Green Faces: The Eco Beauty Wave


By green faces, I refer not to the hue, but to the environmentally conscious products that keep showing up in stores, on advertisements, and in the hands of beauty influencers.

What’s with the sudden desire for green beauty? Just a few years ago, while working for an organic-focused magazine, I began to discover how important the products you consume, use, and subsequently throw away truly are to the environment and your body.

Surely this is the kind of rhetoric that has diluted public discourse for decades, but I recall excitedly telling my friends about all the gluten-free, organic, and vegan products I was discovering (especially owing to the fact that many of those companies also tend to be charitable, transparent, and equitable.) They expressed their skepticism toward a beauty product that one could, say, eat. To them there was no point of gluten-free, vegan, organic, or environmental beauty?

One forgets the landscape of pores on our skin, the same skin one would hesitate to coat in chemicals normally. When it comes to lipsticks, blushes, and foundations, the importance of the careful screening of materials escapes many people. How many people can confidently say they know what their lipstick is composed of? Much less the lotion they use?

And yet these are the things people spread around their eyes, on their mouths, on their skin, and on their heads. Why not be careful?



The good news is that customers are actually being more conscious of these choices, according to a beauty trend forecast by Transparency Market Research; North Americans consumed the biggest portion of organic beauty products in 2013, taking up 34.9% of global consumption that year.

In fact, due to the increased awareness of these products (likely due to publications that support them and emphasis on climate change recently), the market has grown remarkably in a recession economy. According to the Organic Trade Association’s report on Organic Industry in 2016, millennials are driving this change. And it’s a large change at that: 2015 added 4.2 billion dollars in sales and a 10.8 percent rate of growth to the market, which has been steadily growing since the 1990s.

The question remains, however, as to why in a mere twenty years and a handful of generations do millennials feel obligated to live organic and eco-conscious lives? Certainly the environmental crusades of the recent past and the increased scientific study on ecological effects of human beings contributed. Not to mention that the very recent and very public UN Climate Change Conference in Paris underlined global concern for the environment.

One forgets the landscape of pores on our skin, the same skin one would hesitate to coat in chemicals normally.


Outside of the health benefits of green beauty, the waste that mainstream beauty products create remains a concern for consumers, driving them to independent brands with creative and less wasteful packaging. Glass, biodegradable, and recyclable/recycled containers are popular in the independent vein of the beauty industry. Lush, the UK based cosmetics company, encourages customers to return the containers they bought to be used again. Customers who do so five times get a free face mask.

Such incentive programs are common for companies who emphasize environmental concern. Seeing as such products are more expensive with or without the added incentive of free gifts, one wonders why the industry does so well. Nielsen’s 2015 global survey measured a pool of global respondents’ willingness to pay more for green products. 66 percent of global respondents would pay more for eco products in 2015, up ten percent from 2014, due to a varied group of reasons.

Respondents consider their trust in the company valuable with a global average of 62 percent saying they would purchase a green product for that reason and 72 percent willing to pay more for those products than they usually pay. As for environmental friendliness, 45 percent of the global average considers it an important factor with 58 percent willing to pay more.

The green beauty industry is carving an impressive and influential niche against economic odds, showing the globe that they’re here to stay.

I intend to ride the green wave as much as possible and, if you’re wanting to come along but don’t know where to start, a couple of good resources can be found here and here. It’s best to decide what’s important to you: cruelty-free, certified organic, etc. to whittle down the list of options.

Stay green, my friends.



Questions? Comments? Miscellania?

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