Alcohol-Free Beauty: Should Your Skincare Be Teetotal?

With campaigns like Dry January getting ever more popular and a growing awareness of how too much alcohol can affect your long-term health, alcohol in skincare is now under the spotlight. But is alcohol really as bad for our skin as it can be for our health?

Alcohol in Skincare and Cosmetics 

Far more than just a way to help you unwind after a long week, alcohol is used in many different industries, from medicine to science. Ethanol, one of the best-known alcohols, is used in pharmaceuticals and fuels, as well as for sterilising hospital instruments. It’s also a common ingredient in skincare products and toiletries. 

So should you be concerned about alcohol in beauty products? With the Conscious Beauty skincare revolution in recent years, consumers are becoming more aware of what goes into the products they use in their beauty regime, and it’s true that alcohol can do damage to your skin’s natural layer of sebum. But not all alcohol is bad for your skin – certain alcohols can actually benefit your skin and should remain part of your beauty routine. We break down some of the main alcohols used in skincare and cosmetics.


Alcohols like Ethanol, Isopropyl alcohol, Alcohol Denat, and Methanol are used to make creams feel lighter, help other ingredients to penetrate your skin, and act as a preservative. The downside is that these alcohols can cause dryness, irritation and breakouts, making them not so skin-friendly.

When used in high concentrations these alcohols wear down your skin’s protective barrier, making it less effective at retaining moisture. This also stimulates oil production, which could lead to breakouts if your skin already makes too much oil. So, you should avoid using lots of products with Ethanol or Ethyl alcohol as the main ingredient – especially if you’re prone to acne.

Products that don’t contain Ethanol, even if they have other kinds of alcohol (Cetyl, Stearyl, Cetearyl, or Lanolin alcohol – fatty alcohols with a different effect on the skin), may be labelled as “alcohol-free.”

Benzyl Alcohol

Although within the EU Benzyl Alcohol is a listed allergen, it’s also a necessary ingredient to keep organic and natural skincare products safe from bacteria. Benzyl Alcohol is found naturally in certain essential oils and is an approved preservative under the COSMOS Organic Certification criteria – because of this, it’s used by many natural and organic beauty brands. When used in the correct, low concentration it’s considered safe, but it’s always a good idea to do a patch test first to check it’s okay for your skin.

Caudalie Masks & Scrubs
Instant Detox Mask 75ml

 Fatty Alcohols

Fatty alcohols are derived from saturated vegetable fats like coconut oil or palm oil and are known to be beneficial for skin and hair. Commonly used as a thickener in beauty products like liquid foundations and moisturisers, this type of alcohol contains nourishing fatty acids and doesn’t damage the skin. Cetearyl, Stearyl, Cetyl and Behenyl alcohol are the most common fatty alcohols, so if you see these on the label of your skin care product, you should have nothing to worry about. 

Perricone MD Treatments
Cold Plasma Plus Face 59ml

So can alcohol be good for your skin? 

Put simply, it depends on the type of alcohol. Some alcohols can be harmless or even beneficial for your skin, while others can have negative effects. Different skin types also react differently to varying concentrations of alcohol in beauty products, so it’s always best to do a patch test when using a new product for the first time. 

Some ‘bad’ alcohols can also be acceptable when used in spot treatments such as to dry up an infection, even if it’s not a good idea to use them often or long-term. If you exclude every ingredient that ends in OH, which is the chemical abbreviation for alcohol, you might end up missing out on those alcohols with beneficial properties, like fatty alcohols. The key is to carefully read the label on your skincare products. If you see beauty products with Ethanol or Ethyl alcohol, denatured or SD alcohol, or Isopropyl, you’ll probably want to steer clear of them, to avoid the harmful effects on your skin such as dryness and irritation

Avoid Say Yes!
Ethanol Benzyl
Ethyl Cetearyl
SD Stearyl
Isopropyl Cetyl

Shop our most popular alcohol-free beauty products here. To find out more about Conscious Beauty, why not check out our other blogs?

Conscious Beauty – The Smart Beauty Choice

Beauty and the conscious consumer

Conscious consumerism is about making positive, responsible and ethical purchasing decisions. It’s part of a push towards mindful consumption among consumers across every sector, from beauty to everyday essentials. Conscious consumerism aims to consider the impact of what people buy, and from Fairtrade chocolate to pre-worn clothing, we can see conscious choices almost everywhere.

Conscious Beauty’ describes the way people choose their beauty products, according to their personal values. Generally, this means choosing organic products, products that contain fewer chemicals and pesticides, and those that are eco-friendly, and cruelty-free

Why do our cosmetics choices matter? 

