Fragrance – Friend or foe? (2 minute read)

Fragrance is perhaps the most hotly debated ingredient in skincare. Loved by many and hated in equal part, it can be a total dealbreaker for some. But is fragrance all bad?

Well, that all depends on your skin.

For some, fragrance can really mess with their skin. It can sensitise it, causing irritation and break outs. However, this isn’t the case for everyone. Some people can use fragrance with absolutely no problem at all. Depending on the scent and how strong it is, it can add an extra layer of luxury to a product and enhance the user experience. Sometimes unscented products can be a little underwhelming in that respect, but ultimately it comes down to personal preference.

The truth is that sometimes skincare ingredients don’t always smell the best and fragrance is often used used to mask it. However, there is a lack of transparency when fragrance is listed in the ingredients list. The single ingredient ‘Fragrance’ on the INCI list can be any number of fragranced ingredients all hiding under the one name, which makes it really hard to work out exactly what you’re intolerant to if it’s not listed in its entirety.

The tricky thing is, your skin can change how it feels about fragrance almost overnight (like in my case), though it is pretty uncommon. Where you were using fragranced products with no problems one day, you now have a cluster of breakouts.

So is fragrance-free the answer? Wellโ€ฆ not really. Fragrance-free falls into the same category as ‘clean’ and ‘natural’ – it’s an unregulated term. Also, there may still be some sort of natural fragrance (essential oils or plant extracts) or scent masking chemicals added to minimise the bad, naturally occurring smell of the active ingredients. As we all know, essential oils are also one of the worst offenders when it comes to skin irritation, so going for natural fragrance often isn’t any better for the skin than synthetic.


Your stance on fragrance will be very personal to you and how your skin reacts to it.


There is no blanket right or wrong way to think about fragrance. Personally, I really enjoy it but my skin can’t tolerate it anymore, and that’s totally fine. I would prefer a small amount of fragrance because products that have no scent are really underwhelming from a self care point of view for me, but I actively avoid fragrance and essential oils to avoid break outs. If you find a fragranced product doesn’t work for you, that’s totally fine, you can just stop using it – and it’s as simple as that ladies and gents.

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Why we’re no longer supporting Drunk Elephant (June 2020)

Would you believe it? There is Drunk Elephant drama again. This time it’s not accusations of bullying, or misinforming their audience that all skin types require the same products. No, this time it’s much worse and I’m not sure whether they will truly come back from this one.

**Disclaimer: if you personally still wish to support Drunk Elephant after reading this article, please go ahead. However, I personally expect a brand that holds this much influence to do better for our community.**

As I’m sure you know, the murder of George Floyd in the US has sent ripples in every direction. It was only a matter of time before they were felt in the beauty world too. Brands began to post black squares on their social media for #blackouttuesday and expressed their sadness at the events unfolding in America. Some even pledged donations to various charities. But questions began to be asked about whether these brands were just being performative and whether they were actually committed to real change.

The founder of Uoma Beauty, Sharon Chuter, wanted to ensure that there was action behind these bold public shows of support for the Black community and created the Pull Up or Shut Up movement. The aim of the movement is simple – ‘pull up’ and publicly release the number of Black employees at corporate level and in leadership roles. The idea being to hold brands accountable that say Black Lives Matter publicly and then not have representation within their own organisations.ย 

Many brands have replied with their stats (no matter how good or bad) and the steps they will implement to foster Black talent and guarantee that they are recruited more widely at all levels. From small indie brands to the big beauty conglomerates, they’ve all replied.ย 

Now this is where Drunk Elephant comes in.ย 

Drunk Elephant are one of the biggest and best known brands in the beauty industry. They did a post saying they were donating to a number of charities (without specifying any amounts) and asked others to as well. They included petitions to sign, numbers to text and encouraged their audience to educate themselves. They also posted a black square with just hearts for a caption on black out Tuesday. The response to both these posts were overwhelmingly positive from their loyal followers. However as time went on and it seemed as though they wouldn’t be answering the call to ‘pull up’, people began to ask questions. On a picture of a cartoon human heart, they offered a message of support for those struggling to remind them they are not alone. Many people posted comments on this post about whether they would be releasing their statistics on their workforce, but comments kept disappearing. I posted a comment saying I was looking forward to hearing about their stats, but no one else was able to see it. Because I used the phrase ‘pull up’, Drunk Elephant had restricted those words so that they didn’t show up to anyone but them and me. They did this all day on Saturday 6th June to give the impression that there was only a positive response and to hide the question they didn’t want to answer. But why if they didn’t have anything to hide?

Eventually they replied to @prettyandmakeup. This was their first response before using a different copy and pasted message in reply to all other questions regarding pulling up:

Absolutely, and Drunk Elephant is made of a diverse team made up of women and men, BIPOC and LGBT, and we have always worked to ensure that opportunities for employment, advancement and representation are available equally.
โ €
However, we feel very strongly that making a โ€œhuman inventoryโ€ of our team and then using that information for marketing purposes is an incredible ethical violation of our employees right to privacy. It is just not something we would ever do or feel right about doing.
โ €
We are focusing on remaining positive and taking care of the wonderful, diverse and inclusive community that we have, have always had, and making sure they are OK. We hope you understand. โค๏ธ

Let’s dissect this.ย 

1. ‘Diverse Team’

You may well have a diverse team, but we can’t really take your word for it. We want proof. Words are one thing, actions that the whole community can see are another. BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Colour) also doesn’t specifically pinpoint the number of Black people, as specifically asked for by the Pull Up movement. It’s a way some brands have been trying to inflate their diversity stats while skirting the real issue at hand. They’ve also not said in which ways they ensure equal opportunities, advancement and representation within their company like others have.ย 

