I am a firm believer that we should all give back to our environment (natural, social, cultural) in some way, whether it is small acts of kindness to people around us, philanthropy, buying charity raffle tickets, volunteering, using a timer in the shower et cetera. So I wanted to share this great article called Guilt-free beauty I saw on Beauty Heaven. It lists beauty/cosmetic companies which ‘give back’ through things like charitable donation, social enterprise, environmentally conscious ingredients and formulations and biodegradable packaging. It is a really diverse list with really cool ways of giving back: Aveda, Burt’s Bees, Lush and L’Occitane.
It made me remember something: Some time ago I made my husband clear out the pipe underneath the bathroom sink. It had been emitting a subtly unpleasant odour and when I dared to peer down plug I could see dark ‘stuff’ clinging to the sides of the drain. On cleaning day, when hubby eventually reappeared from the bathroom, he had a pasty, slightly nauseous face and told me he had just extracted some sort of large, three-dimensional, mucousy thing made up of hair and coagulated liquid. It apparently stretched most of the way down the drain. This worried me – over the past few years I have swapped harsh cleaning products and detergents for biodegradable, non-toxic versions. I mop with Eucalyptus oil and hot water, I sanitize windowsills and surfaces with diluted lavender oil, I wash clothes in biodegradable wool wash and clean the bathroom with a natural cleaning agent like Method Daily Shower Spray – which incidentally smells so divinely of Ylang Ylang that I use it all over the place.
But what about beauty? There are heaps of products with recyclable or biodegradable packaging and there are many products which are certified organic. But how many of the formulations inside the bottles, tubes and boxes are biodegradable – as in do they decompose in a non-toxic, non land-fill way once returned to the earth or the water? Burt’s Bees is one example of a company which is biodegradable inside and out.
But hearing of the beauty product mutant that had been evolving in my bathroom drain, I was compelled to wonder if my dedication to healthy skin was contributing to an unhealthy planet?
This in turn made me think about the idea of organic products. We know that a certified organic product contains ingredients that have been grown and harvested in a pure, un-tainted or un-modified way, but what of the species of plants themselves? Did you know for example that many types of chamomile are vulnerable to over-harvesting, thus in danger of extinction? Special companies, like Jurlique, grow and harvest their own ingredients on a sustainable, biodynamic farm in the beautiful Adelaide Hills, but not all companies source ingredients so carefully.
It is something to think about. I’d love to hear of more biodegradable, biodynamic, sustainably harvested, socially responsible beauty enterprises so if you know of one or are one, please do tell me about it. x