Sustainable beauty has come to stay
Sustainable beauty has come to stay
Sustainable beauty has come to stay


Beauty market

Sustainable beauty has come to stay

read 6 min

Talks surrounding greener products have increased in the past years. And, after COP26, we’ve been asking which are the next steps. The concept behind sustainable beauty is vast and complex. Therefore, we created this article to help you better understand this movement’s details.

We spoke with Alice Carli, Professor at Sapienza Università di Roma and Executive Advisor. She explained what sustainable beauty is and why it’s so important for the environment. 

Sustainable Beauty Concept

People are increasingly aware of the products they consume. Sustainable beauty starts to gain supporters in all corners of the world. Eco-conscious cosmetic products assume that they do not harm the environment or our bodies. One successful line is vegan products, which do not involve any animal suffering in their testing and production process.

Those who consume sustainable products are interested in the impact of the cosmetic themselves on the environment. So, they want to better understand the production process, what’s the package made of, if there were animals involved, which substances are there and more. At the end of the day, it’s all about transparency.

Summing it up, the concept spreads to all levels of production so that it is good for the body and the planet. Thus, the concern for the environment and health makes sustainable cosmetics gain attention.

Sustainable Beauty & The COVID-19 Pandemic

The planet’s need for sustainability is not fresh news. However, Alice Carli states that the Pandemic “for sure accelerated this process, and now people seem to be more aware of it. This disruption is a force changing the corporate landscape like no other.” Mainly because now this is not a talk only for politicians and activists. Every day, more and more consumers are demanding greener products. And, as we know, the industry must follow customers’ requests and needs in order to sell. 

Regardless, Alice affirms that “succeeding in this volatile environment requires not only a tough understanding of what disruption is and how to deal with it but also the right culture and mindset to face it.” 

That’s because, according to the Executive Advisor, the beauty and skincare global market are driven by exclusivity. Therefore, the boom between the market and the disruption could be very crucial: the skincare Industry is one of the most polluting sectors in the world.

So, now, some of the most relevant trends and needs of disruption lead to customization, innovation and sustainability – otherwise, the customer won’t be loyal. 

Vegan Products In The Sustainable Market

Many companies continue to test their products on animals, such as dermal irritation, when the substance is applied to animals such as rabbits. There are also tests that measure the toxicity of substances. Laboratories subject animals to different types of stress and damage. You have to be careful when buying so as not to invest in products that mistreat animals.

Today, there are different certifications and symbols in the package that can help you to make your choice when shopping. But we’ll dig into that later on. 

It’s important to highlight that the “cruelty-free” movement opened many consumers’ eyes. With that, vegan cosmetics gained space. They don’t test on animals and extract the material from nature in a sustainable way, avoiding substances that are harmful to health. 

Even though there’s no animal testing, not all cruelty-free products are vegan. Some of them contain animal-derived ingredients like lanolin (sebum from sheep’s wool) and casein (a protein from cow’s milk). 

In addition to vegan products, natural cosmetics are also on the rise, which may even contain substances of animal origin and avoid synthetics, chemicals, or toxic additives.

Organic cosmetics also focus on the quality of the raw material for a product that does not harm health. Companies carry out their production in a way that respects sustainable and ecological guidelines. There are also seals to certify that the product is, in fact, organic.

The Skincare Fever

If you’re on social media, I’m sure you’ve seen a skincare routine tutorial or even a calm self-care TikTok that includes taking care of the face. The cosmetics industry saw a boom in skincare purchases in the last years and that can lead to different aspects. 

As much as people are more aware when it comes to purchasing vegan and or natural products, this is not a reality for everyone. Sustainable beauty products are still more expensive and less affordable. Therefore, it is common for buyers to opt for the cheapest products on the shelf, instead of really thinking about the quality of what they are seeing on their faces.

In other words, as a result of a trend, there was an increase in product circulation with dubious substances, with the possibility of animal testing and non-recyclable packaging. Thus, more packaging is discarded improperly and there’s a feeding of a non-conscious industry that should actually be instinct.

We conclude then, once again, that the consumer has a strong power of transformation in his hands. After all, if purchases of a certain product decrease and more money are spent on another, you can be sure that it is in the most profitable sector that investments will be directed.

