Cosmetics are a mixture of various chemicals and compounds which are extracted either from natural sources or from artificial man-made compounds. They have various uses designed for personal and skin care and protect and clean the body or the skin.
They are designed in a way to enhance and expand a person’s protection towards the skin body or change one’s appearance, such as reducing blemishes, enhancing a person’s natural features such as the eyelashes eyebrows, adding color to a person’s face, or changing the resemblance and making a person appearance into a completely different form.
All these tasks can be done using cosmetics that are purposely designed for the face, which is known as makeup. Cosmetics are also designed to add fragrance and reduce foul smell or sweat, and this also comes under the category of cosmetics.
Some fascinating facts related to ancient history about cosmetics which one may find interesting to know about. Cosmetics have been in use for a thousand years, using ancient Egyptians. In Europe, cosmetics continued in the middle ages when a person’s face was painted white, and the cheeks painted in a different form and color.
Natural ingredients such as castor oil, rosewater, olive oil, calamine, and vaseline were used for making products. And those have gained so much importance in the cosmetic industry.
The Ancestors dated from the nineteenth century have been using these natural ingredients straight from nature to the face and the skin. The Romans first described the skin creams made of olive oil rosewater. Vaseline and lanolin were introduced in the 19th century already.
Castor oil was used in the form of a protected balm in ancient Egypt years ago. All these facts show us that we have come a long way from using natural ingredients to using chemical-infused products and cosmetics.
Types of cosmetics
There are a large number of different cosmetics used for various purposes. All cosmetics are applied externally; these products can be applied on the skin, body, face, nails, lips, eyebrows, legs, feet, eyes, and hair. These products come in various packaging sizes and brands to look more attractive to the customers.
How many cosmetics end up in landfills?
Every form of product comes with equal or even more waste than it creates.
Due to the ever-increasing cosmetics competition between brands, brands tend to make their product more attractive with more packaging. Providing complimentary cosmetics as gifts have also contributed to the figure mentioned next. The bottles, tubes, and containers used annually by the cosmetics industry are more than 150 billion plastic units for packaging. Of this packaging, more than 70% of the units end up in landfills.
Such plastics are also known as bioplastics and do not degrade naturally or within the person’s average life span. Of course, such plastic can be composted, but it requires such an intense degree of heat to break apart that it must be returned to an industrial site.
Adding to this, The carbon footprint, the total energy utilized for transferring raw material, the ingredients to finished products, is another significant liability.
These substances are next to impossible to take out from the oceans, starting with microplastics and microbeads like glitter, which are used in almost all makeup products like eye shadow lipsticks.
The substance named Avobenzone which is used in sunscreens is one of the reasons for the depletion of coral reefs. In hair sprays and deodorants, a substance, namely Volatile organic compounds (VOCs), has contributed to air and smog pollution. Palm Oil is undoubtedly used in 70% of cosmetics products alone, which has led to severe deforestation.
According to research and surveys, the beauty business is worth 500 billion USD, and this industry is estimated to grow more than 850 billion USD by 2023.
Even though fashion has been justified for bad environmental practices, the pollution caused by the beauty industry is no less. Though the volume is smaller in quantity, it is highly hazardous with harmful effects.
What is Zero waste Cosmetics?
Zero waste cosmetics has a significant focus on recycling and minimalistic packaging. It is designed in a way that these products and the packaging include refilling and using eco-friendly ingredients, and it is beneficial for the environment and even consumers.
As these products are on the rise, they inspire eco-friendly lifestyles and reduce the amount of waste on the cosmetic industry shelves.
Benefits of switching to zero waste cosmetics
a) It helps in saving the environment.
b) It saves money to an individual as they are refillable.
c) Small businesses can benefit from it as many retail giants are not yet loading a big amount of zero waste cosmetics
d) It helps a person become a conscious shopper.
e) Initiation of the zero waste cosmetic journey.
Zero waste makeup products one should consider adding to the beauty routine are organic and naturally formed foundation and concealer, lipsticks, blusher, eyeshadow, mascara, and eyebrows.
What is sustainability in cosmetics?
Green and sustainable cosmetics are products made using all the natural ingredients and are produced using renewable raw materials. Many brands have been using petrochemical ingredients that are derived from non-renewable petrol, the price of which is economically volatile.
Opting for responsible sourcing of plants with medicinal properties can make the product more sustainable.
Types of Zero waste cosmetic packaging
The packaging used for protecting the environment that helps keep our environment healthy and safe are listed below.
1. Seaweed packaging:
Seaweed is biodegradable and also dissolves in water. It can be good for single-use gels, face masks, or other liquid-based cosmetics.
2. Cornstarch packaging:
This packaging has offered some positive properties in the replacement of plastic, and it is also known as PLA packaging, which also stands for polylactic acid, which is not harmful to the environment.
3. Bamboo packaging:
This packaging is free from chemicals. Bamboo is a disposable packaging material that is made from bamboo plants, and it is an extremely eco-friendly option if compared to plastic and paper.
