On April 16, 2018 Pure + Simple Yorkville had the pleasure of hosting a panel discussion about sustainable beauty. Pure + Simple has always been committed to promoting sustainable business + lifestyle practices and we look forward to Earth Month every year. This year, we wanted to talk about issues that affect business owners and consumers alike. Sustainable Beauty Talks was an effort to get the conversation rolling about some of the questions we should be asking when pursuing beauty.
The decisions we make when manufacturing, purchasing, and disposing a product all have a major impact on the environment. Our Earth Day panelists consisted of leaders from the green beauty industry who have dedicated their careers to helping people make these decisions mindfully:
Jenise Lee, founder of CertClean
Lily Tse, founder of Think Dirty
Emma Rohmann, founder of Green at Home
Steve Mathew from Terracycle
The discussion was moderated by Alanna Mitchell, the award-winning Canadian Science Journalist.
Steve Mathew, Emma Rohmann, Jenise Lee, Lily Tse, Alanna Mtichell, Jean Eng
The evening started with networking over some delicious + healthy snacks by Bioraw. Guests consisted of a lovely mix of green beauty enthusiasts, environmentalists, nutritionists + wellness bloggers.
This was soon followed by an exceptionally informative hour-long panel discussion. Our key takeaways from the evening are:
How can our skincare products affect our health?
What we use on our bodies gets absorbed through our skin or we inhale it. Low-dose exposures are being shown to have negative health effects, especially for hormone disrupting chemicals. These include carcinogens, hormone disruptors, allergens, and other asthma-inducing ingredients.
Specific to women's health - this can affect fertility, fetal development, and studies show that hormone disruptors may make PCOS and endometriosis symptoms worse. This also leads to hormonal imbalance causing painful/irregular periods, premature menopause, and autoimmune diseases.
Can choosing green products make a difference?
Yes. Some differences are immediate, like your skin’s physical appearance. Some forms of eczema and allergies will be instantly better when treated with natural products. Long-term effects are achieved by reducing your body burden, which is your overall exposure to toxic chemicals - your body is better able to detox what you can't control, helping maintain better health.
It can be overwhelming trying to switch everything all at once. How should people start switching to green products?
Focus on products you use every day and that sit on your skin and start by replacing those. Look at what's used on and around children.
You can also start by asking for samples before you buy a product to make sure it's right for you.
What are some misleading claims in the beauty and skincare sector?
The skincare industry uses words like organic" and "natural" without a proper definition. "Organic" is a difficult standard for skincare and makeup to achieve, if you take the chemistry and manufacturing into account.
Campanies also use various marketing tactics to get people to use more product than necessary. Including phrases like "repeat, if desired" on the bottles, or making bigger nozzles are some of the most common tactics.
Why can't you put my beauty care products and packaging in the blue bin?
They qualify as hazardous waste! Municipal recycling does not process beauty products so they end up being thrown in the landfill where it sits, taking up space for over 500 years before it decomposes. During that time, it will break down, mix with other materials already in the landfill, and when it rains, this hazardous mix of partially decomposed waste, will run off into groundwater polluting all the nearby water sources. As it breaks down, it will also release heat and react with some organic materials in the landfill. This will cause an excess of Carbon Dioxide and Methane gas around the landfills, constantly polluting our air.Companies like TerraCycle have found a way to process these products and turn them into plastic pellets that can be used to make watering cans + garbage bins. They work with companies like Pure + Simple to recycle beauty packaging and creating community gardens + playgrounds out of it.
The audience was very inspired + enlightened by the end of this discussion. Everyone took the rest of the evening to mingle + interact with the panelists. Others were curious about the green-beauty products on our shelves and grabbed some samples!
We’re honoured to be able to provide a platform for such a great conversation that taught + encouraged us to do to simple things like read labels, do our research and give back to the community that sustains us. Who knew that pursuing beauty meaningfully can help beautify us + so much more!
P+S team with the panelists+Alannah