2. ‘Human inventory’

All companies of a certain size are required by law to submit these statistics. Even if they weren’t big enough to report this (they are), they would still have those statistics to hand. It suggests that they have something to hide. Other brands whose inclusivity figures have been pretty dire have pulled up, admitted it’s not good enough and have put plans into place of how to do better. By hiding behind an excuse of this kind just will not fly. ‘Human inventory’ is also a very bizarre phrasing to use…

3. ‘Ethical violation’

No it isn’t. Pull Up isn’t asking for names, addresses or even photos of their employees. It’s looking for a percentage. As I previously mentioned, a percentage that you already have and is not difficult to obtain. If you even search Drunk Elephant on LinkedIn (as many people have been doing), you’ll get a pretty good idea of how diverse their workforce is (not very). Let’s also just say that Drunk Elephant suddenly caring about their business ethics is laughable. They have appropriated other cultures for marketing purposes (Arabian Nights theme booth in 2018); they don’t correctly credit the origins of their ingredients and fabricate bizarre stories about them (Marula –ย  check out @leah.azad on insta for more info); they bully creators and get defensive when justified points are made; they blame other products or that person when a product of theirs doesn’t work for someone; they fail to understand that skin conditions such as rosacea and cystic acne require different products. Yeah that list is long isn’t it. So doing all of the above is apparently considered okay, but releasing information that the community is calling for to show that their support for BLM isn’t more than just empty words goes against their ethics. Please make no mistake in thinking that this info is somehow an invasion of anyone’s privacy. Like I said, it’s required by LAW. It is the companies that have been the loudest about not sharing this info that are now suspected of not being inclusive and performative.ย 

As I mentioned, this answer was only used once because of the backlash it caused. They later changed to a longer message that took out the parts about ‘human inventory’ and ‘ethical violation’.

Ultimately, it appears very surprising that a company as historically controversial as Drunk Elephant have it right straight out the gate. Their total lack of info on Black representation and ways in which they’re striving to ensure even greater Black representation in their organisation speaks much louder than they realise. As a result, they have been viewed as performative. A false ally to the BLM movement. And people aren’t impressed. Many people who had put up with their other scandals have turned their back on them this time. I’ve seen people posting stories of them throwing away Drunk Elephant products. People want to support brands that are doing the work and supporting the Black community, rather than ignoring the issue at hand. This time it’s a step too far.ย 

For anyone who thought that when Shiseido bought them last year that it would clean up their act, they were sadly mistaken. Shiseido has pulled up – but they own 9 brands and their figures obviously don’t show the breakdown within each company so it’s difficult to get a true idea of Drunk Elephant’s representation. Other companies have heard the calls and done the right thing, no matter how poor those statistics are.ย 

Let me also just point out, that all this controversy is about a week old… and they STILL haven’t released those figures. They haven’t posted anything more on their Instagram and haven’t bothered to clear up people’s doubts (like most upstanding brands would). For those who don’t understand why people are annoyed and are asking whyย should they share this info? Why shouldn’t they? If you’re a supporter of the wider Black community, you should be supporting the Black community in your workforce. It isn’t a performative if you actually mean it.

So please think again about the brands that you support. Do you research and be an ally.ย 

In case you’re confused, this is not me *cancelling* Drunk Elephant. They’ve been cancelled for a long time in my eyes but others who are not as involved in the beauty community on Instagram as I am should know the type of brand they’re buying from.ย 

DO BETTER DRUNK ELEPHANT.
YOUR SILENCE IS DEAFENING.

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Do you need to put yourself on a skincare diet?

Usually in the new year, people turn their attention to their lifestyle – to start moving more and eating better. But what about a skincare diet? Maybe you’ve tried every product under the sun and yet your skin goals remain elusive. Or maybe your 10 step K beauty routine just isn’t delivering the same results anymore. Perhaps it’s time you went on a skincare diet.

There are so many different types of products, with an offering from each brand, that the merry-go-round of trying out new products never ends. But do you really need them all? Let’s be real, every single one of us has bought at least one product based on someone else’s recommendation that was a total flop. Can you hand on heart accredit a change in your skin to every single product in your day-to-day routine, or do some of them just fly under the radar – not really performing but a ‘nice addition’?

The glamour surrounding the multi-step Korean routine that exploded a few years ago is starting to dwindle. The pendulum has swung back towards simplicity- the anti-thesis to the over-complicated K beauty regime. Even the Koreans have moved away from an excessively long routine, so surely it can’t be long before the rest of the world follows suit.

The premise of the skincare diet is simple: by having these long routines, we can actually cause more damage than good. We can overuse active ingredients, use products that don’t agree with our skin and cause irritation, be that in the form of redness, sensitivity or breakouts. The solution? Strip your routine straight back, to just cleanser, moisturiser and SPF.

Krave Beauty recently started the #PressResetChallenge which is exactly what has been mentioned above – streamlining the process to just cleanser, moisturiser and SPF in order to better evaluate what your skin actually needs. The initial 15 days are to heal any irritation, regulate the skin and to take note of how it’s reacting to the minimal routine. After 15 days, you assess what your skin is craving (not what you want to add back, but what your skin actually needs in addition to the basics). This should allow us to have a much greater understanding of our skin, its needs, our goals and how we can reach them. This could also place greater emphasis and encourage greater education about key ingredients and the wonders they can work for our skin.ย 

Liah Yoo was always at the forefront of the skincare diet movement, so it’s great to see that she is using her brand’s platform to further educate her consumers and fans of the brand on the importance of stepping back from their shelfies and really focusing on what is needed. It encourages people to declutter their collections and donate products that are wasting away unusued to those that will enjoy them more.

