Today’s beauty industry looks a lot different than it did yesterday—and even more changes are in store for tomorrow. An increase in awareness (and sales) of personal care products that have fewer or are free-from chemicals is a result of advocacy, education and consumers’ desire to embrace not just clean eating but also clean living. As a result, companies are committing to using greener ingredients, disclosing all of them and ensuring the product performs. Being cleaner isn’t enough: It has to work. Indeed, performance and transparency are giving the beauty industry a much-needed makeover.
Show your true colors
It’s obvious that consumers are reading the ingredient lists of the foods they buy; in fact, recent data suggests that more than half of Americans do so. However, they’re not stopping at food, and they’re not stopping at ingredients. Increasingly, consumers are also looking for supply chain transparency, especially in the home and personal products they buy, and particularly because education surrounding specific ingredients in this sector is lacking.
Ultimately, 94 percent of consumers expect companies to be open and honest about what’s in their products. By outlining where there’s work to be done—and setting goals to meet expectations in the future—companies can further cultivate trust. Sometimes this also means becoming certified when the time is right; organic, B Corp, fair trade and Rainforest Alliance certifications can help prove a company has reached those benchmarks. Whether they’ve reached these benchmarks or not, the most responsible brands will have open dialogue with consumers and retailers every step of the way.
Unilever's transparency in action
• Disclosure of fragrance constituents is not currently required in the personal care industry. But Unilever is stepping up by voluntarily expanding its personal care transparency initiatives. Through SmartLabelTM, it will provide retailers and consumers access to product ingredient lists that include the fragrance ingredients present in a product’s formulation above 0.01 percent (100 parts per million).
• Love Beauty and Planet believes that beauty and its environmental impact are inseparable. The brand of shampoos, conditioners, body washes and hair and body treatments uses ethically sourced oils, which create a supply chain that does good for farmers and communities. Love Beauty and Planet also proves the power of partnership, joining forces with programs designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and landfill waste, as well as with Ashoka—an organization that provides funds to environmental changemakers.
• Seventh Generation’s #ComeClean campaign was launched to spur change in legislation that would require disclosure of what ingredients go into cleaning products. California has since passed a bill into law requiring some ingredient disclosure on labels and online. Additionally, the Seventh Generation Foundation focuses on supporting social and environmental progress through education, conservation and research with grants awarded to 350.org, the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Program, Informed Green Solutions and many others.