What “Green” Means In The Natural Beauty Industry

“Clean.” “Green.” “Natural.” For planet-conscious beauty consumers, these words can have a strong gravitational pull. But dear global citizens: The secret to saving our reefs and oceans, our forests and trees, is to do so with actions, not words. It all starts with your routine. Some actions can be small (don’t buy a new moisturizer until you’ve depleted the one you have). Some are big (seek out biodegradable or recyclable packages, or skip plastic packaging entirely). And some actions, of course, don’t rest with you, but with beauty companies. (Screaming into the void: Will anyone ever develop a truly earth-friendly mascara? Read on for intel.)

Ultimately, words like “clean,” “green,” and “natural” often have little to do with the buzzword we should really be focused on: “sustainable.” It’s the umbrella term for products that protect the planet’s resources, and the idea can seem, rather ironically, unsustainable. That’s precisely why we went straight to the women who are making a concerted effort, every day, in their own ways, to reduce their impact on the earth. They’re environmentalists, business owners, makeup artists — and they’re all unapologetic beauty enthusiasts.

The Environmentalist: Amber Jackson

NEW YORK, NY – APRIL 22: Marine Scientists and Conservationists Amber Jackson and Emily Callahan pose with their award at Tribeca Disruptive Innovation Awards – 2016 Tribeca Film Festival at BMCC John Zuccotti Theater on April 22, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Robin Marchant/Getty Images for Tribeca Film Festival)

After earning her master’s degree at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, Jackson (and her classmate Emily Hazelwood) founded Blue Latitudes, an environmental consulting firm that helps energy companies determine whether decommissioned offshore-drilling structures can be turned into artificial reefs. She practically lives in the elements, which dictates her beauty regimen.

Protect everything. “Being on boats and offshore diving, we need to make sure that we keep up with our sunscreen but always use formulas that aren’t going to run off our skin and into the water column, and contaminate reefs and fish species. I like Badger Balm — it’s zinc-based. I’m a very fair redhead with freckles, so it’s super important for me to have protection, and this formula stays on in the water.”

Think micro impact. “Some of the biggest problems in our oceans are microplastics, like the microbeads in face scrubs.” The U.S. banned plastic microbeads in 2017, but there’s no way to know if every company has adhered to the ban. So avoid products with these P’s: polyethylene, polypropylene, polyethylene terephthalate, and polymethyl methacrylate. “Those get washed down the drain, are consumed by fish, and then bioaccumulate, so you eat that plastic yourself. I love to exfoliate, and I use an Origins scrub that uses nutshells.”

Travel lightly. “We carry our own reusable bottles that we fill at home and forgo the disposable hotel options.”

The Advocate: Kathryn Kellogg

The author of 101 Ways to Go Zero Waste, Kellogg began chronicling her experience with reducing her trash and recycling output — down to nothing — on her blog GoingZeroWaste. “Living a zero-waste lifestyle encompasses so much more than just ‘Don’t throw it away,’ ” she says. “It means not wasting water and not wasting food.”

Eliminate the middleman. “I put toner in an upcycled spray bottle so that I don’t waste the product by having it absorb into a disposable pad. I just spray it directly on my skin.”

Consume wisely. “I like the ‘one in, one out’ rule. If I want a new face mask or eyeliner, I cannot buy it until I am out of what I have. Also, ask questions of the people you’re buying from. I buy some of my beauty products at farmers markets, and it’s been empowering to be like, ‘I love your product and want to try it, but I don’t use plastic. Can I get it without that?’ So many times they’re willing to accommodate.”

Be realistic. “There are very few options for completely plastic-free mascara, aside from a couple of brands that make cake mascara, like Bésame. It’s also hard to find a zero-waste alternative for sunscreen. I wear Marie Veronique tinted facial sunscreen as my foundation. It comes in a glass bottle, and I upcycle the bottles. I put homemade hand sanitizer in them — half vodka, half water — and keep that in my bag.”

Be proactive. “We should be doing more work with businesses and emailing our government representatives to get larger systemic changes passed, like the Safe Cosmetics and Personal Products Act.”

The Business Owner: Cindy DiPrima Morisse

As co-founder of the all-things-natural-beauty destination store CAP Beauty, DiPrima Morisse spends much of her days analyzing (and reassessing) which products are worth space in her business — and in her life.

Cut yourself some slack. “Any company that’s shipping is creating some waste and pollution. The best thing we can do is to work with vendors who are prioritizing the same things we are and making sure that their practices are not creating too much stress on the environment.”

Shop smarter. “We encourage our customers to choose thoughtfully. We always say, ‘If you’ve got products in your cabinet that have been sitting there for a year, you’re not using them, and you need to simplify. Find products you love and use. Be an editor.’ We aim to deliver a streamlined collection so you’re not overbuying. We encourage customers to try things. [But] it’s more about a trusted arsenal than constant consumerism.”

Be charitable. “I have a sizable beauty cabinet because of testing for the store. Sometimes there can be a moment when it’s like, ‘I’m not going to get to that.’ There are a few charities that collect beauty products. A favorite of mine is Woman to Woman, which supports women with gynecological cancer at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City.”

