Big cosmetics might pour tons of money into marketing to make people believe their products are indispensable, but nothing can be further from the truth. Big cosmetics products are problematic on many levels. Some still use parabens, chemical compounds that shouldn’t come near anything you put on your skin. Others—and PETA’s keeping tabs on them—still haven’t evolved past using animals to test their products.
The cosmetics and care industry is a mess, or at least the part of it that revolves around big money is. However, in the shade of those big companies, smaller businesses have found their places, offering handmade products that help people look and feel great without causing unnecessary harm. Here’s what companies making those products are doing right, and how.
No Animal Testing
First of all, there’s no need to do any animal testing for a certain kind of handmade skincare product line, namely the ones that are based on years and years of experience. Handmade, natural skincare products give users the chance to purchase products that have passed the test of time, having been used by generations of women and men.
Lulu’s Holistics, a handmade natural skincare company with a presence in both Florida and New York, is the perfect example of this kind of ethos. It was what put the company on the ground. “My mother Janet, who is a vegan, created her own skincare line in a kitchen for self-use,” her daughter Deannee says. The process soon found its way to Instagram, where people were mesmerized by it. Even today, the company’s Instagram profile is full of people who just want to watch how it’s all done, by hand, behind the scenes.
Ingredient Control – Hello, Fair Trade!
Ingredients are another front where big cosmetics often fail to meet their customers’ expectations. There are two major offenders. One is artificial ingredients—often in the form of preservatives—that sometimes contain bad chemicals, such as the aforementioned parabens. The other half of the story is rare or exotic ingredients that, even though they are natural, might not have been purchased or harvested with the highest of ethical standards.
As people are increasingly looking into not only the actual products but also the ethical and practical implications of owning and making that product, it only makes sense to provide them the products that are environmentally and ethically as clean as they can be. With small, even boutique cosmetics and skincare businesses that are still practicing manufacturing by hand and sourcing ingredients more carefully, it’s possible to create natural products that aren’t relying on child labor and use no damaging chemicals.
Strong Ties to the Community
The final argument for smaller, natural skincare and cosmetics businesses is that they’re able to serve their communities much better than a large multinational ever would. Lulu’s is a business set up and run by Black women, and it uses recipes for homemade cosmetics that have been tried and tested by the members of the community for generations.
In that sense, a brand such as Lulu’s Holistics can be much more accurate in anticipating the needs of its core customers than a big cosmetics brand with the sole goal of moving products. Not for nothing, but the strong ties to the community proved important for job creation and helping members deal with rough times, such as the ones everyone’s been experiencing during the pandemic.
While there’s a lot to be said about the research and development that goes on in big cosmetic companies, handmade, natural skincare companies such as Lulu’s Holistics not only have a place in the market but can also serve as the antidote to many of the big companies’ excesses.