Green Beauty: What You Should Know About This Trend

The Green Beauty movement is making waves among sophisticated and natural beauty enthusiasts.

What does it mean to get a green beauty product? The products must be powered by natural ingredients; be free from parabens, talc, phthalates, and sulfates; and be sustainable (that means responsibly sourced palm oil and no petrochemicals).

Green beauty products are free of preservatives, emulsifiers, artificial fragrances, colors or synthetics of any kind.

Sometimes these words also mean gluten-free; free of synthetic fragrance or alcohol; or certified organic, a USDA stamp of approval.

Where can you get them?

Entire stores are dedicated to eco-friendly skincare, makeup, haircare, and more, and on the Internet, options are actually endless. Every day, new, effective, and awe-inspiring green beauty companies are breaking through.

Green beauty is now big business. The natural personal care market has been growing by double digits for the past six years, and accounts for 13 percent of the global beauty market.

Is there a problem with using traditional products?

While studies are inconclusive, many of our everyday personal care products have nasty ingredients, some of which have been tied to cancer, hormone imbalances and other health risks.

This glossary shows top 10 offenders, including formaldehyde, an EPA-recognized carcinogen found in many nail polishes, and hydroquinone -used in topical creams to treat hyper-pigmentation.

There is a lot to learn from green beauty, like how to read a label, the importance of good ingredients and which potentially harmful products to cut from your ski and haircare routine. It doesn’t have to be overwhelming; here’s what you need to know.

Green beauty products are not to be confused with clean, natural, eco-friendly ones; though sometimes these terms are used interchangeably.

Green, natural and organic generally mean that products are made with plant-derived ingredients and without the use of synthetic chemicals; clean usually means made without harmful or “toxic” ingredients; and eco generally means vegan or cruelty-free or that ingredients are ethically sourced and packaged.

An annual survey has found that these beauty products are becoming more popular among female shoppers who are reading labels and refusing key ingredients.

The third annual Green Beauty Barometer survey measured attitudes and purchase behaviors across several beauty product categories, including: skin care; hair care; makeup; sunscreen; fragrance and nail care. The result of the survey found that more than 60 percent of women now read product labels prior to purchasing — a good first step toward making healthy, ethical choices.

Other findings include:

Sulfates, Parabens Most Avoided Chemicals:

More Spending Across All Product Categories

Green Skin Care, Hair Care and Makeup in Highest Demand:

Women 35-54 Increasingly Embracing Green Beauty

Western U.S. Women Are Seeing Green

Retailers Haven’t Closed Demand Gap: This year, 16% of women are unsatisfied by the all-natural beauty selection available at specialty drugstores and grocery stores.

While the study sample was relatively small — just under 1,300 U.S. women — it’s still good to know that the green beauty sector is growing, especially for younger women, who will carry those habits on in life and educate their children about the importance of what we put on our skin.

Even Unilever has a brand-new hair care and body care line, ApotheCARE Essentials.

Inspired by combining nature and science, the products are infused with plant extracts like willow bark, almond oil, and rosemary even though the line still uses non-green additives like sodium laureth sulfate, conventional preservatives, and synthetic fragrances – which makes it more affordable at $15.

It just goes to show how much companies are keying into the green beauty movement.

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