Allure May covers

For Earth Day, Allure magazine is rethinking the terminology it uses around sustainability and is hoping the beauty industry will follow suit.

The Condé Nast-owned brand is coming out with a sustainability pledge where it plans to choose its words carefully when reporting on “sustainable” packaging.

That includes never referring to any type of plastic as “recyclable” since — while many plastics are capable of being recycled — only 9 percent of all plastic waste ever produced has actually been turned into something that was then able to be used again. 

Also banned from the pages of the glossy magazine when it comes to describing packaging are the terms “earth-friendly,” “eco-friendly,” “planet-friendly” and “biodegradable.” Allure explained that while the latter defines a substance or object that is capable of being decomposed by bacteria or other living organisms, there is no specific time limit and most landfills don’t have enough oxygen to get the job done.

Elsewhere, “compostable” will only be used to describe a product that has been shown to break down in a residential composter in about 90 days, creating zero soil toxicity in the process, while “green” will be used only to describe something that is literally verdant in color.

“There’s just so many buzzwords that are being thrown around that in a lot of cases we’ve seen from the reporting we’ve done on sustainability in the last couple of years they just don’t mean that much, and I think sometimes they make us feel like we’re taking more dramatic action than we are,” said Jenny Bailly, executive beauty director of Allure. “So we felt we needed to take a stand on the language we were going to use.…I hope everyone will start thinking more about these terms as the consumer becomes more educated and we’re all voting with our dollars.”

The brand did something similar in 2017 when it removed the term “antiaging” from its lexicon as “it felt like this antiquated notion that aging is something we need to fight and that aging is a problem,” according to Bailly.

“I know Michelle [Lee, editor in chief of Allure] said at the time changing the way we think about aging starts with changing the way we talk about aging. I think we’re kind of at that place with sustainability now that changing the way we think about it, part of that is just changing the way we talk about it,” she added.

After packaging, Allure editors plan to tackle sustainability buzzwords around ingredients.

As first reported by WWD, Allure is also preparing to open its first physical retail store in New York City’s SoHo neighborhood during the fall, through a licensing partnership with Stôur Group. The 2,900-square-foot Lafayette Street store will be set over two floors and will feature around 300 makeup, hair care and skin care products.

 

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