Sustainability Trends in the Personal Care Industry
According to L.E.K. Consulting’s 2022 Consumer Sustainability Survey, 58% of respondents reported switching their beauty and personal care product brands for sustainability reasons. The survey also found that consumers are most likely to switch to a more sustainable brand for their pet care, beauty care, and household products. Thanks to an increasing number of environmentally conscious consumers, the beauty and personal care industry is implementing sustainable designs to reduce its environmental footprint.
Sustainability Trends for Personal Care Products
Many beauty and personal care retailers are joining the movement to improve their sustainability. Ulta, for example, pledges that half of the items sold in its stores will have recyclable or refillable packaging, or have packaging made from recycled or bio-sourced plastic by 2025. Sephora stamps their Clean at Sephora seal on products made with fewer than 50 ingredients, including sulfates, parabens, and phthalates. Beauty packaging often ends up in the landfill since it is often unsuitable for curbside recycling. To divert packaging from the landfill, Nordstrom implemented its Beautycycle initiative to collect empty beauty care packaging at its stores so that they can be recycled properly. Located in the beauty section of Nordtrom’s stores, Beautycycle bins can collect empty bottles, tubes, dispensers, pallets, and twist-up containers. The company has committed to taking back 100 tons of beauty packaging by 2025.
Sustainability trends gaining popularity among beauty and personal care brands include transforming traditionally liquid products to bar, tablet, or powder form.
Compared to liquids, bars tend to be lighter and smaller, and therefore have fewer environmental impacts from their transportation. Beauty and personal care bars are also a good choice for consumers looking to reduce their plastic consumption as they are often packaged in non-plastic materials like paperboard or paper pouches.
Bars are also convenient for the consumer because they travel easily. Unlike liquid products, solid beauty and personal care bars are TSA-approved so you don’t have to worry about buying travel-size bottles or pouring your products into smaller containers.
Shampoo and Conditioner Bars
The Earthling Co. offers shampoo and conditioner bars in a variety of scents tailored for all hair types. Their 3-ounce shampoo bars and 2-ounce conditioner bars are estimated to last roughly 50-75 washes and replace two to three 16-ounce plastic bottles.
Ethique offers a variety of shampoo bars, including their purple shampoo bar designed to neutralize brassy, yellow tones from blonde and silver hair. Their purple shampoo bars obtain their color from mineral pigments and beetroot powder. The New Zealand-based company estimates that a single 3.9-ounce bar saves three 12-ounce plastic shampoo bottles as well as 93 ounces of water.
Dew Mighty offers serum bars as a replacement for water-based serums. A single bar is estimated to last about two months when used twice a day and is expected to replace two serum bottles. Compared to serums packaged in glass bottles, Dew Mighty’s solid serum weighs 95% less and is packaged in lightweight metal containers that can be reused with their refill bars.
Bars Over Bottles (B.O.B.) offers facial cleansing bars designed to simultaneously exfoliate and clean your skin. The company estimates that one bar replaces two 3.4-ounce bottle cleansers.
Some beauty and personal care product companies are switching their liquid products to tablets and powders. This tends to reduce both product weight and packaging waste.
Blueland offers body wash and facial cleanser powders as well as reusable bottles for product use. Simply pour water up to the bottle fill line, add the powder, shake the bottle, and let it sit for an hour to activate. While they are designed to withstand wear and breakage, Blueland accepts bottle returns from customers who are unable to properly recycle their bottle.
Hello offers toothpaste tablets great for travel and on-the-go brushing needs. Made with coconut oil, tea tree oil, and natural peppermint, their tablets are formulated to fight plaque and bacteria without a gummy or grainy feeling.
Other beauty and personal care companies are reducing their environmental impacts by offering concentrated versions of traditional products. Concentrated liquids tend to be smaller and weigh less than full-size products, leading to reductions in the amount of packaging and transportation impacts.
Dove released uniform body wash concentrates for three of their body wash scents and aluminum reusable bottles. At just 4 fluid ounces, their concentrates are four times stronger than their standard body wash. Simply screw the concentrate into the aluminum bottle, squeeze out the concentrate, and add water to receive the same clean as their standard body wash with less plastic.
Everist makes a waterless body wash concentrate in a 100ml aluminum tube that, at three times the concentration, is equivalent to an entire bottle of body wash. As a waterless concentrate, the body wash is activated by lathering it in your hands, on a wet sponge, or loofa for 30 seconds. A little goes a long way – all you need is a pea-sized amount. One tube is expected to last for roughly 30 washes and each tube comes with a zero waste key to ensure that the user can get every last bit of body wash from the tube. This waterless body wash is also great for travel since it meets the TSA liquid requirements.
Both consumers and the environment benefit as beauty and personal care brands continue to create innovative ways to improve product sustainability and reduce environmental impacts. Industry efforts to improve package recyclability and transform their liquid products into bars, tablets, powders, and liquid concentrates are paving the way to a more sustainable beauty industry.
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