Slow beauty, much like slow fashion, is a more thoughtful and aligned approach to producing and consuming cosmetics. It means taking the time to evaluate our beauty products’ impact on the planet, people, and animals.
It means choosing consciously and producing sustainably for better quality, ethically-created products that last. It means sustainability for the planet and more joy-filled mindfulness for each of us!
Have you heard the quote “outer order brings inner calm”? For most of us, it’s real – when you make your bed, organize your makeup drawer, or declutter your wardrobe, you feel lighter – like a weight’s been lifted from your mind and your spirit.
We’ve all heard about the capsule wardrobe – a carefully curated array of high-quality, multi-use pieces that can be worn many ways and will last and last. No cheaply made, throwaway dresses that'll fall apart in the washing machine.
Let’s take the same approach with our beauty! Let’s create a capsule collection of high-quality, multitasking, long-lasting products that enhance our beauty over time rather than take a toll on it. Let’s resist impulse buys and low-quality, unethically produced items that disrupt our environment and clutter our lives.
And the result will be: less crap and more calm, to put it bluntly!
The cosmetic industry is one of the most wasteful industries on the planet - producing over 120 billion units of packaging every year and making up 1/3 of all landfill waste.
And with many people’s addiction to low cost, trendy, impulse items, this number is constantly growing. Slow beauty means buying fewer products, but also evaluating every product’s packaging and expiry dates. Is the packaging recyclable, low-waste, and will that product stay fresh until you've finished it? Aether Beauty packaging is 100% recyclable and the products themselves last for 3-4 years after opening, meaning your fave new shadow won't expire before you've finished it.
If we all focused on creating a small collection of sustainably-packaged, long-lasting, holy-grail products, we could substantially cut cosmetic waste.
Slow beauty means choosing products that play the long game. Products made with non-toxic, nourishing ingredients that heal and illuminate your skin. It means avoiding quick-fix products that compromise your health and favoring products that prioritize your well-being.
Slow beauty means shunning the cheaply made, mass-produced items that cost $4 at our local drugstore. If a product is being sold for next to nothing, it means the workers creating that product were paid next to nothing as well.
30% of the World’s mica is made with child labor. And it’s not just mica – child labor is also rampant with other common cosmetic ingredients like cocoa butter, shea butter, and carnauba wax. And it’s not just children - adult workers all over the world deal with horrific working conditions and unlivable wages to make these bargain products.
None of this is necessary! When brands slow down and pay attention to their supply chain, we can eliminate this unnecessary suffering and uplift the lives of those involved in creating our favorite products.
At Āether Beauty, we meticulously vet every ingredient to ensure it’s ethically sourced and produced, that absolutely no child labor is involved, and that workers are treated fairly. We produce our products in Canada, the US, and Europe where labor standards are ethical and enforced.
Many mass-produced cosmetics are made in areas with incredibly low labor costs and non-existent/unenforced environmental standards. The only goal is profit, and the environment often pays the price for cutting corners.
Take Palm Oil for example: did you know that nearly every cosmetic product contains some sort of palm oil or palm oil derivative? To grow palm oil, growers burn down forests to clear the land. Animals lose their homes, communities lose their natural land, and air pollution levels rise from the smoke. All our palm-oil derived ingredients are certified RSPO sustainably sourced and involve no deforestation, land burning, or exploitation of workers or local communities.
The same goes for crystals - many of the World’s crystals come at the expense of protected rainforest land and endangered animals. Many of the mines leak heavy metals and toxic wastewater into local waterways, endangering the people and wildlife nearby. We source all our crystals from the USA and Canada. Our suppliers certify that all crystals are non-conflict, with no use of child labor, and sourced with environmentally-sound extraction techniques.
When we slow down as brands, investigate our supply chain, and take the time to find suppliers we can trust - slow beauty comes to life. And when we as consumers expect more from our beauty brands, ask questions, and research to find the most aligned, ethical option, we all benefit.
One gift this pandemic has given us is a chance to slow everything way down. No more do we have to wash our face on turbo or try to put on mascara at red lights (we swear we don’t do this)!