Looking at the #PressReset/skincare diet movement in a greater context, it links in well with the no buy/low buy movement and goes against the tide of beauty releases. It encourages you to follow a simple routine and stick to it, rather than trying every product just because your friend told you it’s the best thing since sliced bread. Even skincare experts like Susan Yara (see Mixed Makeup on Youtube) have pledged to streamline their routine – even they can recognise the excess! Beauty in general this year is taking a step back towards simplicity and it can only be a good thing.

So, does this sound like something you need? Now this may not be a solution to your problems depending on what they are, but it may offer an insight into your current routine. By slimming your routine down and slowly adding things back in, it can help to identify triggers of any irritation you might have.

This is actually something I’ve been trying myself and I’ve seen a reduction in irritation and breakouts. I’ve been using a moisturiser that’s packed with ceramides to repair my skin barrier and it’s been working an absolute treat. I’ve been doing it the whole of January I might keep it going for a little longer!

Do you think you need a skincare diet?

Xo

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Will the popularity of the ‘No Buy’ alter the beauty landscape?

You’ve seen it everywhere – the no buy. People who have overdone it on beauty products in the last few months (or years) and vow to not spend a thing in an attempt to use up product and save money. It has varying degrees of success, but ultimately the cause is the same – we can’t keep up with constant releases and it’s hurting our pockets.

Where did the no buy come from?

The beauty landscape has changed. It’s not what it used to be. New products are launching left, right and centre with little sign of slowing. Once upon a time, consumers were able to save up for quarterly launches and pick up a lot more from brands as products would drop much less regularly. Rampant consumerism has us forever chasing the next big launch and forgetting about the enormous collection of makeup sitting at home.

In light of this, the ‘No Buy’ (or even low buy) movement has been gaining some serious traction. People can’t afford to keep up with the constant slew of releases that are being pumped out by beauty brands these days. Project Pan (where you try and finish selected products) and Shop My Stash (where you go back through your collection and use forgotten about products) are increasingly popular, with major beauty Youtubers supporting them too.

The current rate at which products are being released is undoubtedly the catalyst for this introspective look into our own collections – we know it’s impossible to keep up anymore. With a real focus being placed on wastage and products expiring, while it might be pretty to have a large collection, it doesn’t serve anyone if it’s all out of date and unusable.

So with consumers looking to save money and get more use out of their current collections, will this influence the beauty landscape in any capacity? In theory it should. If consumers are increasingly holding onto their money, in an ideal world, three things should happen:

Releases slow down, more innovative products introduced and quality improves.ย 

This craze can’t keep picking up momentum – things will have to slow down if people aren’t purchasing. People have beauty release fatigue – trust me, it’s a thing. Consumers have been very vocal about their dislike of constant launches, so if brands are astute, they will take note. The only way to keep people interested in products in an over-saturated market is to offer something new and exciting. Greater attention needs to be paid to innovation and what the community is actually interested in, rather than pumping out more of the same. There are only so many rainbow palettes that any one person needs. On top of that, consumers are increasingly comparing new releases to their existing collection, so another warm toned neutrals palette with a pop of blue won’t cut it. The age old saying of ‘quality not quantity’ rings particularly true here too. In a rush to bring products to market, brands are releasing TRASH. Non-eye safe glitters, poor formulas, sub-par shade ranges, the list goes on. In a market that is ridiculously overcrowded, quality is king. One bad formula in a hyped up launch can completely alienate a consumer from that brand (Ciatรฉ Jessica Rabbit collection, we’re looking at you). If you want to keep up, you can’t afford a slip like that. It’s very dangerous to become irrelevant in today’s beauty space.

‘Vote with your dollars’

The fact that the no buy has become so popular at a time when the beauty machine is going full speed ahead speaks volumes. People are starting to recognise that while they may have fallen into that trap at first, they don’t have to keep falling for it. Consumers can tell that brands are just trying to milk the cash cow and are actively choosing not to participate in it anymore. The term ‘voting with their dollars’ is often used in cases like this and that is exactly what the no buy movement is doing – by not spending any money at all.

2020 – the year of change?

The message is starting to come through – in the first few weeks of the new year, it seems as though the beauty machine has started to slow. Anastasia Beverly Hills announced that their latest collaboration with Amrezy will be their last palette launch until Christmas 2020 (though there will be two new palettes launching as part of the Norvina off brand). This seriously implies that release fatigue is being noticed by brands and that they are altering their strategy to stay relevant and popular, especially considering ABH launched 8 palettes in 6 weeks last year. Other brands like Colourpop aren’tย quite following suit, having launched 3 new collections in 3 weeks…

We can’t have it all. At the end of the day, as long as the no buy benefits the consumer – allowing them to use up their current collection, avoid purchasing similar if not identical products and saves them money – that’s the most important thing. Brands will soon get the message that consumerism is out and more thoughtful purchasing is in.

Xo

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Sustainable Beauty Brands

Following on from my BYBI post, we’ve established that sustainability is more than just having recyclable packaging. This week on my Instagram we’ve had sustainability week, where I shared eco-friendly brands in my collection. Of course there are far more brands than just what is in my collection, so here are some of beauty’s sustainable brands and some that have made a good start but have room for improvement.

BYBI Beauty

You’ve read my article about BYBI, you know they’re fab. If you missed it (you can find it here), they focus on responsible sourcing, clean manufacturing and packaging in recyclable materials. They definitely do more than most brands and have a very strong focus on sustainability (they even do monthly summits on the topic called Susty Summits and have their own in-house sustainability manager!). For Black Friday, or should I say Green Friday, BYBI are offering discounts on a variety of their products, but for every bundle bought, they will be planting 10 trees.

