According to Elle Magazine, “sustainable beauty products are about the end to end process. It's about making sure everything from sourcing, manufacturing, packaging and selling is making the tiniest impact possible.” This definition is precisely why we love everything about it! It's not just simply being vegan, or shying away from animal testing, or being a clean product- although those are also great- SUSTAINABLE beauty is a whole different thing.
The issue we see with a word like sustainable is, what is the standard and how can you measure one against another? There are hundreds of labels and certificates out there to potentially obtain if you can even afford to do so (this applies to any of the “all- natural” or “sustainable” items out there such as food and CBD. Lots of terms, lots of certifications, lots of money, lots of confusion). However, some of the primary labels sustainable beauty products attempt to obtain include recyclable, cruelty free, organic, and recognition for good business practice.
When it comes to buzz words like organic and natural, however, just like food, there is a lot of room to play with and a lot of unknowns. What I am starting to realize as I dive deeper into all these buzz words in the food, medicinal, fashion, and beauty industries is sadly that you have to do the research, know the company, and trust the company- all of which takes a lot of time and patience. You can't blindly believe or trust, because there are too many lies and too many omissions of information. Many brands can claim the buzz words without obtaining the certification, so as a consumer you have to wonder, is it because the certification is so expensive and hard to get (which it is) or is because it's actually not as good as it claims to be and never could be certified for real....?
Living in Hawaii, a container that says "recyclable" is the least of my concerns in terms of sustainability, unless it is aluminum.
Why? Because most things that have a recycle label are not recycled where you live, or in most places for that matter. The symbol was made popular by the plastics industry, regardless of how difficult it is to ACTUALLY recycle the item and if it occurs, and helps consumers feel better about purchasing single use items. Less than 10% of plastics have ever been recycled, so the triangle certainly has made a lot of people feel good about something they “think” they are doing. It has become such a problem that California recently passed a law to ban companies from putting the recycling symbol on items that aren’t regularly recycled throughout the state.
Ok so let’s talk more about ingredients.
We are personally a big fan of Elate Beauty for many reasons which you will soon find out ;) so we asked them a few questions about what they do and why!
The first thing we learned about was the “Toxic Ten,” which was created to help consumers make more informed decisions. Sometimes ingredients on this list can cause allergies or irritate conditions like psoriasis or eczema. Additionally, PFAS and microplastics, which believe it or not are found in some beauty products, are not only harmful to you, but they also end up in the environment through the plumbing system.
Elate is free of the Toxic Ten list, PFAS, and microplastics- but my first reaction was, SHOULDN’T THEY ALL BE?! Well yes, but they most certainly are not.
One of the certifications we read up the most on and that is the true mark of a great business model is a B Corp. To Elate, “it is in our mandate to put people and the planet first, always. This certification is a guiding principle for how we create products and do business.” To return to the mark of a sustainable business discussed in the beginning, Elate also is entirely vegan and cruelty-free, with no animals tested or harmed. They are Leaping Bunny certified. This certification audits every step of Elate’s processes to ensure that the products they produce are truly 100% cruelty-free.
A few other notches on the sustainability belt? Elate tells PlanIt,
“-We are part of PETA’s Beauty Without Bunnies, an online database that helps users discover cruelty-free options for everything from sunscreen to dish soap.
-We have signed Environmental Defence’s “Just Beautiful Pledge.”
-You can find Elate products on the Think Dirty® app, which is used to educate users on potential toxins in household, personal care and beauty products.
-Our LipColor and EyeLine pencils are made with low environmental emissions and COSMO CERT ingredients for a positive impact on the planet.
-We create low waste cosmetics with our minimally packaged and refillable makeup.
-Our palettes and compacts are made with sustainable bamboo with refills packaged in seed paper that allow you to plant a garden.”
A familiar term will resurface here if you’ve read our other blogs, IPR (individual producer responsibility). Elate has really tried to channel this concept with the creation of their refill and return program called, Simply Sustainable. They also have a partnership with One Tree Planted, which allows them to plant 1 tree for every order that goes out the door, helping to offset their total carbon footprint of shipping the products to customers.
So in conclusion, if we are going to buy things, we should seek out the companies going above and beyond to minimize their impact and treat the people, the planet, and the animals well. Do your research, even if it's time consuming, because you can find brands to trust and return to time and time again!
Happy conscious shopping!