Last week, I was running low on face wash & moisturiser. I was using a Dove moisturiser and a Biore face wash, the latter of which I was fairly happy with upon finding out that they’re not tested on animals & the glycerin it contains is of non-animal origin. However, after expanding my concerns from animal welfare to the environment in general, I couldn’t keep buying either of these products. They’re full of chemicals which I can’t even pronounce, which I feel is a bad sign. If you can’t pronounce it, don’t eat/drink/smoke/use it. Plus, both come in plastic containers, which are marked with the resin identification code 2 and HDPE: high-density polyethylene. It doesn’t carry the known health risks of plastics like PVC or those containing BPA, and is recycleable, but the fact still remains that in terms of raw material and energy, 1.75kg of petroleum is required to make 1kg of this plastic. I can’t even find information on how much of that would be recycled, but I’m willing to bet it would be a smaller amount still. Remember, recycling is actually downcycling: the plastic bottles you recycle don’t go on to become more plastic bottles.
Anyway, I was charged with finding products for my extremely simple skincare regime which filled the following criteria:
x not tested on animals
x with minimal plastic packaging/ packaging that is easily reusable (the saying “reduce, reuse and recycle” is in that order for a reason)
x not too expensive
x generally producing as small a negative impact on the world as possible.
Enter the hemp store at my local shopping mall. Hemp grows in a few months, doesn’t require chemical pesticides, and needs a fraction of the water that cotton does. Additionally, hemp seeds are basically bursting with goodness, full of essential fats and protein. The presence of these fats is what makes hemp seed oil products so great for your skin: it’s nourishing it with exactly what it needs and without any chemicals.
I bought two bars of hemp oil soap, for face wash, one lavender scented for night when I night to calm doon and one lemongrass scented for when I need invigoration in the morning. Each came with a strip of plasticky-paper stuck around the middle, which sucks because it could have easily been recycled card. There are only seven ingredients: organic Australian hemp seed oil, Orangutan friendly palm oil & palm kernel oil, vegetable glycerine, natural sea salt, vitamin E, natural organic colour, lemon grass essential oil, which sound pretty good to me. You?
I also bought some face cream which is slightly less pleasing. It’s in a glass jar with a tin lid & a plastic insert under the lid, so the packaging isn’t too bad as I can easily repurpose it, or failing that recycle most of it. The ingredients are slightly more disconcerting. I read somewhere that a good idea is to stick to as few ingredients as possible, with twelve ingredients and six flavours of essential oil (which does make it smell really delicious, a tiny bit minty and a bit citrus-y and quite zesty and invigorating). There are three ingredients which have warning levels of 0-2 on Cosmetics Database, which is again not ideal but a lot better than the Dove moisturiser which got an overall score of 7.
You may not care, and are just happy to have found something to do the good work on your skin. Well, as actual products, the soap and the moisturiser are both great. The soap makes my skin all soft and tingly, if a little stretched-feeling (though I get this whenever I wash my face with anything other than water), and the moisturiser makes my skin even softer & smell nice. I’ve even noticed that a scar I had from a zit that I kept hassling (Hi, I’m Kendal and I’m a picker D:) has faded in the week since I started using the new products. The moisturiser does feel a little thick when you put it on, but if you wait a few moments for it to dry & then rub your face gently, you’ll love how soft & smooth your skin feels.
This post is part of a new theme in my life, namely, putting my money where my mouth is. I’ve signed Big Green Purse’s One In A Million Campaign, which wants to get a million women using their incredible spending power (we spend 85c of each dollar, apparently) for the good of the planet, through spending $1,000 on things like organic food, natural cosmetics and fuel-efficient goods instead of what they would usually buy. I’m $23.76 closer to my thousand, and looking forward to more shopping to save the world :)
ETA: some pictures from the website of the company (a little family owned one in Victoria, aww!), G.R.E.E.N. Hemp of what I bought, as well as to say that I am taking a leaf (or scale?) out of Beth’s book and emailing the company to praise & ask about the soap wrapper. I’ll let you know what the reply is!