It is a durable option for packaging for lightweight packaging as the whole plant is used. This packaging can be used for beauty products like mascaras, eye shadows, foundations, etc. The primary focus here is to reuse it through refilling.
4. Beeswax packaging:
This packaging consists of oil such as jojoba oil and coconut oil and fabric like cotton. This can be molded around objects and can be used to cover containers. The best quality for beeswax packaging is that it is reusable.
It is also a great alternative to plastic, and it can also help in reducing environmental problems like waste and pollution. The best part about these beeswax wraps is that they come in different colors and patterns and so using them for any cosmetic and beauty product is a good option.
5. Metal packaging:
For packaging perfumes and fragrances, using metals like aluminum and stainless steel can also be a good option for eco-friendly packaging due to the less energy consumption compared to glass for recycling. The eye shadow palettes can also be made of aluminum that can be recycled and repurposed.
6. Post-consumer packaging:
Plastic, which can be recycled and reused for other products packaging, is also a great option as it will reduce any permanent damage to our world rather than simply lying around.
How can cosmetic brands be more sustainable?
When choosing packaging material for the products, the cosmetic and beauty brands should consider the waste management strategy followed by the country.
Cosmetic company owners should first decide whether the product packaging should be put in the list of recycling items or should be discarded in landfills.
In many developing nations like Bali, it has become very difficult to dispose of unsustainable packaging due to a lack of infrastructure. During the lockdown situation, the people in Bali realized that the sea and the rivers were filled with non-degradable substances.
Sustainable packaging is not necessarily always cheap. The major demerit of sustainable packaging is its expensive behavior, and any brand that produces millions of products a day may get difficult economically for the brand as the price for producing the final product will increase substantially.
And for a consumer, only a discount offer may enhance the willingness to buy. Usually, a brand can charge a premium price as the main motive would be the unique selling intentions and technique.
Finding a sustainable packaging supplier to print the labels can be a long journey for small businesses and startups entering the cosmetics industry. One should opt for a supplier who supplies renewable packaging materials that are biodegradable, compostable, or recyclable.
One may consider including other things such as protection and durability, reusability and safety, size and weight, and the most important cost.
Spreading awareness and inviting people to sustainability will help create an impact on the environment and in people’s minds. People have started becoming aware of the benefits of sustainability, and promoting this idea will help build a community with similar goals and purposes.
What are eco-friendly cosmetics?
The process of conserving all the resources through various means like consumption, reuse, recovery, packaging, responsible production. These products are designed to have minimal impact on the environment.
These cosmetics do not discharge waste into the land or water. These cosmetics do not cause any pollution to air, land, soil, and water and have harmful effects on human health.
How to reuse old cosmetic containers?
Perfume bottles have been hard to dispose of, and they are made up of a special kind of glass that is not easy to recycle. It’s hard to mention, but sometimes the packaging of the perfume bottle is so unique and pretty that one would not wish to discard it.
Any such perfume bottle can be used as a flower vase and showcased on the shelf, and one can also reuse it to diffuse essential oils. Using it as a spray bottle for the hair or the skin is also a smart option.
Many creams, moisturizers, and skin products come in unique and beautiful jars; instead of disposing of them away, one can use them as pots and plant them.
Old liquid eyeliners can be used for nail art due to the thin and narrow brush that comes with them. one must ensure that washing it is very important before using it.
The compact powders come with mirrors; one can dump them as a touch-up mirror in the purse. The empty storage can be used to occupy hair clips, earrings, pins, and mints.
How to create a zero-waste cosmetic routine
You can buy from the brands that produce eco-friendly and recyclable products and the brands that take back the empties for recycling.
For the plastic packaged products, you can buy in more quantities to avoid packaging disposed of for once and dispose of the empty packaging in the recycling bin as per local guidelines.
How can we reduce cosmetic waste?
The first and easiest option is to go makeup-free more often than usual, which will help the products last longer and make them durable.
It will reduce unnecessary buying of new products.
You can invest in quality and natural ingredients products that are eco-friendly and can be reused and recycled. Cutting down on the consumption of plastics is also one of the easy ways of reducing waste.
It is a goal that is ethical, economical, efficient, and has the vision to guide a way for people and individuals through changing their lifestyles and practices for creating sustainable practices.
The beauty industry should work collectively to resolve this problem effectively and with immediate action. The brands like Zara and Adidas have come together to initiate sustainable fashion standards, goals, and awareness programs and drives.
The big and renowned beauty brands should spread awareness, make a collaborative move and start taking the initiative before it gets too late.
Customers, who are aware of the zero waste cosmetics, organic, and natural products have started looking forward to sustainable beauty and cosmetics standards.
Such millennial customers expect clean formulations, non-toxic minimal packaging, and efficient recycling. It is estimated that the organic beauty market will be touching 54 billion dollars by 2027.