The Makeup Artist: Katey Denno

She regularly paints the famous faces of Amber Heard and Felicity Jones and has been committed to green, no-waste beauty for the past decade. “I started in this industry as the only person who was really serious about green beauty. And everyone was like, ‘That is never going to fly.’ And little by little, everything changed. A lot of actresses are still like, ‘As long as you make me look good, that’s all I care about,’ but there are some that are now die-hard fans of clean beauty.”

Give new life. “I have friends who make candles, and I give them face-mask pots. I store Q-tips in reused cream pots, or use them as flower vases. I save empty RMS pots and give them to clients for their red-carpet bags. If I’ve mixed a lipstick for them, I’ll take a scraping and put it in there.”

Glitz it up. Aether Beauty has an eye shadow palette. The pigment is intense, and the shimmer is fine. It’s not big chunks of glitter, which a lot of green products have had.”

Know your limits. “I do make compromises, like with Beautyblenders, because I have yet to find anything sustainable that re-creates that texture that I can get on skin.”

Food for Thought

What good is a recyclable plastic bottle if it still ends up in a landfill? Tina Hedges, a former Estée Lauder and L’Oréal executive, asked herself that when she created LOLI Beauty. Hedges sells raw balms, powders, and elixirs derived from organic food waste (like pressed plum seed that would have been disposed of after the fruit was harvested) and packages them in recyclable glass containers that she encourages consumers to upcycle for food storage.

The products are waterless (water is a filler ingredient that just creates extra weight to ship), and can be used alone or mixed to expand their versatility — her face powder, for example, can become a scrub or a mask. “I would like the entire experience to be circular zero-waste,” says Hedges, who is now working on refillable packaging and going entirely compostable.

ALLURE article

“Biodegradable” Plastic Packaging Won’t Save The Beauty Industry From Itself

We know plastic is a big problem in the personal care industry. A look around your bathroom will tell you as much but to give some wider context, in its sustainability studies, L’Oréal estimates that packaging accounts for, on average, 50 percent of the environmental footprint of its products. 

It’s something that L’Oréal, and many of its peers in the beauty industry, is making moves to address. It seems every hour on the hour there’s a new brand or company pledging to get rid of superfluous packaging or to up its use of post-consumer recycled (PCR) plastic or to switch to other materials entirely, some of which they say are biodegradable. Those are often steps in the right direction, but in truth, we’re just scratching the surface. There’s still much to sort out and it’s all a bit confusing. 

Here, a look at the current, well, climate, plus guidance that can help lead you to the best possible purchasing decisions — because we should all be thinking of each one as a vote. “How we purchase things is more powerful than our political [moves],” says Tom Szaky, CEO of recycling giant TerraCycle. “When we buy certain things or don’t buy other things, it changes the world more aggressively and more quickly.” 

So, first, here is what to know about plastic packaging.

Plastic packaging is rarely recycled (yes, even when you do everything right).

So far, the big promise of recycling has largely failed us — only nine percent of the plastic is ever actually remade into something usable. One reason why: If you don’t clean that bottle or jar fully and remove all stickers, residue, etc., it will be rejected — and can even contaminate a whole batch of material sent for recycling, according to a report last year by GreenPeace

Looking for that little triangle of arrows on the bottom isn’t necessarily a slam dunk either. The reality is that only packaging with a 1 or 2 stamped in that triangle is going to be widely municipally recyclable. A quick experiment: Of five plastic-housed beauty products randomly selected from this writer’s medicine cabinet, two had no recycling symbol at all, one was a category 4, one was category 2 and the final was a 1.

But there’s even more to consider: For example, if a plastic pump includes metal (which almost all do), it can’t be processed. (This is something some brands like Love Beauty and Planet are addressing with new designs.) 

“Another uncommonly known fact is that dark plastics — such as black, navy, or dark brown — cannot often be seen by sorters in recycling facilities and so they end up in landfills,” says Sarah Dearman, vice president of circular ventures for The Recycling Partnership. Also a problem for sorters: small packaging. According to TerraCycle’s Szaky, nothing smaller than two-inches cubed is ever going to be recycled — that’s pretty much every cap, lid, and a lot of beauty minis. 

At the end of the day, recycling is a business. Recycling plants will only recycle what they can recycle at a profit — things like large pieces of clear plastic, clear glass, and aluminum. “The question is really not can something be recycled, but will it be,” Szaky said at a recent sustainability summit.

When plastic is recycled, there are still a couple of catches.

I am by no means suggesting you give up on trying to recycle the plastic that comes into your life. Even a nine-percent recycling rate is a lot of plastic that avoids a landfill. In 2018, for example, just in the U.S. alone, 7.9 billion units of rigid plastic were created for beauty and personal care products, according to Euromonitor International. 

What’s nine percent of that? 711 million units of rigid plastic. Plastic isn’t endlessly reworkable, though — most plastics can only be processed once or twice. Recycling plastic essentially downgrades its resulting quality every time it is put through the process — and that means virgin plastic may have to be added to make a “recycled” package functional. 

And, of course, there needs to be a demand for post-consumer recycled plastic for it to have anywhere to go. With reports of large amounts of plastic being incinerated or sitting in storage due to lack of need, this has been a real problem. However, with more companies working with recycled material very slowly increasing, there is some hope for the future. 