Modern-day consumers are well-informed – we now know that “no sugar added” doesn’t necessarily mean healthy, and “all-natural” products can still contain potentially harmful ingredients. The more we know about what we’re putting onto our skin, the more we’re able to make smarter choices while purchasing.

Just like almost any product, skincare and cosmetics can have an impact on the environment, from deforestation caused by palm oil production (an ingredient found in many personal care products) to the toxic chemicals found in many beauty products, and the waste caused by single-use plastics and packaging. 

Conscious Beauty is cruelty-free

A big part of Conscious Beauty is avoiding products that are tested on animals, so that our purchasing choices fit with our personal values. Conscious skincare and beauty brands do not test their finished products or ingredients on animals, and they won’t opt for third-party testing either – which is asking another company to perform animal tests on their behalf. Many cruelty-free products are also vegan – find out more about Vegan Beauty here

Conscious Beauty is organic

Conscious consumers have high standards when it comes to health and the environment. As organic ingredients are grown without the use of chemical fertilizers, growth hormones, antibiotics, or pesticides, Conscious Beauty products are often organic. 

Conscious Beauty is safe for the environment

Conscious Beauty aims to decrease the negative impact on the environment by cutting down on plastic waste and excessive packaging, as well as implementing environmentally friendly formulations and production practices. That’s why opting for conscious beauty products means choosing natural ingredients from sustainable sources. 

Conscious Beauty means making healthy choices

Conscious Beauty products tend to contain fewer chemicals and pesticides than conventional beauty products. They are generally free from sulphates, parabens, silicones, pesticides, petroleum derivatives, synthetic fragrances, and artificial colouring. They don’t contain ingredients that are reported to have harmful health effects such as hormone disruption or skin irritation.

Here are our top conscious beauty product picks:

Perricone MD Treatments
Cold Plasma Plus Face 59ml

Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse
Multi-Purpose Dry Oil Spray

Stella McCartney
Eau de Parfum Spray 100ml

thisworks Sleep
Deep Sleep Pillow Spray

Acqua Di Parma Colonia
Alcohol-Free Deodorant Stick 75ml

Want to find out more about Conscious Beauty? From Vegan to Eco-friendly, explore our other Conscious Beauty articles and shop clean products. 

A Guide To Cruelty-Free Beauty

Ethical consumerism is big news, with a loyal and outspoken following. Fashion’s anti-fur movement continues to grow in its influence, with many major luxury brands announcing anti-fur policies in recent years. A British Fashion Council survey on the use of fur continues to reflect what is seen as a cultural change, with more international brands choosing to exclude fur from their collections, and increasingly more businesses moving to be entirely fur-free. 

It’s not just the fashion industry that has seen shifts in attitudes when it comes to the things we buy. The beauty industry has also been evolving to meet the expectations of ethically conscious consumers, and cruelty-free is a big part of the Conscious Beauty movement. 

What are cruelty-free cosmetics? 

Cruelty-free describes products or activities that don’t harm or kill animals. Products tested on animals are not considered cruelty-free, so cruelty-free cosmetics and skincare products are those which have not been tested on animals. However, some brands may still hire third-party testers or may test the ingredients on animals, rather than the final product itself. That’s why those who want to ensure they’re buying cruelty-free cosmetics should always look for accreditations – like Cruelty-Free International’s leaping bunny or the PETA logo. 

For decades, cosmetics and drug companies have used animal testing as a method of proving a product’s safety and efficiency – and animal testing can even be dated back to Ancient Greece. Animal testing was once considered by many to be the best way to assess this and to understand the potential side effects certain products might cause to humans. However, there has been strong opposition to animal testing for a long time, with scientists from as early as the 17th Century onwards questioning the value of results gained from experiments on animals. 

Cruelty-free and the cosmetics industry 

Today, animal testing in the cosmetics industry is still common, despite it being banned in many places including the EU, India, Israel and Norway among others. The good news is, there are more cruelty-free brands than ever, offering a huge variety of high quality, ethical beauty products for the conscious consumer. 

Are cruelty-free products the same as vegan

Even though the terms “cruelty-free” and “vegan” are often used interchangeably, they are not the same thing. Vegan products don’t contain any animal by-products, however, they might still have been tested on animals. That said, many vegan beauty products are cruelty-free and vice versa. Read more about Vegan Beauty here.

Making the switch to cruelty-free 

There are many reasons why you should switch to cruelty-free cosmetics. The ingredients used in cosmetics is one of them – most cruelty-free products contain non-toxic ingredients, with fewer chemicals and fragrances. Aside from being better for the environment, this can also result in less chance of adverse skin reactions such as flare-ups and irritation. 