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Sjรถ Skin

If you haven’t heard of Sjรถ Skin, they’re a small Swedish brand that focus on honey based products. Each product is made with less than 6 ingredients and their honey is sourced from a local farm in Sweden where the bees pollinate wild flowers in the forest.. Their products are handmade in small batches, which makes the manufacturing portion of their supply chain super eco-friendly. Their packaging is largely glass (with a very small amount of plastic – dropper squeezer, lid)

REN

REN sustainably sources their ingredients (though there’s no extra info than that…) and makes sure that their packaging is eco-friendly. Their bottles are made from ocean plastic, while their tubes are made from post-consumer recycled plastic that is made to be recycled over and over again. They also work with organisations that clean up plastic from beaches, waterways and oceans. On top of this, REN have pledged to be zero waste by 2021, so all their packaging will be recyclable, recycled and reusable.

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Herbivore

All of Herbivore’s products are apparently handmade using sustainably sourced ingredients (though not much more info is given about this). All of their jars and bottles are made of glass. They are always looking at their supply chain to decrease their carbon footprint. Their team vets ingredient suppliers to ensure that they are all ethically sourced and sustainably harvested. The majority of their ingredients are sourced within the US, meaning their carbon footprint would be lower the closer to home they can source the ingredients.

Youth To The People

YTTP have glass packaging on all their bottles and jars and focus on creating clean formulas. They use a lot of natural, superfood ingredients but also make sure to comply with the EU’s list of banned ingredients in cosmetics, despite being a US based company. The FDA has only banned 11 ingredients, compared to the 1,300+ in the EU. They also work with a number of non-profits and activists to build a more just world and to save the planet!

Tata Harper

Tata Harper are famous for growing all of their ingredients on their special farm in Vermont and making and packaging their products in glass bottles and jars. When they do use tubes, the plastic resin is made from corn, rather than from petroleum, which is a renewable source. On the cardboard boxes, there is a label from the Sustainable Forestry Initiative that confirms that the material comes from a responsible source instead of unethical sources (e.g. illegal logging processes). By manufacturing all their products in house and by hand, they are able to have greater control over the sustainability surrounding the process. It is probable that they use much less energy and water by hand making the products and are able to have much more control over their energy sources (aka ensuring it’s renewable).

Paula’s Choice

Paula’s Choice actively seek to source their ingredients in a sustainable way wherever possible. Palm oil, which is often sourced in ways that harm the rainforest and it’s animals, are instead sourced from a Malaysian company certified for sustainable production. While they use plastic packaging, all parts including the caps are suitable for recycling. No additional, unnecessary plastic packaging is used – products are not wrapped in an additional plastic wrap and PC prints all their info directly onto the bottle.

WOWYOU Beauty

WowYou’s packaging is all recyclable and they also have a refill program. On top of this, their HQ usesย only energy from renewable sources and offset their carbon emissions by planting trees. This *Green* Friday, the brand will plant a tree for every ยฃ5 spent to further offset emissions and help to restore habitats. Theyโ€™re supporting the Eden Reforestation Project who work with locals in Madagascar to reforest areas that were destroyed, impacting the ability to farm the land and displacing native species.

The Body Shop

This has to be one of the original pioneering beauty brands when it comes to sustainability. They ensure that all their sourcing has no negative social or environmental impacts and launched โ€˜community tradeโ€™ all the way back in 1987 to ensure fair trading with suppliers. They were the pioneers for fair trade within beauty and currently have 31 community trade suppliers in 23 countries. They have empowered these communities, particularly women, and helped them achieve an independent income as well as building schools and enabling access to safe drinking water. They do still use plastic, but they believe that it used responsibly then it can be sustainable. They work with a community trade project in India to source recycled plastic – helping to tackle the plastic problem while also working with plastic pickers who have access to all the amazing benefits I mentioned above. Working with a Plastics for Change and local NGOs allows their waste pickers to receive a stable income, better working conditions and more opportunities.

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Lush

This one should come as no surprise to anyone. Lush use as little packaging as possible where possible and nearly half their products can be taken home without any packaging. Where packaging is unavoidable, they try to use recycled materials. Around 90% of their packaging can be recycled currently and they’re working on that last 10%. Sustainable sourcing is also high on their list – they do not use palm oilย at all in favour of more eco-friendly oils. Their website hints that they only collaborate with suppliers that respect the environment, animals and people living there. When it comes to manufacturing, they’re aiming to reduce energy and water consumption and specifically do not purchase energy from fracking companies. Lush accepts that sustainability is something that can always be improved on and in turn they want to use their buying power to drive change. I find it really interesting that it’s the most eco-friendly brands that make reference to the fact they aren’t perfect but are always trying their best, when other brands are trying much less and don’t talk about it.

Beauty Pie

They are always working to make their packaging as eco-conscious as possible. They use plant-based inks (Earthinksยฎ) which are one of the most eco-friendly inks on the planet. They also use recyclable and recycled board in all their cartons. It’s a good start but it would be great to know a little more about their sourcing and manufacturing. As Beauty Pie tend to work directly with labs in various different countries, it would be really interesting to know how much they know or can influence sustainable policy when it comes to manufacturing. Because they do work with these international labs, there will be a fair amount of carbon emissions involved in shipping to the UK and US, so it would be great to know a bit more about what they’re doing to combat this.

Good Molecules

Beautylish’s offering in the realm of affordable skincare is a line of a largely single ingredient products. All their bottled products come in glass packaging which are obviously much easier to recycle than plastic. They are starting to have a greater focus on their sourcing. The affordable skincare from Beautylish recently launched their Rosehip oil which was sustainably grown and hand-picked from the Patagonian Austral of Chile. By working directly with the growers, the brand can ensure that all parties are treated fairly and with respect, while also eliminating any markup from middlemen.