“Biodegradable” plastic very often… isn’t.

You may notice a shift toward plastic made from natural sources designed to break down more quickly. “These include materials such as sugarcane, and there are also opportunities to source from other innovative feedstocks such as seaweed and other algae, as well as food waste by-products,” says Olga Kachook, senior manager at GreenBlue, a nonprofit dedicated to the sustainable use of materials. 

These alternative plastics could have a big positive impact: A 2017 study found that switching from traditional plastic to corn-based material could reduce U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent.

Yet there’s a pretty big “but” here. Some of these alternative materials can contain additives that “may actually result in more environmental harm,” says Kachook. And the term “biodegradable” itself unfortunately doesn’t mean much. “Biodegradability is driven by many factors and stating a package is ‘biodegradable’ doesn’t qualify the timeline, conditions required, safety of the elements, or the degree of degradation,” says Alison Younts, lead sustainability consultant at the consulting company Trayak.

And, for now, looking for the word “compostable” doesn’t help either. A compostable certification only indicates that a material is able to break down in large municipal or industrial composting facilities as opposed to a home or community bin. Right now only four percent of Americans have access to curbside composting pickup, says Szaky. And in a recent study conducted by TerraCycle, only one in 10 of the industrial composters where those curbside binds wind up actually accept compostable plastics.

But plastic isn’t all bad. (Didn’t see that coming did you?)

Yes, plastic pollution is a crisis. But, unfortunately, there is no magic-bullet alternative material, and plastic alternatives can in some cases cause as much if not more environmental impact. 
Glass, aluminum, and paper all have their own drawbacks — including being more expensive, something consumers may not be ready for, according to a 2019 Euromonitor report — and choosing one of them over plastic isn’t always a sure-fire path to reducing your overall carbon footprint.

Take aluminum, which gets a lot of buzz for being widely recycled, endlessly reusable if uncontaminated, and lightweight. However, it’s important to note that it’s recycled aluminum that gets all the love. When the package you’re buying is virgin, it’s another story, as the byproducts of producing new aluminum, according to the EPA, have global warming potentials (GWP) 6,500 to 9,200 times as strong as carbon dioxide. 

And, of course, it has to be recycled by the consumer, which happens about 35 percent of the time when it comes to the category including packaging, according to the EPA. While that’s a number much stronger than plastic recycling, it still leaves a lot of room for improvement.

Paper has its own concerns. When it comes to virgin materials, Life cycle assessments of paper, including those in a case study looking at grocery bags in Singapore published this year in the Journal of Cleaner Production, suggest plastic bags could have a lower overall environmental footprint than paper ones. Recycling paper does cut its CO2 output (as is the case with most recycled materials compared to their virgin counterparts) by a considerable amount (40 percent less) but it can only be recirculated between five to seven times, according to the EPA.

And then there’s glass, a material with complex considerations. It’s not always practical, as soapy hands and steamy conditions offer the threat of shattered bottles in your shower. And according to a study published last year in the International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment that put pasteurized milk bottles made of virgin plastic, recycled plastic, glass, and returnable glass bottles head to head, even after factoring in the savings from reuse, returnable glass ranked behind plastic in CO2 emissions due to the high energy demand in the production process, as well as the carbon footprint of shipping it. 

But reusable glass came out on top in another important category the: marine litter indicator. Glass doesn’t have the same impact seen in marine life as plastic does as it breaks down. (In 2015, one study found that a quarter of the fish sold at markets in Indonesia and California, for example, were found to contain human made debris–either plastic or other fibrous materials.)

It’s hard out here for an environmentally-conscious consumer. And it can be a tough call for brands when deciding which tradeoffs to make. “Plastic packaging offers a number of benefits, including being lightweight and often requiring less material overall for a package than other materials like glass and aluminum,” says Kachook. “Switching to other formats without considering the tradeoffs might increase the emissions of shipping or sourcing the material.”

So what do we, as beauty-loving consumers, do?

For all of the many factors in this conversation, that answer to that question is actually pretty simple. First and foremost, focus on the “reduce” portion of reduce, reuse, recycle. Strip your routine down to the basics and simply buy less stuff. When possible, you can opt for packaging-free bar options (such as Ethique’s shampoo and conditioner bars). 

Refillable packaging is another thing to consider, either directly through beauty brands with refill programs or via Loop, which offers borrowable containers given for a refundable deposit you get back when you return the empty to be professionally cleaned and reused. Pantene, REN, The Body Shop, and more are part of the program, and it recently got a big boost by partnering with Ulta to create the loopbyulta.com store. 

For the empties you do end up with, there are ways to up your chances of having the material reused. First, you can check to see if the brand behind it has a mail-back recycling program of its own like Burt’s Bees. If it doesn’t, TerraCycle takes packaging (including hard-to-recycle items) either through drop-off locations (including Nordstrom stores) or via mail with purchasable boxes and labels. 

The organization (which is also behind the Loop store) estimates that last year about 10 percent of all the waste it diverted from landfills in 2020 was related to the beauty industry, thanks in part to its launch of over 50 new recycling programs around the U.S. during the COVID-19 pandemic. “By the end of 2020, about one-third of all of our active brand-sponsored recycling programs were for beauty-related products,” says Alex Payne, North American public relations associate for TerraCycle. 

