De­spite what Ker­mit told us, be­ing green has never been eas­ier, es­pe­cially when it comes to your beauty rou­tine. A new wave of eco-friendly prod­ucts has hit the shelves, so you can feel good about look­ing great, says Michaela Wil­liams

Friday - - Beauty -

Long gone are the days when eco-friendly beauty meant putting up with patchy foun­da­tion pow­ders in lim­ited colours, chalky mois­turis­ers, and es­sen­tial-oil-based fra­grances that ran the gamut from patchouli all the way to patchouli-san­dal­wood. No longer the do­main of crunchy hip­pies, eco-friendly beauty and nat­u­ral in­gre­di­ents have been em­braced at large by both con­sumers and brands, as part of a global, earth-lov­ing trend. With green so­lid­i­fy­ing its place as the new black, you’ll now find it eas­ier to tick off eth­i­cal must-haves on your eco-friendly check­list.

For those look­ing to explore the world of eco-friendly beauty, a great first stop is sup­port­ing small brands that are ac­tively do­ing their part to pro­tect and ben­e­fit the en­vi­ron­ment, whether that’s saying no to an­i­mal test­ing, or sup­port­ing the com­mu­nity and eco-sys­tem that pro­vides the raw in­gre­di­ents. Tam­mie Um­bel, the founder of Shea Terra Or­gan­ics, says that pro­tect­ing the na­tive plants that her com­pany de­vel­ops into deeply sooth­ing skin­care is a ma­jor pri­or­ity, as is giv­ing back to the com­mu­nity. ‘My idea was to in­tro­duce lo­cal beauty traditions that could help pro­tect in­dige­nous flora and wildlife habi­tats, while bring­ing needed in­come into im­pov­er­ished re­gions,’ she ex­plains. A mother of 12, the Mus­lim busi­ness­woman now works with co­op­er­a­tives and con­ser­va­tion groups through­out Africa, where she sources in­gre­di­ents such as shea but­ter and mon­gongo oil, to help pre­serve the region’s en­vi­ron­men­tal re­sources. The founder of Arya Es­sen­tials, Shadoh Pun­na­puzha, says that her skin­care brand takes care in sourc­ing their or­ganic re­sources. ‘Our first and fore­most sig­nif­i­cant im­per­a­tive is us­ing in­gre­di­ents that are cer­ti­fied or­ganic or wild­crafted,’ she ex­plains. ‘[This] makes us an eco-friendly brand, be­cause we source our in­gre­di­ents from sus­tain­able sources that follow or­ganic meth­ods of farm­ing, [and] we’re lucky enough to work with in­gre­di­ents from dis­trib­u­tors who care­fully source and have a con­cern for the en­vi­ron­ment. My be­lief is na­ture takes care of us, and we should do our part to take care of it, al­low­ing it to con­tinue to nour­ish us!’

An eth­i­cal hot-but­ton issue for decades, it’s a shock to know that some beauty brands still de­pend on an­i­mal test­ing – us­ing sen­si­tive crea­tures such as rab­bits and mice as guinea pigs. Shop­pers want­ing a cru­elty-free van­ity cab­i­net will need to read the fine print on their favourite prod­ucts, and be aware of la­belling loop­holes. While a prod­uct may say it’s not tested on an­i­mals, this may not cover in­di­vid­ual com­po­nents that make up the fi­nal prod­uct; it also may not re­veal the test­ing re­quired by in­ter­na­tional mar­kets. For ex­am­ple, any prod­uct re­tailed within China must be cer­ti­fied as safe to use by govern­ment lab­o­ra­to­ries, which test ex­clu­sively on an­i­mals.

While the brand may not be di­rectly car­ry­ing out ex­per­i­ments on Mr Fluffy, by re­tail­ing in a mar­ket that re­quires it, they’ve agreed for their prod­uct to be tested on an­i­mals. Un­sure of how to check if your

An ETH­I­CAL hot-but­ton issue for decades, it’s a SHOCK to know that some beauty brands still de­pend on AN­I­MAL TEST­ING – us­ing SEN­SI­TIVE crea­tures such as rab­bits and mice as guinea pigs

favourite mois­turiser is against an­i­mal test­ing? Look for brands that have been ac­cred­ited by an­i­mal cru­elty watchdog, Choose Cru­elty Free (CCF), and sport their rab­bit stamp, or head straight to the source and con­firm test­ing meth­ods with the brand di­rectly. Most com­pa­nies are more than happy to share their cru­elty-free sta­tus! For ex­am­ple, UAE-born brand Herbal Es­sen­tials is firmly against an­i­mal cru­elty, and throws its sup­port be­hind Peta’s Beauty With­out Bun­nies ini­tia­tive, tak­ing an oath never to test on an­i­mals.

