You Are What You Eat - And What You Apply

Take a stroll down any grocery store aisle, and you will meet hordes of recycled chip packages, reclaimed glass bottles of cider, and compostable granola bar wrappers. The progressive shift our society has made towards zero-waste lifestyles and reducing our consumption has rooted itself primarily in the packaged food industry. There is no doubt that the light shed on the sustainability of our food is essential towards the preservation of our planet. However, even in recent years, the carbon footprint of the beauty industry has somehow managed to evade public gaze. Understanding the environmental challenges of the beauty industry is essential to promoting and developing both personal and planet health.


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According the Shane Wolf, founder of Seed Phytonutrients, a sustainable beauty brand, “beauty products create less waste in volume (than the food and beverage industry), but our plastics challenge is more complex because we tend to use mixed material and less frequently use post-consumer recycled materials.” In other words? Most the products you buy are not compostable or recyclable, and end up in the landfill. And even if they do end up in a recycling bin, they are often difficult and costly for recycling plants to sort and separate, hence leading to their eventual landfill residency. Think about all the products in your bathroom cabinet right now. For most people, the product tally adds up to well over forty items. Multiply that by your household, neighborhood, city, state, and the landfill waste snowballs.


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Then, there is the question of personal health. We give a lot of attention to what we eat and how it influences our body and health. We understand that what we put into our bodies via our mouths directly impacts how we feel, look, and perform. Yet, our skin is our biggest organ. Any time we apply a product on our skin, it soaks into our bodies as well. When you pick up your face lotion and turn it around to read the contents, you will probably see upwards of twenty complicated chemical derived ingredients. Think about turning around your shampoo bottle, conditioner, sunscreen, primer, foundation, mascara, deodorant, blush, lipstick… the list goes on and on. All of the ingredients listed on all these products are being absorbed into our bodies. If a bag of packaged food boasted an ingredient list as extensive, we would steer clear from it. So why do we willingly put these products on our skin?


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Unfortunately, the impact of these products’ chemical nature does not stop at our skin. When we shower, any residual product that remains on our skin is washed down our drains, and the life cycle of that tap water will eventually reach the ocean. The chemicals we put on our skin contribute to the pollution of our water sources and oceans. It can seem a bit overwhelming. No one wants to sacrifice their beauty regime or personal hygiene. Thankfully, we don’t need to. Every day, organic and naturally derived products emerge within the beauty market. Opting for these products is a fantastic first step. Innovative minds are developing compostable and recyclable packaging that reduce our need to consume plastic.


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However, we as consumers also have the option to introduce sustainable creativity into our own regime. Instead of buying both shaving cream and lotion, try using emu oil. The natural product boasts equal effectiveness, comes in a glass jar, and cuts your consumption from two products to one. It deeply nourishes your skin while working to prevent razor burn and bumps. This is just one of many product alternatives to explore. The more we can turn to natural alternatives, the less products we need to purchase, and the healthier our bodies, water sources, and planet will become. The beauty market is blooming with options that will improve your personal and skin health, with an added dose of planet love.




//Katie Harris




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