Finally, it’s simply back to showing up with your dollars (i.e., votes) by researching before you add to cart. There are niche lines focusing on sustainability (like the 90 percent plastic-free We Are Paradoxx) and companies finding smart ways to reduce their plastic waste (like Colgate’s new Keep toothbrush with an aluminum handle that you, well, keep forever, replacing only the small plastic head) and big splashy pledges from big brands (like Unilever’s plan for sustainable living and Estée Lauder Companies’ new initiative to create an advanced recycled tube package some time this year) and smaller promises to use more PCR material to reduce the demand for virgin plastic… it all adds up. 

Pay attention as well to partnerships with groups such as GreenBlue‘s Sustainable Packaging Coalition, which helps companies make more sustainable choices as well as educate consumers with its clear How2Recycle labeling program. The Recycling Partnership has created the Pathway of Circularity program to help guide companies through the process of creating packaging materials that will actually get recycled. They’re currently working with Burt’s Bees, Colgate-Palmolive, Johnson & Johnson, L’Oréal USA, Procter & Gamble, and more.

Buying from these brands making moves truly helps the bigger picture. “Investors are looking at what the consumer is doing,” says Simon Fischweicher, head of corporations and supply chains at CDP North America. Nonprofit that runs a global disclosure system for investors and companies to manage their environmental impacts. Purchasing a product that is labeled or advertised to have more sustainable packaging in itself can have a positive impact. 

“Maybe spending that extra 75 cents isn’t going to change the world, but that decision is part of a collection of decisions that people are making that creates a trend,” says Fischweicher. And, trends can become movements — the hope here is to make the movement big enough that it’s not even a possibility for brands not to act.

ALLURE article

EcoTools’ Biodegradable Makeup Sponge Blends Like A Dream

Makeup sponges aren’t single use like plastic straws and paper towels, but your beloved blending tools still end up in landfills when you toss them out after they start to crack and crumble.

Along with your other favorite beauty tools like eye makeup remover pads, the makeup sponge is getting a green makeover too. EcoTools has just launched the first 100% certified biodegradable makeup sponge. 

While there are plant-based sponges on the market that cut down carbon emissions and water waste during the production process, EcoTools has taken things one step further with its Bioblender, which can be planted into the ground once it’s time to part ways with it. (It’s kind of like a funeral for your go-to makeup tool.)

To shop: $6; ulta.com

The violet sponge is made with five bio-based ingredients including water, corn, bionanopol, natural preserve, and natural pigments. According to the brand, BioBlender reduces 59,270 pounds of single-use waste in its creation and use. The packaging is made with sustainability in mind, too. It comes in a FSC-certified biodegradable paper box printed with soy ink.

https://www.instagram.com/p/CMgC6OUhHyu/

As for the actual sponge, it has a patented hybrid shape with three different edges. The triangular edge is great for swiping on cream bronzer or getting into the contours of your face. The round tip is ideal for tapping product onto large areas like foundation or blush, for example.

Using BioBlender is no different than any other sponge because it blends like a dream. I like to use to triangular tip to layer on blush and concealer where I want to intensify coverage. Then, I flip it over and tap the product in with the sponge for a seamless finish — no streaky blush stripes here! 

It’s arguable that this sponge is the hardest working makeup tool out there, because once it’s retired from blending your makeup and you plant it in soil or throw it in your compost, its work doesn’t stop.

INSTYLE article

The 18 Best Lip Masks For A Softer, Smoother Pout

These days, masks are as ubiquitous as hair tools and CBD-spiked skin care. Not surprisingly then, there’s been an influx of options hitting the mask market made specifically for your lips. Ahead, find 18 amazing lip masks of every variety — balms, gels, and sheets. Slather them on while you sleep, mid-commute, or before swiping on a bold lip you need to last all night. Get ready for smoother, softer-looking lips.

Summer Fridays Lip Butter Balm

Summer Fridays’ Lip Butter Balm isn’t technically called a mask, but it sure feels like one. The ultra-rich consistency coats lips in a blanket of soothing butters, including shea and murumuru, which are known to nourish dry skin. It also contains vegan waxes that make the formula extra thick and satisfying to use — especially if you’re struggling with severely dry or cracked lips. The subtle vanilla flavor definitely doesn’t hurt either.

$22 (Shop Now)

Tarte’s Sea Jelly Glaze Anytime Lip Mask

Available in three lip-enhancing hues, Tarte’s Sea Jelly Glaze Anytime Lip Mask is perfect for anyone who loves a little tint to their lips. Infused with hyaluronic acid to quench dry lips, along with avocado, jojoba, and argan oils to lock in moisture, it leaves lip supple, soft, and smelling sweet.

$14 (Shop Now)

Milk Makeup Melatonin Overnight Lip Mask

Milk Makeup’s Melatonin Overnight Lip Mask features hyaluronic acid and a blend of goji, acai, blueberry, and blackberry extracts for their powerful antioxidant benefits. It not only smells sublime, but makes lips look plumper, softer, and smoother after just one use.

