Yuty is a company built on conscious principles, so we regularly scour the news for reports on whether the mainstream beauty industry is adopting Yuty’s approach to sustainability.
Recently, we were ecstatic to hear about the launch of Chanel's new clean beauty line, No. 1 de Chanel. Naturally, we wanted to understand whether this was a genuine product, without falsity —or if it was another example of the greenwashing the beauty industry is sadly becoming famous for. We asked our cosmetic scientist, Amina Ajayi, how to read beyond the packaging of beauty products, and how to be more informed when facing ingredient lists and marketing jargon.
The Anatomy of Your Beauty Product
The basics. Standard rules apply to labelling, enforced by consumer protection agencies the world over. First, the company's name must be listed clearly. Next, ingredients must be listed in order of decreasing weight. Therefore, if the first ingredient lists 'water' or aqua, followed by 'Glycerin', that means there is more water than Glycerin in the product. Naturally, products cannot contain prohibited ingredients that are known to be harmful to human health and must show danger warnings regarding handling—like aerosol cans, which must be kept away from high heat.
Where there's leeway. A company has the right to decide how they want to position their products in competition with other products. Whether a company wishes to be perceived as 'very natural' or 'very synthetic' on the scale of ingredient processing, is allowed. We recently discussed the difference between organic and natural products, and the guidelines around labelling something as 'organic' are a great example of this flexibility. "Products can be labelled as 100% organic if 95% of all the ingredients were produced organically. If less than 95% of the contents are organic, businesses must obtain certification from an organic control body, and be registered, to carry out labelling products as organic."
A Cosmetic Scientist Shares Her Tips
Comparing N°1 DE CHANEL LIP AND CHEEK BALM with THE QUEEN LIP + CHEEK TINT on Yuty
The theme of Chanel's new collection is the Red Camellia flower. "When companies feature these natural ingredients, it's really just marketing. They haven't just discovered it," says Amina Ajayi. Camellias are commonly used in the cosmetics industry, and appear in products at all price points!
What differentiates various Camellia extracts is the processing method that was involved. "If they were cold-pressed, they are likely to be of higher quality," Ajayi explains. "In the beauty industry, we would look at the grade of the raw ingredient." It's not clear what grade of Camellia extracts were used in the Camellia water, Camellia oil derivative and Camellia wax derivatives in the new Chanel line.
It took Amina a few minutes to glance through the ingredients list of the N°1 DE CHANEL LIP AND CHEEK BALM, but she concluded: "There's nothing that jumps out as outstanding. It looks like a standard formula for a lip and cheek tint. Nothing that you would find out of the ordinary."
"This one by Dehiya Beauty speaks to a consumer who is more conscious, who cares about where the ingredients come from. It's more for the savvy audience interested in the origin of the products and how they're processed. What's unique is, this is also completely plant-based. Further, from a formulation perspective, its ingredients are more antioxidant and offer more protection from environmental UVA and UVB effects."
For both products, Amina gave a stamp of approval. Regarding Chanel: "They're not greenwashing. They've listed the ingredients and are being very transparent about what's inside—86% naturally derived." Commenting on Dehiya Beauty, she said, "This is more ethical. 99.9% of the formula is organic and natural."
A new wave of clean beauty is upon us, and for most companies, it's acceptable enough to declare the percentage of 'natural ingredients' within the product. But sustainability means more. From an environmental perspective, we have to ask: where was it sourced, and how much carbon was used in production? Or, from an organic perspective, how was it farmed? What methods were utilised to ensure farming activities didn't harm the surrounding ecosystem? Finally, has the company considered how the product will undergo disposal?
We're happy that ‘big beauty’ and bigger brands are starting to tune in, but in light of greater sustainable considerations, we believe more work needs to be done.
£28.00 | Colour: Red
A multi-tasking pigment that imparts a natural flush of colour to lips and cheeks. It helps fight free radicals, sun and environmental damage, stimulating cell turnover, encouraging collagen production, soothing sensitive and reactive skin while imparting a hint of colour.
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