Shopping responsibly: A how-to guidePosted: June 24, 2024

Being a virtuous consumer in 2020 entails buying products that are good for the environment and are humane to animals. However, when it comes to picking a cosmetic off the shelf, these seemingly straight forward ideals can become quite complicated. The question arises; how do I consume responsibly and know what to buy? Fortunately, The Green Climate has a silver bullet solution that boils down to the carbon footprint of the product.

Carbon footprint

A Carbon footprint originates when fuels (i.e. wood, coal, natural gas, gasoline, and oil) are burned and released into the atmosphere (this is the stuff killing our planet). That is why it is essential to think about how much carbon is needed to make the product. Figuring out the carbon footprint requires some research, but it ensures that the product you are buying is doing more good than bad for our Earth. An excellent book to read to gain an intuitive sense of what carbon is and how to minimize it in your daily life is “How Bad are Bananas? The Carbon Footprint of Everything” by Mike Berners-Lee. Here is a simple formula in determining the carbon footprint of any product –

Transportation

A shampoo made in Brazil may require trains, planes and vehicles to get to your destination while a shampoo made locally would require less carbon and is better for the environment.

Supply chain

Where does the company source its raw materials? Do those suppliers harvest sustainably, and what sort of carbon footprint do they cause?

Compensation

It is tough for any company to be 100% carbon-free, but do they compensate their emissions through ways such as paying carbon tax or planting a tree for every purchase?

Is it vegan?

Animals produce carbon, directly and indirectly. A general rule of thumb is that if the product is 100% vegan (you can check yourself by looking at the ingredients), then it will have a smaller carbon footprint. However, you should also ensure that the company is not using animal testing because that produces carbon and, perhaps more significantly, is not humane.

Packaging

Does the product use single-use plastics or a reusable and recyclable package such as glass or recyclable plastic?

Whether you are an individual or a corporation, this abbreviated carbon test will ensure that you are a virtuous consumer.

Too busy to conduct a carbon test yourself? No problem, I have gathered the best fragrance, deodorant, and cosmetics, along with other alternatives in each category. I hope this list demonstrates to you that you can be green while looking and feeling your best.

The List

Fragrances

Best Option: Henry Rose

Henry Rose is a mens fragrance company that screams luxury while being incredibly sustainable. Their sustainability is largely derived from being a part of the Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute: an NGO that empowers consumer brands to kickstart a green manufacturing revolution. In collaboration with this organization and the Environmental Working Group, they have identified 300 of 3000 ingredients that are worthy of being in the supply chain. In fact, Henry Rose is Cradle to Cradle Certified Gold.

In addition, their packaging from bottles to caps and packaging is near 100% recyclable and compostable.

Check out Henry Rose’s latest luxurious SMYTH fragrance which is “Crisp green apple is rounded with watery notes and sheer white woods for a bright finish”

Other Great Options:

  1. Herban Cowboy
  2. Nature’s Brands
  3. Olivina Men

Deodorants, Toothpaste, Face and Other Accessories

Best Option: Native

Native, who specializes in deodorants, bar soaps and toothpaste is a superb example of mixing sustainability with amazing products. All of their products are vegan, gluten free, and toxin free. In addition, Native just launched a plastic free line, and they aim to be fully plastic free by 2023. For instance, their new deodorant packaging is made up of paperboard which ships in a 100% recycled paper mailer. They have deodorants with different scents for men, women and teens. If you decide that you want more of Native’s excellent products, you can purchase a monthly subscription to their service to their products.

Check out Native here!

Other Great Mentions:

  1. Dermalogica
  2. Birchbox
  3. Benecos for Men Only

Women Cosmetics

Best Option: Axiology

Axiology, an American based brand is another great example of a sustainably-driven cosmetics line. Specializing in lipsticks, crayons and hand care, they are all cruelty free and are made of always 10 or less ingredients. All of these ingredients are plant based, and about 60% are certified organic ingredients. These ingredients are palm oil free, gluten free and synthetic fragrance free. In fact, their luxurious fragrance stems from their rich sweet orange essential oils. Their products come in a variety of different flavours, textures, and pigments that will definitely make you shine everywhere.

Recently Axiology switched to 100% post-consumer recycled plastic packaging and bottling. In addition, Axiology’s new “lip-to-lid balmies” are 100% zero waste, and are optimized for finger use – meaning, you do not have to use makeup brushes.

Shop Axiology here!

Other Great Places

  1. Sephora
  2. Clean Faced Cosmetics

The Seal of Approval: KORRES

If anyone deserves the seal of approval, it is Korres. Virtually all of their products are 99% are recyclable and biodegradable. However, what makes their products special is that their entire manufacturing process is zero-waste, their departments ranging from pharmaceutical to manufacturing have received several third party certificates that denote high sustainability, and use scientific data to ensure that all of their products are sustainable.

Korres is not just sustainable, but these products will make you feel good every step you take. Their products are luxurious, silky smooth, and scream attraction. Their products are sold all around the world, and regularly receive high ratings from customers for their top notch quality.

Shop Korres here!

A Worthy Mention: AVEDA

While not 100% vegan, AVEDA is one of the most socially responsible beauty companies on then planet. They are 100% cruelty free and the majority of their products are vegan. Beyond this, all of their ingredients are toxic free and are certified organic. In addition, 100% of their manufacturing industry is powered by wind energy, and they purchase carbon credits and offsets to balance their reliance on fossil fuels. In addition, Aveda gives back to the community. For example, they have spent 65 million in bringing clean water to communities around the world.

Aveda also has amazing customer service. Walk into a store, and they use a hair scanner to determine which of the various product lines will fit you best. In case you do not live near a store, they have a guide that will help you determine which of their products fit you best.

I personally use Aveda’s mens Pur-Formance shampoo and conditioner. It is meant for men who have oily, thick hair, and are more prone to hair loss. Aveda has saved my hair, and I recommend that you try it too.