You've probably heard the word sustainability being tossed around time and again, especially in the lifestyle context. While it translates to bamboo toothbrushes and organic cotton fabric in fashion and wellness, what does it spell out for beauty, especially in the Indian context? Is it just a buzzword slapped on the back of a bottle or does it actually hold weight throughout its production chain? On World Environment Day 2021, we strive to find out straight from the source.
Becoming cleaner and greener is simply a solution to a problem; which is that the beauty industry is highly polluting. "There is definitely heavy use of plastics especially in packaging by the beauty industry which leads to problems like overflowing landfills. Use of plastics cannot be completely eliminated yet, but the journey to sustainability starts with a single step. Brands like us are taking collective responsibility to reduce our ecological footprint and help the green movement. We are digging ways into this fledgling movement by providing refill packs for sturdy products. We have seen efficiently recycled, non-toxic packages are often appreciated in high numbers by millennials especially. Initiatives taken by the beauty industry, however big or small, will pave the way for a more sustainable and a holistic beauty industry," says Manish Chowdhary, Co founder, WOW Skin Science.
Like Manish exemplified, it's the consistent small steps that leads to big results. Refillable packaging is one such step which can have a massive impact. While refillable products are more of an established concept in beauty internationally, it is one of the highlights of asa beauty's luxury products. " We've always kept conscious consumption at the forefront by helping customers reduce their carbon footprint all while continuing their love for all things beauty. Uncompromising on its values of being cruelty-free, and mindful about its social impact and environmental footprint, we at asa, consciously chose aluminium as the primary metal in our packaging along with FSC certified paper. To truly minimize waste, asa is the first luxury brand in India with a Refill Program, allowing our consumers to just purchase refills instead of repurchasing a whole new product or discarding the packaging. Our main objective is to reduce our carbon footprint by avoiding the use of buying a new one. We have also eliminated shrink wrap, bubble paper and plastic films in our delivery chain. We make it easy for the global Indian of today to get access to clean, good, vegan products that are sustainable and safe in all aspects and processes," says Asha and Sukriti Jindal Khaitan, Founders of asa.
But does that mean compromising on the way in which a brand is perceived, especially if it's a luxury brand? Asha and Sukriti Jindal Khaitan don't think so. They weigh in, "asa was created to help global Indians reach their true potential with an experience of indulgence and luxury which also did more good to them, their skin, and the environment at the same time. asa was established out of our passion for clean beauty and our aim to do good for the planet. That is why the brand is so closely aligned with these values; it is India's first luxury clean beauty brand that is made with endlessly recyclable aluminum packaging. We constantly strive to develop asa as an eco-friendly beauty while being luxury and sustainable through various initiatives such as the smart refillable program, recycling program, and sustainable packaging.
While many of these may seem like new-fangled concepts on this side of the world, recycling certainly isn't. Environmentally conscious brands like Plum, The Body Shop and Kiehl's are a few of them who promote returning and recycling products with rewards so that consumers are encouraged to return rather than simply chucking it in the trash. On recycling, Manish adds, "Today's consumers are much more conscious of their choices. The refill packs we introduced for our face wash range are loved by our customers because it helps them contribute positively towards the environment. Simple things such as using recycled packaging, opting for organic ingredients rather than chemicals and toxins, and manufacturing products with renewable energy sources can build a new generation of beauty industry."
Being eco-friendly doesn't have to mean stocking up on shiny new purchases. One of the simplest secrets to going sustainable with your beauty routine is consciously using what you have right now. "Consumers can use natural and organic ingredients available in their house. Most ingredients for face and hair packs can be found in our kitchen where natural ingredients can be made into compost at home. Besides this, the focus should be on the reusable factor of the product and investing in brands that are conscious at their core. Reusable, washable pads instead of disposable cotton wipes and wet wipes are a great swap. We do not need to compromise in our beauty and skincare regime, we just need to make simpler yet conscious choices through the products we use," conclude Asha and Sukriti.