Beauty trends that will green your beauty routine

Beauty brands are always looking for ways to stay fresh and current, and in these changing times, that means making their products greener and producing them more sustainably. The past couple of years have seen an explosion in green beauty, and we’re super excited about a few trends that are making a big splash.

Less packaging

Refillable, reusable and biodegradable packaging are on everyone’s mind for 2020, and many beauty brands are leading the way. TerraCycle’s loop program allows customers in a few major cities to order products from participating brands including Josie Maran and Paula’s Choice, which arrive in eco-friendly packaging like glass bottles. When the product is finished, customers simply send the empty bottles back, where they are cleaned, re-filled and re-used.

Other brands like Pure Anada are offering refills for their products, reducing their packaging waste. And many companies like Dove are committing to fully recycled plastic for their packaging. 

Clean beauty transparency

Not long ago, so many items in the beauty aisle became “clean”, “green” or “natural”, with consumers having very little idea what these words actually meant. Recent years have brought a new fight against misleading information, and a push for transparency from brands, with clear definitions of “green”, “clean” and “natural”. This transparency can include Environmental Working Group’s ratings directly on the packaging, with symbols that customers can easily decipher, or simply listing ingredients in plain language, large and up front, so consumers understand exactly what is in the products they’re using. 

No more water

Water (or aqua, as you may find it on cosmetics containers) is the most commonly used ingredient in the beauty industry. But fresh water is a limited resource, and companies with a commitment to sustainability are looking for new ways to use less of this precious commodity. Korean cosmetics companies started the water-free trend a few years ago, and it didn’t take long for other companies to jump on board. Now, water-free products like powdered cleansers and dry sheet masks are readily available, and even L’oreal has committed to a 60% reduction in water used in each product over the next 15 years. 

Limiting water in cosmetics isn’t just better for the environment. Water-free cosmetics are easier to travel with and tend to have a longer shelf life. And when water is removed as a base and replaced with oils and botanicals, formulations are more potent, giving you more bang for your buck.

Reusable and biodegradable products

Shampoo and conditioner bars such as this one from I LIVE ECO are an exciting beauty innovation – minimal packaging and nothing to throw out when they’re done. Reusable cotton rounds are another – removing the need for disposable cotton pads or pre-soaked face wipes for removing your makeup or nail polish. When the rounds are dirty, just throw them in the laundry and they come out fresh and ready to use again. The konjac sponge in our spring eco box is one of our favourites. Made from vitamin-infused konjac root, these sponges provide a gentle exfoliation and are compostable when you’re done with them. 


4 reasons to go green with bamboo


In the tropical climates where bamboo naturally grows, this super-plant has been used for centuries for everything from food to construction and more.  I LIVE ECO has been a fan of bamboo since its inception (bamboo straws are where we began!) and we are thrilled that bamboo is quickly becoming a green alternative to not-so-easily-renewable resources. Here are a few of the amazing benefits bamboo offers:

1. Bamboo is sustainable

Growing bamboo takes very little water and no pesticides. In contrast, it can take up to 22,000 litres of water to make just one kilo of cotton. While trees take decades to grow until they can be used, bamboo regenerates itself quickly, growing eight times faster than trees. In fact, some types of bamboo can grow up to three feet in one day! 

2. Bamboo is strong

You may think bamboo is flimsy because of how it bends with the wind, but the key is that bamboo bends in the wind, and because of this it doesn’t break. Compared to traditional building materials, bamboo withstands compression better than concrete, is three times stronger than wood and can withstand greater pressure and tension than steel. And bamboo maintains all this strength while being more flexible and malleable than wood, steel or concrete.

3. Bamboo is versatile

Bamboo isn’t just for drinking straws. We’ve seen how its strength makes it ideal for construction projects, but bamboo can also be used to make bicycles, instruments, clothing, paper, charcoal, and household items such as furniture, flooring and even toothbrushes and tumblers. And what’s more, bamboo can be eaten! Bamboo shoots are a good source of dietary fibre and potassium, and they contain phytochemicals, which can have antibacterial and antiviral effects.

4. Bamboo is green

Between 1990-2016, the world lost 1.3 million square kilometers of forest. As a viable and sustainable alternative to wood, switching to bamboo could be a solution to the clear-cutting of our forests. And compared to similar trees, bamboo produces 35% more oxygen and absorbs 5x more carbon dioxide, making it a valuable resource in fighting climate change. Being able to replace wood, steel, plastic, cotton with sustainably grown and quickly renewable bamboo makes more than good sense – it makes green sense.


6 Women Who Are Making the World a Greener Place

In honour of International Women’s Day, we’re profiling six women who are pulling the world in a greener, more sustainable direction. As a woman-owned brand, I LIVE ECO is proud to support all women who are working hard and creating something of their own. 

