How Beauty Brands are Taking a More Sustainable Approach to Packaging and Products

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We can’t shop our way to saving the planet, but mindful choices matter. From ingredient sourcing to sustainable packaging, here’s how the industry’s forward thinkers are striving to tread more lightly as they produce the beauty products you see on the shelves. RETHINK (INGREDIENTS) The fine print on beauty labels tells us next to nothing about how responsibly sourced ingredients are. To muddy matters, calculating a product’s eco-footprint is far trickier than checking if the formula is all-natural or organic. For starters, natural ingredients can still cause environmental havoc—take, for instance, palm oil and its derivatives. Widely used in beauty products, they can be found in everything from shampoo to lipstick. They are largely produced in Indonesia and Malaysia, and the destruction of rainforests to clear the way for palm oil plantations is rampant. “A lot of companies are coming in and bulldozing and forcing communities out,” says Lindsay Dahl, senior vice-president of social mission at Beautycounter. Although the brand initially wanted to eschew palm oil, it realized that palm derivatives are still the best choice for many of its products.