How to tell if a brand is sustainable

As consumers, we’re really reliant on brands sharing their sustainable policies. If they don’t share it, we can’t assume they’re doing it. Some companies share much more than others (BYBI, Body Shop) so we have a lot more insight into the brand and their practices. Personally I think brands should share what they’re doing and should want too as well! If brands have a particular focus on the environment, there is often a dedicated page for it on their site. If you Google the brand followed by sustainability, you might find the info you’re looking for. There might be info about it in their ethos, mission or on their about us page. To find out about ingredient sourcing, you can try each individual product page. If this information is missing completely… well you can guess what that means. Now that you’ve read all about brands that are doing the most, it will become very clear when you see brands doing the very least.

This list is by no means definitive. I’m sure there are many more brands that have sustainable sourcing practices, but they may not be as well known or well publicised.

In the coming years, I think sustainable sourcing, manufacturing and packaging will become a staple for all new brands coming to the market, but it will take quite a long time for the bigger brands to make this change. In my mind, this is fairly comparable to cruelty free products – every new brand that emerges now is cruelty free but the conglomerates are much slower to react. Just because a brand has recyclable packaging doesn’t make them eco-friendly. As the founders of BYBI said, it is the very least that any brand should be doing. People are starting to question eco-policies deeper and it’s only through this questioning that things will really change.

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BYBI Beauty – The Sustainable Beauty Pioneers

BYBI Beauty, Instagram’s most aesthetic brand, is one of the most sustainable beauty brands out there. Trust me, you have NO idea what it takes to be truly sustainable in the beauty industry… but BYBI do (and you’re about to).

*** Save 20% on sustainable beauty on BYBI.com by using code HANNAH20!***

Have you ever thought about how sustainable your beauty products are, and I mean really thought? My guess is probably not, and hey, you’re not alone there!ย But let me tell you right now, BYBI have definitely thought about it. They’re always thinking about it.

Most brands and most consumers judge the sustainability of their products by how eco-friendly their packaging is – whether it’s made of glass rather than plastic, whether it can be recycled or whether the box it comes in can be recycled too. However, it goes sooo much deeper than that.

BYBI’s aim is to make sure that all aspects of their supply chain is sustainable, with focus on three key areas: ingredients, manufacturing and packaging. They want to be leaders within the beauty industry and to influence other brands to take note and do better.

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INGREDIENTS

A BYBI ingredient is always one that grows in abundance and ethically sourced – double points if it is locally sourced. The distance ingredients have to travel obviously have carbon implications! They actively look for ingredients that grow quickly and locally that can be harvested multiple times a year.ย  BYBI’s shea butter supplier have a program that supports and empowers women in West Africa to keep growing and to smash life!

One of the coolest things that BYBI does (that youย mightย already be aware of) is that they take ‘waste’ products from other industries and upcycle them. This is the case for the Strawberry and Blueberry boosters – discarded seeds from the juicing industry are collected, sterilised and cold pressed to create beeeautiful, high quality oils. Because these seeds were ‘waste product’ and the fruits weren’t grown solely to harvest the seeds, the entire process is carbon neutral!

Stepping away from BYBI, consider this. Most products have more than one ingredient, with some products having over 30(!?) – can you imagine trying to keep track of all of the above for that many ingredients!? BYBI are setting a very high bar but it’s a bar that companies need to try harder to reach.

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MANUFACTURING

This is probably the hardest part of the supply chain to make sustainable. As lots of companies tend to outsource this step, brands have to rely on the manufacturers to give them accurate and truthful information on how sustainable their process is (which often doesn’t happen). BYBI’s products are made in the UK and have strict requirements that their manufacturers must adhere to. Ultimately, BYBI want to own the manufacturing process, but obviously there is quite a significant cost attached to that. They currently control the manufacturing of the Boosters at their facility in West London where they produce small batches by hand. By producing the Boosters, they’re able to have full control of the water and energy usage while keeping carbon emissions low.

PACKAGING

Although it’s great that brands are focusing on more eco-friendly packaging, it is the bare minimum that they should be doing. Over 120 billion units of packaging are produced by the beauty industry alone, so you can only imagine the amount of waste!

70% of BYBI’s packaging is glass, which is infinitely recyclable and come from sand – a natural material that’s available in abundance. Glass bottles and jars keep their integrity when recycled so they can use the same container over and over again.ย Tubes pose a greater challenge. However, BYBI have found a plastic alternative made from sugarcane. Sugarcane is obviously renewable, grows very quickly and absorbs CO2 when it grows – making the product carbon neutral! The growing of the sugarcane absorbs CO2, making this a carbon neutral produced material. On top of all this, BYBI has recently changed their parcel packaging to grasspaper – it grows much quicker than trees and is way more plentiful as a result!

They acknowledge that their packaging is far from perfect at the moment but that they are always looking for better alternatives.ย As there are so many new materials coming onto the market all the time, BYBI are always on the lookout for more eco-friendly packaging to move away from plastics entirely.

BYBI Beauty Bakuchiol Booster and Strawberry Booster

However, don’t confuse this with just a passing ‘trend’.

‘It’s a movement, not a moment’.

Hell to the yes ladies! As someone who is environmentally minded, finding out ALL of this about BYBI has just made me love them so much more. It’s really made me look at brands in a different way and consider my own environmental impact more.

The vast majority of this information is freely available on BYBI’s website and is really easy to find. It’s really admirable that the brand are so open about their sustainable practises – I’ve been trying to do some research on other brands to compare them and it is not nearly as easy to find the rest. Hat’s off to you BYBI – taking the lead and showing us all how it’s done!

