Beauty Miles - The Truth Behind the Beauty

Beauty miles.  What are they and how can reduce them?  That's the topic today's guest writer is exploring, and I am so excited to share their thoughts with all of you lovelies!  

Karen from Blomma Beauty (the fab London based wellbeing and beauty shop full of many of the gorgeous brands I have featured here on The ecoLogical) has kindly taken the time to give a glimpse into the truth behind the bottles and bars in our cupboards, and what you learn may surprise you...

From issues with packaging to tracking ingredients, Karen is digging deeper into the facts around buying and sourcing products.  And guess what - she is even going to provide us all with some tips and tricks so we can all make sure our green goodies are truly kind to the planet, PLUS a discount code for Blomma Beauty!!

Be sure to show some love to Karen and Blomma Beauty, and if you like what you read do consider sharing or leaving a little note to show your thoughts!  I'm always so thankful for guest writers, and I hope you find this piece as insightful as I did! So without further ado, let's jump into it...

What are beauty miles? - Bumi Naturals Review

Beauty Miles - Oilixia Blomma Beauty Review

Plastic free, zero waste, carbon neutral and even carbon negative are all big buzzwords in the beauty world right now as consumers wise up to the environmental impact of looking beautiful, but there’s a new approach to consider which is ‘beauty miles’.

Have you ever looked at your beauty products and thought about how far it’s travelled to get to you? And I mean how far every single component of that product has travelled, not just the miles of the delivery driver dropping it off at your house. From the farms your beauty ingredients come from, where the raw ingredients are processed and manufactured, to the paper mills and factories where the packaging is made, there’s a lot of transport involved and that’s even before that moisturiser or lip balm gets shipped to your local beauty store or delivered to your house.

It’s all of these journeys that add up to what’s called beauty miles. Beauty miles follow the same principles as food miles, which is now a pretty mainstream term and calculates the distance travelled by your broccoli, banana or avocado from the moment it’s picked from the field until it’s dropped in your shopping basket. Beauty miles takes into account every mile travelled for every ingredient, lid, pump and box and of course the finished product. When you really think about that and how many ingredients are used to make up our creams, cleansers and scrubs, that’s a LOT of miles per product! And then extrapolate that to just how many products you’ve got in your wash bag right now and then how many you’ve used and thrown away over the years, it starts to get a bit scary right?

So what can you do about it?

Beauty Miles - Cut Le Crap Blomma Beauty Review

Well, like most conscious beauty movements, there’s no one size fits all approach. Beauty miles purely covers the distance travelled and doesn’t take into account the total carbon footprint of the production, sustainable credentials of the packaging materials and ingredients or even the treatment of people and habitats. For example, you could buy a product where the packaging is made and sourced locally, but if that packaging is plastic that’s unrecyclable and destined for landfill, or worse, our rivers and oceans, then it can be hard to determine which is the lesser of two evils. However, by trying to reduce the distance travelled by your products you can help lower your carbon footprint and environmental impact overall.

If you want to focus on cutting down those beauty miles, here are some hints and tips to help you.

Beauty Miles - Meadow Skincare Blomma Beauty Review

Stop buying products in pointless packaging

We’ve always been marketed to that beauty products need to have this luxurious unboxing experience. But, let’s be honest, how many of us actually keep the outer box when it’s what’s inside that’s the exciting part, making the miles travelled by that cardboard box a total waste. One of the easiest ways to cut down on beauty miles is to choose brands that don’t sell their products in outer packaging like Cut.Le.CrapBumi Naturals and Meadow Skincare.

Consider how far packaging has to travel

Sometimes it’s not always possible to avoid outer packaging for hygiene and safety reasons, so if that’s the case, try to delve deeper into where a brand’s packaging has come from. Sourcing packaging from the far east is usually cheaper but the cost comes out in other ways, like carbon footprint and beauty miles when shipped or flown from far away. Brands like Odylique are consciously trying to source packaging from closer to home to try and reduce their carbon footprint and miles travelled. Currently 98% of their packaging comes from Europe, 50% of their bottles and jars are made in the UK and all gift boxes are printed in the UK on recycled card that can be used again and again.

Beauty Miles - Casa Mencarelli Blomma Beauty Review

Look for locally sourced ingredients

The UK has an abundance of native plants that are great for your skin and buying from brands that utilise these ingredients can keep your beauty miles low. Kevin who founded organic soap brand Coraleen, forages for a lot of his ingredients near his soap workshop on a farm in Berkshire to make bespoke essential oils for his soaps and Magic Organic Apothecary harvest yarrow, which is often considered a weed but known for its healing, soothing and moisturising properties, from a small farm in the UK.

Be sure though, to look for native or very well-established home-grown ingredients rather than trying to find exotic ingredients grown locally. For example, shea butter or argan oil from Africa would require really intensive farming techniques if we tried to grow these ingredients in the colder UK climate. Instead, look for similarities between exotic ingredients and home-grown ones so you can still get the same benefits for your skin without negatively impacting the environment for the sake of saving the miles.

