How to Make your Beauty Routine More Eco-Friendly

As each year passes, climate change is becoming more apparent around the world. And no matter how relatively small they may seem, our individual choices matter and can contribute to climate disruption. With that in mind, one habit to consider paying extra attention to is your beauty routine.

A recent report states that brand transparency regarding environmental sustainability remains a top priority for cosmetics and personal beauty care consumers. With shoppers gravitating toward more sustainable beauty products, brands should consider offering options that best fit their customers’ needs.

Packaging Takes Center Stage

So what does sustainable beauty really mean? Sustainable beauty considers the environmental impact of the beauty industry and the health and well-being of both the individual and the planet. It involves using beauty products that are made with sustainable, natural ingredients, as well as those that use eco-friendly packaging and reduce waste.

As consumers continue to prioritize sustainable beauty, eco-friendly packaging is one of shoppers’ top concerns, with 74% of consumers believing brands should prioritize sustainability in their packaging design.


With trends changing rapidly in the beauty industry, companies must adapt their packaging options to satisfy their customer base. Here are three packaging trends that are emerging across the market:

  • Refillable packaging: Customers are favoring brands that have implemented upcycling initiatives, such as refillable product packaging. To address this demand, some companies have introduced a circular beauty plan, which is a green business model that keeps materials in use through reuse and repair, minimizing waste and expanding the lifecycle of products through quality.

In August 2021, a U.S.-based beauty company partnered with a leading reuse platform to reduce beauty waste. While placing an order, shoppers pay a deposit on each package that is fully refundable upon return. After use, customers then place their empty packages back into an exclusively designed tote by scheduling a free pickup online.

  • Minimalist packaging: Some brands are choosing to use simpler packaging and are avoiding adding extra labels or details to their product designs. This movement focuses more on simplicity, which helps draw the customers’ eyes to the most essential elements of the product: the ingredients. Minimalist product packaging also inherently reduces waste and arguably helps decrease carbon emissions throughout the manufacturing process.
  • Recyclable materials: For customers that choose to recycle their makeup products, items created from recyclable paper and wood are two materials that are growing in popularity within the beauty industry. Additionally, glass is infinitely recyclable.

To Trust or not to Trust?

Gone are the days when beauty brands could freely display vague claims about their products’ ingredients without shopper pushback. Nowadays, consumers are informed and purpose-driven, searching for brands that align with their values.

With this major shift in customer preferences, cosmetics and personal care companies as well as professional associations are joining forces to form conglomerates aiming to provide increased transparency on the environmental impact of beauty products.

As customers seek transparency in the beauty products they buy, they should consider relying on the below factors:

  • Seal of approval: When you think of a product that is third-party certified, most often it’s associated with food and textile goods; however, the makeup and skincare industries also lean on certifications that provide clarity on their products’ ingredients and sourcing. As shoppers continue seeking out cleaner products, brands should consider adding certifications to their items to differentiate themselves in an oversaturated field of transparency.
  • The right ingredients: The ingredients in makeup or skincare products aren’t only about how the product feels, looks or smells anymore; it’s also important to be aware of what types of ingredients go in the products. A report says that 69% of Gen Z consumers have paid a premium for beauty products that promote clean and natural ingredients.

The ‘clean beauty movement’ has redefined the beauty industry amid the growing concerns about the safety of cosmetics and skincare products. This revolutionary wave is focused on transparency and educating shoppers about what ingredients are used in certain products. As customers seek out more eco-friendly items, they should look for brands that are committed to clean beauty.

  • The power of social media: It’s no secret that when looking to purchase a product, outside of recommendations and reviews from fellow consumers or family and friends, social media is also a popular channel that influences most of our buying decisions. When it comes to looking to upgrade to sustainable beauty products, shoppers are much more likely to trust and relate to social media influencers with a large following that are posting and talking about a clean beauty brand.

Overcoming the Barriers

With the numerous benefits that sustainable beauty brands bring to consumers and the environment, there are still some challenges that appear along the way as companies make strides toward embracing sustainability practices:

  • Sticker shock: Because the natural, eco-friendly beauty industry is still growing, consumers that invest in sustainable products usually pay a higher price tag to keep up with the growing demand. One of the main factors as to why there’s an increased cost is due to the expensive raw materials that go into these items. Using these types of materials costs more because they’re usually produced in smaller quantities and are more difficult to source. Also, finding the right suppliers and ensuring both parties are aligned on the materials and ingredients can become costly.
  • Product sensitivity: When creating a new product, beauty brands need to strategize and be careful what type of ingredients they add to their items, so they don’t put their shoppers at risk. That is why the ‘clean beauty movement’ has grown more and more popular these days and has reinvented the beauty and skincare industry.
  • ESG framework: As beauty companies try to understand and act on consumers’ environmental, social, and governance (ESG) expectations, and comply with government regulations, brands will need to develop a modern ESG framework. Having an ESG focus will give companies an increased customer loyalty audience, attract and retain employees, improve their financial performance and reinforce their brand reputation, among other benefits. If brands try to be ethical but don’t have the right framework in place, that could result in issues down the road including building stakeholder trust, mitigating risks and simply promoting ethical and sustainable practices for their company.   

While smaller beauty brands may have initiated this growing trend, larger companies are catching up. Although there is more work to be done in this space, companies should take this as an opportunity to continue prioritizing eco-friendly practices and meeting consumers’ shifting needs. By doing this, beauty companies will set themselves up for success while also making a positive impact on the planet.

Kate Aydin is currently EVP of Consumer Products and Fashion at Capgemini. Prior to joining Capgemini, she served as the CIO of Impossible Foods and was the founder of her own boutique consulting firm. Aydin was named one of the Top 100 Executive Women in Tech to Watch in 2023 by WomenTech Network. She has a certification in organizational leadership from Harvard Business School, an MBA from Carnegie Mellon’s Tepper School of Business, and a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Engineering from Bogazici University in Istanbul. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband, two kids, and two pets. She is also passionate about sustainable living practices and leaving a better world for the next generation.

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