Of course, the main reason for choosing cruelty-free products is to end the suffering of animals. The animals used for experiments are socially isolated, confined, harmed, and ultimately killed in the name of beauty. For many people, that’s far too high a cost to bear. Leading beauty brands have taken note, and there are now cruelty-free alternatives to almost everything, from makeup to moisturizer.

Here are our top cruelty-free picks.

Sleeping Partners

Dr. Hauschka Face Care
Rose Day Cream 30ml

bareMinerals BarePro
Performance Wear Liquid Foundation SPF20

Perricone MD Makeup
No Blush Blush SPF30 10ml/0.3 fl.oz

REN Clean Skincare Face
Evercalm Anti-Redness Serum 30ml/1.02 fl.oz

Want to find out more about Conscious Beauty? From Vegan to Eco-friendly, explore all our Conscious Beauty articles and shop clean products. 

Eco-Friendly Beauty & Cosmetics: The Benefits Of Going Green

The plastic problem 

Plastic waste is everywhere – it can even be found in the deepest parts of the ocean. More than half of plastic produced is for disposable items that will only be used once, and it’s estimated that the average European or American person will use 100 kilograms of plastic each year – most of which is the packaging.

The ingredients which make up our beauty staples can be harmful to the planet too. Microbeads, which are tiny pieces of plastic, are found in lots of conventional personal care and beauty products, such as exfoliants, toothpaste, glittery makeup and body scrubs. Microbeads enter the water, soil, and even the animals we eat. Using eco-friendly cosmetics is one way you can reduce your impact on the planet, and more and more consumers are making the switch. 

Eco-friendly ingredients 

Eco-friendly cosmetics are made from environmentally friendly formulations, followed by eco-conscious production practices and packaging methods. These ‘green’, sustainable cosmetics are made using natural ingredients that are produced from renewable raw materials. Aside from the benefits when it comes to the health of our planet, eco-friendly beauty products tend to be made from natural and organic ingredients, so they can be a great option for those with sensitive skin. Eco-friendly cosmetics are also likely to exclude harsh chemicals, reducing the risk of flare-ups and damage to your skin. 

Some common sources for sustainable cosmetics include: 

•  Natural oils such as coconut oil, argan oil and avocado oil

•  Agricultural plants such as corn and soybeans. 

Swapping single-use packaging for multi-purpose products 

To work towards a more conscious and responsible beauty routine, start by looking at the number of beauty products you use every day. Could any of them be crossed off the list? Try opting for multi-purpose beauty products where possible – aside from saving us time and money, these all-rounders can reduce our impact on the environment too. 

Simplifying your beauty routine (and streamlining your cosmetics bag at the same time) allows you to limit your plastic consumption; reducing the number of products you use will mean less plastic packaging ends up in landfills and our oceans. 

Refills and reusables 

The second step is to find more sustainable alternatives to your usual products. Some brands provide refills – from refillable mouthwash to deodorants, refills mean you won’t have to buy another plastic container each time you run out of your favourite products. You can even get reusable cotton pads! You can also try swapping minis and regulars for supersize versions of your beauty essentials – supersized products use less packaging and need less regular shipping because they’ll last you longer. 

With climate change firmly on the global agenda, forward-thinking, conscious beauty brands have been investing in creating great products and packaging that eco-friendly and sustainable. 

Here are our top picks.


Balance Me Anti-Ageing
Vitamin C Repair Serum 30ml

Paul Mitchell
Lavender Mint Moisturising Shampoo & Conditioner 300ml


Neal’s Yard Remedies Facial Moisturisers
Frankincense Intense Age-Defying Cream 50g


Retro Matte Lipstick

Want to find out more about Conscious Beauty? Explore all our Conscious Beauty articles and shop clean products. 

Sustainable Palm Oil: Your Smart Choice For Beauty?

From the foods we eat to cosmetics and washing powders, palm oil is everywhere. Extremely versatile, it’s an ingredient in more than half of the things on supermarket shelves, in both food and non-food products. 

Palm oil and the beauty industry 

Commonly found in everyday beauty products from soap to shampoo, palm oil is considered to be beneficial for the skin, mainly because it’s filled with beta carotene, a powerful antioxidant which kills off the free radicals that can cause premature ageing. It’s also rich in vitamin E, which is known to have many health benefits, including helping to maintain healthy skin, eyes, fighting off illness and infection. Palm oil is an excellent moisturizer, too, hydrating dry skin and locking in moisture. 

