Have you ever found yourself striving for perfection? Perfection can be beautiful, but simultaneously stifling. We find ourselves being drawn towards perfection in every area of our lives, from careers to Instagram posts.
Perfection can be used in a healthy way to drive us towards self-development but when does this desire for perfection turn into a hindrance? And is our unchecked need for perfection affecting society, mental health, and the environment by leading us into dangerous unchartered territories?
In this article, you’ll learn about the emerging trend of imperfect beauty, circular economy, and how perfection is damaging the environment and our efforts towards a sustainable future.
What Is Imperfect Beauty And Skincare?
Imperfect beauty, skin care, and cosmetics are products that are consciously loved despite their flaws. Imperfect beauty products are lovingly made but accidentally end up with defects that do not affect their capacity to achieve results—but they don’t have the same flawless presentation that society yearns for.
During production to manufacturing of products, unplanned situations can cause products to sustain ‘damage’ whether the product is handmade or mass-produced by machines. This doesn’t necessarily affect the function of the product, but it may affect its desirability and esthetic. Every product that is produced has a prototype that guides the quality control for manufacture. And products need to adhere to the quality control prototype to ‘make the cut’ for consumers.
Examples Of Imperfect Beauty And Skincare Products
- Minor esthetic damage
- Scratches, chips, or dents on product packaging
- Printing or inking errors on product packaging
- Color or texture inconsistencies in the product or its packaging
- Overspills and leakages that damage product packaging
- Cracked powder cosmetics
- End of line and out of season cosmetic colors, shades, or products
- Size and shape discrepancies in comparison to the quality control prototype
- Missing parts such as mirrors or magnets in compact cosmetic sets
- Aesthetic inconsistencies in the shape of the product from the quality control prototype
Why Are Imperfect Cosmetics And Skin Care Products Important?
Imperfect cosmetics and skin care products are important for sustainability and to improve mental health and overall wellness. Imperfect products would usually get wasted due to not ‘making the cut’ to shop shelves. This means that all the resources from ingredients, energy, and materials used to create the product are wasted—essentially for nothing.
These products perform perfectly, but they aren’t Instagram-feed friendly, which means that many people simply won’t buy them. And unfortunately, this has a detrimental impact on the environment. Not only are perfectly good resources wasted. But if the products are bottled in plastic, then they’re likely to be around for hundreds—even thousands—of years after production, even though they were never used or loved by anyone. It’s a sad state of affairs.
Imperfect cosmetics and skin care products are also contributing to a circular economy. Circular economy is a sustainable way of manufacturing products by ensuring that waste is minimized and resources are preserved and reused where possible. By preventing perfectly imperfect beauty and skin care products from going to landfills we are protecting the environment and precious resources.
And how is this all relevant to mental health and wellness?
Our insatiable drive for perfection is killing happiness. In the modern world, we are conditioned with unachievable beauty standards, unrelatable Instagram feeds, and marketing that makes us question our self-worth and entire existence. And, frankly, it has to stop. We are no longer in a position where challenging unachievable perfection can continue.
We currently live in a world where around 30% of food in American supermarkets is wasted and thrown away. American retail stores—alone—account for roughly 16 billion pounds of wasted food annually. (1) Whilst 690 million people in the world are currently starving and malnourished. Somebody make it make sense. (2)
Now, while not all food wasted from grocery stores can be eaten, much of it can. A lot of food is wasted due to confusion in expiry dates, and because of, you guessed it—perfection. Think about all of those bruised but delicious pieces of fruit that get left on the shelf. Or the cans with dents that remain unloved. Or the juicy vegetables that appear slightly ‘miscolored’ that get left behind to rot and wither. All perfectly edible, but simply not esthetically pleasing.
Not only is our appetite for perfection contributing to food waste, but it’s also contributing to depression and anxiety. Our connection to technology is beautiful and has endless benefits. But the rampant unchecked content that endlessly fills our feeds is becoming a huge issue for mental health and wellness.