Xo

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Beauty releases are getting out of control…

Beauty releases have gone into overdrive lately. Brands are coming out with new products at an alarming frequency, with some companies dropping a new products every. single. week. The real question is: what impact are these releases having on the brands, the consumers and the industry as a whole?

Monday marked Anastasia Beverly Hills’ seventh and eighth palette launch within 6 months. Previously, ABH would release their palettes periodically, usually one every three months. They are the most recent addition to the list of serial offenders when it comes to boring, constant releases – joining Colourpop and Makeup Revolution. However, these brands are certainly not alone. The whole beauty industry machine has started to speed up.ย 

Quick question…

Who asked for this?

Who explicitly asked for 5 new releases every week? Why has Colourpop taken it upon themselves to completely oversaturate the market?ย And do brands really expect consumers to have the money to keep up with this?ย 

It’s clear that the beauty industry has changed – new brands are launching all the time and non-beauty brands are increasingly dipping their toes into a lucrative market for a quick cash grab. Things have felt pretty crowded for a while. Perhaps because of this certain brands feel the only way to differentiate themselves is through constant releases. While the brand might be burnt into people’s minds, it’s pretty unlikely that it will be because of the products they’re launching, but rather for a more negative reason.

Brands

In my mind, for every beauty launch there needs to be buildup so consumers can really lust over a product, followed by a period of promotion to keep the launch in the minds of potential buyers. Part of the excitement is seeing ‘your’ product everywhere and not being able to get it off your mind. Seeing product tutorials and influencers using it builds the desire to own it.

Surely it canโ€™t be good business to be dropping new products left, right and centre? If you launch something week-on-week, it doesn’t create desire, but instead portrays the product as dispensable and not worth having. It also doesn’t give each new product enough time in the spotlight before attention shifts again.ย Brands do not spend such a long time perfecting product formulations and packaging for lazy (if any) marketing and gimmicks. Many launches now drop with little-to-no warning, which leaves many potential buyers caught off guard if they’re not given time to save up. It also seems rather presumptuous to assume that consumers will be able to afford product launches at a moment’s notice.ย 

Does any of this sound positive to you?ย 

When asked about the increase in new releases, Norvina from Anastasia Beverly Hills said on Twitter:

โ€˜It’s just the way the market is now we have to launch new stuff all the time because the consumers get bored and want more choicesโ€™.

By feeding into this toxic fad, it actually just serves to perpetuate the trend for themselves and other brands within the industry. To me it also shows a massive misunderstanding of what the consumer actually wants – coming out with vast amounts of unappealing products is the root of the problem, not the fact that the consumers want to move onto the next thing.ย 

She went on to say that someone who would buy the Norvina palettes (which are a series of bright warm colour stories, but you knew that) are unlikely to buy the Carlie Bybel palette (largely cool toned shimmers). This is certainly not false – they’re vastly different palettes with colour stories that would appeal to very different target audiences. However, I’m not sure that fact justifies dropping 4 palettes in the space of a month just because the target audience would be different. Norvina has tried to justify the situation by stating that the ‘Norvina’ line is to be a sub-brand within Anastasia Beverly Hills… but this was not made clear to the consumer at all, leaving that to sound remarkably like an excuse. The key issue with a higher end brand coming out with lots of new releases is the price point. When Colourpop started releasing their colour capsule collections, no one really batted an eyelid because the palettes only cost $12. However in the case of ABH, they have released 3 $45 palettes, 2 $29 mini palettes and 3 $60 palettes in the last 6 months alone. It is almost more acceptable for more affordable brands to release products more frequently as the price point is so much lower, but when a higher end brand jumps on the bandwagon too, it cheapens their brand massively. The exclusivity is gone, the feeling that you’re purchasing something special has vanished and die hard customers are left alienated by a company that seems intent on taking their money.ย 

If the aim is to increase the amount people are buying, then I’m afraid to say that that has flopped. People are probably more conservative with their spending now because there is so much to actually buy that consumers want to make sure they are spending on something worth while.ย 

Quality not quantity!

To me, these brands seem so desperate to stay relevant with their consumers that theyโ€™re actually making themselves irrelevant. It is possible to be a beauty brand these days, release products periodically and drum up some serious excitement! Brands like Hourglass or Nars have recently come out with their holiday collections which garnered so much interest! Whatโ€™s confusing is that all these brands have their core fan base that will support their every launch… before it became a weekly event.

Consumers

Beauty is, of course, subjective and what appeals to one person wonโ€™t appeal to another, but that in itself is not justification for mass product launches (but thanks anyway Norvina). In the beginning, I’m sure some people felt a compulsion to ‘keep up’. However as the beauty launch machine started to spew out more and more product, most people (if they’re sensible or don’t have a bottomless bank account) gave up.

Instead of new palettes and fresh ideas drumming up excitement and encouraging people to buy, it has created a feeling of dread, boredom and disinterest. We’re not able to get excited about a single ABH or Colourpop launch because another one follows so closely afterwards and wipes all memory of the previous one. Also as mentioned before, very few will be able to afford consecutive launches. The consumer feels STIFLED – it all feels like a money grabbing gimmick.

Wastage

Seeing as it’s 2019 and it’s relevant, letโ€™s look at it from a purely environmental point of view, or from a wastage standpoint. Itโ€™s pretty much guaranteed that no one will be able to use up the product they have before it expires. Most beauty addicts struggle with their existing collections, let alone trying to get through new products too, so most of that waste will probably end up going straight to landfill. In trying to fulfil this odd desire to pump out new product every week, Colourpop has actually taken a step back in terms of sustainability. Previously, their palette packaging had been made of cardboard, whereas now it has changed to hard plastic. WHY!? It just reinforces yet again that not only is it not benefiting the consumer or the brand, but it also doesnโ€™t benefit THE EARTH.

