We all want to make safe, healthy, responsible choices in everything we purchase right? At the supermarket, you can choose a conventional apple, a locally grown apple, an organic apple, or if you’re lucky, a locally grown organic apple. But buying beauty products can be infinitely more complicated if you don’t happen to be a cosmetic chemist with encyclopedic knowledge of ingredients and sources. We're often asked by women looking to make more conscientious purchases, for a list of ingredients to avoid or to look for. Oh how we wish it were that simple!
In fact, we look at more than just ingredients when we make a purchase for Spirit Beauty Lounge. we think about where the product and ingredients are from, how it’s made, who makes it and even more complex issues like sustainability versus biodiversity (they’re not the same thing!) All this thinking and researching and interviewing manufacturers led to my developing a product evaluation system we like to call the “6Ps.”
The SBL prerequisites:
- Product packaging is 100% biodegradable, reusable or recyclable – Making landfill is unacceptable.
- Product is not tested on animals.
- Product does not contain animal ingredients and is cruelty-free. **Some exceptions, e.g. humane organic milk, beeswax.
- Product does not contain any of THESE ingredients.
Assuming all prerequisites are met, we then proceed to evaluate products using our “6Ps"
We especially look for products that perform not only as well as, but better than their conventional counterparts. They should be effective and a luxurious experience to use in their texture and aroma.
We investigate “extracts” and ingredients “derived from” natural ingredients while seeking the highest percentages available in certified organic ingredients.
There are some lovely, clean, green products out there for very affordable prices. They may even tout the same natural active ingredients that higher priced products have in them. The question is; how much of the formulation is active and how much is filler? Natural ingredients have a limited shelf life and can lose potency when exposed to too much heat, air or chemicals. Ask how active ingredients are processed and filtered to preserve potency. Remember, higher potency is a win-win for you and the environment. Less filler means less waste.
We seek products and ingredients made locally, responsibly or Fair Trade. We also research factors like preservation of biodiversity. “Where is it from?” is an easy question to answer for an apple but for a moisturizer, you may need to investigate a dozen sources.
The company that manufactures a product should be independently owned, ethical, charitable, responsible and consistent. Although we love how many conventional product manufacturers now have added green products to their offerings, we prefer to support only companies who are dedicated to making safe, green, ethical products across the board.
It is prerequisite that the packaging be ZERO-WASTE but it’s also important that it be pretty! Needless to say we'reobsessed with all things beautiful inside and OUT. If a bottle doesn’t look pretty enough to leave out on the vanity or furnish the guest bathroom, ultimately we ’m not going to use it. Spirit Beauty Lounge is all about attracting women to greener products and in order to attract, they have to look attractive!
It’s a lot to think about isn’t it? Not just toxins but sustainability, biodiversity, human rights, animal rights and of course, YOU and your enjoyment and enhancement of beauty! Well that’s exactly what we thought every time someone asked me how to decide what to avoid or look for. The Dirty Thirty is a great place to start but please, don’t stop there. It’s a full-time job figuring this all out and if you’re even trying,
we commend you. Don’t get discouraged by or be afraid of all of the (often conflicting) information out there. Every time you think of even one of the “6Ps” before making a purchase, you’re being a conscious consumer and that is a step in the right direction.