There's a lot I want for Christmas.
My mam's carrot and parsnip mash with maple syrup on it, a live rendition of All I Want For Christmas performed by actual Mariah Carey and, of course, for them to change the bit in Love Actually where Emma Thompson gets cheated on and cries. But when it comes to beauty, there are some very specific things I wish for every year.
And they're unique, in that I can't just go into my nearest beauty hall and find them. But sure look, I'll ask anyway. I think I've been reasonably well behaved this year and stand a chance of being on the elusive 'Good' list with the big man.
Dear Beauty Santa,
If it's not too much trouble, I'd kindly request the following for Christmas 2018. I understand not all of the below are readily achievable for you in such a short timeframe, but a start on them would nevertheless be much appreciated.
1. More brands going completely cruelty-free
There are more than 3,600 PETA certified cruelty-free beauty brands on the market, and hundreds of those are sold in and easily available for delivery to Ireland. It's difficult sometimes to know what's what when it comes to cruelty-free, but the PETA website has a really handy searchable list if you'd like to see how your favourite brand is getting along. It is worth noting that vegan brands and cruelty-free brands aren't always both. Ingredient transparency in your favourite products should be another thing being requested by consumers, making brands look at how sustainable their raw materials are.
Recently launched into Ireland, IT Cosmetics is one of the many brands that is completely cruelty-free.
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2. A reduction in excessive packaging
I would love to see brands, across the board, becoming more mindful of the amount of packaging they use. A lot of what ends up on shelves for sale isn't necessary - boxes within boxes, tissue paper for decoration and things like beauty advent calendars can often result in a lot of waste. From a beauty editor's perspective also, when you receive a PR sample of a product or products, just thinking of the carbon footprint in the wake of each delivery makes me teary. So I would also love PR drops to be a little more concerned with the environment. In fact, if a PR drop was sustainably produced, I would be ten times more inclined to test and review a product.
3. More brands adopting sustainable packaging
Things like cellophane wrappers, printed paper brochures inside products, plastic surrounds to hold products in place in boxes etc. are all things that, through innovation and small changes, could be changed by brands. Dior have done it with their Hydra Life range, showing it is possible. Tata Harper use recycled glass for their products and soy ink for their labelling, and REN Skincare have pledged to be waste free by 2021. They also collaborate with the Surfrider foundation to protect and clear beaches of plastic waste.
Hair brand Kevin Murphy has announced that it will begin to produce its packaging from 100 per cent recycled and recovered ocean waste plastic from 2019, becoming the first beauty brand to implement the practice.
Another brand leading the way on this concept is British fragrance brand Floral Street. They are breaking the perfume industry mould in a sense, opting for 100% compostable boxes and sugar cane tubes instead of tissue paper, cellophane and plastic.
4. More brands supporting charities
There are lots of amazing brands out there doing great things in partnership with charities. I know ghd do a, and that MAC give 100 per cent of the proceeds of their Viva Glam lipsticks to the MAC AIDS Fund to support those with HIV and AIDS. A charity initiative I support particularly strongly is the #BringBackTheBees campaign that Burt's Bees run, where they have committed to reversing the decrease in bee populations and increasing awareness about the dwindling numbers of bees. Look out for their special edition lip balms with the hashtag.
5. More return initiatives
Brands like Guerlain, MAC, Lush and Kiehls have a policy whereby if you bring back your empties, you get free product in exchange for those returns, helping you cut down on your waste. Le Labo fragrances offer a discount if you refill and old bottle, and Origins will accept all product packaging back at any of their counters also.
Now Santa. I know I'm not perfect, and there's a lot more I could be doing to reduce my personal beauty waste. And we all love what we love when it comes to our holy grail brands. But if everyone reading this became a little more aware of their beauty conscience for 2019, we'll be suckin' diesel, as my grandad would have said.
Thanks, Santa. Enjoy the festivities, and remember: I always get you Tesco Finest biscuits and only the best quality carrots for the lads.