$22 (Shop Now)

Henné Organics Lip Mask

Henné’s Organics Lip Mask is made with ultra-nourishing oils like rosehip, avocado, sweet orange peel, and jojoba (that’s four of many) and comes from a brand fully devoted to lip care, so you know it’s legit. Its light, citrus-and-vanilla scent sends it over the edge. The best part? Leave it on as you choose — lip masks like this one don’t have a limit since their sole purpose is to soothe, plump, and moisturize.

$37 (Shop Now)

Sara Happ The Sweet Clay Lip Mask

Sara Happ is renowned for her sublime lip treatments and The Sweet Clay Lip Mask is no exception. Comprised of deep-cleansing bentonite clay, nourishing shea butter, and an Ayurvedic herb known as Swertiamarin sourced from the Himalayas, this mask means business. Its bubblegum-pink hue will makes your lips look like you’ve caked them in icing while you wear it, but that’s a bonus if you ask me. Apply it weekly — or nightly — for soft and supple lips that appear visibly smoother after one use.

$32 (Shop Now)

Bite Beauty Agave Lip Mask

Thick, luxurious, and super hydrating, this clear, jelly-like balm is like a deep conditioning treatment for your lips: Agave nectar and lanolin provide a dose of long-lasting moisture, while a hefty dose of antioxidants (literally three times the amount found in a serving of red wine) protect your pout from the elements. It’s best worn as an overnight mask, but the formula also comes in two super-pretty sheer, glossy shades (a gold-flecked rose and a cool, pinkish red) for daytime wear.

$26 (Shop Now)

Klavuu Nourishing Care Lip Sleeping Pack

Klavuu’s Nourishing Care Lip Sleeping Pack comes highly recommended by Allure’s digital reporter Devon Abelman, who lauds it for its weightless formula and ability to bring dry, dehydrated lips back to a happy and balanced state. Enriched with avocado, sweet almond, and apricot seed oils, this Korean beauty treatment leaves lips looking and feeling instantly more moisturized after a mere five minutes.

$15 (Shop Now)

Burt’s Bees Lip Treatment Lip Mask

For less than a Lincoln you can score the Burt’s Bees Lip Treatment Lip Mask, which soothes and hydrates with meadowfoam and sweet almond oils. It’s also 100 percent natural for those of you who prefer a green option.

$3 (Shop Now)

Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask

Laneige’s Lip Sleeping Mask is an all-time Allure editor favorite. Its über-thick formula falls somewhere between a balm and a cream, and works its magic by slowly melting into your lips overnight. Come morning, lips look and feel soft, bouncy, and supple as ever. It also comes in a vanilla version, if that’s more up your alley.

$20 (Shop Now)

Jouer Overnight Conditioning & Repairing Lip Mask

While Jouer isn’t typically known for skin-care offerings, its new Overnight Conditioning & Repairing Lip Mask is a true standout I couldn’t not mention. Jam-packed with ingredients like vitamin E, shea butter, and jojoba oil, as well as hyaluronic acid to help lock in moisture, lips feel quenched for days after using it. Leave it on while you snooze for kitten-soft lips when you wake — or use in place of an ultra-thick balm for the ultimate luxury lip-care experience.

$20 (Shop Now)

KNC Beauty All Natural Collagen Infused Lip Mask

KNC Beauty’s All Natural Collagen Infused Lip Mask contains vitamin E, rose oil, and hydrating cherry extract to help plump fine lines and deeply moisturize the lips. You might remember Emma Stone’s pre-Globes selfie wearing the jelly-like lip patch, which was recommended by her makeup artist Rachel Goodwin, in order to prep the actor’s lips for the big night. Needless to say, if it’s approved by Emma and her MUA, you can bet it won’t be a letdown.

$40 for 10 masks (Shop Now)

Patchology FlashPatch Lip Gels

Patchology’s FlashPatch Lip Gels are similar to that of KNC’s in that they adhere to your lips, feel cool to the touch, and look slightly sheet mask-esque. The biodegradable patches feature soothing green tea extract, redness-reducing niacinamide, and peptides to help enhance elasticity and promote collagen production.

$50 for 24 patches (Shop Now)

Flower Beauty Petal Pout Lip Mask

Flower Beauty’s Petal Pout Lip Mask, which just launched, is already a fast favorite. It’s portable, affordable, and, most importantly, infused with decadent mango and coconut butters to repair chapped and flaking lips.

$10 (Shop Now)

Clinique Pep-Start Pout Restoring Night Mask

Clinique’s Pep-Start Pout Restoring Night Mask not only comes in this unarguably cute, millennial-pink tube, but it also works like a charm on winter-worn lips. Moisturizing ingredients, like murumuru seed butter, hydrogenated castor oil, and sea whip extract go the extra mile to hydrate and simultaneously plump lips while you sleep.

$18 (Shop Now)

Kiehl’s Buttermask for Lips

Kiehl’s Buttermask for Lips is as delicious as its name implies. Chock full of nourishing ingredients like mango butter, coconut oil, and cocoa, with a creamy (not sticky!) consistency, it’s worth the splurge. Blanket your lips with a hefty coat of the stuff before bed and come morning, you’ll wake with supple, hydrated lips.

