Sustainable trends in the Beauty Industry

For long, the beauty industry has been anything but sustainable. The packaging, ingredients and even R&D methods have been damaging the planet. Fortunately, things are changing now. As the consumer becomes more aware, brands have begun working towards sustainability in every aspect of their businesses.

In 2019, the cosmetics industry was valued at close to $532 billion, and it has been growing by nearly 5 percent each year since 2016. Awareness about skin and hair care is also increasing tremendously. Thus, it becomes extremely important to reduce the wasteful practices of the industry since it has also now become a “trend” to be sustainable.

Let’s discuss some of the ways various brands have promoted sustainability!

1. Sustainable / Eco-friendly packaging

Biodegradable or recyclable packaging is becoming very popular with Beauty brands in India. Some of the popular ways are:

– Recyclable plastic / glass

– Cardboard / paper packaging

– Reduced packaging by changing the form of the product. Eg. Solid shampoo bars instead of plastic bottles

2. Upgraded Business Model

Through innovation in the supply chain beauty brands are aiming to reduce the carbon footprint and plastic waste products.

One of the most popular trends is Refillable products. Brands allow refilling of used bottles at stores or sell refills which reduces the plastic bottles used. However, refilling at stores has not widely been adopted yet.

Additionally, through improvements in distribution of products, the packaging material required is being reduced

3. Ingredients

Product formulations and ingredient sourcing are important while discussing sustainability.

– Cruelty-free  and vegan ingredients are becoming increasingly popular.

– Ingredients like palm oil and sandalwood are highly illegally sourced and not produced sustainably.

– Mica is an ingredient used in glitter whose sourcing is related to child-labour.

– The use of microbeads (tiny plastic particles), in skincare products is extremely harmful to the environment.

Thus, several companies are investing in innovations in sustainable and responsible ingredients.

4. Beauty Tech

Technological innovations in the beauty industry are aiming towards sustainable and responsible products in the future. One such example is Perso, L’Oreal’s smart skincare device that uses artificial intelligence, location data and a user’s preferences to formulate personalised moisturiser or even lipsticks. Such long lasting and reusable  products reduce plastic usage and production requirements. Brands and start-ups are launching new electronic skin care devices, biotech ingredients and LED therapies which encourage reuse and reduce plastics.

Consumers who are willing and interested in sustainable beauty should be aware of the different developments in that sector.

Things to check during purchase:

– Production and packaging locations – Look for products which are produced, packaged and whose ingredients are sourced locally.

– Read ingredients and fine-script details carefully

– Look for small brands and start-ups which are specifically focused towards protecting the environment

– Be aware of brands falsely claiming to be sustainable to be part of the current trend

This is the right time to shift towards sustainable consumption as several brands are entering this market.

We can enjoy the wide range of products while protecting the environment!