With the UAE not ex­actly known to shy away from all things ar­ti­fi­cial, the ques­tion has to be asked – what’s in it for us? Our ex­perts are adamant that choos­ing green beauty prod­ucts is one of the best things you can do for your skin, as well as the

en­vi­ron­ment. ‘I think in the past people have al­ways thought that nat­u­ral prod­ucts do not pro­vide ef­fec­tive re­sults, [but] be­ing ecofriendly af­fects the qual­ity of our prod­ucts in a pos­i­tive way,’ says Shadoh.

We un­der­stand the im­pact of us­ing syn­thetic ad­di­tives, pes­ti­cides and chem­i­cals when farm­ing, and the ef­fects these in­gre­di­ents has on the body.’ Her cus­tomers agree, with Shadoh call­ing the re­sponse to the range “very pos­i­tive”. Tam­mie says the ef­fec­tive­ness of Shea Terra Or­gan­ics prod­ucts is not di­min­ished by be­ing ecofriendly, but in­stead en­hanced by her de­ci­sion to not use syn­thetic in­gre­di­ents. ‘Be­ing eco-friendly dras­ti­cally af­fects the qual­ity of our prod­ucts – our prod­ucts are ex­tremely ef­fec­tive be­cause they use large con­cen­tra­tions of in­gre­di­ents sourced di­rectly from na­ture.’

But, some­times it can be dif­fi­cult for shop­pers to sep­a­rate the truly nat­u­ral from the pre­tenders. Tam­mie says that do­ing your re­search on a brand ahead of pur­chas­ing can help you make an in­formed de­ci­sion.

‘For ex­am­ple, a liquid and oil emul­sion must have a proper preser­va­tive sys­tem. Is the com­pany list­ing preser­va­tives? Get used to what real es­sen­tial oils smell like by pur­chas­ing from rep­utable com­pa­nies, [the au­then­tic oils] are not cheap. Does the brand in ques­tion have prod­ucts that smell like real es­sen­tial oils, or do they smell like bath­room fresh­ener? These are ways of un­veil­ing the hon­esty of eco-friendly clams.’ Shadoh agrees that re­search­ing brands is key. ‘Their rep­u­ta­tion and in­for­ma­tion on the web­site they have will be help­ful, [and] their pack­ag­ing also will be a key in­di­ca­tor of how en­vi­ron­men­tally friendly they are,’ she says. ‘Gen­er­ally, if they do use in­gre­di­ents from or­ganic farm­ing, you know that the phi­los­o­phy for the brand is along­side be­ing eco-friendly.’

Cut­ting down on un­nec­es­sary pack­ag­ing is an­other way beauty brands are sav­ing the world, one sham­poo bot­tle at a time. Arya Es­sen­tials uses re­new­able glass bot­tles and re­cy­clable pa­per boxes to ben­e­fit the en­vi­ron­ment. Hair­care brand O’right, takes its promise to save the trees very se­ri­ously, with its Tree in a Bot­tle line lit­er­ally just that. The pack­ag­ing that houses their nat­u­ral

Does the BRAND in ques­tion have prod­ucts that smell like real es­sen­tial oils, or do they smell like BATH­ROOM FRESH­ENER? These are ways of un­veil­ing the HON­ESTY of eco-friendly claims

sham­poos and con­di­tioner (from Dh99 at se­lected sa­lons) breaks down in the soil and thanks to the aca­cia seeds se­cured in the base, will one day bloom into a tree. Or, if you pre­fer, look for prod­ucts that use no pack­ag­ing at all. Spill-free, air­port-safe and anti-land­fill, solid cos­met­ics are a fan­tas­tic ad­di­tion to your shower if you’re con­cerned about con­tribut­ing to the 110 mil­lion tonnes of plas­tic which is dis­carded each year. Our go-to for solids, Lush, spe­cialises in face and body-bars that keep well in reusable tins. New Zealand brand Sor­bet pro­duces co­conut oil-in­fused sham­poo and con­di­tioner bars (from Dh71, sor­bet­cos­met­ that smell amaz­ing and keep your hair healthy and shiny. Each bar’s pa­per wrap­ping dis­solves in the shower dur­ing the first use.

Given the myr­iad ways to up­date your beauty rou­tine to some­thing a lit­tle more eco-friendly, it makes sense to prac­tise a lit­tle ex­tra kind­ness at the cash reg­is­ter. By sim­ply read­ing la­bels and switch­ing prod­ucts, you can help cut land­fill, re­ha­bil­i­tate forests, give fair-trade in­come to re­mote com­mu­ni­ties, and en­sure you’re not con­tribut­ing to an­i­mal test­ing prac­tices. Plus, your skin will thank you for choos­ing prod­ucts loaded with high­qual­ity or­ganic in­gre­di­ents. So, what’s stop­ping you from go­ing green?

Tam­mie Um­bel, founder of Shea Terra Or­gan­ics, works with lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties in Africa so as to pro­tect lo­cal flora

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