What is Green Chemistry & Why Does It Matter to Me?

herbs in test tubes


You may have heard the term Green Chemistry before but what does it really mean? Natural? Organic? Clean? Cruelty free? Environmentally friendly? It encompasses many of these important aspects, but truly takes a deeper role in the practice of sustainability for people and the world we all share.

This week, in honour of Earth Day on April 22nd we are highlighting the key reasons why Green Chemistry is important, and sharing how we qualify each of our personal care and beauty products at H+H under this standard.


herbs in test tubes


Green Chemistry is a branch of the cosmetic industry that primarily uses nature-derived ingredients that uphold stringent environmental and health & safety standards. This ensures that the sourcing of an ingredient, the processing, the handling, and the finishing of this raw material has a clean environmental scorecard from cradle to grave! The diverse roster of tools under this science empowers cosmetic chemists to formulate highly ethical, functional and sophisticated beauty products that are aesthetically on par with their conventional equivalents on the market.  


herbs in test tubes


How Do We Qualify Green Chemistry at H+H?


  • EVERY INGREDIENT MATTERS - The ingredients and environmental ethics of each product are carefully assessed before we put a product on our shelves. Even if a brand we carry may have a few products that don’t qualify, we’ll ensure that the ones we bring in under their collections are fully compliant so you can trust each product we sell and we encourage our brands to take a closer look at the impacts of their ingredient choices as well!
  • GO TO THE SOURCE - It’s not just about the ingredient named on the label, it’s also about the sourcing. If we are curious where an ingredient originates from (especially if it's on a flagged list, like palm oil) we connect with the brand personally to confirm all the facts about sourcing and make sure all materials are ethically sourced and transparent about the details!
  • WHAT'S IN A NAME - Green Chemistry can sometimes read like a list of chemicals on the ingredient panel, but don’t worry- you can trust we have done the work to interpret the holistic integrity of the products! Sonya, our in house herbalist and business founder has a background in the field of Natural Product Development and Sustainability within the global personal care industry. If you are looking for some super cool stories on her experience at the forefront of the Natural and Organic regulations and product formulations, she’s happy to share! She really knows her stuff.
  • STRENGTH OF GREEN SYNTHETICS - Health and Safety checks are number one! There is a list of permitted synthetic chemicals that you may find in Green Chemistry but synthetic isn’t technically a negative thing, even in natural personal care. Oftentimes these ingredients help with the product stability and shelf life but also enable high performance function of a product. If a material is on the allowed list of synthetics, it’s because a nature-derived version doesn’t yet exist in the supply chain that can offer the same benefits. For example, there are approved conditioning agents under Green Chemistry that will give you the confidence that you’ll buy a detangling conditioner that actually detangles! Sometimes, nature doesn’t always have what we need but the chemists behind it all are making sure these ingredients still fall under the category GREEN! Keeping our bodies HEALTHY, our favourite products CLEAN and our planet HAPPY!
  • BLACKLISTED - Petroleum based materials, Formaldehyde donors, SLS and Parabens are big NoNo’s in our books from both a human health and environmental standpoint and are also definitely prohibited in Green Chemistry! You can trust that without these ingredients, a product is not only better for you but better for the planet. If any of these unfavourable materials are found on an ingredient list, we avoid carrying these products in our shop.


herbs in test tubes


Green Chemistry has come a long way since its inception to the industry in 1990. Yes - 1990! Not so long ago in years, but eons of evolution has occured in the past few decades to create such a robust science. This pillar of our shop’s values is something we’re proudly passionate about and it’s something our customers have come to trust from us over the years too!

In celebration of Earth Day we are highlighting Green Chemistry so you can dive deeper into the everyday ways that we practice this evolved science!  Empowering our customers with knowledge as a discerning consumer is ultimately important to us and we hope this insight inspires you to feel confident that you too are supporting Mother Earth in your daily beauty routine.





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