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How to Create a Clean Green Grooming Routine

The last few years have seen a noticeable increase in awareness of key social and environmental issues. In turn, many of us have also become aware of how our everyday habits (such as food and fuel consumption) can impact the planet and the people and wildlife we share it with. While it might not be possible to change these issues for the better overnight, there are some steps you can take to help improve things, such as saving energy and water, opting for more plant-based meals, and even making small changes to your grooming routine.

A Sensitive Subject 

One of the key benefits to choosing more sustainable products is highlighted by men's vegan skincare brand YukaFace, namely the irritation caused by synthetic chemicals and perfumes, including the post-shave sting caused by the alcohol in most aftershaves. Part of this has to do with how grooming products are marketed to consumers. The idea that gentle skincare products are primarily intended for women has since become a thing of the past, with products like jojoba-based aftershaves becoming more commonplace.

Are They Effective? 

Arguably the most important question about any product you purchase is whether or not it works. The key difference between chemical ingredients and “natural” ones is that while chemicals are designed to act quicker, they also tend to be harsh on the skin and even less kind to the environment. That said, simply putting terms like “natural” or “organic” on a label offers no guarantee of sustainability, which is why it’s important to check the label before purchasing; not just to see what’s in the product, but also how it was made. 

Beware Greenwashing 

Where some companies see an opportunity to make the world a greener, kinder place to live, others have seen a money-making opportunity, using “greenwashing” jargon to market their products. To avoid this, it’s important to know about some of the key terms used on the labels of grooming products and what they mean: 

- Natural: A product made at least partly from natural ingredients. 

- Clean: Products free from harmful, or potentially harmful ingredients. 

- Organic: Made at least in part using sustainably-farmed ingredients. 

- Fair Trade: Fair working conditions and pay were given to (for example) farmers involved in making the ingredients for the product. 

- Cruelty Free: Not tested on animals. 

- Vegan: Products which are free from animal derivatives or byproducts. 

“Chemical” ingredients aren’t necessarily bad; some are already plant-based, such as glycolic acid, a natural byproduct of sugarcane. However, “natural” doesn’t necessarily mean it’s better for you; for example, some citrus-based ingredients can cause irritation.

Always Read the Label 

Similarly, while some products may state they do not use animal byproducts, it doesn’t necessarily mean they were not tested on animals, an inhumane practice which is still unfortunately common in some companies. They’re also unlikely to feature certifications from organisations such as Leaping Bunny, Cruelty Free (PETA) or in Australia the CCF Rabbit. In some cases, you might see fake bunny logos not affiliated with any official organisation (another example of “greenwashing”). You can also find lists online of brands rated by sustainability in addition to lists of trustworthy logos so that next time you’re shopping for your grooming products (ideally packaged in recyclable or zero-waste packaging), you’ll know what to look for.

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