For all of us at Essential Care, sustainability and respect for the environment go hand in hand with organic principles. This encompasses packaging too. But with our makeup, Abi and I found packaging a particularly hard nut to crack. Cosmetic packaging is mainly produced in the Far East and is almost exclusively petrochemical plastic. The choice of lipstick cases, eyeshadow palettes and mascara bottles in all shapes, sizes and designs is endless. However if you would like European, earth-friendly packaging as we did, the options are few and far between. We faced many dead-ends and wild goose chases, not helped by the fact that we are a small company and thus millions of bespoke packaging units weren’t remotely possible. But with the help of vegetable plastic, compostable card and sustainably sourced wood, not to mention healthy doses of creativity and patience, we achieved our goals of truly sustainable, recyclable, biodegradable and re-usable cosmetic packaging.
Formulating high performance make-up within the confines of the most demanding organic standards has been for me the ultimate challenge in my skin-care and beauty journey - but such a worthwhile one. It's so good to know we can now enhance our appearance and indulge in that 'feel-good' factor without risk to our health or the environment.
This has meant absolutely out with synthetic solvents, dyes, phthalates, polymers, petrochemicals, fillers, silicones, lead, mercury, etc. and in with skin-caring natural colours and gorgeous, organic plant oils, butters and herbs! Not to mention a healthy dose of fun, as let’s be honest, as serious as the business of beauty is, for you, our end user, the application should be a pleasure and a joy, not a chore or simply the result of an ethical decision.
But of course Organic standards do guarantee the ultimate ethical purchase: It goes without saying that organic standards prohibit animal testing, but lesser known is that animal by-products like carmine - the red dye chemically processed from crushed beetles – are also banned. Carmine or Cochineal is a common ingredient in mainstream blushers and lipsticks but often appears in so called 'natural' formulations too. Formulating without the artificial red lake dyes or carmine made it a challenge to create a lovely red lipstick, but we think we’ve come pretty close with our Cherry Tart!
For sensitive users, Organic makeup is often the only answer. Organic mascara doesn't contain the strong preservatives, synthetics, solvents, acrylic polymers and fibres that typically feature in conventional mascara, so is far less likely to irritate sensitive eyes and contact lens wearers. Soothing herbs and aloe vera further reduce the irritation potential and condition lashes at the same time. However, it is important to remember that without these artificial aids, organic mascara may not be quite as fast-drying as some conventional brands. So for maximum adhesion and smudge-resistance, apply after all other make-up to dry, oil and moisturiser-free lashes in 2 thin coats allowing a few minutes to dry in between.