Buy from brands with certification

You could also look for brands that are certified by, or only use ingredients that are certified by COSMOS or The Soil Association. These bodies don’t like really long supply chains as they are difficult to trace the ingredients back to the soil where they came from and the transport associated with each stage of the process. Looking for The Soil Association or COSMOS logos for either certified natural or certified organic products means you’ve got the assurance that there’s a short supply chain and ingredient traceability. There are lots of high quality certified organic brands available like Terre VerdiCasa Mencarelli and True Skincare.

Alternatively uncertified brands like Cut.Le.Crap still use certified, traceable and ethical ingredients. They’re currently centralising their ingredient sourcing to come from one supplier who is COSMOS certified and Fair for Life Certified to guarantee that each transaction is fair and supply chains, and therefore, the miles travelled by their ingredients is as short as possible.

Beauty Miles - Silvan Skincare Blomma Beauty Review

Shop independent

Buying from smaller, independent companies that formulate and ship their products from the same lcoation versus larger ones with separate manufacturing sites and distribution hubs can save on the beauty miles. Alessandra from certified organic skincare brand Terre Verdi and Sophia from Palm of Feronia both make their products in local workshops and ship directly to customers and retailers from there too to keep their operational beauty miles as low as possible.

Consider switching to small batch beauty

Small batch production means responding directly to demand, rather than shipping products here there and everywhere to sit on a shelf waiting to be sold. Not only do you get fresher products that are going to give you better results for your skin but it cuts down on excess, potentially wasted products, resources and miles travelled. There are some incredible small batch beauty brands available in the UK like Bumi Naturals, Meadow Skincare and Casa Mencarelli.

Champion a minimalist and multi-functional beauty ethos

Cutting down on the number of products you use overall can lower the miles travelled, or worse, the number of miles wasted when those products go out of date or get thrown away. Look for multi-functional products that can be used in a number of different ways to make the most of every drop and dollop of oil or cream you use to keep yourself looking beautiful, like Silvan Skincare’s Radiance Balm which can be used as both a moisturiser or a cleansing balm, or soapNskin’s Argan & Orange Blossom Elixir which is a face and body moisturiser, great for nails and cuticles are well as conditioning the hair and treating the scalp.

Beauty Miles - MOA Blomma Beauty Review

Buy reusable products

Throwaway products like cotton pads, wet wipes and tampons that need to be replaced regularly make the miles really add up over time. Luckily there are lots of reusable options available nowadays like Ginger Green Co’s reusable cotton pads which are great for removing eye make up, Magic Organic Apothecary’s Supersoft bamboo cloths which are an ideal replacement for face wipes, and &sisters Nudie Period Cup which can seriously reduce how frequently you buy tampons, pads and liners.

Consider your own location when shopping online

Do you live in the highands of Scotland? Chances are it’ll be more environmentally conscious to get your beauty products delivered along with your neighbour’s online orders in a large lorry, however, if you live in a big city and order from a local store, your product is going from the store, out to the depot, and back in to the city again to be delivered to you. So heading there on public transport, by foot or by cycling makes it easy to reduce the last few miles your product will travel. And the same goes for buying from brands located further afield. The UK has a vibrant beauty scene with plenty of up and coming brands like True Skincare and Oilixa that easily compete with new and exciting trends from across the globe.

Beauty Miles - Terre Verdi Blomma Beauty Review

Look for brands that give back more than they take

If examining every single ingredient and how it’s produced and transported to decide if you should include it in your beauty regime or not seems like hard work, look for brands that are doing the leg work for you with environmental initiatives to lower the impact their products have on the environment.

Offsetting carbon footprint and planting trees to help absorb the CO2 created from transport can help counteract the effect of beauty miles on our environment. Palm of Feronia work with ecologi to offset the carbon footprint of their whole business as well as planting a tree for every order, and Cut.Le.Crap supports Trees for Cities, a non-profit that works with local communities and schools to plant more trees. So far they have removed 2.7 tonnes of CO2.

As you can see there are plenty of ways to take small steps in reducing the huge distances travelled by your beauty products so that you can still enjoy them guilt free.

Karen MacDonald from Blomma Beauty

About Karen:
Karen MacDonald is an organic and natural beauty expert, co-host of the Conscious Collective podcast and founder of natural, organic, ethical and sustainable store Blomma Beauty.

P.s. The ecoLogical readers can get 15% off at with the code ecological15

Beauty Miles: How using local ingredients could be the next big thing‘ by Lilian Barker of Fairfield Gardens Natural and Organic Products 2019 Green Beauty Conversations, Formula Botanica

Sustainability in the Cosmetic Industry 2019 Sparknews for Cosmoprof

1 comment

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