$26 (Shop Now)

Kaplan MD Perfect Pout Duo

Kaplan MD’s Perfect Pout Duo feels like a dream on lips. The pillow-like balm is whipped to a dreamy, gel-cream consistency and is made of reparative ingredients like seabuckthorn berry extract and sunflower seed wax to nourish lips while you snooze.

$24 (Shop Now)

Starskin DreamKiss Plumping and Hydrating Bio-Cellulose Lip Mask

Starskin’s DreamKiss Plumping and Hydrating Bio-Cellulose Lip Mask utilizes an innovative, coconut juice-derived, bio-cellulose technology that adheres to the lips seamlessly and feels similar in texture to Tatcha’s Luminous Dewy Skin Sheet Mask. Each one is submerged in a tropical-scented bath, which leaves lips looking and feeling juicier after just 15 minutes.

$10 (Shop Now)

111Skin Meso Infusion Lip Mask and Plumping Duo

Before you scoff at the price of 111Skin Meso Infusion Lip Mask and Plumping Duo, allow me to explain why it’s worth the hefty price tag. For starters, the tiniest amount goes a long way (we’re talking the size of a pea or less here). It has also been scientifically tested (and proven effective) to give the illusion of having thicker, suppler lips after just a few uses. What’s more: It contains exfoliating ingredients, like lemon and orange peel oils, which naturally shed the top layer of skin to create an even-toned, softer surface.

$150 (Shop Now)

ALLURE article

The Most Exciting New Makeup Releases That Arrived In February

CoverGirl Perfect Point Plus Liquid Liner

As protective face coverings are still very much a part of our day-to-day life, the eyes will continue to be the focal point of our makeup looks. Whether you prefer a sharp cat eye or a fun graphic look, CoverGirl’s Perfect Point Plus Liquid Liner is as bold as it gets. Designed with an easy-gliding felt tip for smooth, quick-drying application that lasts up to 12 hours, it comes in three shades, Black Onyx (true black), Charcoal (slate gray), and Espresso (rich brown) to pair with every look imaginable.

$8 (Shop Now)

Pat McGrath Labs Skin Fetish Ultra Glow Highlighter

Not only is the one-and-only Pat McGrath gracing the February Allure cover, but she’s also been busy behind the scenes bringing her latest Divine Rose II collection to life. Although every item, including the runway-previewed Mothership VIII Eyeshadow Palette, is sure to leave you breathless, I simply can’t wait to drench my skin in the ethereally rosy-golden Pat McGrath Labs Skin Fetish: Ultra Glow Highlighter in Divine Rose. This gel-meets-powder illuminator practically makes your cheekbones visible from outer space — and at the very least, spices up your Zoom dates.

$48 (Shop Now)

BioBlender by EcoTools 100% Biodegradable Makeup Sponge

After years of research and development (alongside John Nanos, who holds a Ph.D. in organic polymer chemistry), the BioBlender by EcoTools 100% Biodegradable Makeup Sponge is finally available to the masses. Made out of just five vegan ingredients and packaged in 100 percent plantable paper, this eco-friendly beauty tool degrades within four months in a home compost setup, compared to regular makeup sponges that waste away in a landfill for over — wait for it — 50 years. It’s even embedded with a “plant me” message to remind you to do your part.

$5 (Shop Now)

Giorgio Armani Beauty Sí Intense Eau de Parfum

Originally launched in 2013, Giorgio Armani Beauty has finally launched a revamped Sí Intense Eau de Parfum that essentially feels and looks like a warm hug. Just look at that inviting, honey-like hue. Blackcurrant nectar, Isparta rose, and patchouli ramp up to the bottle’s most intense note, vanilla, making this the perfect cozy winter (or spring) scent.

$136 for 100 ml (Shop Now)

Kevyn Aucoin True Feather Brow Marker Gel Duo

If you prefer to cocktail your brow routine with different formulas, Kevyn Aucoin’s True Feather Brow Marker Gel Duo was made for you. Infused with mung bean and red clover extract to promote fuller-looking brows, the tinted marker is equipped with an ultra-fine brush tip to create precise, realistic-looking hairs and fill in sparse areas. On the flip side, an invisible gel fluffs up your filled-in (or naked) brows and provides flexible hold. Choose from four different shades: Ash Blonde, Warm Brunette, Brunette, and Dark Brunette.

$28 (Shop Now)

Colourpop x Animal Crossing: New Horizons Collection

Save up your bells because you’ll want to spend all of them on Colourpop’s hyped-up Animal Crossing: New Horizons Collection. Inspired by iconic characters, such as Tom Nook, Isabelle, and the Able Sisters, this latest beauty-and-video-game crossover is stacked with pink-, green-, brown-, and purple-themed eye shadow palettes in a variety of matte, matte sparkle, metallic, and pressed glitter finishes. If you’re looking for unadulterated glitz, you can choose between Balloon Pop Super Shock Shadow (a metallic pink-silver single eye shadow) and Bellionaire Glitterally Obsessed (a gold, self-sticking glitter gel) — or frankly, pick up both.

Rounding out the launch are two baby-pink and coral powder blushes reminiscent of the cosmo flowers and wildflowers found on the island. And whether you lean towards pink, coral, or caramel tones, you’re bound to find a fruit-tree-inspired Mini Lip Tint Duo that fits your mood to a T. 

