The average woman applies 16 beauty products to her face every day. As consumers, we trust cosmetic companies to provide products that are safe and as ethical as possible. It’s a relationship of trust built on deferring the details to the experts — cosmetic companies. But are they cutting corners when it comes to ingredients? And if they are, what harm could it cause?
What’s in your beauty products?
It would be nice to assume your favourite beauty products contain indigenous ingredients and other wholesome things. However, to achieve the dreamy formulas many of us know and love, it’s often necessary for cosmetic companies to indulge in a touch of chemistry.
Some shampoos and lotions use phthalates — a compound developed to give plastics durability and flexibility. This particular chemical has been proven to pass through packaging into foods, moving through the food chain to end up in the eggs of wild birds. Although its effects haven’t been studied extensively, it is believed to cause hormonal imbalances and other health issues.
Mica is another ingredient which has recently come under scrutiny. This fine powder is often found in blusher, eyeshadows and light-reflecting foundations. It has been connected to unethical labour practices, causing several cosmetic brands to omit it.
Triclosan is a common ingredient in antibacterial soaps and body washes. Scientists are still conducting studies on the effects this ingredient can have when used in high doses. It’s believed to affect thyroid hormone levels and has also been linked to bacterial resistance to antibiotics.
A recent article by Business Insider revealed that some cosmetic companies list special ingredients as ‘fragrance’ or ‘parfum’ to protect trademark formulations. This makes it almost impossible for consumers to identify what’s in their products and whether they’re safe or ethical.
The importance of provenance
It’s not enough to know what the ingredients in your cosmetics are. It also helps to know where they come from and the impact the supply chain and farming have on those communities.
Palm oil and its derivatives are found in many everyday beauty products. Farming methods for this single ingredient have contributed toward the destruction of ecosystems in Malaysia and Indonesia. Some cosmetic companies have partnered with ethical family-run farms in Sierra Leone and Ecuador, but consumers would need to actively research this before buying.
By supporting brands who use indigenous ingredients, you're also supporting the biodiversity in those regions. Examples of this have been seen in Latin America, which boasts one of the largest ranges of biodiverse cosmetic ingredients on the planet.
Using indigenous ingredients
Organic, indigenous natural ingredients are important to us here at VelvetBio for all the reasons we’ve discussed and more. All our cosmetic oils contain ingredients sourced from their natural origins: tea tree from Australia, argan seeds and prickly pear seeds from Morocco, jasmine from France, and more besides.
We use a gentle cold-pressing method to extract the oil from the plants and seeds to retain as much of the natural goodness as possible. You won’t find any chemicals in them, either. They’re 100% natural because the only ingredient is the one we’ve extracted the oil from.
Besides being much kinder to your body and to the planet, organic natural products are much more luxurious than some might believe. The purity of the ingredients is evident in the authentic scent and silky texture, which make the experience much more indulgent.
It’s also worth noting that your skin absorbs the products you use. When so many formulated cosmetic products contain chemicals with unknown side effects, are you happy to take the risk?Support ethical products by treating yourself to an indigenously-sourced oil from our collection.