It’s odd to me that brands have got this so wrong. I haven’t heard a single person praising the influx of releases. Maybe brands will start to get the message and stop making a joke out of the amount they release (Colourpop, I’m looking at you). Or maybe they’ll only get the message when their sales start to dwindle as people put their interest in the brand to bed once and for all.ย 

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Diversity in the beauty – Are other brands following Fenty’s lead?

Before the launch of Fenty Beauty, the beauty industry seemed to be at a stand still. Uninteresting launch followed uninteresting launch and there was very little progression in inclusion. Since its launch in September 2017, Fenty has delivered on their promise of inclusivity for all skin tones and genders, with it even getting named by TIME magazine as one of the best inventions of 2017. But have other brands receptive to calls for diversity in beauty?

Diversity has always been an issue in the beauty industry, but very little attention had been paid to it by large, white-owned brands. There is an odd misconception/excuse that black people don’t wear foundation that has resulted in many brands overlooking darker shades. The success of Fenty’s line and the excitement that still surrounds the brand shows that people of colour do indeed buy makeup, and when they find a range that caters to them, they’re going spend some serious money. It took an industry disruptor and a prominent person of colour like Rihanna to demonstrate this and show that the old norm is no longer acceptable.

Fenty Beauty undoubtedly opened the eyes of the consumer to the total lack of diversity in the industry. For many, it was glaringly obvious already, but for others, they didn’t realise the extent of the issue. Now, whenever a brand releases a complexion product, people of all skin tones are looking at the shades with a critical eye – questioning where the shades are for dark-deep skin tones, where the varying undertones are, where olive undertones are etc. By bringing out a foundation line with 40 shades (now extended to 50), Fenty demonstrated that it could be done and set the bar high for other brands to follow suit. There is now an expectationย for foundations to come to the market with an inclusive shade range right off the bat – and one that is totally realistic. While it may not always be possible to launch 50 shades immediately (especially for indie brands) as long as there is an even spread of shades between the skin tones (fair, light, medium, tan, dark, deep), then you can’t say fairer than that.

Some brands have since been quick to expand their shade ranges following Fenty’s success, but now it’s difficult to judge whether brands are placing inclusivity at the forefront of their own accord or because it’s a wise PR move. The major beauty conglomerates are playing catch up, while trying to maintain the fascade that they’re still at the front of the pack. A new game has begun where brands are trying to out-do each other with the number of shades they can come out with. Fenty came out with 40, Morphe came out with 50, now PUR is coming out with 100. Does it seem genuine? Honestly, I don’t think so. Diversity has become a trend that brands are subscribing to just to say that they do, otherwise they would’ve come out with more inclusive products much earlier. Does it matter whether the effort is genuine as long as it’s happening? Supposedly not, but the shades have to be good – the undertones have to be right, there needs to be a wide range and the shades need to go deep enough. We’ve all witnessed the backlash a brand receives when they don’t make the effort with diversity, but now it seem as though brands feel that it’s something they have to do rather than something they are driven organically to do.

Image

This couldn’t be better demonstrated than by the brands that are still missing the mark.ย When IT Cosmetics were asked why there were only 3 shades out of 12 geared towards darker skin, they claimed that due to the SPF in their CC cream they couldn’t go any deeper. YSL equally came out with a new foundation recently (see above) that included just 2 darker shades. These attitudes are highly disappointing – not only does it clearly flaunt the fact that inclusion is not a priority but it also highlights that there is an element of bias or carelessness that they think it is still acceptable. Such blatant exclusion won’t fly much longer. As demonstrated by Beauty Blender and Tarte, if you get it wrong your product/brand can become ‘cancelled’. Too much focus on one end of the spectrum simply won’t cut it anymore – the consumer is demandingย inclusion. Even with the recent relaunch of Tarte’s defunct Shape Tape foundation (now as the Face Tape foundation) where the shade range was expanded, the memory of such an exclusive shade range left people cold. Getting the shade range right has never been more important and yet brands are still slow on the uptake.

Taking failing brands as an example, it is clear that not everyone understands the importance of true diversity. Soon it won’t be the case where it’s optional. Shade ranges will continue to improve, understanding of shades will develop and brands will have a genuine desire to release makeup to fit everyone. We have come a long way in just a few years, so the next few years should be monumental.

What are your thoughts on diversity in the beauty industry?

Xo

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Why it’s totally fine for you to be a feminist and enjoy beauty products

I recently read an article on The Independent called ‘Come on feminists: do the radical thing and ditch your makeup bag‘ and every part of this article has left me feeling annoyed. If you’d prefer not to open the article and give it more views, I’ll give you a quick run down. The author goes majorly off topic from her headline to moan about women that wear makeup, while oddly commenting on the number of ‘poisonous’ ingredients that are ‘well documented’ in makeup. She drops in that the average makeup wearer wastes 9 days a year applying makeup and lauds herself for spending that time ‘campaigning against sexist stereotypes’. Let’s all do an epic eye roll together.

Let’s start by saying that any reference to the toxicity of makeup is completely irrelevant to any ‘feminist argument’ here – It was included without any real explanation and it’s just fearmongering and spreading misinformation. It’s baffling that people genuinely believe that brands would be allowed to sell products with harmful ingredients and ‘poisonous effects’. Join us back in the 21st century. EU regulations are so strict for cosmetics these days that this is just an off topic remark used to further discreditย makeup wearers.

You’ll very often hear feminists who, through their own ignorance and archaic thinking, cannot understand how a modern feminist can be concerned with her looks. I shouldn’t have to tell you that being a powerful, confident woman and wearing makeup are not mutually exclusive… but indulge me a little.