Brandi Leifso, CEO of Evio Beauty 

A tumultuous childhood led Brandi Leifso to drop out of school when she was just 14. At 21, Brandi found herself living in a women’s shelter, unsure of where she’d go next. But none of the obstacles in her way stopped Brandi from pursuing her dream of starting a beauty and makeup line. 

Today, Evio has grown to become a leading line of conscious skincare, and in 2018, it became the first Canadian company to be accepted into Sephora’s 2018 Accelerate Program, which supports women founders of cosmetic companies. In an interview with Hempster, Brandi said, “I wanted to build an army of empowered women who were creating change through small, intentional, conscious actions every single day.” There’s still time to sign up for our Spring Box, which includes an Evio face mask. 

Candice Grenier, Founder of Pure Anada Inc.

When Candice Grenier noticed she had become sensitive to some of the products and chemicals she used in her hairstyling work, she really began looking at the health costs of her beauty habits. On the Pure Anada website, Candice says, “I was surprised to learn that the cosmetic industry is not well regulated and that many ingredients are not tested for their long-term safety.”

This wake-up call led Candice to start “greening” her own cosmetics stash by eliminating chemical-filled products and making her own natural makeup. In 2005 she turned her passion into her business when she founded Pure Anada, a Manitoba-based cosmetics company with a full range of cruelty-free, allergen-free, all Canadian-made beauty company.

 And it’s not just the final products that are good for the world. All along the supply chain, the ingredients are ethically sourced. Pure Anada works with a women’s co-op in West Africa for shea butter, and her supplier of Mica from India funds housing, schools and daycares, ensuring that the ethically mined ingredient isn’t being produced with child labour.

Joy Yap, Founder & CEO Wyld Skincare

Wyld Skincare is more than a passion project for Joy Yap, it’s personal. Joy, who started Wyld only four short years ago, suffered from a skin condition called Ichthyosis as a child, and she spent years trying to manage her own excessively dry skin. Because of her condition, Joy grew up with an interest in natural, healthy skincare. Now Joy’s business sells all-natural cleansers, bath soaks, and their signature item, an exfoliating sponge made 100% from the Konjac plant.

Wyld (which stands for “What You Love Doing”) has one simple philosophy: Kindness first, always. And they don’t just say it, they live it. Wyld donates a percentage of each sale from their products to the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, an international non-profit, marine wildlife conservation organization. And Wyld never uses single-use plastic or styrofoam. There’s still time to sign up for our Spring Box, which includes a Konjac sponge from Wyld! 

Toni Desrosiers, Founder & CEO Abeego

Entrepreneurship has been Toni Desrosiers’ path since childhood, and her entrepreneurial spirit only continued to grow. In 2008, the Victoria-based nutritional consultant was considering her next business venture when she learned that 40% of food consumers bring home is wasted, often because it has been stored improperly. Toni looked at foods in their natural state, such as onions, avocados and oranges, and realized that their natural storage system — their skins — were breathable, while traditional plastic food storage systems were not. This research led Toni to develop Abeego — a natural beeswax food wrap that protects food from air and moisture while allowing the food to breathe naturally.  

Toni won the 2018 RBC Women Entrepreneur Trailblazer award and noted at the time that for an entrepreneur to succeed, “you need to know why you’re doing business. Not just what or how you’re doing what you’re doing.” 

Kirsten Dickerson, Founder Raven + Lily 

Ethical fashion is en vogue these days, but for Kirsten Dickerson, fair-trade fashion has been a years-long passion that she translated into a successful business over 10 years ago. 

In 2008, after 15 years of working in social justice and as an art director for the film and fashion industries, Kirsten founded Raven + Lily, an ethical fashion and lifestyle brand, with a goal of creating and sustaining employment opportunities for women around the world. And it’s not just the artisans around the world that benefit from her business, but also people close to home. Raven + Lily works to sustain local employees and office infrastructure in Austin, when so many fast fashion brands have outsourced these functions to low-cost areas overseas. 

If you want to keep your eco-footprint small and your fashion evergreen, Kristen offers some sage advice: “Slow down, buy less, and be willing to ask yourself questions like: Do I love this? Will I wear it for at least two years? Will it last for 30 wears? Do I know the story about who and how it was made?” Because being intentional about our fashion can help us be greener in our world.

Gen Atangan, Founder & CEO I LIVE ECO


A traveler, businesswoman and philanthropist, Gen came by her inspiration for I LIVE ECO honestly. After years of climbing the corporate ladder, it was a trip to her homeland that made Philippines-born Gen take a step back. During her trip, Gen was given a bamboo straw for her drink, and the idea for I LIVE ECO was born.

She wanted to bring this green idea back to Toronto, while fulfilling a deep desire to help the children of her homeland. That’s why 1% of I LIVE ECO’s monthly revenue goes back to children’s charities in the Philippines. The green subscription box allows Gen to give her subscribers the tools they need to start living more eco every season. Each subscriber is a partner to Gen, working towards loving, honoring, and healing our planet together.