Revealed: The Truth About Sustainable Skincare

Posted by Megan Stratford on

How to confidently choose sustainable skincare products

Sustainable skincare. It’s smackin’ the lips of many big brands, startups and beauties (like us)!  But what does a sustainable beauty brand *actually* do differently? Is it really any better for our health – and the planet? And how can you tell if what you’re massaging into your pores is the real dealio, man? Choose your next product with wink-worthy confidence! Discover the  complete lowdown on sustainable skincare right here. 

What you’ll find

  • Why Sustainable Skincare Matters in 2020
  • What Actually Makes a Skincare Product Sustainable?
  • Sustainable Skincare Myths BUSTED!
  • Choosing the Right Sustainable Skincare for You

Why Sustainable Skincare Matters in 2020


Now, more than ever, beauties like you are making planet-conscious decisions about this bluey-green floating orb. AKA Earth. And for that? Bravo! You’re pondering how your choices can minimise the implications of global warming and doing social good simultaneously. We can’t get enough of it!


The $532 billion dollar beauty industry contributes to over 1 billion tons of carbon dioxide a year.  And people like you? Well, you’re changing the future! But what if we told you the skincare industry is going backwards...? Wild, huh?!


Here’s the latest on how the future of sustainable skincare is rewinding to the past. 

Reviving the basics


Today goddesses like you sink into luxurious milk baths like ancient Greeks, scoop masks crafted using natural products (like honey) the same way Egyptians did 5,000+ years ago. Even wild-crafted botanicals originally popular in medieval Europe have returned to the beauty scene! It’s all in effort to be kinder to our sweet Earth (and our health)

Smaller footprints, please


Remember learning about the Industrial Revolution in school? Maybe not. Maybe you were daydreaming about NOT being in history class (so were we!). We’ll zoom you up to speed just in case. 


The IR (back in the 1800s) was where we first saw mass production on a gianormouge (*giantly-enormously-huge*) scale. Today, to help combat the effect this had on our planet, sustainable beauty brands are making smaller batches of products that don’t soak up excessive resources.

Packaging packdown


In 2020? The global cosmetics industry produces a massive 120bn units of packaging every year. And despite the undeniable convenience of tubes that morph in your handbag, squeeze with ease and romantically twist (oh, baby), these are enemies with recycling. Now sustainable beauty brands turn to fresh solutions like glass containers, biodegradable packaging and plastic-free alternatives like tins, cardboard and bamboo. 


Sustainable skincare revealed. What you didn't know.

 Rubbish on a beach. Not our jam.


What Actually Makes a Skincare Product Sustainable?


Are you sitting down, beauty? If not, pull up a seat at our Truth Bar! 


Contrary to what marketing, media and that super gorg influencer you follow on Instagram say… There isn’t an official ‘sustainable skincare’ definition. 


Seriously, none.


So it’s no wonder why many of us get sucked into using products with deceitful labels, unethical practices and questionable ingredients. But to leave you answerless just ain’t our style. So we’ve invented our own, fresh definition based on research, reflection and our time in the beauty space. Consider it a new chapter in the ever-evolving beautysphere. 


Ready for it?


At Little Indie Beauty, we define sustainable skincare as:


Skincare products formulated with a strong emphasis on conservative use of the planet’s resources and made using sustainably harvested, safe ingredients for the Earth and its users. Sustainable skincare brands opt for eco-friendly packaging and are conscious about waste reduction throughout their formulation and distribution process. 


This is why we adore our beauty heroes here at Little Indie Beauty for all they do for us and our planet. They’re a seriously powerful bunch. So it breaks our li’l hearts when we hear falsities spread about the sustainable skincare industry.


Today, we put an end to it! It’s time you know the truth. And with that? We’re busting the most common misconceptions about the sustainable beauty world. 


Sustainable Skincare Myths BUSTED!


We get it. It’s easy to fall for pretty labels. A slightly higher price tag or even a Youtuber spruiking a product’s effectiveness. But we want you to feel empowered and informed when checking out sustainable beauty products. Ready to learn the truth? Divin’ in, in 3...2...1!


Myth: “Natural ingredients grown from the ground are always better”



We hear your jaw hitting the floor! Why? Because here’s a myth that needs serious busting. Yes, sometimes lab manufactured ingredients are actually good. Sustainable. Better for the planet than plants.


This is because some natural ingredients are overharvested. Meaning? They’re taken from the land or sea faster than they can be replenished. For example, Moroccan Argan Oil production was being over utilised by foreign companies. The land was being stripped of its trees for goats and the local people. So, in some cases (like our friend, Moroc’ Oil) lab manufactured alternatives are actually a better choice.


Myth: “Sustainable ingredients are only grown in home gardens”



When you think of sustainable skincare ingredients, do you imagine gardens in the backyard spilling with aloe and maracuja (fancy word for passion fruit)? Because many people do.