$7 to 12 or $125 for the full collection (Shop Now)

Glow Recipe Blueberry Lip Pop

Glow Recipe is no stranger to reformulating its products, and the Lip Pop is the latest to undergo an upgrade of its own. Now 35 percent bigger in size (3.1 grams to 4.2 grams, to get hyper-specific) and available in a permanent blueberry-infused shade, you don’t have to worry about ordering refills as frequently. This three-in-one wonder gently exfoliates, hydrates, and adds a gorgeous berry-pink tint to your lips. Go forth, swipe, and reap the multitiered benefits.

$22 (Shop Now)

Velour Beauty Vegan Luxe Lashes

Velour Beauty Vegan Luxe Lashes is the brand’s biggest step towards going 100 percent mink-free in 2021. Swipe on a layer of adhesive glue or the Best of Beauty-winning Lash & Go Eyeliner and plop on any of the 13 new styles, like Run The World for a gradient lengthening effect or the spike-patterned She-E-O for extra drama. Just like that, you’re the proud owner of soft, fluttery lashes.

$27 (Shop Now)

One/Size Secure the Blur Makeup Magnet Primer

Patrick Starrr’s latest product, the One/Size Secure the Blur Makeup Magnet Primer, creates a mattified base that’ll grip onto your foundation for all-day hold. A powerful trio of niacinamide, witch hazel, and glycerin minimizes the appearance of large pores, evens skin tone, and controls shine, so all you’re in charge of is showing off your flawless beat.

$30 (Shop Now)

Freck Noir

As the newest addition to the faux freckle family (which also includes Freck OG and Freck XL), Freck Noir was specifically created to complement mid-to-dark skin tones. Simply stamp on a small cluster of dots, and then, quickly tap your fingers on the not-yet-dry pigment to create subtle copies wherever you’d like on your face. If you’ve been in the market for a product that’ll change up your look with minimal effort, this is it.

$28 (Shop Now)

Bésame Cosmetics The Disney Mary Poppins Collection

Although your makeup bag might not be magically bottomless, there’s definitely room for Bésame Cosmetics’ The Disney Mary Poppins Collection. Based on Mary’s signature floral design and actual lip and cheek colors used in the beloved films, the Practically Perfect Powder, Poppins Red Lipstick (rich red), and Mary’s Cream’s Rouge (dark pink rouge with a hint of coral) might just make you break out in song. 

$25 to $68 (Shop Now)

Lawless Forget The Filler Definer Liner

Formulated with a silk-like ester for a one-and-done kind of glide (no tugging involved), Lawless’s Forget The Filler Definer Liner checks off all of the boxes eco-conscious beauty lovers might have. It’s certified “Clean at Sephora,” sustainably sourced — it’s made out of FSC-certified (Forest Stewardship Council) wood — and vegan. You’ll find your perfect my-lips-but-better shade in Burnish (mid-tone nude with a hint of red), Coco (cool-toned deep brown), Honey Rose (pinkish-mauve), or Pink Sand (universal neutral pink).

$21 (Shop Now)

ALLURE article

Is This The End Of The Sheet Mask?

You know what I think about a lot? That time Jason Momoa called out Chris Pratt for posing with a single-use plastic water bottle on Instagram by commenting, in part, “Bro … WTF.” Since then, whenever I scroll past a picture of serum-soaked polyester plastered to an influencer’s face, I can’t help but wonder: When will the sheet masks be Mamoa’d? 

It seems the moment has come. Clean beauty retailer Credo recently announced it will stop selling sheet masks and other single-use skincare products, like makeup wipes and exfoliating pads, by June 2021—an industry first.

“‘Clean’ has to include sustainability,” Mia Davis, the Director of Environmental & Social Responsibility at Credo, tells ELLE.com. After all, what good is a product that’s supposedly safe for your skin if it’s unsafe for the earth, contributing to the health- and skin-degrading pollution particles that precipitate the need for “clean” skincare products in the first place? A 20-minute sheet mask, for example, is typically made of petroleum-based fibers, packaged in a non-recyclable foil packet or non-recyclable coated cardboard, sandwiched between two sheets of non-recyclable plastic, and covered in cosmetic chemicals—more of a sachet of superfluous waste than a skincare product, really. “We realized that prohibiting these items [at Credo] would, at a minimum, keep 3,000 pounds of trash out of the landfill,” Davis shares.

Yes, sheet masks are literal trash.

“Usually, none of these components are recyclable and all of them end up in the rubbish—at best, in a landfill; at worst, in the ocean,” Susan Stevens, the founder and CEO of Made With Respect, explains. Over hundreds of years, these materials break up into microplastic particles or break down and release greenhouse gasses, eventually polluting the air, water, soil, and bodies of all living beings (humans included). “Synthetic cosmetic chemical ingredients may make their way through waste-water treatment plants and into the ocean when they are washed down the drain, polluting marine life and causing environmental damage,” Stevens adds. But this visible excess—the foil packets, the plastic inserts, the product itself—only scratches the surface of the unsustainability of sheet masks.

The production of petroleum-based materials affects human health.