The modern feminist does not have one singular image. To be singling out feminists as having a certain appearance surely is the opposite of what feminism is all about? Feminism is about equality and having the choice to do as you please. Whether that be to pursue a career in a male dominated industry or to wear a full face of makeup and blue lipstick. Someone that is ‘campaigning against sexist stereotypes’ should be seeking to dispel assumptions that all feminists are bra burning rebels and welcome all feminists into the fold – men or women – rather than encouraging the reinforcement of a singular image.

To suggest that a woman cannot be concerned with her appearance while supporting equality goes on to imply that women in fact cannot have it all, WHEN WE CAN. Stop trying to pigeon-hole women.ย Women are powerful beings, regardless of our appearance. We wear makeup because we want to and choose to, not because we feel pressured. When I don’t wear makeup, it’s because I don’t feel like it that day and not because I have no one to impress. I feel good about myself with and without makeup. Makeup is a major creative outlet for many people, so one day we’ll do a natural look, and the following morning do a dark red smokey eye. We have nothing to hide by applying makeup, but even if we did, it’s OUR choice. It is no one else’s business what we choose to do with our face or how we choose to spend our time. If you believe makeup is ‘hideous gunk’, have your opinion and have it quietly. If you’ve never worn a drop of makeup in your life – good for you and that’s your choice – but there is no need to shame other women who enjoy wearing it. You can bitch about makeup wearers all you like, but it’s never going to stop us wearing it – if anything, it will make us wear it more.

For so many of us, makeup and skincare is about self-care and taking time for yourself. Often the only time that a lot of women have to spend on themselves is in the morning when they apply their makeup or at night when they do their skincare routine. We live busy lives and are always expected to put everyone before ourselves, but this is the one thing that we hold sacred. Many people rely on their daily skincare routine to keep any skinย problems they have at bay, and without it their skin runs wild. Many women rely on makeup to inflate their confidence when they’re suffering from issues such as acne and it can be the only thing that can get them out of the house. It is imperative for people’s emotional wellbeing! If you were ill, you would take medicine. That’s exactly what skincare and makeup are. And for those who have good skin and wish to maintain it, it’s like taking multi vitamins. Do NOT let anyone – man or woman – make you feel guilty for taking care of yourself and your self-confidence.

People often question why women continue to keep up their appearance once they have a partner, because apparently we’re expected to stop showering, wear rags and completely abandon our appearance? Who knew? The expectation that we’re supposed to forgo our appearance once we find a partner is probably even worse than the idea that we only dress ourselves up for men. It might shock you to learn that men are not at the epicenter of a woman’s world and actually our own self confidence comes first. Women’s love of beauty goes so much deeper than how it makes us look, but also how it makes us feel. When men put on a suit to feel powerful, we put on red lipstick. And yet we are expected to justify ourselves? Absolutely not acceptable!

It’s painfully apparent that this article has absolutely nothing to do with feminism, but rather is just a massive dig at the makeup wearing population under the cloak ofย ‘feminism’. You are not a feminist if you are bringing down other women. You are not a feminist for attacking other people’s appearance while stating that you don’t enjoy having yours attacked.ย Patriarchy does not dictate my beauty routine and feminists shouldn’t either.ย I would think that a woman who has been a feminist since the 70’s should know better than anyone that to criticize other women for their appearance is entirely unfeminist and ignorant. Your appearance and your political stance are not interconnected. As a makeup wearer you have already chosen to take your appearance and your identity in your own hands and do something for yourself. Keep doing it.

Xo

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5 easy ways to curb your beauty spending in January

If like me you went in a little too hard in 2018 and need to watch your bank balance a little better in 2019, then I have a few pieces of advice that will have you covered!

1. Don’t buy it, because you are literally broke af

Do you really need that new highligher? That new palette? Probably not. But more than that, you really don’t have the money to buy it. January is a suuuuper long month as it is, don’t make your survival any more difficult or your overdraft any worse than it needs to be. Beauty is great and everything, but so are food and savings (to add to, not to spend on beauty).

2. If you wanted it, you’d already have itย 

If you really wanted it, you would have: a) asked for it for Christmas or b) bought it in some sort of Black Friday/early Christmas sale. Aaaaaand you didn’t. So you don’t need it. Anything that launches in January can 100% wait until February to get (YOU DO NOT NEED FENTY’S CONCEALER NOW).

3. Think about whether you genuinely want it

Do you actually want this product? Or do you only want it because your friend/mum/favourite influencer/entire Instagram feed have it and you don’t? Before you buy anything, evaluate whether you actually need it. If you’ve tried a sample, done your research and it suits your skin then just save it for next month – YOU DON’T NEED IT THIS INSTANT. If you haven’t completed the above, then sorry but you’re just not that into it. If it is not absolutely crucial to your existence (don’t be over dramatic, I know what us beauty types are like), then it’s off the table (not into your bag, off the table as in you aren’t getting it).

4. You probably already have at least 3 other products in your collection that do the same thing

You do not need a fourth second cleanser. Yeah everyone might be talking about it, and your blogging nemesis may have been sent it by the brand, but who cares? Work through what you have already have and forget everyone else. This leads me on nicely to…

5. Start your own Project Pan

If you have never heard of Project Pan, it’s a movement in the beauty community to actually use the products you buy. You commit to using up existing products and only once it’s all gone can you purchase a new product from that same category (moisturiser, cleanser etc.) It’s a great way to actually use the massive stash of beauty products you have before they go off, but it can also remind you why you really liked the product (or why you hated it).

I hope you find these tips useful (and funny) and come back soon!

Xo

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