UseLess Beauty is about giving people information so they can introduce changes into their everyday life at a level which works for them.
This blog is for the realists who want to make a difference but don’t have the time or the resources to make all their beauty products from scratch and expect to order something off the shelf that works as well, if not even better, than their existing product.
With that in mind, every product reviewed will ask each of the UseLess Logic questions, a set of 5 sustainability criteria as well as a rating on how user friendly and effective the product is.
UseLess Logic is explained more in this video and on this page.
How much waste will the product create?
Waste should be minimal and ideally reusable, biodegradable or compostable to minimise the amount of energy required to dispose of it.
Recycling is the next best thing but always consider how much effort and energy is required to make this happen, how much is sent for recycling but actually ends up being diverted to landfill and how certain recycled plastics are guilty of leaching microplastics.
Watch this space for more information on this topic.
Is the product Palm Oil free or only contain RSPO certified Palm Oil?
Palm Oil production, and the amount of ingredients that use Palm Oil in their production, is a hot topic right now and rightly so. Palm Oil is so popular with manufacturers because it is versatile, colourless, odourless and an incredibly efficient crop to grow.
The problem is that growing Palm Oil crop is a major cause of deforestation but we need to consider that its not alone in this and switching to an alternative could just shift the problem or even make it worse. Consider the fact that something like soy or coconut oil take 4 to 10 times more land to grow the equivalent amount of oil and then you see why continuing to use Palm Oil is a viable option....as long as it is grown in a responsible and sustainable way. The good news is that Palm Oil growth can be sustainable and the Roundtable of Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) is an independent party that can certify this.
The WWF covers this topic really well and I know many sustainable beauty companies point to this great article; https://www.wwf.org.uk/updates/8-things-know-about-palm-oil
Is the product Leaping Bunny certified cruelty free?
In many instances animal testing is inefficient and unreliable; for example, despite the use of over 115 million animals in experiments globally each year, only 59 new medicines were approved in 2018 by the leading drug regulator, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
That’s 115 million animals that require countless amounts of food, energy and water when there are a growing number of less energy intensive, and therefore more sustainable, alternatives available.
This information was obtained from Cruelty Free International and further information can be obtained at their website: https://www.crueltyfreeinternational.org/
Please note that UseLess Beauty will always highlight and encourage the use of Vegan products but has taken the decision NOT to include it as part of its staple UseLess Logic as not everyone at UseLess Beauty is vegan and feels this may be viewed as hypercritical.
Does the product contain known irritants or moisture stripping ingredients such as SLS/SLES, alcohol, fragrances and certain essential oils?
This is at the very heart of what UseLess Beauty is all about…….if a product doesn’t have an active purpose, or even worse it is counterproductive, then why does it need to be there and do we want to use it?
Detergents such as SLS/SLES, alcohol, certain fragrances and essential oils are technically safe to use BUT they are also known irritants. How each person reacts to an irritant will vary but by their very nature all irritants will, by their very nature, reduce the effectiveness of skin function and in turn this can lead to the skin being more susceptible to allergens that could trigger conditions such as eczema. Alternatives are widely available but it is widely rumoured that many manufacturers have continued to use these known irritants in order to boost sales of conditioners and moisturisers which might not otherwise be required.
There is a great article and small study on the affect of SLS by the BBC available here.
Is the company selling the product (and its Supply Chain) Ethical?
Very often the companies taking the time and effort to produce a sustainable product tend to be the more ethical but not always. Assessing a company’s ethics is potentially even more difficult than understanding its sustainability so where possible UseLess Beauty will include a company’s ethical rating according to The Good Shopping Guide which is well worth a look if you get the time.
How well does the product perform?
This might seem obvious but many other websites and blogs focus purely on the sustainability credentials of a product without taking the time to ensure it does what it is designed to do. UseLess Beauty understands that the chances of users sticking with a sustainable alternative to their current skin and hair care products long term is far more likely if it performs as well, if not better.
Each product will be put to the test in real life situations over an extended period; we have all seen those vlogs that show a live reaction to a product when we know most products take between two and four weeks to become fully effective.
How easy to use is the product?
Another basic consumer requirement of any product, sustainable or not, is that its convenient and easy to use. Yes, there are recipes and instructions on how to make all sorts of homemade versions of beauty products online but do you really have the time or inclination? If you need to spend three times longer with a product on your hair or face for it to be anywhere near as effective as a less sustainable off the shelf product are you going to use it? Probably not, and we get that!