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Green Beauty Conversations by Formula Botanica

Mar 30, 2021

Did you know that the age of minimalist skincare had dawned in the beauty market? But is our desire to do more for our skin with less really filtering down to our habits as beauty consumers? Can we resist the allure of new products with their promises and claims?

Just ask yourself how many beauty products are on your bathroom shelves? If you've 16 and counting then you are in good company as that is the average number of beauty products women use daily. A glance at the social media 'shelfies' shows just how much we are in love with having a range of cosmetics. But, there are two sides to the story of how we consume beauty products.

The beauty industry is one of the world's most unsustainable as its business model is driven by its need to constantly bring new products to market. As beauty consumers we therefore need to take a long hard look at whether we need a latest, new, improved or wonder product. Perhaps one product can multitask and save us the need for more. And we need to ask if the products we use are truly essential for our skin health and our well being?

In this episode, host and Formula Botanica CEO Lorraine Dallmeier, a passionate advocate of less is more and a biologist and chartered environmentalist, discusses with colleague Ana Green how both the beauty industry and beauty consumers must share responsibility for making the industry more sustainable.

From our purchasing habits and our hoarding of products to how the industry is geared for profit, this Green Beauty Conversation explores the meaning of 'essential' in beauty consumerism today.

In this episode on minimalist skincare, you will hear:

  • About the difference between essential, functional, pleasurable and minimalist skincare;
  • How essential means different things to different people and that one person's 'essential' may be irrelevant to another beauty consumer so there can be no standard defining essential;
  • How consumers have difficulty navigating the swathes of new beauty products with their new ingredients and efficacy claims;
  • That while the beauty industry is looking at packaging and recycling in its quest to be more sustainable, it has largely refused to address its age-old business model which requires it to make more and encourage consumers to buy more, thereby depleting world resources; and how
  • Big beauty brands should be encouraged to share their findings in areas such as sustainable packaging with smaller brands and indie beauty so the gains made for the environment are multiplied.

Key take-outs include:

  • Don't be led into thinking that affordably priced, single ingredient skincare is necessarily the ideal. You may end up buying more low-priced, single focus products.
  • The layering of multiple, single focus skincare products, especially those not designed to work together, can have a detrimental effect on the skin, impairing its natural barrier. Over exfoliation and damage from over use of Retinol are two examples often cited on social media these days.
  • Beauty consumers should aim to reduce consumption by buying fewer, longer-lasting products and choosing multipurpose products with fewer (essential) ingredients and by ensuring they finish a product before buying more. Hoarding shelfies of product should not be an option.
  • Minimalist skincare habits start at home. Consumers need to think mindfully about what they really need and change their cosmetic usage and pare back their needs well before they get to the point of purchase (when shiny new products are there to tempt them!).

Further Reading

In the podcast, Loraine mentioned two industry report that make interesting further reading on the beauty industry, its business model and sustainability: The Ecodesign Research by L’Oréal and the British Beauty Council, Courage to Change report