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If you’ve been to any store’s makeup section lately, you may have noticed a number of products proclaiming themselves “natural,” “organic” or “sustainable.” From packaging to promotion, many beauty companies are harnessing the power of the green beauty movement by associating themselves with all things natural.
For many consumers, the sustainable beauty trend seems to have popped up out of nowhere, appearing in stores practically overnight. However, the movement has actually been simmering under the surface of the beauty industry for a while now.
For years, people considered green beauty a niche phenomenon embraced mostly by environmentalists. The beauty industry associated the products with so-called hippie culture and thus wrote off the movement as insignificant for mainstream markets. However, in recent years, the movement has turned definitively mainstream.
Natural, sustainable and green beauty products now fill the shelves of common beauty supply stores around the world, and they’re taking the market by storm. Let’s take a look why people choose sustainable beauty products and why these products are on the rise today.
Changing Consumer Concerns
Some attribute the green beauty trend to more widely available information about climate change and health concerns. With help from social media and the internet, consumers spread health and safety information faster than ever before.
As more information circulates about climate change, pollution and other environmental issues, more consumers say sustainability influences their buying decisions. Two main groups of consumers seem particularly concerned about how ingredients may impact the environment and their heath: millennials and those age 40 and up.
Younger consumers including millennials buy sustainable beauty products due to their increased concern about climate change and other human-caused environmental issues. Young people tend to know more about environmental issues and subsequently prioritize buying products that are eco-friendly over products that are inexpensive.
Older consumers buy more sustainable beauty products for different reasons. These makeup-lovers are more concerned about the way synthetic ingredients may effect their own health. This concern motivates them to read labels and avoid products containing chemicals they deem potentially dangerous.
A Push for Healthier Beauty Products
Research has associated synthetic preservatives like parabens and other ingredients with disruption of the endocrine system, the system in the body that regulates hormones, and some scientists fear high levels of exposure to such ingredients may increase risk of cancer and other dangerous health conditions.
Because many synthetic ingredients face scientific and medical controversy, the European Union has banned about 1,400 chemicals of concern. The United States has been slower to regulate the beauty industry, so many worried consumers turn to sustainable beauty companies to provide the products they desire without the risk.
Increased consumer awareness and concern helps account for the recent uptick in the green beauty industry, which has grown by 15 percent this year, a growth rate far exceeding that of the mainstream beauty industry.
Growth of a Popular Trend
Growth in the green beauty industry is also the result of its status as a popular trend. As beauty gurus, clean-living bloggers and environmentalists began singing the praises of sustainable beauty products online, sustainable beauty became a consumer sensation.
Sustainable beauty grew into more than a good option for those concerned about health and environmental ethics. Environmentally friendly products became trendy, cool, fashionable. All of a sudden, being aware of what you were purchasing and putting on your skin became popular, leading to increased sales of the products that met consumers’ higher standards.
The sustainable beauty trend grew so much that even big brands like Ulta Beauty wanted to get in on the action. Drugstore cosmetics companies formulated their own products and labeled them “natural” and “organic,” though these labels don’t always tell the whole story.
As the beauty market in the United States and Europe shifted to accommodate increased demand for safe and sustainable beauty products, markets in other parts of the world followed close behind. In the United Arab Emirates, for example, small, natural beauty business started to grow in popularity as well.
In addition to increased consumer awareness, market experts also trace the expansion of the sustainable beauty market back to the trendiness of the movement in the U.S. and around the world.
Making Beauty Better
The clean beauty market has grown substantially in recent years. Experts anticipate that the global organic beauty market will reach $13.2 billion in 2018, and growth is unlikely to stop there. Increased availability of biological alternatives to synthetic ingredients may allow the beauty industry to shift towards sustainability entirely, unless costs prevent it.
For clean beauty companies, the boosted market means more prosperity in coming years. For the market itself, it likely means increased competition, which you can already see in the diversity of sustainable products on store shelves.
Individuals and the environment may benefit from the sustainable beauty trend even more. Because clean beauty companies focus on all aspects of a product’s health and sustainability, their impact will be significant.
Sustainable products emphasize four aspects of sustainability: ethical sourcing, responsible production, eco-friendly packaging and product biodegradability. With these products, consumers can feel confident that the beauty products they purchase will not negatively impact the environment.
Sustainable products also offer a great opportunity to those wishing to live chemical free while still keeping up their beauty routines. Because sustainable companies are focused on creating formulas that degrade well in the environment, they tend to avoid the synthetic chemicals derived from petroleum that bigger beauty companies often use, even those that label their products “natural.”
As alternatives, sustainable companies use plant-based ingredients like coconut oil that behave similarly. Though the shelf lives of sustainable products may be shorter due to their lack of chemical preservatives, they’re usually healthier for the earth and the human body.
If current trends are any indication, sustainable beauty products aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. If you care about the environment and your health, you can welcome these products into your beauty routine without worry.
By supporting truly sustainable, natural companies, you can ensure their presence in the market for years to come — and now, you have plenty of options to choose from.