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Green Beauty Conversations by Formula Botanica

Feb 17, 2022

In this Green Beauty Opinion, Formula Botanica CEO, chartered environmentalist and biologist Lorraine Dallmeier comments on the often knee-jerk tendency of some in the beauty world, both formulators and consumers, to boycott cosmetic ingredients that they deem unsustainable.  

Talking to the Responsible Mica Initiative in the last podcast, Lorraine heard about the complex world of mica mining that produces the glittery ingredients we love in cosmetics. Mica mining in India, the largest producer, relies on vulnerable, isolated mining communities who live in extreme poverty and often use child labour.

Before you boycott mica - or any other natural or botanical ingredient - think again. An all-out boycott rarely provides a solution to those unsustainable practices you’ve found out about.

Lorraine lists five key reasons we should ask before we act on boycotting an ingredient:

Synthetic or other alternatives may not be less environmentally damaging nor even more sustainable.

Boycotts can harm the local, traditional and often indigenous communities that derive their livelihoods almost entirely from producing that ingredient. 

How do you know the ingredient you boycott won’t crop up in other products or aspects of your daily consumption? Mica, for instance, is in hundreds of products we use daily, from cars to toasters.  

A contentious ingredient like palm oil, that hits the media headlines, might trigger a concerted effort to prioritise conservation efforts or its sustainable production. 

Sustainability is too complex to make sweeping statements or judgements on. The Responsible Mica Initiative counts 80 members and works with a multi-stakeholder taskforce from a range of industries. 

Lorraine challenges us to boycott instead our own unsustainable practices such as over consumption of beauty products. Listen in for a thought-provoking opinion that challenges us to be the voice of change and integrity, making the beauty industry better and more sustainable.