• Ellen Dodd

"Shut up and put your money where your mouth is" Katy Perry 2008

Updated: Jun 17



Wow. The past decade has been a wild ride: from the rise of countless home, toiletry, and health products; to the realisation we were in fact sold lies, toxins, and cut-corners through said products; and now a frantic effort to change our ways before it’s too late. Phew. What an exciting/terrifying time to be alive! The truth behind many of the household names we have been using for decades is beginning to come out, and it’s not pretty. Parabens, palm oil, animal testing — the list goes on. Marrying this with the extensive obliteration of the environment to sustain such production, it’s no wonder we have an anxiety epidemic surging world-wide. Our whole consumerist society has been built upon smokes and mirrors, and has caused what is at its best an ecological, health, and perhaps moral breakdown.


Thankfully, there is a glimmer of hope for consumers. The resistance to this unsustainable lifestyle is uprising, and with it brings untethered creativity and innovation. Everyday people are coming up with solutions for problems that have until now been ignored, and products which until now have had limited choice. This brings with it a new dawn for consumers, real choice in the products we buy, and where we choose to freely give our money. The power we have to change the world is immense, and when we all begin to consciously move over to sustainable products, then the fossil fuel burning bad boys of the capitalism prison we live in will ultimately produce less. The more we do this, the closer we get to a utopian emission free society.


This new age of companies has a focus on truly useful products for our homes and bodies, using natural and sustainable ingredients, as well as cutting edge technology to synthesise what can only be thought of as super products. Buzzwords like “avocado” and “hydraulic action” together with merry peace signs on the front of bottles will no longer cut it, not when the first ingredient on the back is “parrafin”. True transparency is beginning to be achieved, and with the technological revolution punchy branding and marketing is easily accomplished, meaning these products appeal to the conditioned glitz n glam bias the old age advertising culture has curated. Unlike in the past, these products and their branding are both aesthetically pleasing, as well as health conscious and sustainably crafted. Truly healthy products used to come in eerily lab like containers, and now they are as cute in a toiletries cupboard as your standard palm oil filled shampoo! Trailblazers such as Lush who famously don’t use animal testing on their products, and use low-plastic packaging, have lead the way for innovative start-ups in this area. Neals Yard Remedies was the first carbon neutral business in the UK, and others are set to follow suit. Sustainable options are there, and it’s our responsibility to use them. It’s time for us, in the words of Katy Perry, to shut up and put our money where our mouths are.


What sets these brand apart?


Transparency

One of the most refreshing things about a lot of these brands, is how open they are about what goes into them and where it comes from. Carbon Theory’s website explains the ingredients of each product, and then the chemical science as to why it benefits your skin. They also have videos on how to use the products most effectively — great to see little things like this showing their products were made with love! A big change from a lot of large corps, where an ingredient list is actually hard to find! Tincture list the botanical ingredients they use in their home cleaning products, and give an in depth insight into each. They detail the botanical family, properties, active ingredients, give an overview of traditional use, research, and reference the work so their customers can check out claims for themselves! Damn! Transparency is now, and perhaps always should have been, the new standard. Brands themselves are empowering us to consciously, and its making those who use misleading tactics stand out.


But aren’t these products pricey?

Some are, some less. Unfortunately due to there being less demand, these products can be a little more expensive — but usually less than most big beauty brands. Carbon Theory’s infamous facial soap bar is only £6, and has excellent customer reviews. They also recently launched paper wrapped packaging for that product, after having customer feedback commenting the use of a plastic package. So we have a brand with an affordable and efficient product, who actually listens to their customers and makes changes accordingly. Woo! Joining the consciously affordable revolution, are Bio D. Their 1kg bag of concentrated washing powder is only £4.35, and their 1L fabric softener £2.85. This costs less than a lot of high street brands, works well, and is good for the planet and water systems! Face Theory sells incredibly effective bamboo face cloths, which you can get 3 in a packet of for only £7.99. When we look, there’s reasonably priced options everywhere, and it’s our responsibility to use them. Plus, the more we all use conscious brands, the less they will begin to cost.


They actually work


What’s all too common with “old world” products, is promises from endorsed celebrities of being super products that will change our lives, and realities of minor chemical burns and disappointment (thinking of one home waxing wax disaster…). So turns out, maybe scorching spots, hairs, dirt and more with toxic chemicals isn’t the most effective way of treating them. Well, we are in luck! These new, conscious products using the power of nature are storming onto the scene. And through the revolution of social media, brands can easily showcase customer stories and demonstrate an actual effectiveness of their product — not just popping it in to a stars hand to sell, who has probably never even tried it before. Wildmint’s lash serum is made with all-natural ingredients, and their Instagram is filled with happy customers with noticeably longer lashes! I personally have used this serum, and can actually notice results. Botyncl’s skin elixir supplements have glowing reviews and success stories on Instagram. They use natural ingredients to truly nourish our bodies and skin from the inside out! When natural, sustainable, and genuinely beneficial products exist, is there any need for us to throw money at brands who at their core exploit us for profit?


They make a true effort to reduce waste


These brands not only know there is demand for less waste in our products, but are actually among those who want less waste themselves! Smol have designed a space efficient recyclable box, that’s small enough to fit through your letter box. Their dishwasher and laundry tablets are made with natural ingredients and can be subscribed to on a rolling basis depending on your needs. Easy, affordable, and sustainable — yay! Wild; a newly launched all natural deodorant with excellent product test reviews, had gone to the effort of making a glass jar for their roll on product, and in their kick-starter campaign (which they met the target of in less than 1 day — true consumer demand for sustainable products!) they pledged to look into using glass for their solid stick deodorant too, currently in a 100% recyclable plastic container. Can’t wait for it to be released! AllBirds shoes are made from sustainable, natural materials and have pledged to go carbon free in 2019. All businesses ethos should follow sustainability, and until they change their ways its our job to only use those who do now.


How can I transition over?


Utilising the incredible creation which is the internet, we can effectively and effortlessly research brands to see if they align with our personal morals, and with environmental concerns. There are many shops which stock low waste products too that you can try, if you prefer to go physically shopping than online (simply look-up “eco-friendly shops in *insert your town here*” and check them out!). Personally I feel that it’s an easy choice to move over to conscious brands. Who genuinely care about their products, customers, suppliers, and aspire to be sustainable whilst doing so. Contrasting to huge corps with several trademarks, pumping out product after product, and only aspiring to make a profit (usually at the expense of our health, and workers conditions). When looking at conscious brands social media’s, it is clear that the founders sincerely love, live, and breathe their businesses, and we are cherished to be given their gifts to better our lives with.


Making small changes to our shopping habits can have huge effects on the wider world and our lives. From sustainable farming of ingredients, to less fossil fuels being used in production, to less plastic and unnecessary packaging, to genuinely benefiting instead of being a detriment to our health. The choice is ours. And if we choose right, we could set a new standard in business for years to come. The golden age of business is upon us, moral values are leading the way above exploitation for profit, and I for one am excited. Get in losers, we’re going shopping!

 

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