Researchers have linked social media usage to depression, anxiety, loneliness, and low self-esteem. (3) They found that, although in theory, we all know that social media is a constructed highlight reel of the life people want you to think they have. Having access to such content creates comparison, low self-esteem, and the notion that other people have a better life than us. The curated and unrealistically perfect content that we digest is not serving our empowerment or self-development—in fact, it’s stifling us.
The content we digest conditions us to strive for a type of perfection that doesn’t even exist. All the way from the perfect jobs, families, skin, hair, body’s, and diets to lifestyles. This trains us to be wasteful of the resources and beauty of life that is right in front of us, in the name of vanity, status, and esthetics.
Developing and strengthening the mindset of gratitude, humble frugality, and minimalism helps to counteract the mindset of overindulgence, wastefulness, and endless consumption that is causing environmental damage, and human suffering. You can also focus on inner peace and contentment through mindfulness-based practices like meditation and yoga.
Where Can I Buy Imperfect Beauty And Skin Care Products?
Many amazing brands support perfectly imperfect and circular economy beauty and skincare products. UpCircle Beauty is a British sustainable beauty and skin care brand that has a bountiful array of ethical practices. Their products are vegan, cruelty-free, palm-oil-free, natural, sustainable, and toxin-free. They use 100% recyclable packaging and also provide zero-waste options.
Our favorite part about UpCircle Beauty is that they proudly commit to imperfect beauty and a circular economy by using food waste from the British coffee shop industry. UpCircle Beauty re-loves coffee, chai spices, and fruit stones by creating powerful skin care products that utilize the botanical benefits of food waste. To date, they have transformed 250 tonnes of coffee grounds into skin care products that revive, refresh and rejuvenate the skin.
River Organics stocks imperfect beauty products that work efficiently but lack the aesthetic quality control standard. For example, they sell imperfect cosmetics that have spilled onto their zero-waste product packaging during manufacture. River Organics is committed to transparent ethical business practices and sustainability through their zero-waste makeup products and natural ingredients, which are free from harmful chemicals. You can pick up one of their imperfect beauty products with a discount which not only benefits your bank but also the environment.
Three Ships Beauty is a women-owned sustainable beauty brand that advocates for circular economy and sustainable sourcing. They upcycle grape cell extract from the wine-making process, squalene and pentylene glycol from sugar cane, biolin from the chicory plant, and bark extract from the lumber industry. You’ll find these upcycled natural ingredients in their sustainable skin care range that focuses on skin care with a purpose. Their 100% plant-based skin care range is backed by science, vegan, cruelty-free, allergy and pregnancy-friendly.
Circumference Skin Care finds a new lease of life for unused olive leaves from the olive oil-making process. They are passionate about natural plant-based formulas that are gentle on the skin but highly potent and effective too. When investing in Circumference Skin Care you never have to worry about harmful chemicals or over-harvesting as they focus on sustainable sourcing and naturally nourishing plant-based blends.
Skin care can be viewed as an unnecessary commodity that is solely for vanity, but it couldn’t be further from the truth. Skin care and beauty products can be vital for health and wellness. Products such as SPF and botanical skin care that contain antioxidant ingredients are vital for protection and healing from sun damage. And beauty products can be an empowering way to access a deeper strength that helps us through days when we need a little pick-me-up.
Irrespective of your opinion of the necessity of skin care and beauty products, one thing is for sure—they don’t need to be created at the expense of world poverty, starvation, animal cruelty, or environmental damage. And there are plenty of brands out there driven by thought leaders who are committed to showing the world—there is a better way.
Carmen Lee is a certified yoga teacher, childbirth doula, and wellness coach. She educates on womb wellness, sacred wisdom, and ancestral-connected living. You’ll find her passionately advocating radical self-care and transformational self-empowerment through sustainable beauty and self-love rituals.
Some of the products promoted in our blog are from our online store. Many others are brands we have researched and found to be great examples of sustainable, ethical, and innovative brands in their field, and we don't make any profit from mentioning them in our blog. #CollaborationOverCompetition