If you’re one of them, know this. Sustainable ingredients also flourish in large fields and farms. We know what you’re thinking: ‘didn’t you just say we don’t wanna strip the environment?’ But here’s the thing. The way these ingredients are grown on a large-scale while still remaining eco-friendly is by using sustainable harvesting methods.


Sustainably harvested ingredients don’t disrupt surrounding ecosystems. Plus they say ‘nuh-uh!’ to deforestation and exploitation. This means sustainably harvested brands (like Naya and Speak) support local communities and achieve social good simultaneously. 


 Sustainable skincare cacay

 Naya supports the sustainable production and harvest of the super skin lovin' cacay nut.


Myth: “All synthetic ingredients are bad for the environment”



Not all synthetic ingredients are created equal! And while many people choose natural over synthetic, they’re not always better!  Some synthetic ingredients are actually eco-friendly and used in planet-friendly ways, like the active sunscreen ingredients in Pureshade Moisturising Sunscreen. Some synthetic ingredients provide the powerful actives that we love to keep our skin looking smokin' without doing any harm - think hyaluronic acid, peptides, and retinol.


Find out what ingredients we don't allow in our products at Little Indie Beauty here.




Myth: “Packaging can be completely sustainable too”



Skincare adventures have been taken to a whole new magical level. Creators know you’re after #instaworthy beauty supplies to unbox and completely fall head over heels for. And packaging is a big part of that whole shebang. So it’s pretty darn spesh that packaging can be 100% sustainable.


Whether you’re welcomed by a biodegradable satchel (like the ones we use), open to find a smooth, luxe glass bottle, like Speak’s Cleansing Powder, or experiment with different fibres (we’re looking at you, seed-woven boxes). Maybe you discover product refill initiatives to give packaging a second life, like Naya does. 


Any which way, packaging can be completely sustainable and we’re loving the efforts of our Little Indie Beauty brands to do their part. 


It’s important to say… Beauty brands are moving towards 100% sustainability, but we still have a way to go. Tiny plastic lid inserts to stop moisture and plastic pumps for liquids are areas of improvement. But by choosing products making strong efforts towards more sustainable packaging, sustainable products are having a much smaller impact on the planet.  




Myth: “Manufacturing beauty products will always be bad for the planet”



Fresh new methods are hitting beauty manufacturers in eco-lovin’ ways. Even big players in the beauty scene are exploring renewable and carbon neutral energy. For example, Body Shop famously ensures up to 70% of their total product packaging doesn’t contain fossil fuels.


Sustainable beauty methods also reduce waste. Did you know the disposal of chemical waste found in regular beauty products is considered hazardous waste? As well, reusing and recycling water is becoming more popular for sustainable brands. How ‘bout that!


Choosing the Right Sustainable Skincare for You


Whether you’re a fully-fledged eco-warrior, open to the idea of trying sustainable skincare or curious about what it might be like… We get that you might be wondering ‘is it as good though?’


We can’t promise that every sustainable beauty brand on the market will be brilliant. But we can promise that we’ve scooped, buffed with and gotten close (reeeeally close) with every product in our cozy store. And they each come with our (hard to earn) tick of approval for sustainability, performance and feel goodness. Here’s your easy cheatsheet to tell if you’re choosing sustainable.



Does the product have planet-friendly packaging?

Are ingredients free from nasty synthetics?

Is the product ethically manufactured?



Essential Sustainable Beauty Products


Discover some of our faves. 



  • Cleansing Oil | Naya
  • Glass bottle
  • All natural ingredients
  • Sustainably harvested
  • Cacay oil is naturally high in retinol


  • Powder Cleanser | Speak
  • Organic oats
  • Glass bottle
  • Recyclable lid
  • All natural ingredients
  • Amazing on sensitive skin


  • Natural moisturising sunscreen | Pureshade
  • Free from microbeads
  • Formulated with natural ingredients
  • Coral reef-friendly active ingredients
  • Anti-ageing ingredients


  • Prickly Pear Oil | Speak
  • Glass bottle
  • All natural ingredients
  • Sustainably harvested
  • Ingredients ethically sourced from Berber Cooperative in Morocco
  • Loaded with fatty acids and Vitamins E & K


  • Everyday Face Oil | Naya
  • Glass bottle
  • All natural ingredients
  • Sustainably harvested
  • Cacay oil is naturally high in retinol (Vitamin A)
  • Loaded with antioxidants and Omegas 3, 6 & 9


The beauty industry is radically changing for the better. How cool is that?! But we still have a long way to go. Your beauty choices help create a more sustainable future for us, our kids and the planet. 


Help pave a more enriching, sustainable future and shop sustainable beauty today!