If you are a keen consumer of skincare products, chances are that you must have come across words like clean beauty, blue beauty (the newest beauty trend), green beauty, etc. All these are regarded as the latest trends in skincare. However, to call them trends would be a huge disservice to the people behind them. These aren’t just trends, these are movements that have made the experience of the consumer a sustainable and safe one. Everyone who initiated and supported these movements is a conscious consumer.
It was about 4 years ago that I began my journey to be a more conscious consumer. I'm hardly perfect but if there is one thing I've learned, perfection is the enemy to progress. So if there is any piece of advice I can give you as you are on your journey, "give yourself grace".
Who is a conscious consumer?
A conscious consumer is one who harnesses their purchasing power to veto the mainstream models of production processes that not only impact them adversely but the planet as well. Encouraging a sustained responsible purchasing behavior and even a more responsible manufacturing one is at the crux of conscious consumption.
Why should you be a conscious consumer?
When we are conscious about the way we look, it’s doubly important to be conscious about the products that help us look (and feel) good. This should be enough for being a conscious consumer but there are bigger reasons to be one too.
It’s both a right and a responsibility: Industries and brands operating within those industries exist because of their consumers. Consumers are not just passive recipients of products, they are the very reason the industry exists. As individuals who use products that directly affect their overall wellbeing, it is the right of the consumer to ensure that what they get is beneficial for them.
Everything that goes into making a skincare product either comes from the earth or affects it. Thus, it is not only a moral obligation of the brands but of consumers too to ensure that the earth is treated compassionately and ethically. Consciousness about the product you use and the ecosystem it operates in gives you an ethical power. A simple act of buying a product has far greater consequences than you can think of . Buying a product implies that your ethos is in congruence with that of the brand. To be associated with a brand that has questionable integrity is a reflection of personal integrity as well. We as consumers have stepped up big time in 2020, holding brands, businesses, and people accountable for their actions or many times lack of action.
Power of collective conscience is massive: Epochs over epochs, consumer consciousness has always been at the forefront in reshaping the skincare industry. From how the ingredients are sourced and what chemicals are used to the impact of marketing, consumer consciousnesses have influenced every aspect of life-cycle of the product. Over the years the skincare industry has changed for the better and it’s all thanks to the power of conscious consumption. Things that we take for granted today, be it minimizing the use of toxic chemicals or cruelty-free products are there because ordinary consumers like you and me decided to foster the collective conscience to bring about a change.
We have only one home called earth: When you become a conscious consumer of skincare products, you not only care for yourself, you care for the planet too. Being a conscious consumer of skincare products operates at two levels.
Firstly, when you are a proponent of conscious consumption, you demand products that are safer for your skin. The traditional methods of manufacturing skincare products normalize the use of chemicals in the name of effectiveness. Chemical screens and fragrance, hormone disruptors like PEG and parabens were used with alarming regularity resulting in long term adverse effects on your skin. Some of these chemicals are linked to degenerative diseases as well.
Secondly, every product that we use is directly or indirectly linked to either using the resources of the planet or affecting it though the processes we adopt. Be it is the insane amount of water we use in our products or the plastic packaging that pollute the water bodies, the traditional methods of product manufacturing are often exploitative of the earth’s resources. All this leads to severely compromising the ability of our plant to provide for us. Being a conscious consumer entails that you make sustainability the center point of your discourse and purchasing behavior.
Our purchasing power and the choices we make determine the future of the earth. Let’s use this power with a sense of responsibility for a better and greener plant.
As we head into August which is Wellness Month, I encourage you if you haven't already started this is the perfect time to begin conscious consuming. I have just one bit of advice to give as you begin, give yourself love and grace.