Here are a few hints to be a more enlightened consumer:
- Look for products that are botanical, biodegradable, and renewable. Cargo sells lipsticks that come in biodegradable boxes that have wildflower seeds in them. You get lipstick plus packaging that can sprout new life. If you can't afford Cargo's products, look for cosmetics that don't have a lot of extra packaging. The less plastic and cardboard, the better.
- Be a vegetarian beauty consumer. Sure, you may like to eat a bloody steak every now and then, but try looking for products made from plant-derived ingredients. You'll have to trust the packaging, but look for vegan beauty products since they're less likely to be filled with parabens and other nasty chemicals. Plus they'll be less likely to have had as much of a negative environmental impact than mass-produced, chemical-laden products.
- Look for companies that give back to a cause. This is becoming a more popular trend. A lot of companies are donating a part of their profit to an environmental or health cause. Sometimes it's just the proceeds from particular products that go to a cause, but the way I see it, you're planning on buy mascara anyway...why not buy a mascara that will make your lashes look great while helping save the Earth or find a cure for cancer?
- Educate yourself. If you want to know if your beauty products are tested on animals, check out PETA's consumer guide. Not sure about what ingredients you should avoid? Go to the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics website. There are so many sites filled with consumer info--it just takes a few minutes of googling to become more enlightened.
- Talk back. If your favorite cosmetic company uses too much packaging or tests on animals, write them a letter expressing your concern. These companies are in business to make money, and they need to hear back from their customers. The more they hear from us, the more they may take change seriously.