Episode 45: Should Beauty Brands Formulate for their Customers? The Conscious Consumerism Debate

2019-11 Conscious beauty consumerism

This is Green Beauty Conversations, the podcast that challenges you to think about how you buy, use, make and sell your natural beauty formulations. We tackle topics that that will make you think and encourage debate about Green Beauty with your friends, followers or customers. In this episode, we delve in to the difficult topic of conscious consumerism and its effect on the beauty industry. What does it mean to be a modern consumer of beauty products?

A conscious consumer is someone who wants to encourage positive impact through their buying choices, encouraging brands to be more eco-friendly and sustainable overall. Anyone who spends any time in the natural beauty sector will know that there is a polarised debate around the way ingredients are chosen and used – on one side you have a hardcore group of naturalistas who reject synthetic ingredients and on the other side you have a group of frustrated chemists, who are upset about their ingredients being vilified without science.

But should conscious consumerism also include the right for customers to determine how our beauty products are formulated and which ingredients are or aren’t used?

Is the customer always right? Formula Botanica discuss conscious consumerism in the latest Green Beauty Conversations Podcast #consciousconsumerism #sustainability #beautybusiness Click To Tweet

In our previous podcast – Clean Beauty: A redefinition, we discussed some of the controversy surrounding the term clean beauty and what it means. In this podcast, we build on that further by asking whether consumer trends should inform how brands formulate.

Should brands shun ingredients with a proven safety record simply because they have become unpopular with the public? How can consumers who want genuinely natural products shop with confidence? To help us understand more on these issues, our Director Lorraine interviewed two key industry professionals.

Firstly we spoke to Sam Farmer, founder of a namesake range of unisex personal care products for young adults. Sam is passionate about science communication within the beauty industry and feels strongly that the industry should be leading with facts and an evidence based approach, rather than simply reacting to consumer trends when it comes to the complex topic of formulating and ingredients.

Our second guest is Dr Mark Smith, the Director General of NATRUE, an international private standard for natural and organic cosmetics. NATRUE sets standards for the ingredients, packaging and product formulations carrying the NATRUE label and also advocates on behalf of the natural and organic beauty industry. Mark is a chemist and has a long career in research, science and regulatory policy.


Listen on iTunes Listen on Stitcher Listen on YouTubeListen on Spotify

In this episode on the topic of conscious consumerism we explore:

  • What conscious consumerism means and how this applies to beauty
  • Whether our beauty choices are being led by populism and ask the important question: Is the consumer always right?
  • How we think the industry can move forward and start to join the contrasting view points

Key take-outs include:

  • Although consumers are engaging more than ever with what is in their beauty products, product formulation and ingredient information isn’t always easy to communicate or understand.
  • Formula Botanica believes that conscious consumerism has a role to play when it comes to the sustainability of the beauty industry and we feel strongly this is an area the industry needs to improve.
  • Opinions are still split on whether consumers should be driving formulation choices. Although there is clearly a need for education, we also have to accept that not everyone will engage with that information or use it in their purchasing choices.

Learn more about our guests:

Find Sam Farmer on Twitter
Learn more about certification on the NATRUE Website

We want to hear what you think. Whatever your views on this controversial topic, we want you to join the debate and leave us a comment on our social channels. The Formula Botanica team love hearing from you. Find us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Leave us a comment


Lorraine Dallmeier

Lorraine Dallmeier is a Biologist, Chartered Environmentalist and the CEO of Formula Botanica, the award-winning online organic cosmetic science school. Read more about Lorraine and the Formula Botanica Team.


Leave a reply

Copyright Herb & Hedgerow Ltd. 2012-2024 All Rights Reserved. Terms & Conditions | Privacy Policy | Earnings Disclaimer Herb & Hedgerow Ltd is a company registered in England and Wales. Registered number: 07957310. Registered office: Wadebridge House, 16 Wadebridge Square, Poundbury, Dorchester, Dorset DT1 3AQ, UK. Please do not post anything to this address.


We love receiving your emails. We try to respond to all messages within 2 working days, but are often much faster!


Log in with your credentials

Forgot your details?