At a recent industry, Priceline Pharmacy announced that sales of natural and organic shampoos increased by 38 percent in 2017, a direct result of consumer wanting brands with clean and green ingredients. Priceline was quoted as saying, “Clean and green is far from a passing fad – it's more of an expected choice in pharmacies and supermarkets.” Nor is the trend confined to retail; it's also redefining the spa market. Michelle Reeve of Waterlily and Spaceuticals uses a host of effective and natural botanical actives and nutritive ingredients, such as vitamins B3 and A and pure essential oils and cold-pressed oils, which are proven to keep skin healthy and are not toxic to the environment. Her latest range is built around the indigenous Australian plant ingredient Lime Caviar, which is very high in vitamin C. “Transparent business practices and sustainable production methods are paramount when it comes to staying ahead in the green beauty movement,” Reeve says.

Avoid 'greenwashing'

Nor is it enough to simply claim that a product is green or eco-friendly – consumers want to know the why and the how behind such claims. Tracey Bailey, founder of Biome, is a pioneer of the green beauty movement. She has produced 'Biome's Dirty Thirty', a list of 30+ harmful ingredients, to educate people about what they are putting on their bodies. “We're proud to have been the first store in Australia to require truth in labelling, and to sell products that are BPA-, PVC-, and phthalate-free, as well as avoiding synthetic fragrances, preservatives, and palm oil,” says Bailey. “With every range offered at Biome, we assess not just ingredient safety and transparency, but the whole story behind the brand and manufacturer.” An example is Australian skincare and make-up brand Evohe: founder Meg Forrester created these products following a personal journey through loss and illness, which brought home to her the importance of using ingredients that do not harm our bodies or our ecosystem. “We have a conscious living check-list, which includes being vegan and cruelty-free, as well as using certified organic and Fairtrade ingredients,” says Forrester.

Interestingly, haircare is one of the most difficult areas to change to green credentials, given that so many conventional products rely on synthetic ingredients like silicone to smooth frizz and protect hair from heat-styling, and sodium lauryl sulphate surfactants to create lather, and synthetic dyes and fragrances. A great green haircare brand is Everescents: founders and creators Julia and Luke Charters ensure that their products are of the highest professional quality, and as natural as possible. “To ensure minimal impact on the environment, we follow a full-circle approach, including raw ingredients supply, manufacturing processes, and post-use practice by our customers,” explains Luke. “We source certified organic ingredients, manufacture in small batches, harness green energy from solar, and use 100% recyclable packaging manufactured locally from post-consumer waste.”

Even mainstream players like Sephora are jumping on the green beauty bandwagon, adding gems like Youth To the People to their offerings. Founded by cousins Joe Cloyes and Greg Gonzales, YTTP “blends the power of superfoods with the structure of science” and their products are free from fragrance, parabens, and synthetic colours. Then there is Ecotan, a brand inspired by nature on the deepest level. Founder Sonya Driver created a chemical-free self-tanner after her sister was diagnosed with melanoma at age 30. “My mantra is 'the truth is always visible',” says Driver. “I just kept looking for the most ethical and sustainable choices.” Eco by Sonya Driver has now moved into skincare, with her Face Compost Mask harnessing the power of organic vegetables, superfruits, and seeds.

Beauty editor's picks

Everescents Cinnamon & Patchouli Deep Treatment for Dry Hair ($28.50,

Youth to the People Age Prevention Cleanser ($47.00,

Eco by Sonya Driver Face Compost ($39.95,

Spaceuticals Lime Caviar Body Balm ($48.00,

Evohe Mineral Powder ($54.95,

Glow Lab Facial Moisturiser ($15.99,

Skin by Ecostore Multi-nutrient Facial Oil ($27.99,

Lisa Tristram, aka The Natural Skin Expert, is an aromatherapist and mentor, writer and speaker in the natural spa, beauty and wellness industry.