For a practical understanding of Green Chemistry in the world of beauty and self-care, let’s dial into some really incredible walk-the-walk brands on the shelves at H+H. Each of the brands we carry follow these strict environmental and ingredient guidelines and in their own way, go the extra mile to help the earth thrive!
In the spirit of Earth Day, we are highlighting the benefits of Green Chemistry in the beauty industry so that with a deeper understanding of ingredients in your favourite products, you can feel confident in your choices as a consumer. It’s incredible to know that from the development of a product to its use in everyday routines, it is thoughtfully designed and safe and beneficial for the planet.
So now that you know a little more about Green Chemistry (if you missed that intro article you can check it out here) let’s explore where you may find this amazing science in some of the products in our shop in ways that really matter.
You may find that the language behind Green Chemistry can read a little complicated and may use chemical names that you might not recognize as ‘natural’. How do you really KNOW if it's Green Chemistry or synthetic junk when reading an ingredient list? Simple, shop with H+H! This isn’t meant to sound like a sales pitch, it's because we do the work!
We’ve done all the research for you, making sure that nothing comes through our doors and to our shelves that is harmful to your body or the body of Mother Nature. We know as consumers it's empowering to begin to recognize some standout terms (and if that is for you then keep reading!) but we also know that it can feel overwhelming at times navigating through products with more complex ingredients.
If you are curious about how to decipher Green Chemistry terms from Synthetic, let us know! We would be more than happy to help and provide further insight.
So without further delay, LET’S DIVE IN!
We would like to start off by saying that ALL of the beauty brands in our H+H boutique are sophisticated, well-curated, and thoughtful by design. We’ve picked three terrific brands to highlight in this article, even though we could talk for hours about each brand’s unique story and fabulous product line-up! So for the purpose of this piece we are keeping it short and sweet (but stay tuned to our blog as we continue to dive into more brands in future posts)!
All of the products in this curation are unscented, don’t degrade the environment and are aesthetically sophisticated. Although their ingredient lists may be long, with some chemical terms, they are 100% a Green Chemistry brand! Consonant is transparent about their formulations and clearly states on their labels the percentage natural that their ingredients add up to. You can trust us when we say this brand doesn’t greenwash, which is when some companies pose as putting out something ‘natural’ or ‘green & clean’ when in actuality, it’s just a superficial effort.
An ingredient found in Consonant’s natural face creams and moisturizers is Leuconostoc/Radish Root Ferment Filtrate. What exactly is this and what does it do? This highly effective preservative ingredient is created by fermenting Raphanus sativus (Radish) roots with a bacterial microorganism from lactic acid. Yes, radishes! It’s also the same lactic acid bacteria used to make the traditional Korean condiment, Kimchi!
This unique ingredient demonstrates that some bacteria and microbes are beneficial. When making a water based product, preservatives are a must-have for reliable antimicrobial action. Remember, where there is water, there is life! As well, once a product is open you need an ingredient that will stop foreign and possibly harmful bacteria from growing in your beauty product. To put it simply, with Leuconostoc, it is a good bacteria that stops the growth of harmful bacteria!
The development of this fermented radish root extract was a game-changer in the world of natural skincare as there used to be very few natural preservative systems that were robust enough to ensure a long shelf life.
We’re excited to see many of the brands we carry formulating with it now- you’ll find this ingredient is also relied on by Wildcraft and Province Apothecary to name a few. Amazingly antimicrobial, now you know that when you see Leuconostoc on your natural skincare label, you’ll know with confidence that it’s an approved and highly regarded Green Chemistry ingredient.
Interestingly enough, the next ingredient in our Green Chemistry highlight is a champion deodorizing ingredient derived from corn - Propanediol.
Similar to the carrier oils of coconut and almond, this corn based product was found to have the ability to minimize the activity of odour-causing bacteria, which is often the cause of stinky armpits! Talk about a pivotal moment for those corn scientists! After much research and development they were able to get the deodorizing protection to last all day while keeping its chemical structure stable during product formulation.
