Our skin is our biggest organ. Yet even those of us who are conscious about what we eat slather our skin with a whole bunch of harmful chemicals – which are then absorbed into our bloodstream – without even really thinking about it.

We have been researching ethical beauty for a number of months and there’s a lot learn. We thought we would start this section so you can join us on the journey of discovery.

Here’s the genuinely ethical beauty brands we’ve discovered – and love – so far.

A BEGINNERS GUIDE TO ETHICAL BEAUTY

1. The words “Organic” and “Natural” are not regulated

In the beauty industry any beauty product can claim to be organic or natural even if they are not. And they do. Lots of brands include one or two organic or natural ingredients alongside a whole bunch of harmful chemicals and still claim to be ‘organic’ or ‘natural’.

Regulation is coming, but there’s a lot of effort from the big brands (you know the ones) to set the bar for transparency and ethical and organic as low as possible. So, we need to watch this space.

2. The certifications to look out for

COSMOS (international) and Soil Association (British) are both robust stamps of approval you can trust. They not only require that every ingredient that can be found organically is done so, they also ban harmful ingredients, too.

PETA and Cruelty-Free (the leaping bunny) logos guarantee that no animals have been harmed in the making of a product.

Fair Wild and Fair For Life consider the human impact of ingredients and guarantee better prices for farmers across the world.

3. Ingredients that are harmful for YOU

The skin is our biggest organ. Yet even those of us who are conscious about what we eat slather our skin with a whole bunch of harmful chemicals – which are then absorbed into our bloodstream – without even really thinking about it.

We are not scientists and it’s really difficult to read an ingredients list and to know what’s harmful for us and what’s not. I’d start with this list of “Terrible 10”  from the Soil Association:

  1. Ethyl hexylsalicylate
  2. Homosalate
  3. Imidazolidinyl urea
  4. Octinoxate
  5. Octocrylene
  6. PEGs: PEG-7; PEG-12; PEG-40; PEG-200
  7. Polyquaternium 7
  8. Polysorbate 20
  9. Red 17 artificial colour 26100
  10. Retinyl palmitate

If you want to know more, follow this link to find out what’s the issue with each one and also the alternatives to look out for.

4. Ingredients that are harmful to humans and THE PLANET

Of course, there’s also a whole bunch of ingredients that aren’t necessarily harmful to the people using them but they are sourced unethically because farmers or producers aren’t paid fairly and they are destructive to the environment. Just two to watch out for are Mica and Palm Oil.

Mica is found in a lot of mineral-based make up (more natural, huh?) and mascaras. It is dug from mines from India to Africa and is linked to child labour.

Palm Oil is linked to huge deforestation and human and animal rights abuses because huge swathes of land are being cleared to make way for plantations. The RSPO (Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil) is the only certification out there which claims to source its Palm Oil responsibly, but it is widely regarded to not be anywhere near good enough.

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