Now we can take the time to enjoy our beauty and skincare regimes – and this is what slow beauty is all about. Blend gently, exfoliate slowly, dust highlighter artfully. Rather than rushing and missing this mindfulness opportunity, slow down and luxuriate in the moment.
Of course, this takes some adjusting! We’re so used to doing everything at 100 mph that even with all this extra time, we’re still rushing like we always have. But how about consciously deciding to turtle through our usual tasks – to notice sensations and try to keep our mind focused on that ONE THING we’re doing? We're not gonna lie - it's hard! But it’s amazing how meditative and calming your daily beauty routines can be when you give your full attention.
What we’ve found is little things done with lots of attention become moments that lift us up for the rest of the day.
So, you’re down for slow beauty, now how do you pick products that fit the bill? Our suggestions for those holy-grail, capsule collection-worthy products:
Products that do more. Slow beauty means buying less of those highly-specific, single-purpose items and investing in products that can multitask and do it well.
All Āether Beauty products can be used both on the lids and all over the face. Why? Because they’re filled with skin-nourishing ingredients that illuminate the skin from within. Many fast-beauty eyeshadows are filled with pore-clogging, health-compromising, incredibly drying ingredients that you’d never want to swipe on your cheeks.
When we slow down and read labels, we can choose products that perform better and are better for us.
Let’s consider value for our money. As with a capsule wardrobe, let’s think about cost-per-wear. It's totally fine to purchase that gorgeous luxe blazer or that splurgy eyeshadow if it'll last you and be worn often!
An example: most clean eyeshadow palettes contain 6-8 grams of product - about 1 gram per shade. All Āether Beauty eyeshadow palettes contain 17 grams of product - 8 shades with 1.5 grams each and 4 shades with 1.25 grams each.
The cost per gram is $3.41 for all our eyeshadow palettes. Compare this to other clean palettes which range from $4.25 to $7.33 per gram. Also, our products last for 3-4 years after opening, meaning they won't expire before you hit pan! That means not only lower cost, but less waste.
It’s worth doing the calculations and considering expiry dates as a conscious shopper! You’ll be surprised when you break it down to the per-gram level and compare product to product.
Just like with a capsule wardrobe, invest in incredibly high-quality products that work beautifully. No more sacrificing performance for price, or clean ingredients for color payoff. Find and repurchase the products you can’t live without, that you love. And reject the unproven impulse buys with ingredients that leave you questioning.
The best way to vet a product you’ve never tried: reviews! If it’s a holy-grail level product, it will be beloved by many.
Whether made of unrecyclable hard plastic, mixed materials, or packaged with magnets and mirrors, most cosmetic packaging is completely unrecyclable and will only wind up in the landfill.
Slow beauty means choosing sustainably packaged products that honor this planet and create less waste. For more on how to vet packaging for sustainability read our blog.
To start, look where the products are made! It’s near impossible to create an ethical product in China, so that’s a good baseline. Next, look for their stance on ethical production. Brands that are committed to the ethical treatment of others will be transparent and spell out their practices happily. And don’t be afraid to ask questions!
Consciously created products should never harm another living being. It’s so incredibly easy to make beauty products vegan and there’s no excuse for testing products on animals. Enough is enough. Vegan and cruelty-free should just be a baseline that all brands adhere to.
It means digging deeper than surface-level claims and IG taglines. It means reading reviews, watching application videos, and investing in brands who walk the talk – who are transparent, happy to answer your questions, and committed to creating quality products and doing the right thing.
And the good news is: there are many consciously created brands to choose from! Start at retailers like Credo Beauty and Detox Market who have done much of the work for you, and vet individual products and brands from there!
We hope you found this blog helpful in your quest for more conscious beauty! Sending you lots of love during this difficult time and always <3
- Āether Beauty xo
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Almost every cosmetic product contains some sort of palm oil or palm oil derivative. To grow palm oil, growers burn down forests to clear the land. Animals lose their homes, developers aggressively seize land from indigenous groups, and the fires give off huge amounts of greenhouse gases, formaldehyde, cyanide, and small particles that cause serious health conditions and many deaths.
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