/or re-used to minimise wastage.

“Ultimately it all boils down to the positive impact you wish to have on the world – what are you telling the industry and your peers when you choose sustainable beauty products over regular ones,” Mero commented about why consumers would choose products that have lower impact on the environment versus those that do.

Cosmetics giants take the lead

But the journey towards sustainability in the beauty industry will be a tough one if indie brands are the only ones who are working towards it. Thankfully, cosmetics giants like L’Oreal and Sephora are also making commitments towards being more environmentally friendly.

Sephora first unveiled a total face lift for their popular range of lipsticks last year, changing its plastic packaging to paper. The #Lipstories range of Sephora Collection lipsticks also use plant-derived inks and has a special mechanism that allows the lipstick to be dispensed from the tube without using glue or silicone to secure it.

This year, Sephora doubled down with a huge skincare range, called GOOD Skincare, which aims to have as low impact on earth as possible. The collection was officially launched in September and is available at Sephora stores and online.

Sust Beauty Sephora

Products are made with 91-99% naturally derived ingredients, and packaging are made from recyclable plastic derived from sugar cane using vegetable-based inks. This clean beauty line also boasts a sulfate-, paraben-, and mineral-oil free formulation.

Best part? Sustainability doesn’t have to be expensive. This collection, which is catered for all skin types is affordable – with nothing over SGD40!

L’Oreal, on the other hand, has co-developed paper-based cosmetic tubes with beauty packaging company Albea, and announces that the industrial production and market launch of these environmentally friendly packaging will happen in 2020. The tubes that they have developed are made with a bio-based and certified paper-like material, and would replace most of the plastic packaging it is currently using.

Philippe Thuvien, L’Oreal’s vice-president of packaging and development, said that the company has been constantly improving the environmental footprint of their packaging since 2007.

“Today, we are going one step further and launching this new technology based on certified paper,” he said. He added that this innovative, alternative solution is an integral part of the Group’s packaging strategy.

The cosmetics giant further announced that they are now a pioneering member of PaBoCo, the Paper Bottle Company, which will allow them to accelerate their paper-based packaging innovations.

Distributors and retailers are also doing their part

Sust Beauty Dr Bronners

And brand owners aren’t the only ones who are doing their part. At the recent press launch of Dr. Bronner’s, Watsons, which is the brand’s exclusive distributor and retailer, said that they’re on the lookout for sustainable brands to add to their stable.

And sustainability is one of the reasons why the retailer had chosen to work with Dr. Bronner’s, which is known as a sustainable, natural soap brand for a long time. This cruelty-free brand is famous for its iconic, multi-tasking soaps and its use of USDA-organic certified and fair trade certified ingredients.

Sustainable Beauty Dr Bronns Soap Line

Besides sustainable formulas and packaging, Dr Bronner’s even dedicates their profits towards similar causes.

How can you do your part as consumers?

1. Upcycle and recycle your empty containers


Empty containers can make for good pots for plants and used to keep trinkets such as your jewellery. We have previously shared creative ideas for re-using your containers that you can take inspiration from too.

If you aren’t particularly inventive, consider dumping these empty containers at recycle bins. There are a few beauty brands that provide collection points in their stores to help you recycle them more easily.

2. Buy products in larger quantity

Sust Beauty Image 4

Source: Pinterest

If you have a holy grail product that you know you always need to replenish, consider getting it in a larger size instead. This way you’ll be reducing the absolute number of container you’ll be throwing away.

3. Reduce usage of disposable products

Reusable Cotton Pads

We know that we can’t do without cotton pads, which we use for everything from applying our toner to removing our makeup. But did you know that there are actually reusable alternatives to them? Cotton pads that can be washed and reused have been gaining popularity among beauty enthusiasts.

And while there are currently no reusable options available for cotton swabs, there are alternatives in the market that swap the plastic sticks to bamboo ones, which are biodegradable.

4. Always have a shopping list

Shopping For Foundations Online Research

This is probably the most difficult thing of all to do, considering how many of us tend to succumb to impulse buys. Doing up a list to make sure you’re only getting what you need will help you to reduce wastage, which will definitely help to send extra love to Mother Earth.

5. Go for sustainable brands

Online Shopping

If sustainability is an important cause to you, put your money where your mouth is – literally. Support brands that are committed to sustainability (like the ones we just spoke about!) This way, you aren’t just making a statement, you’ll also be financially helping these brands to grow and be able to have more resources put into earth-loving causes.