What it Means to be an Ethical Brand and How to Make the Switch to Green Beauty

When it comes to Green Beauty, nothing is greener than grass. And by this, we mean that which eats grass. Yes, we’re about to go there. Join us while we talk about how to make the switch to ethical / green beauty products, common misconceptions, and how animal based products actually do fit into the Green Beauty / Ethical brand space.

What it means to be an ethical brand. Why green beauty is the trend right now

If you are interested in ethical / green beauty, you are on your way to make a big change not only for yourself but also for the rest of the world. More and more brands are coming up with ethical solutions when they create their beauty products. And the public couldn’t embrace such product any better than they are doing nowadays. Here’s everything you need to know about ethical brands and why green beauty is so popular and appreciated nowadays.

What is ethical beauty?

It depends on who you ask. According to industry experts, ethical beauty is a concept that gets to be materialized through cosmetics such as skin care products, hair products or different makeup products that are created without animal ingredients. Commonly, these products are assumed to be vegan ones, or at least cruelty free products. Also, these cosmetics tagged as ethical beauty ones, are not being tested on any type of animals, which makes them truly cruelty free. They are also not being commercialized in China yet.

Beauty products that embrace both natural plant and animal ingredients have largely been excluded by the ethical / green beauty space. Recently our founder was informed that “ethical beauty practices do not support tallow-based skincare", prompting the writing of this blog post. Naturally, we disagree. And here’s why.

Initially, public awareness of lab testing on animals led to this very important movement. But it was taken too far to exclude animal products altogether, thanks also to the vegan movement. Marketing campaigns filled with green-washing buzzwords intended to mislead consumers have been around for a long time. As a result, animal products have been unfairly demonized, even if they have nothing to do with animal testing.

Why it is so popular to use green beauty products nowadays?

Green beauty is a term that refers to eco-friendly, sustainable, and renewable ingredients and packaging. Green beauty products have a lot in common with ethical beauty products and both became a lot more popular than it was expected in the past decade. The reason for this global trend is strongly connected to the change in diets that people have made as well. More people switch to a healthier, whole food diet, while some adopt a vegetarian or vegan diet when it comes to their daily meals. However, most of the population are omnivores and more are leaning toward regenerative choices for their protein sources.

Another reason for the increased demand for green beauty products is the fact that we started to realize that most mainstream skincare products are laden with toxic chemicals such as petroleum. Plants, different oils and seeds, make for incredible ingredients when it comes to cosmetics and are so safe that they don’t require animal testing. However, they pale in comparison to animal based ingredients when it comes to nutritional bioavailability and performance. Both, when naturally and ethically derived, should be explored as much as possible.

Why Nothing is Greener Than Grass

Pasture based ruminant agriculture is at the unsung hero at forefront of the “green” movement.

According to our founder, Shalley Carrell, a wellness professional and sustainable livestock producer:

“From a holistic perspective, sustainable agriculture is a system in which plants and animals are inextricably connected. Our survival as human beings depend on this relationship. To a conscious-minded omnivore, ethical means wasting as little as possible. Incorporating both plant and animal ingredients that come from holistic farming practices that build soil and sequester carbon rather than deplete soil and release toxic chemicals into the environment is of paramount importance.

To us, ethical means ensuring animals live a specie appropriate lifestyle, eat a specie appropriate diet, and when the time comes, are harvested humanely. Unlike all large scale mono-crop operations, we do not trap, poison, and kill thousands of small animals in order to protect yields. Instead, we do the opposite – we cultivate local ecosystems that are healthy for ourselves, all animals who live there, our neighbors, and our community. Crafting skincare products that embrace this philosophy and are free of toxins, are nutrient dense, and 100% safe is our standard.”

Why ethical brands don’t have to be vegan

All life requires the sacrifice of life, whether we like it or not. Veganism is far from being devoid of animal sacrifice and is not truly sustainable, in direct contradiction to popular advertising campaigns. A "Vegan" label does not necessarily mean safe, eco-friendly, healthy, or natural.  The only reason one needs to rely solely on vegan skincare and beauty products is if you are truly living a vegan lifestyle. And we get it! We’re not here to judge. 

When in doubt, do your own research.  Immerse yourself in the study and firsthand knowledge of anything you are questioning. If you don’t believe regenerative agriculture has merit and importance, go visit a sustainable livestock farm. Or, better yet, volunteer or work for one. You may be surprised to discover many truths beyond what you imagined.

Animal products, when well-sourced, make for superior, incredibly effective ingredients! These include, but are not limited to:

  • -Tallow
  • -Lard
  • -Lanolin
  • -Dairy, specifically A2 casein dairy (goat, sheep, buffalo, camel, donkey)
  • -Beeswax and other bee products such as honey, royal jelly, and propolis
  • -Pearl
  • -Natural colors from insects such as carmine. No, really!
  • -Squalene (if ethically sourced, which may be tricky)
  • -Gelatin / collagen

Our ancient ancestors have used animal products for skincare since the beginning of recorded history. The very first known perfumes were carried in lamb’s tallow. The very first soaps were made from animal fats and ashes from fire pits.

The ancients used both plant and animal ingredients not because they were ignorant, but because they were incredibly wise.

How to find and incorporate green beauty into your beauty routine

Wanting to switch from regular beauty products to ethical / green beauty products might not come as naturally as you expected. And it might not be an easy transition either, especially if you don’t know where to start. Here are some valuable tips to keep in mind when you want to change your beauty routine to an ethical / green beauty routine!

- Throw away all your beauty products that are not considered ethical or green. Yes, throw them away! If you don’t have them anymore, you will need to replace them. And this is the perfect way to have a good reason to invest in green beauty cosmetics. Empty the contents and recycle any packaging that you can!

- You may have heard the phrase, “Know your farmer, know your food”. You should also know your skincare manufacturer! Smaller brands are more likely to ethically source their ingredients, but in all cases, never be afraid to ask. For the most part you have no real way of knowing the source of all ingredients, but do the best you can. In fact, cosmetic and skincare companies are not required by law to list all of their ingredients. Therefore, it is important that you find a company you trust. Products labeled renewable, eco-friendly, organic, fair trade, cruelty free, biodynamic, grassfed, etc. are generally going in the right direction, and therefore a good place to start. However, it is your duty to be your own gatekeeper when it comes to your health. It is a good idea to research further and discover a company’s true philosophy and manner of sourcing and labeling ingredients.

- Look for balms and butters instead of water based products such as creams and lotions. Products made with both botanical and animal oils and butters are the best quality and best performing. Not only do water based products contribute to dehydrated skin, but they require the use of preservatives in order to inhibit the growth of harmful molds and bacteria. For your own safety, avoid any water based product that claims to omit preservatives!

Conclusion

As you can see, switching to ethical / green beauty is not as difficult as you might fear but it definitely requires some research. You will need to pay more attention to tags and lists of ingredients and even the brands that you are purchasing your cosmetics from. Pay attention to the points listed above before investing in a new beauty product and you can be sure that you will end up with some excellent cosmetics and skincare products. This should become a lot easier over time and you will even discover that ethically sourced products are not more expensive than the rest of them. But they are of much better quality in most cases.

Here at Buffalo Gal Grassfed Beauty, the tallow used in our products is grown on our farm, ensuring Grass-to-Glass quality. All of our other ingredient sources have been thoroughly vetted by us. We don’t take ingredient sourcing lightly, as these products are used by us and our family and friends. We welcome you to our circle of friends!