I love beauty products! I also love Mother Earth and her glorious bounties. However, I know these two loves can sometimes be at odds with each other. The beauty industry requires numerous resources, and often the actions of cosmetic, skin and haircare companies can have detrimental effects to our planet. Since I’m not going to stop loving beauty products, it’s become important for me to find the eco-friendly beauty brands that are still results-focused. Lucky for me, my job for the last 10 years has provided me with the privilege of diving deep into the world of beauty.
In the early aughts I got a dream role as senior editor of American Salon, a trade journal serving salon and beauty professionals worldwide. As an avid beauty addict from a young age, I adored everything about beauty—glistening potions; creamy cylinders of lipsticks; sparkling shadows; curvy bottles of shampoo; and the flowery words on the beautiful packaging that promised me smooth skin, glossy hair and the allure of all the cool people. I was more than happy that my love of beauty was becoming in sync with my career.
I welcomed the glamorous beauty editor perks— attending swanky product launch parties; covering backstage beauty prep for New York Fashion Week; and receiving lots of free products. I also happily relished in interviewing top beauty pros and company CEOS. I could get incredible styling tips from the ultimate hair artist in the industry one day, and understandings of brand best practices from executives the next.
When not immersed in my job, I wore my favorite shade of pink lipstick as I took nature hikes outside the city. I love being outdoors, seeing wild animals and simply enjoying a robust and healthful planet. That being said, it wasn’t lost on me that I was teetering two worlds at the magazine. With glee, I tore through the daily swag bag beauty shipments and watched the beauty closet overflow with so many new products. I also dreaded knowing much of this was just going to end up in landfills, and likely the planet was being damaged during some of this product production; and this was only a teeny percentage of a huge industry.
So, I took on the CEO interviews with more gusto to pick their brains and find out what they were doing to be eco-friendly. Since the magazine features were mostly haircare focused, I pressed them to find out if they considered offering organic shampoo and conditioner bars and their options for zero waste shampoo. And if they weren’t doing anything just yet, maybe my questions as an industry media professional would place a seriously important bee in their bonnet.
Through the executives, I gained insights about companies’ standards and practices. I loved discovering brands that were creating slick new products while employing incredible innovation in recyclable packaging; responsibly sourcing ingredients; working with natural resources such as wind-powered factories and so much more. As my need for glowing skin and bouncy hair wasn’t waning, the more environmentally responsible and cruelty-free brands I found, the more excited I became.
As I began to only want to write about the eco-friendly beauty brands, I soon made a switch from publishing to brand marketing to further align myself with companies that matched my values. I no longer felt this odd superficial guilt for loving beauty products so much, because now I was advocating for brands that were making a difference. To see how beauty goes beyond just a product to touch actual lives and to do better for the planet is incredible.
Beauty can happen without waste. Shampoo does not have to come in plastic bottles, but instead we can have an eco-friendly solid shampoo bar. Skincare does not need to pillage the Earth; and my favorite shade of pink lipstick can be vegan and environmentally friendly. My two loves are actually pretty okay together after all.
About the author
Jolene Turner is a writer and brand marketer with a focus on beauty, home décor and non-profits. Learn more about her work at Joleneturner.com
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