On the topic of corn, you may be thinking “Isn’t the mono-culture and over consumption of corn harvesting damaging to the environment? And aren’t corn crops GMO?” The answer can sometimes be yes! But, not at H+H *wink wink!
As we mentioned in our Green Chemistry article Sonya, our in house herbalist and Green Chemist not only checks the ingredient lists to weed out the prohibited ingredients but also checks with the brand personally to make sure that the ingredients used are ethically sourced. It’s critical to ensure that the farming practices are maintaining balance and/or benefiting the planet during its production. All of Kaia Natural’s Propanediol-based deodorants are sourced with non-GMO corn! As well, Propanediol is produced by using the by-product material of the corn-grown-for-food industry, so it diverts tons of waste from landfill in creating this highly useful ingredient.
Want to know something super cool? The chemical structure of Propanediol, also known as corn glycol, is similar to that of propylene glycol or butylene glycol- those are two primary petroleum based ingredients used in conventional deodorants on the market. Due to this, the corn glycol will behave similarly in its deodorizing capacity, and 90 - 95% of consumers find that they don’t notice a difference when switching over to natural deodorant!
The extraction and production of petroleum based products are hugely detrimental when it comes to the health of our planet and climate change. The production and use of these synthetic materials is a huge contributor to global warming and the burning of fossil fuels! Knowing what we know today, how we are connected, and how Green Chemistry has advanced over that last 20 years, we’re glad to be able to use such an effective natural replacement such as Propanediol in deodorant technologies.
Last in our line-up today, let’s talk about sunscreens. Certain carrier oils like sesame seed, for example, have a natural sun protecting activity of SPF 15. Using oils like this directly on your skin may seem like a natural option for sunscreen, but in this raw form it’s not strong enough to screen the sun’s harmful UVA and UVB rays for a sustained coverage. Anyway, we’d also end up with a pretty greasy finish and smelling like a delicious tahini sauce!
Since a natural standardized sun screen of 30+ SPF using whole plant materials like a base oil or a wax can’t be achieved, Green Chemistry can bridge the gap with proven functional ingredients.
Coola is a fabulous brand offering a selection of highly technical products that use clean synthetic ingredients to deliver natural skin protecting actives to help protect us from the sun’s rays, without degrading the environment. These green sunscreen products contain the micro minerals Zinc Oxide and Titanium Oxide for protection that creates what we call ‘the block’. Coola’s Matte Unscented BB Cream uses these key ingredients to create a fine blend offering the consumer a truly effective natural sunscreen.Some chemical sunscreen brands have been called out for their detrimental impacts on ocean ecosystems, specifically the tropical coral reefs, and have been banned from use by regions working to protect these unique marine environments. Using sunscreens that are formulated as “Reef Safe” do their part to help you enjoy the sun while knowing that the products you’re using are biodegradable and not damaging to the ocean and its precious inhabitants. Coola is proudly a reef safe brand focusing on protecting the planet as much as they are protecting you. Take a deep dive into Coola’s ingredient list here
and discover how their unique formula is made!
The theme for this post rose from the inspiration of Earth Day, but it is important to remember EVERY DAY IS EARTH DAY! Each moment you have the opportunity to be a conscious consumer, choose the path of empowerment. Educate yourself to make ethical choices that support your values and if you have questions or want to learn more, know that we are here to support your exploration! Navigating through all of this isn’t always a straight line, so at H+H we hope to offer you guidance through knowledge wherever we can.
Thank you for reading! We would love to know what you think! Drop us your questions or insights in the comments below and let’s continue the conversation.
To further experience the gifts of our amazing natural world, take a moment for yourself to connect with the Earth. Spend some quiet time with a household plant or get grounded by placing your feet in the grass, or close your eyes and raise your face to the sun, and breathe deeply. Give kindness to Mother Nature whenever you can and from all of us at H+H, HAPPY EARTH DAY!