“Plastic affects our health way before it becomes a waste management issue,” Dianna Cohen, the co-founder and CEO of Plastic Pollution Coalition, says. She notes that the same goes for many cosmetic chemicals used in sheet masks, including petrochemicals (derived, like plastic, from petroleum) and the endocrine disruptors found in some synthetic fragrance formulas.

“When you look at the process of extracting crude oil, then converting it into hydrocarbon monomers, then converting that to plastic, you see that we’re polluting the environment and local communities by releasing greenhouse gasses and harmful chemicals into the water and into the air,” Cohen shares. Along that production line, potentially toxic substances like bisphenols and phthalates are added to the mix. “When we finally manufacture it and mold it into various products”—microfiber or polyester cloths, outer packaging, and cosmetic petrochemicals, just to name a few plastic products associated with sheet masks—“we are polluting the people who work at those factories and the communities surrounding those factories,” the co-founder says.

This pollution primarily impacts low-income communities and communities of color.

“These facilities are built in the neighborhoods where they live,” Cohen says, noting that this is known as environmental racism. “It’s a relic of colonialism and slavery and how we treat people as disposable and have built a culture around disposability with materials, but none of these materials are actually disposable,” she says. “Nothing is disposable.” Everything goes somewhere. The component parts of a sheet mask will live on in the environment, outliving the user. 

Even “natural” and “plant-based” sheet masks present problems. 

Davis points to the massive amount of resources required at the production level, “from the pesticides used growing cotton, to the water used growing crops [for plant-based materials].” For reference, producing just one pound of organic cotton demands 1,320 gallons of water; that means hundreds of gallons of water are wasted on each and every short-lived cotton sheet mask.

As for “biodegradable” or “compostable” versions? They are rarely biodegrade. “The unfortunate truth is that most people who are using those products are throwing them in their waste bin, and that’s going to a landfill, and nothing biodegrades in a landfill,” Davis says, confirming that Credo’s ban on sheet masks extends to these supposedly “eco-friendly” iterations as well. “We don’t want to lull anyone into a false sense of action. It’s not real.” Even if consumers plan to compost at home, ingredients matter. A plant-based sheet mask isn’t doing the soil any favors if it’s coated in a petrochemical-infused serum.

All of the above issues apply to regular beauty products, of course—it’s just that sheet masks have a particularly concerning product-waste-to-product-payoff ratio, no matter what they’re made of.

Can a ban on sheet masks really make a difference? 

Like previous bans on plastic straws, bottles, and bags, a ban on sheet masks—even one from a small-scale retailer like Credo, which has proven to be a leader in the clean space—is more than a ban. It foreshadows a shift in the culture of consumption. The same way seeing a single-use water bottle on Instagram now calls to mind the plastic it’s made from and the marine life it could harm, spotting a sheet mask on social might soon signal the small pile of garbage sitting out of frame, the chemicals it leaches into the soil. 

“When I see an influencer using a sheet mask, I do consciously think about the waste they’re creating,” Avery C. Banks, the beauty blogger behind The Boheaux, explains. (Banks used to sheet mask four times a week, but stopped earlier this year in an effort to be more eco-friendly.) “I don’t judge their sustainability journey, though. We’re all out here trying our best and maybe they simply haven’t thought about the environmental impact of that little mask.”

It’s becoming increasingly difficult to remain ignorant of said impact, if Credo’s stance on single-use skincare (and the urgency of climate change) is any indication—not that it was necessarily easy to ignore before. Consumers need only gaze upon their bursting garbage bins to realize the product is problematic. 

“I was taking out the trash and all I could see were mask packages,” says Clare Neesham, a recently reformed sheet mask obsessive. She was sheet masking twice a week at the peak of her habit. “After a while, I started thinking about all the waste that was being produced, not just the masks themselves, but all the serum [and] the package,” Neesham recalls; too much for a few fleeting moments of self-care.

Still, eco-conscious retailers may have a hard time convincing customers to give them up.

“We let go of a sheet mask because it wasn’t fully biodegradable, and people complained that we didn’t have it anymore,”says Jeannie Jarnot, the founder of green beauty retailer Beauty Heroes. Credo’s Davis anticipates a similar reaction. “I do think that there will be some customers that are really bummed, and it will affect our bottom line,” she says. “We’re hoping some of the larger retailers”—Sephora, Ulta—“will make the same commitments, so that we will increase consumer awareness” and decrease the industry’s impact on the earth. This push-pull between companies and their customers is “the chicken or the egg” of the current climate crisis: Who bears the burden of creating a more sustainable future? “Corporate waste is the majority of the problem,” adds Aja Barber, a writer, stylist, and consultant in the environmental space. (100 companies are responsible for 71 percent of global emissions, as The Guardian reports.) “But corporations don’t change unless the general public takes an interest and holds them and our government regulators to account, and I think to do all of that, it starts with changing your own habits,” Barber continues. “A lot of people saying ‘I’m not interested in this product anymore’ changes the system.””In the comparison between individual action and corporation action, the question isn’t either/or,” Cohen agrees. “It’s that every action matters.” 

Credo’s ban may be the catalyst to inspire that action, to make posting a sheet-masked selfie as taboo as posing with a plastic water bottle—to create a mass-scale Mamoa moment, if you will. It just may be the beginning of the end of the sheet mask. 

ELLE article