It’s Not Only About The Packaging 

A 2021 Vogue Business article denounces that, while everyone is talking about packaging waste, there is another major problem. The piece says:

“Waste is generated by formula testers, unsold or returned products and items that expire in warehouses or on store shelves. Compounding the problem is the lack of data on how much actually gets wasted, as well as a lack of solutions for managing that waste better. With retailers sending unsold inventory back to brands; expired or discontinued products ending on the landfill; and unused products sitting in customers’ homes, it’s impossible to pinpoint the true numbers of the beauty industry’s waste.” 

Beauty has a waste problem, and it’s not packaging – Vogue Business, 2021

Some research shows that a huge part of beauty products end up as waste. Whether due to misuse or because the person didn’t use the product and let it expire… There are several reasons to throw cosmetics in the trash.

At the end of the day, we must be aware that packaging is a huge issue, but it’s definitely not the only one. 

Regenerative Beauty: A Greener Path in The Beauty Market 

According to Alice Carli, regenerative beauty is “one of the main key results of sustainable beauty and it already has proven success worldwide. It’s a synthesis amongst the inner vocation for scientific, innovation and sustainability.”

Regenerative stands for farming practices. Traditional agriculture leaves the soil barren of nutrients, focusing exclusivity on profiting and, therefore, getting as much as possible from the ground. On the other hand, regenerative agriculture relates to the practice of rebuilding soil’s organic matter as well as restoring soil biodiversity which has been degraded.

Therefore, regenerative beauty relates to sourcing ingredients sustainably, seeking out suppliers who support regenerative practices and biodynamic farming. It respects soil time and the seasonality of certain ingredients.

Alice affirms that nowadays “ethics is more important than aesthetic”. That’s why regenerative beauty is not “just” about the product but goes beyond. It’s also directly related to innovation and scientific discoveries. The PHD, MD Carlo Tremolada, who owns the Istituto Regenerative Clinic in Milan, developed LIPOGEMS. It’s an easy surgery treatment customized 1:1 and born by the adipose tissue of each patient. It goes on the Lipogems device and afterward is injected into the body of the patient for both beauty and/or medical reasons. The revolution is based on the fact that staminal cells renew constantly and are part of the body of the client.

Innovations like this allow you to reduce the use of certain products and substances while allowing the beauty market to grow.

Sustainable beauty: How To Know If a Product Is Truly Sustainable 

Some companies go out of their way to deceive the consumer. With half-words and lack of transparency, they do not convey the full message about the origin of the product.

Therefore, there is a basic checklist that can help consumers make better choices and encourage producers to follow the items below.

1. Check the ingredients list

Ingredients don’t lie. They can tell you plenty about where a product is from and what’s their sourcing. We know that there are many substances with complicated names. So, it ends up being difficult to understand everything. However, by reading the ingredients, it is possible to verify the basis of what is in the product. In addition, there are lists online denouncing the worst substances and having at least the name of these in mind can help when making a decision.

2. Check for Sustainable Certifications

There are several certifications that a product can grant. They say a lot about its production process, raw material, people involved and distribution.

3. Search for the “Cruelty-free” mark

Animal welfare it’s certainly a crucial point in sustainable beauty. All cruelty-free products showcase it on their packaging. Make sure you find the symbol. 

4. Assess the Packaging

The packages say it all. Despite the fact that the label has many certifications and you approve the ingredients, some companies still insist on making packaging that is not even disposable. Truly conscious beauty brands explore options for eco-conscious packaging and are transparent about the materials they use.


Don companies really worry about the environment, or are they leaning towards sustainable beauty just because it sells? Well, this is a certainty that we won’t have.  

Either way, we understand the importance of information, transparency and consumers’ decision-making power. When buying a product, be sure to check the packaging information. And above all, don’t buy products you don’t need or won’t use, preventing them from ending up on your shelf for a long time and having to be thrown away.

A company that has been disrupting and rocking the market is Westman Atelier. Learn more about Gucci Westman’s company and her clean beauty products.


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Júlia Vilaça

Head of Content

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Júlia Vilaça

Head of Content

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