Aside from its nutritional properties, palm oil is used in many beauty and personal care products as it extends their shelf life due to its preservative properties, as well as giving a smooth and creamy texture. In makeup, palm oil is used to make glycerin which gives a smoother consistency and enables easier spreading onto the skin. It’s often used in lipsticks thanks to its ability to hold colour well and withstand high temperatures without melting. Globally it’s estimated that cosmetics account for up to 7-8% of palm oil usage.

Palm oil can be labelled under vegetable oil, vegetable emulsifier, Glyceryl, Stearic Acid, among others.

What makes palm oil controversial? 

The multi-billion-pound palm oil industry is highly controversial due to its impact on the environment, and palm oil production is a global issue. To keep up with palm oil demand, tropical forests are cut down to plant palm oil trees, which leads to a lack of biodiversity and jeopardises already endangered species such as orangutans, tigers, and rhinos. Aside from habitat destruction, palm oil cultivation has also been criticized for greenhouse gas emissions, reduced biodiversity and the displacement of indigenous communities. 

Is sustainable palm oil the answer? 

Palm oil is an efficient crop – no other vegetable oil source can yield as much oil per acre planted, nor require as few pesticides and chemical fertilizers. So could producing palm oil sustainably be an acceptable alternative that allows the industry to meet demand in a socially and environmentally responsible way? With 20% of palm oil products classified as sustainable, it’s possible to make smarter and more conscious choices when purchasing. Products made from using certified sustainable palm oil should feature the green palm tree logo, with the RSPO’s (Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil) name beneath it. 

Does sustainable palm oil go far enough? 

While sustainable palm oil is definitely a step in the right direction, questions are still asked about whether the rules and their enforcement are strict enough – and if the conscious consumer’s choice should be to go palm oil-free. 

There are plenty of options if you are looking to find sustainable palm oil or palm oil-free products; here are our top picks. 

bareminerals Lashtopia
Mega Volume Mineral-based Mascara – Ultimate Black 12m

bareminerals BarePro
16-HR Full Coverage Concealer – No 08 Medium Neutral 2.5g

Manuka Doctor
Brightening Facial Oil 25ml

To find out more about Conscious Beauty, why not check out our other blogs?

A Guide To Vegan Beauty: The Conscious Consumer’s Choice

Whenever we think about the word “vegan“, food might be the first thing which comes to mind. With plenty of A-list celebrities glorifying the benefits of going vegan, this lifestyle choice is more popular and talked about than ever. A plant-based diet could even help fight climate change, with a major report on land use and climate change stating that the West’s high consumption of meat and dairy produce is contributing to global warming. 

But vegan is not just almond milk and leafy greens – vegan beauty has seen a sharp rise in popularity over the last few years, and there’s now a huge variety of vegan cosmetics and skincare products available for the conscious consumer. The future continues to look bright; the vegan cosmetics market is expected to continue to grow, reaching an estimated 20.8 billion USD by 2025

So what is vegan beauty? Vegan refers to products that are not made out of animals or contain any animal-derived ingredients. This includes beeswax, honey, lanolin and collagen to name a few. 

Vegan and cruelty-free – what’s the difference?

Like many free-from products, vegan products are cruelty-free – and many cruelty-free products are also vegan. But they aren’t quite the same thing; just because some products are vegan, it doesn’t mean they’re not tested on animals. 

Why switch to vegan cosmetics? 

Vegan products are actually better suited to sensitive skin than many conventional beauty products because they tend to have fewer ingredients in them. Certain animal by-products can also be harsh on delicate skin, so opting for vegan skincare products can decrease the risk of rashes and strong reactions. 

Our skin absorbs around 60% of what we put on it, so vegan cosmetics can be a rational and conscious choice. Vegan cosmetics contain fewer synthetic ingredients than conventional products and instead rely on plant-derived ingredients, which have more vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants to nourish and replenish our skin. 

Of course, going vegan is an ethical choice for many – it’s about avoiding animal-based products – in our diet, the clothes we wear, and the products we put on our skin. That’s why many vegan products tend to also be cruelty- free. Find out more about cruelty-free beauty here. 

Recognising vegan beauty products 

It can be difficult knowing which products are vegan, and product labelling can be a bit confusing. Steer clear of products containing glycerin, collagen, gelatin, retinol, pearl, silk or snail gel because they are derived from animals, and look out for the Vegan Society Logo.

There are plenty of options for those looking for great vegan beauty brands – here are our top picks.

Hydrate Shampoo 250ml


REN Clean Skincare
Face Rose O12 Moisture Defence Oil 30ml


Stella McCartney
Stella Eau de Parfum Spray 100ml

To find out more about Conscious Beauty, why not check out our other blogs?